Democracy Dies in Darkness

# The descriptions of — and solutions to — the 2015 Post Hunt puzzles

Take a look at the puzzles thousands of Post Hunters attempted to solve.

1. LEFT-RIGHT

The moderator begins with a little oration. He says we have a big problem for which we need a solution, and to do that we have to start at the root, face the music and go forward from there. Then he introduces the two debaters and says, “Let’s take our directions from them.” He says they will now take questions in the appropriate order.

The audience fires questions at them, and then one or the other answers. One will always answer with some version of extreme conservatism, and the other will always answer with extreme lefty rhetoric.

On the map is a tree, and the roots of the tree are where you need to begin. There’s a jazz saxophonist on the map with notes coming out of the sax. So you go to the root and face the saxophonist (the music). Then you go forward, turning right or left depending on the order in which the two extreme pols are answering questions.

After a few rounds, the moderator says, “Okay, that should get us to the solution!”

Beginning at the root you’d proceed toward the music, you make the following turns: left, right, left, right, left, taking you to 11th Street, just below F. (Note that you don’t have to walk, you can simply do this on the map). At the destination, you will see a truck parked with a big ad for LEFTY’S IODINE in 13% SOLUTION. We SAID you’d arrive at the solution. The answer to this puzzle is 13.

2. THE NOSE

In McPherson Square, there will be a giant nose (about 8-feet high at the tip) sticking out of the ground, as if a person were underground and buried up to the bridge of the nose.

Also at this location will be volunteers handing out buttons, with a sign showing where to attach the button (in the midsection, above the belly). The buttons will say “FIND ME.” Hunters will need to look at the map and realize that depicted on the map are giant feet, sticking up from the ground just like the nose (and also the same color). The feet are drawn near 11th St. NW. Hunters need to figure out the feet and nose represent body parts of the same giant and in telling them to “find” the “belly button,” we mean to go halfway between the nose and feet (Franklin Square). If they go there, they will see a sign or get a handout that says the following:

Choose the appropriate verbs, and add up the SCRABBLE word values:

Gamble, perambulate, laugh (9), tumble, rub (5), finagle, ache (9), dance (8), trip, flop (9), buy, steam

The “appropriate verbs” are the ones commonly used with belly, to wit: laugh (Scrabble word score of 9), rub (Scrabble word score of 5), ache (Scrabble word score of 9), dance (Scrabble word score of 8) and flop (Scrabble word score of 9). Add up the scores to get the solution: 40.

3. THE SPELLING BEE

On the stage, a spelling bee is in progress. The moderator will say to the competitors, who keep messing up: “First of all, you have to remember what you are competing in! Secondly, you need THE RIGHT LETTERS.
And the right letters will spell fifty-two. 52 is not a possible answer.

On the map, there are a dozen vehicles of all sorts — trains, race cars, submarines, planes, etc. — all with numbers and letters on them. None of the numbers alone is a possible answer. One of them is a B-52 — the iconic bomber jet. This is what the spelling bee is telling you: BEE 52. The number on the plane’s fuselage says X5. The answer is 52X5 which is 260.

4. BUBBLI

Hunters will be given a link to Bubbli image, a 360 degree photograph of F Street at the intersection with 9th Street. Along with the link will be an admonition: “Check for most significant difference.” Hunters must figure out they have to go to that corner and compare the Bubble with the reality. The most significant difference is that in the Bubble, the Pi symbol in the sign above the Pi Pizzeria has been altered into a big check mark. This is what we meant when we said “check” for a difference. The difference is the Pi symbol, which equals 3.1416. The solution on the clue page is clue #31416.

5. JUMP ROPE

Skippers are doing a routine to a chant (which is being called by a caller, not the skippers):

Don’t jump the gun
Don’t jump on me.
All you need to win’s
Between A and B.
Don’t jump the shark
Don’t jump into the sea
All you need to win’s
Between A and B.
Don’t jump from a tree
All you need to win’s
Between A and B

And what we hand out is a jump rope and directions which read:

Hunters:
These directions will tell you how to solve this puzzle.

We’re giving you a length of rope. Be sure to use it correctly. Never jump in front of speeding vehicles. Never jump out of windows. Never use this rope to discipline your children. This rope is not for sex-toy use. Dispose of this rope properly if you must dispose of it.

The solution is to realize that the refrain of the chant, “all you need to win’s between A and B” actually means what you need to win is between “a” and “be” in the directions. That would be “length of rope.” There is an actual size-measuring stick built into the axis of the Hunt Map. Hunters have to use this to measure the length of the jump rope, which is 77 inches. The solution is 77.

6. THE ENDGAME

After using the five puzzles to find an online link, hunters saw a picture of two dead beetles. This was meant to indicate the two members the band The Beatles that are dead: John and George.

Next, at 3 p.m., two actors walked on stage dressed as Groucho Marx and Bozo the Clown. “This is where the final clue is at,” the crowd was told. The word “at” was meant to be a hint toward another technology participants were forewarned could be involved: Twitter.

On the account @grouchobozo, hunters found a tweet that said, “Here’s another clue: How many U.S. vice presidents does the photo in the website represent?” It meant: how many U.S. Vice Presidents had the names John and George?

The answer (found in a quick online search) is 8. Hunters went back to the clue page of the magazine, and next to the number 8, it said, “Good! Now find the 10th!”

The 10th vice president was John Tyler. Now here’s where the Hunt gets its hardest (judging by the number of groans heard upon its explanation). On a map inside the magazine, there was a small picture of a man placing tiles on a roof. A tile-er. A Tyler.

They ran to that location on the map. To win, hunters had to take a photo of a man holding a sign. That photo had to be sent to ____@washpost.com. What went in the blank? The nickname of Tyler’s running mate, William Henry Harrison. AKA “Tippecanoe.”

The first team to send the photo to tippecanoe@washpost.com were the winners.