Here are the solutions to the 2012 Herald Hunt. Hunters were told that the answer to every puzzle was a number.
The Signpost Puzzle
In Kenneth M. Myers Park, Hunters encountered a small forest of signposts, one of them marked as the starting point. A sign there said: FOLLOW THE HEAT TO VICTORY.
Each signpost had two words on it, pointing in opposite directions. The initial signpost had Jupiter pointing in one direction, and Venus in the other. Hunters had to divine that their cue was “follow the heat.” In this case, the “hotter” choice was Venus, the closest planet to the sun. Walking in the direction Venus was pointing brought them to another signpost labeled “passion” and “logic.” Clearly, passion is the hotter of the two. So Hunters on the right path continued in the direction passion was pointing them, and so on, until they finally got to a signpost with no words on it, the end of the road. So what had they learned? In addition to the two words pointing in opposite directions, each signpost also had a letter on it. If you collected the letters from each of the posts along your path, you came up with FOURSCORE+TWO. A score is old-fashioned lingo for “20.” But 82 was not a possible answer. Smart Hunters thought back to the use of the word HEAT in the opening hint. Was this a basketball reference? In hoops, a “score” is two points. Four score plus two, then, equals 10, which was the solution to this puzzle.
The Art Basel Puzzle
A Carnival cruise entertainer stood at a podium imitating a snobbish art lecturer named Art Basel. He was going on and on about the huge canvas at his side, a large painting of a black circle on a white background.
Hunters had been handed a printed catalog description of the painting, which was titled “Stop.” Art Basel, noting that the work was from the artist’s “Circular Period,” exhorted his audience to see the painting as “reduced to its essential element,” which was “all about finality, termination, endings and stopping points.” He urged them to “drink in of its symbolic meaning, a meaning which is echoed in many places.”
He continued: “The totality of its essence and the meaning of its symbolic nature can reveal the truth we all hold in our hands.
"It all adds up!" he insisted repeatedly.
Turns out this big black circle was in fact a large punctuation mark, namely a period. If Hunters added up all the periods they “held in their hands” in the form of the catalog copy, they got the solution: 15.
The Cruise Ship Comedians Puzzle
Carnival comics took turns doing stand up on the Hunt stage. They told lots of jokes, or parts of jokes. They set the jokes up, but always stopped before the end, then looked around at the lack of audience response and said variations on, “What are we missing here?"
What they were missing was: the punch lines.
Alert Hunters noticed that within sight of the stage, Hunt volunteers were handing out free punch at two punch stations. Each punch station had a serpentine bellrope for lines to form. In other word, these were the “punchlines” that the comics were drawing so much attention to. It so happened the bell ropes snaked in a distinctive pattern. The one on the left was in the shape of a 2, and the one on the right was the shape of a 5. The solution was 25.