Here are the solutions for the 2018 Herald Hunt

Pepi Granat, left, and Karen Shane write down clues during the 2018 Herald Hunt at Museum Park in downtown Miami on Sunday, March 4, 2018.
Pepi Granat, left, and Karen Shane write down clues during the 2018 Herald Hunt at Museum Park in downtown Miami on Sunday, March 4, 2018. mocner@miamiherald.com

Here are the solutions to the 2018 Herald Hunt:

Getting a Big Head

At the foot of a flight of steps leading to the 40-foot tall sculpture of a head (by artist Jaume Plensa), Hunters found a lecturer discoursing on the “sexiest American heads of state.” One by one, he introduced his six selections for that coveted title. Identified by beauty contestant sashes, actors portraying the honorees bounded onto the platform in bathing attire. In order they were: Bill Clinton (the 42nd president); George W. Bush (the 43rd); Donald Trump (the 45th); George Washington (the first); Andrew Jackson (the 7th); and Ronald Reagan (the 40th).

Hunters were told that the answer to every puzzle was a number. So how did they get a number from this? Well, each president was identified by his presidential order. But none of those numbers was listed as a possible solution. They had to listen carefully to the lecturer, who made this observation while holding up a thick book titled SEXIEST PRESIDENTS: “They’re lined up here exactly the way they are in the text. … You’ve got everything you need to figure it out right in front of you. But you’ve got a lot of competitors on this, so you might want to take a shot and text ahead. Get the picture? Text A HEAD!”

At which point the Donald Trump character shouted: “And we mean that BIGLY.” Smart hunters realized that “lined up exactly the way they are in the text” was telling them that they

should string the presidential order numbers together to make a ten-digit text number, 424-345-1740. They then saw that the lecturer’s exhortation to “take a shot” and “text A HEAD,” a “bigly” head at that, meant that they should take a photo of the HUGE head right in front of them and text it to that number. If they did that they got a return message, a photo of the Big Head altered to be wearing a Lincoln stovepipe hat and beard. The solution to this puzzle was 16, Lincoln’s presidential number.

Solving that puzzle, and matching it to the possible clues on the clue list, they knew that Clue 16 was genuine (and would be needed to solve the Hunt’s final puzzle.)

CLUE 16: Why do you eat dog food?

The Yoga Class

On a stage near the bay, Sujal Patel, an expert yogi from Skylight Yoga, demonstrated a series of five poses, each of which were among the poses pictured on a flyer handed out to the audience. As Sujal did each pose he said: “You won’t get the benefit if you don’t focus on the form. Follow my instructions to the letter.” Hunters had to figure out that the names of the poses didn’t matter. It was the shape they formed that was key – in fact they had to follow it to the “letter” they mimicked: In the order he demonstrated them they were an N, an L, an M, a V and a P. Together that spelled NLMVP, a familiar shorthand for National League Most Valuable Player, which in 2017 happened to be a Miami Marlin, Giancarlo Stanton, whose number 27 was the solution. (As a hint, Sujal was wearing a Miami Marlins Tshirt.)

CLUE 27: Sink into a big goopy pit of goo.

Code Breaker

At another spot in the park Hunters got a handout with a grid of mostly white squares, interspersed with a handful of squares blacked out. On the grid, in a notch in the upper right corner, there was a distinctive graphic element – an image of a pencil. The handout also had a little poem:

Look Familiar?

If not, look around;

Then fill in the spaces

In these places.

Hunters had to realize that what looked familiar was the prominent façade of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science visible across the park, which had a giant pencil attached to the upper right of the building, positioned identically to the pencil in the graphic on the handout. In addition, the grid pattern on the graphic matched exactly the distinctive grid pattern on the building’s façade. What differed between the building and the graphic were which of the white squares in the grid were blacked out. In the building a series of windows blacked out a number of the squares. But the locations of the windows were represented as white squares in the graphic. Likewise, the blacked-in squares in the graphic corresponded to white squares on the building. If Hunters did as the poem suggested, adding the blacked out windows to the corresponding squares in the graphic, a very clear three-digit number emerged: 359. The solution to this puzzle was 359.

CLUE 359: Show every bit of your gown.

Doggy Art Show

On a wall erected in the park Hunters discovered a display of five paintings: whimsical line drawings of canines in various attitudes, each with a price tag. They were handed a program with images of each of the paintings and a short essay about the art. It described one of the works as standing apart. “Unlike the others, it is not entirely a work of imagination; its fundamental structure is drawn from real life. This defining difference can be seen by any viewer who finds the right perspective from which to compare the work to the artist’s inspiration.”

Below that it noted that the puzzle was sponsored by Compass, a realty company. “Speaking of a compass, if you look about 140 yards to the Northwest, you might begin to find the perspective you need.”

If Hunters walked in the specified distance and direction, they discovered a metal sculpture, which viewed from the proper perspective, aligned perfectly with the lines in one of the dog art paintings. The price tag on that painting was $1200. The solution to this puzzle was 1200.

CLUE 1200: I love going as Tubby.

Food Identity Conference

On the Hunt main stage Hunters watched an odd motivational exercise labeled as a “Food Identity Conference.” As a group of actors from the New World School of the Arts stumbled around the stage in ridiculous food costumes, a Ted-Talky kind of speaker urged the attendees to find their proper Food Group. The food item/characters chaotically mingled in various clusters, but continued to seem lost, until one group coalesced triumphantly, at which point the moderator proclaimed, “Looks like these guys have got it figured out! Group hug! Remember, the sum is greater than the parts!” The items in the winning food group were: a donut, a bagel and Swiss cheese. Cagey Hunters figured out what these foods had in common: they were “hole foods.” That notion paid off when they noticed an ad in the Hunt special section for Whole Foods, featuring bargain pricing on a list of foods, including bagels, donuts and Swiss cheese. Since the moderator said the sum was greater than the parts, Hunters quickly added up the prices of those items, but alas, the sum was not a possible solution. Now they needed to recall the moderator told the “hole” foods, “Now you can go out in the world and recognize others like yourselves.”

In the Whole Foods ad, there was indeed another hole food, Cheerios. When the Cheerios price was added to the rest, the total cost was 13.98.

1398: Too bad, Bill.

Now some Hunters had solved all five puzzles, and had five clues to show for it. They would soon need all five.

At 3 p.m. Hunt designers Tom Shroder and Dave Barry took the stage and announced one final clue: “We will now state the final clue: Use only capital letters.”

The winning Hunters had a eureka moment: “our capital letters” in the clue did not mean upper case letters, it meant the letters in our state capital, Tallahassee. If they circled only the letters T, A, L, H, S and E in the five clues, they ended up with this:


Conveniently, the Hunt section contained a Miami Heat promo including the roster of Heat players. The shortest player on the squad is 6’1” Derek Walton Jr., number 14. On the Hunt Map, drawn by illustrator Otis Sweat, there were a number of images of basketball fans, including one wearing the 14 jersey, which was positioned on a sidewalk between American Airlines Arena and a narrow strip of water separating the Arena from the park.

Hunters who got this message hustled to that spot where they were handed yet another handout, which was a block of apparently random letters. Hunters had to notice that the people handing them out had T-shirts, each with a different state name: Florida, Alabama, Arizona and Pennsylvania. Those who had solved the 3 p.m. clue knew what we meant: Add the capitals of each (Phoenix, Montgomery and Harrisburg) to Tallahassee and use only the letters in those state capitals in this new message. The result read: “text sphinx to Rumi Beyman.”

The first to text the word Sphinx to Rumi Beyman using the phone dial to spell the name (786-423-9626) won the 2018 Herald Hunt.