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.
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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.
Dance Lessons Puzzle
Another Carnival entertainer gave mass dancing lessons in a lot near Main Highway. The dance instructor began by teaching four individual dance steps -- the Motivate, the Doe, the Wind and the Loco. When the crowd seemed to be mastering the steps, the instructor said, “Ok, now we’re going to put them all together,” and danced the four steps in sequence. Hunters had to notice the order in which the steps were danced: the Loco, then the Motivate, then the Wind, then the Doe. If Hunters said the names of the steps out loud, they got LOCOMOTIVATEWINDDOE.
Which sounded identical to “locomotive 8 window.”
It so happened that in the special Hunt issue, there were a dozen images of modes of transportation, including ships, planes, cars and . . . locomotives. One of the locomotives pictured in the section had a clear number 8 on its side. This was locomotive 8. In its front windows were two taped Xs. In Roman numerals, XX is 20, which is the solution to this puzzle.
The Ships Puzzle
At the waterfront of the Barnacle historic property, two giant dice were stacked at the end of a long dock, one on top of the other, beside a giant ruler.
With no further explanation, Hunters had to look elsewhere for the solution.
In the Hunt issue was a large ad for Carnival’s newest ship, the Breeze. At the bottom of the ad was a list of some other ships in the Carnival fleet. Sharp Hunters noticed the name of one of those ships was the “Paradise,” which sounded almost exactly like “pair of dice.” Those Hunters who figured out the ruler next to the “pair o’ dice” was a reference to the measurement of the length of the Paradise, which was listed in the ad at 855 feet, solved this puzzle.
Hunters who solved the five puzzles above, gathered five clues:
10. If you want to become a vegetarian, take a pea, carefully wrap it in lettuce, then throw it in the trash.
15. We only mention the word booger because we know you know it wouldn’t be a clue.
20. The world was aghast when Kate and William were pronounced man and wife, and William promptly turned into a frog.
25. You might want to avoid venturing into the forest, what with the voracious pollster bears lurking there.
855. We could lay down some sod, since growing grass from seed takes so long.
At 3 pm, Dave Barry and Tom Shroder announced the final clue, which was simply a painting of a green phone.
Frighteningly intense Hunters reasoned that the new clue told them two things: “green” and “phone.” In the first five clues, there were exactly seven mentions of things that were green: pea, lettuce, booger, frog, forest, sod, grass. The fact that there were seven items, combined with the phone image from the final clue, alerted National-Security-Risk-smart Hunters to the fact that we were trying to give them a coded phone number: Count the letters in each of the green words and you had a phone number: 376-4635. If they dialed that number in the 305 area code, they heard a recording: “Go to MANY BIG signposts. Think smaller.”
The Hunt teams that realized this was a reference back to the signpost puzzle ran there. And some had no idea why. But the really disgustingly clever ones knew that they were looking for the signposts labeled with the letters M, A, N, Y, B, I and G. If they “thought smaller” on each of the word pairs on those signs by choosing the smaller word, they got the final message: GO HOME HAND CATCH HER YOUR NUMBER.
At Peacock Park, just behind the Hunt stage, there was a baseball field. A couple of people, seemingly oblivious to the Hunt going on around them, were playing pitch and catch there. The first team to run to home plate, and hand their cell number to the catcher, won the 2012 Herald Hunt.