Monday, October 03, 2005

Two in One

"Officially" the next puzzle I describe was actually two puzzles. I felt like it was a two-parter, so I'm going to describe the whole thing in a single blog post.

Our last answer was "Old Cannery Furniture, Ask for Linda." Old Cannery Furniture is a furniture store in Sumner, where we happen to be, so it's a short drive there. We notice other teams running around when we enter the store, and are thrilled to finally get a positive response when asking for Linda.

Linda hands us copies of a sheet of paper and pens. The paper has a series of questions about various items in the store, with certain letters circled. We know what this'll end up looking like, and we now understand why everyone is running around the store.

Old Cannery Furniture is best described as "Ikea with a soul." The store is HUGE and has all kinds of strange displays and robots a-la some Disneyland attractions. For example, one question involved finding out the Hen's name outside the women's restroom. There were two robotic hens talking outside the restroom, and we had to listen to their conversation. Now imagine 20 or so questions along these lines.

We of course chaotically split up and all looked around. Eventually we met up again combining answers and though we were missing a few, someone knew what the circled letters spelt: "Richard Lionheart"

We ran back to the counter to give our answer. We were rewarded with a picture/frame.

Actually, it was about the size of a large picture frame, except the front was Macaroni art, and the back had some text and a small photograph of a gate. The text had some story behind it, and said when we found the answer, the photo showed the entrance we were looking for.

So we started at the macaroni for a while. It resembled England and Ireland, and the flavor text in the back made mention of England. One of our teammates noticed the interesting pattern the border of the frame had. It was macaroni, but the macaroni orientations changed in a somewhat familiar pattern.

Actually, the macaroni was in groups of 5 with smaller macaroni splitting them up. The up-down orientations turned out to be binary; we were looking at ASCII characters. There was one part that looked strange (9 macaroni long, by this point I assumed GC screwed up and the two shared a common macaroni). When we translated it we got "IN CHEDDAR" or "CHEDDAR IN."

Someone had the bright idea of looking up whether Cheddar, England exists. It does. By this point everyone but me was convinced that we had to destroy the macaroni over Cheddar, but some folks looked inside it and noticed something. When they broke that one piece, there was a small sheet of paper with GPS coordinates. I forget the name of the place we were going, but it was a state park quite some distance away.

We called up Game Control and got confirmation, and went onto the next puzzle. We later found out some groups went ballistic, convinced they had to destroy the puzzle. I think I'm proud of our surgical exactness with it.


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