Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Washington Post Hunt 2015

Sunday was promising to be a hot and sticky day but I'd promised Richard that I would be on his team for the Washington Post Hunt so I headed down to a stifling DC. We met at Teaism for brunch, an excellent call, as a large mug of my favorite tea, Lapsang Souchong,  soon had me in a great mood and ready to roll.
I met the rest of the team as they arrived and immediately liked Chris as he sat down with his breakfast of beer. I quickly looked at the clock, 10:30am. Respect! He informed me as I grinned at him that he was suffering from a hangover and needed 'the hair of the dog'.
We all finished our fuel filled breakfasts and went to the starting point of the hunt where we picked up a tote and a copy of the Sunday Post magazine.
We were also told that bottles of water were being handed out from here all day too, a very much appreciated gesture, as the sn was already burning. For some reason Kohler, one of the sponsors, was there with an expansive display of toilets, and everyone was herded towards the steps so we could admire the pots before we started the hunt. We complied, just to get out of the heat for a few seconds.
A lot of folks had dressed up in team outfits. I really like the tutus which seem to be very popular these days. We discussed this might be the way to go next year, not necessarily tutus, although I'd love to see Richard in one.
And then the boys came out on stage, Dave Barry, Tom Schroder and Gene Weingarten, the founders of the game.
Everyone quietened down and listened intently as the locations for the 5 clues were given, and then we were off. Although I do have to say, it wasn't a great rush like the last time I'd played. People were already struggling with the heat, and I was glad of my baseball cap and suncream.
We marched over to the park to try and solve our first clue, passing this ghastly memorial with it's gigantic cherubs, completely out of proportion to the other figures standing close by. We stood in the beating sun and listened hard as the first clue played out. And nothing. We all blurted out little bits of possible answers while the others shook their heads. We just couldn't come up with anything that we all agreed on, so we walked to the next part.
A humungous nose was parked on the grass, apparently a replica of Gene Weingarten's honker that had been sized down, or so we were later told.  Each team was handed a pin with the words, FIND ME, and we solved that part using our map and ended up in another park where we received a handout that allowed us to solve the rest of the puzzle. Result!
Blissfully unaware of the total chaos that surrounded him, this homeless guy slept throughout the bedlam of the Hunt, while others regarded us with bemused or surprised expressions as we charged en masse past their benches.
We were supposed to find a hidden number on a link that took us to a 360° view of a DC street. We failed miserably on this as we peered at screens on our phones..
This guy walked past us and stood on the street corner slowly looking around him. We stared at him wondering if he was part of a clue, but then he walked off back in the direction he had come from. We had no idea what he was about but had no further time to ponder as a bus arrived and we hopped on, heading back to a park we'd come from earlier.
The park was quite a few blocks away and we couldn't resist the luxury of sitting down in the wonderfully cool AC even if it was only for a few minutes.
I prayed fervently for this fool's jeans to drop to the floor but alas, it wasn't to be. Richard informed me that he must have been wearing suspenders.
As we leaped off the bus I loved the dappled shadows playing in this alleyway and quickly snapped a shot.
We spent ages looking for this white van and was relieved to find it eventually, giving us the number to the last clue, the last piece in the very first clue we'd been trying to solve. And then it was time to head back to the stage to hear the final clue, but really we hadn't been able to solve enough to proceed at this point.
Groucho Marx walked out with a scary looking clown, which I thought was Pennywise from Stephen King's 'It', but afterwards we discovered that it was actually supposed to be Bozo.
We'd given up at this point so decided to get some cold refreshment until the answers would be revealed to us at 4.
Richard and I enjoying our watermelon Bomb Pop popsicles. They were so delicious that we contemplated getting another but the stage called to us again and we trudged over and stood in the searing heat and listened to how the clues played out. I hung my head as I realized that I would never have solved all those puzzles on my own, and we hadn't really got that close as a team. but it had been fun trying, and that's what it was all about, the thrill of the chase, with a lot of laughter along the way.
The website, including the solutions, so you can see just how damn difficult it is, is here.
To celebrate our afternoon of fun we felt we deserved some beer but our hot little feet and tired legs didn't want to stagger too far so we trudged into a very posh hotel called The Willard. In our sweaty t-shirts we marched quickly to the back Round Robin bar where us and a few others in casual dress manged to outnumber those dressed elegantly, so we didn't feel too uncomfortable then.
Karen and I were enchanted with a couple over the other side of the bar, very obviously in love and dressed beautifully in old fashioned evening wear. I managed to get a photo without them noticing and we wondered if they were on a first date or had been in a wonderfully happy marriage for years.
I stayed for a couple of beers and then left my buddies to continue the fun, and prepare for the next year of diabolical questions!

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