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Thread: Main Clue

  1. #1
    j15bell's Avatar
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    Default Main Clue


    Travis Pupkin, junior deducer

    FIRST FLOOR
    The tape was still running
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




  2. #2
    MayorSara is offline Twelever Silver MayorSara is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Quote Originally Posted by j15bell View Post
    The tape was still running
    I am the kind of person who thinks by writing, and I am embarrassed at the amount of "thinking in print" that I did on the HitContests website yesterday. Once the Washington, D.C. context was accepted, clues started to make sense quickly and I got a little overexcited. The Reader's Digest summary of my posts there is:

    - I built on the discovery by others that the First Floor has a strong association with Washington, D.C.
    - I found that a number of clues I already had in hand made sense in this context, and started mapping location based on these clues.
    - The locations I mapped, starting with Westminster Church near Howard University at 12 o'clock, and including Fort McNair at 6 o'clock, start to form the outline of a clock. (I'm still missing numbers 1-4 but there are plausible candidates on my list and many clues yet to find.)
    - I believe that "Venus Fly Trap" may be a clue for
    NAVEL SPY TURF
    and interpreted that as the Navy Yard (traditional headquarters for Naval intelligence and NCIS) which becomes 5 o'clock, if this map scheme is correct. Wikipedia says that the Navy Yard is the traditional "entrance" to Washington D.C., and I believe entrances are significant in this hunt.
    - One of the Green-Yellow-Red (GYR=GEAR) clues (see Gus's notebook on the inside front page) is from the green telephone in the bathroom to the yellow lemon on the wardrobe to the red boxing gloves. On HitContests, someone identified these gloves as a match to those originally belonging to Muhammad Ali, but now on display in the Smithsonian. One of Ali's nicknames is "The Greatest". In connection with the telephone, the solution to this mini-puzzle could be "The Great Communicator," which is a nickname for Ronald Reagan.

    New thoughts already this morning:
    - An anagram of "the tape was still running" is
    A GENERALS PLINTH UNTWIST
    - Washington D.C., as you can imagine, has more than a few statues of generals displayed on plinths. (So far, I have found General Sheridan and Major General Nathanael Greene and I've only just started looking.)
    - If we can find the correct statue of a general, maybe we can find the center point of the clock face that is coming together.
    - Washington D.C. is based on a layout that draws lines connecting the seven hills (= major avenues) and then imposes a grid on top. There are circles at significant intersections. If the mandala notion (see the thread for "working theory", below) is correct and if it applies to this map, a center point will be found in a circle within a square. A statue of a general could be the perfect center point.
    - The Washington monument might also be a candidate, of course, with the strong clue in Pupkin/Dodge's apartment. (I doubt there is a treasure buried there, however, as the mall security people would have had a fit if even a tiny package were hidden there.)
    - Don't know what "untwist" could mean, except that the wound spring of an old-fashioned watch "untwists" as the hands progress clockwise during the course of the day.

    I have a few more things for Floor 1 that I may post later. I already have more location clues than I would need for a clock face with 12 places along a circle, so there have to be clues for narrowing or identifying the purpose of the additional locations. My guess is the S/H/M on this solution will represent seconds/hours/minutes located on the mapped face of a clock.

  3. #3
    MayorSara is offline Twelever Silver MayorSara is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Default Hole site found? (Spoiler alert)

    I believe the "fiveways is the wrong way" clue may have pinpointed the site I was seeking. I can't get down to Washington, D.C. anytime soon, so I offer these potential solutions to whomever can make it first to Capitol Hill, and hope only that you will acknowledge this assistance if it helps to pinpoint a "dig" site. (Posting pictures of the hunt and discovery would also be appreciated.)

    Here are the steps that led me to a pretty narrowly defined site:

    1. On HitContests, a number of people put together clues that showed a strong identification of Floor 1 with Washington, D.C. (Mostly Smithsonian allusions, although someone thought the bathroom looked like the office from the X-files, which was an FBI show.)

    2. Using clues from anagrams, I felt there was a strong axis running from the Westminster Presbyterian Church (near Howard University) on the north, to Fort McNair ("Arsenal Fort") in the south.

    3. Based on geometry clues in the game, I felt the next step was to identify a central point on this line. (Initially, I thought I was looking for the center of a "clock face" on the map, but the simpler solution was to look for a point along this axis where two of the strongest clues lie.)

    4. The website clue, "the tape was still running" anagrams to "A General's Plinth Untwist". A plinth is the base of a statue. I hoped this clue was directing us to look at statues of generals in Washington, D.C. (I don't know if "untwist" is relevant, or if it needs to be further anagrammed - it will break down into smaller phrases that could make sense but the part about the "general's plinth" feels correct and sufficient to me.)

    5. Returning to some of the ideas from others at HitContests, I agreed that the green rug in Pupkin's apartment could represent The Mall, and the items on the long table seem like various buildings along the mall, mostly relating to the Smithsonian. The bowl of "cereal" toward the end of the table nearest the clock was the remaining mystery. I had decided that it might represent the circular plan of the sculpture garden or the DONUT-shaped Hirshhorn Museum, both of which are near (but not on) the Westminster/Arsenal axis on which I am focused.

    6. "Fiveways is the wrong way" was confirmation that made things "click". Even google agrees that the word "fiveways" is most closely associated with Cincinnati Chili. This is something unique to the area around Cincinnati, Ohio. (I have to add a plug here for Gold Star Chili, which is owned by the family of an old friend of mine.) You can check out the chili on wikipedia: Cincinnati chili - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (the photo may be especially helpful in a minute). The important "fiveways" text is this:
    Five-way: spaghetti, chili, shredded cheese, diced onions, and beans.
    7. When you compare the bowl of "cereal" on the First Floor table in TCWAF to the photo of four-way chili on Wikipedia and - in your mind - add red pinto beans to the illustration, you get a mountain of food covered with yellow cheese that would have red dots from pinto beans in the mix. The food on the first floor is not cereal, it is Cincinnati-style Chili, five-ways. (This makes a little sense, too, because you'd never pile cereal that high in a bowl, and we know that TCWAF is striving for photorealism.)

    8. (Spoiler alert!) Who was buried in Grant's tomb? No wait - I meant to ask, "What was the name of General Grant's horse?" Cincinnatus. The bowl of chili is not a symbol for a building, but obviously represents a famous horse. "General's Plinth" is now clearly identified as the base of the Grant Memorial in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Not only is this on the axis of the Westminster/Fort McNair clues I had found earlier, but I see that Capitol Hill can also be anagrammed as "A CHILLI PLOT". The Cincinnati clue may be further confirmed by:

    9. Anagrams of "Lighthouse + Snowman + Ladder" (Yeah, you need to extend a straight line through the items on the three boards: headboard, footboard through to the blackboard to get what I believe is the full input for this anagram.)

    HUNT GEM IN DADO HEROS WALLS
    HUNT GEM IN DADO HORSES WALL
    HUNT GEM HOLE WARS ADD LIONS
    GEM SLEUTH HAD ONWARD LIONS
    HUNT GEM HALLIARD ENDS WOOS
    GEM IN HOLLOW USE HARD STAND
    HOUR GEMS DOWN IN HEADSTALL

    A dado is apparently another name for a plinth - the pedestal or base for a statue. My guess is that the number will be tucked into a crevice at the base (or maybe a nearby wall) of the Grant/Cincinnatus statue. (Don't dig a big hole on the National mall, please!) The overall sculptural group is huge so it might take a while to check it out. There are four lions around the central equestrian figure of Grant and his horse, so I threw in some lion-related solutions in case they are significant, as well as some additional, possibly relevant details: each lion is lying (lol) on a flagpole, and a halyard (or halliard) is the rope used to raise and lower a flag so I thought you might need that. The headstall is apparently the part of a horse's bridal that goes over the top of a horse's head.

    Please, please don't climb on the sculpture. It is old and precious and even a little scratching will remove some of the protective patina. Since TCWAF authors have said that the numbers are buried in the ground, I doubt anything would be hidden on a sculpture itself. I did throw in the part about the "hard stand" in case you need to bring a stepping stool (or a friend with a strong back) to get a higher vantage point, but I hope that anagram was just a coincidence and not a directive.

    You might want to work with the anagrams a bit more to see if you can further pinpoint the location.

    There is a possibility that the Grant sculpture is just one more clue directing us toward a dig site, instead of being the dig site itself. If so, I apologize for sending anyone on a wild goose chase. From what I can tell, the only inscription on the statue says "Grant," (+ signatures and some personal dedications by the sculptor) so I don't think there will be something to unscramble and pursue to yet another location once you get to the site, but I may be wrong. Maybe "untwist" really does need further decoding.

    Some excellent photos from a very nice website:
    Ulysses S. Grant Memorial in Washington, D.C. by Henry Merwin Shrady
    Be sure to click on "full size" on photos to examine details.

    Good luck! I hope to hear asap if someone finds a number.
    - Sara

    P.S. S/H/M? How 'bout waSHington, district of coluMbia? If you still need to find S/H/M before you feel comfortable going to a dig site, you should definitely ignore this post.

  4. #4
    catherwood is offline Found the 11! Bronze catherwood is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Quote Originally Posted by MayorSara View Post
    {snip}
    4. The website clue, "the tape was still running" anagrams to...
    {snip}
    I worry about the anagrams as being a weak mechanism, but I worry more if people rely on the book's website for clues which are not specifically spelled out in the book. All you need is the book, and the website is just a sneak peek for promotional value. At the one book signing I attended, the author Eli even said that the flash animations were only "for your delight", and are not to be taken as extra clues.

  5. #5
    MayorSara is offline Twelever Silver MayorSara is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherwood View Post
    I worry about the anagrams as being a weak mechanism, but I worry more if people rely on the book's website for clues which are not specifically spelled out in the book. All you need is the book, and the website is just a sneak peek for promotional value. At the one book signing I attended, the author Eli even said that the flash animations were only "for your delight", and are not to be taken as extra clues.
    You're right. Silly me.

  6. #6
    davehutz is offline Junior Twelever Copper davehutz is an unknown quantity at this point
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    The number from the first floor (#4) was found by my sister-in-law, Catherine (maybe there is something to the name), this evening near New Market, VA.

  7. #7
    MayorSara is offline Twelever Silver MayorSara is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Default Congratulations!

    Quote Originally Posted by davehutz View Post
    The number from the first floor (#4) was found by my sister-in-law, Catherine (maybe there is something to the name), this evening near New Market, VA.
    Congratulations to Catherine! For the rest of us, the good news is that we can stop spending time on all the other stuff and just zero in on the state, highway, and mile clues. I guess Vera and Josie were being honest (at the point they discussed S/H/M) after all. And just when I was getting such a good mental workout with the other puzzles - can they really be all red herrings?

  8. #8
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    perchprism is offline Good Twelever Gold perchprism is on a distinguished road
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    It might be fun in retrospect to reconstruct the clues. The "X-File" on the toilet (X marks the spot) is a pretty good clue that the numbers would be hidden at rest stops. Also, the animation flick for Floor 6 -- "Something was hiding in that toilet", is fairly instructive.

  9. #9
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    Congratulations!! Was out hunting myself last night in another state alas can only bask in your glory. Again a sincere congrats!!

  10. #10
    morbus's Avatar
    morbus is offline Getting the hang of it. Copper morbus is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Can we get pictures? Personal anecdotes?

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