1. ## The Ghost

I won't display the clue in its entirety here, but there is one particularly frustrating clue dealing with "the ghost".

I'm curious, has anyone deciphered this one? It seems pretty important to this chapter, but nothing makes sense. No one I have corresponded with seem to have the faintest idea.

I have determined a riddle interpretation, a metaphorical interpretation, a couple of movie references, historical figure references, auto references, a wordplay interpretation, an anagram interpretation, and numerous possible symbols in Chapter 1 representing elements of the clue (one character wails, another was cooper and dies, another character is following a ghost, another one leaves behind bits of his past on the plane, another one leaves behind clues in the story, the real cooper is considered dead by the FBI, etc. pretty much everyone and everything in chapter 1 can be interpreted as "ghost of cooper"). Not to mention the possible image interpretations of the word "ghost".

Anyone got any ideas how we're supposed to turn this clue into something useful?

2. Expert Twelever TwelevePlus
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Lobster,

I'm assuming you're referring to the email clue about the 'ghost', and to discuss the entire solution will require me to post the entire clue. If you're okay with doing that, just let me know.

It is NOT an easy clue, but it's extremely indicative of the sort of puzzles that are to be encountered in the main puzzle.

For now, the word 'GHOST' is its own mini-puzzle. It's an example of a 'three keys' puzzle: First = Last and a 'blank-in-the-middle'.

The 'blank-in-the-middle' is the letter 'O'. It separates the word into two parts:

G H 'O' and 'O' S T.

The 'O' represents a blank to be filled in. The letter that completes the first sequence would be an 'I' for G H 'I'. Substituting the 'I' into the second blank makes the second half = IST or 'FIRST'.

'First = Last'. Get it?

So, in your clue, substitute 'FIRST' for GHOST.

There's a lot more to that email clue if you want to pursue this line of thought. I realize it isn't easy, but that's why the man is giving away money to solve these chapter puzzles.

Doc

3. << For now, the word 'GHOST' is its own mini-puzzle. >>

Or it could just be the word ghost, couldn't it?

This is an email clue for a treasure hunt that Ron says "can be solved by families". I just don't see why you would parse the individual letters of the word "ghost" and apply operations upon them before considering what the word "ghost" itself might mean. Sometimes a duck is just a duck, no?

<< The 'O' represents a blank to be filled in. The letter that completes the first sequence would be an 'I' for G H 'I'. Substituting the 'I' into the second blank makes the second half = IST or 'FIRST'. 'First = Last'. Get it? So, in your clue, substitute 'FIRST' for GHOST.>>

And nope, I don't get it... not at all, unfortunately. I just don't see how anyone would be expected to look at every word that contains an O and somehow link it to a story in chapter 9.

There are a number of very good possible solutions to the clue I think. The big problem is why is it says "HOLD" and not "HOLDS" ? If it's "HOLDS", then I have a few good ideas. But it's not holds -- it is "hold".

If it is actually a relatively straightforward semantic clue, then HOLD implies the first part resolves to a plural (treasure chests hold, old ladies hold, but a singular does not hold) that contains pieces of a key, OR, it resolves to a plural which "hold" multiple keys, and "key" here is not the key we think it is. The word HOLD is the problem with this clue.

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You don't look at every word containing an 'O', and they don't link to the chapter 9 story. Sometimes it's 'ghost'--sometimes, it might not be.

P A S T
H O L D
Y O U R

That's another part of the puzzle. Each column has a single letter as its solution. The letter you get as the answer to the first column has an equivalence to the letter of the second column. The letter you get as the answer to the second column has an equivalence to the letter you get for the third column. Etc. First = Last.

You 'know' you have the right answer when the four letters you derive anagram to a simple four-letter word that is very descriptive of what is happening here.

Try slugging through all of this. If you understand the various implications of this email clue, I believe a silver eagle awaits.

1. P = 16, H = 8, Y = 25
2. The O's are blanks.
3. S = south, L = left, U = up.
4. T = top, D = down, R = right

You'll need a freemason alphabet.

Keep on truckin',

Doc

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For what it is worth, I sent in an email question about the error in the clue. Here is the reply I received:

Definately a grammatical error. It should read:
"_________________________"

Thanks for pointing that out.

The World's Greatest Treasure Hunt

To be fair to those who spammed others to get the additional clues vs. those who haven't I have removed the correct wording. If you want to know how it should really read send me an email with the incorrect clue so I know you have it and I will reply with the correct one.

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Lobster,

In light of the newly-published errata, 'Cooper' may be no more than 'BD', or '24', which is 'X'.

That still doesn't feel right, though. The whole phrase that starts with 'ghost' and ends with 'past' sounds Dickensonian to me.

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Lobster,

I'm far enough along to understand how these clues function better. The biggest mistake I can see I've made was trying to force answers. I've been trying to force this particular clue to point me towards the omega key for chapter 1 since I first read the clue.

This particular clue is a microcosm of how the puzzle works in general, and I think it's important for everyone to understand how it works more than the information it actually imparts.

'The ghost of Cooper past holds your omega key.'

As it turns out, it just gives us our omega key (which is a perfectly simple inference) for our game as a whole.

'Cooper' means 'BD' or 24. It's an 'X'.

Inserting this back into our clue: The ghost of 'X' past holds our omega key.

'The ghost of X past' is now a mini-riddle that means 'The ghost of Christmas past' or 'X-mas', which is the term we need.

'Mas' is MORE in Spanish: The word can be separated--MORE = M OR E.

The answer to 'M OR E' is 13, because the 13th letter of the alphabet is M and '13' is a freemason grid reference: square 1 cell 3, which is the letter 'E'.

The ghost of Cooper past holds your omega key: 'X' and '13' are the omega keys for our game.

X is the omega key for the silver eagles; 13 is the omega key for the golden eagle.

This is a logical answer, but it's a completely different sort of logic from cipher logic, and that's been one of the difficult aspects of moving from the 240 questions into the map puzzles.

Doc

8. Who knows, Doc.

Ron's most recent words: "Errors or small inconsistencies are not what this treasure hunt is all about. It is about clues."

It's simply not a true statement. This hunt is in large part about "errors" and "small inconsistencies". The FIRST THING you do in this book is extract the errors from every third word. If you're going to tell new people "ignore any error you encounter", they're not going to get past Chapter 1 question 1, and instead ask for a refund because of all the typos in it. The whole book is one giant (mostly intentional) error. So we're trained from question 1 to find errors and take them seriously. There are entire questions later on where if you miss a SPACE as a result of a typographical error in a complicated rotate you will get the wrong answer. Now we're told that anything that could potentially be an "error" we should ignore?

I'm not sure I even believe that Ron meant what he said above. I believe there ARE some "errors" and inconsistencies that are clues. I'm staring at such a textual error right now on the website. There are some blatant factual errors in Chapter 1 that looked important to me, but I guess they're just mistakes Ron made when writing the book? I think what he's really saying is "ignore the things I didn't intend to be errors". Unfortunately, I didn't write the book and don't have very good psychic skills, and so I haven't the foggiest idea if any particular textual or factual error is part of a clue or an error to be ignored.

This statement about errors being irrelevant also completely conflicts with any straightforward interpretation of "What doesn't belong?" because any instance of non-belonging to non-authors looks like an error.

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Lobster,

Like you, I picked up on that 'What Doesn't Belong' a very long time ago as a sort of global clue, and I led myself down a couple of wrong paths because of it, primarily that grammatical error in the first email clue and the extra '14' that was encoded into that chapter question.

I can tell you something else I'm positive I've done wrong, but this was self-inflicted and not the fault of the author:

Stop looking for 1 - 20.

It happens when it happens. Follow the clues.

Doc

PS--I don't want to derail your original topic, so I'm moving this to that other thread about the three keys.

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