Thursday, June 4, 2009

Post Hunt

Accurately describing the Post Hunt, like solving some of the riddles that makes it great, is next to impossible (although the website does a nice job). Instead, here is a little taste of our experience that will hopefully make you want to join us in the organized chaos that is a brainteasing scavenger hunt in downtown Washington, DC.

Question: What do you get when you ask 10,000 people to come up with a number as the answer to 5 large statues in downtown that resemble a ghost, a cannon, a vacuum cleaner, a pile of 4 eyeballs, and an hourglass?

Answer: Head scratching, quizzical looks, occasional cursing, theories that are amazingly off course but somehow make sense at the time, and a whole lot of laughs. In other words: Post Hunt.

Question: And what do you get when you mix genius and adolescent humor?

Answer: The creators of the Post Hunt. The brain child of three diabolical and twisted individuals with an affinity for the bizarre (and fart jokes), the Post Hunt is in its second year in DC and, as we understand it, has been going on since the 80's, mostly in Miami.

Question: But what is the Post Hunt?

Answer: An interactive puzzle, made up of riddles throughout downtown. Starting with clues found in that day's Washington Post Magazine that are combined with a final clue given at noon, hunters are able to identify 5 locations on a map. From there, you have 3 hours to come up with 5 sets of numbers. At 3 o'clock, a final clue is given that (in theory) ties everything together and gives you an opportunity to complete the puzzle.

The website has video and text descriptions of each of the 5 riddles, as well as the "end game," from both of the Post Hunts in DC. I'm proud to say that our group of four Hunt virgins got halfway through the end game before a winner was declared (20 minutes after the final clue was given).

But the Post Hunt isn't about winning or losing (at least that is what all but 3 teams would tell you). It is more about laughing at yourself and at your teammates. And it is about exploring the nooks and crannies of your city, hoping to find something that refers to an "ancient Native American legend" that says that the "Earth was originally pooped out of an eagle." (We thought we were on the right track when we ran to the location on the map that had a "#2")

In the end (no pun intended), the Post Hunt is simply a lot of fun. It combines the wonderful intellectual side of DC with a childish whimsy. You're living the dream of Indiana Jones, Robert Langdon, Benjamin Gates, or the Goonies... without having to deal with poisonous darts, albino monks, or "booty" traps.

Question: Will B and J be back next year?

Answer: It is a certainty, and we're already recruiting for our team. Oh, and the numeric answer to the statue riddle that was entitled "Memorial to Failed Monuments"? 153,134* of course... and that was the easy one!

J Says

I don't consider myself particularly good at brain teasers but I had a blast at the Post Hunt. We came up with so many off the wall answers that we couldn't help laughing at ourselves. Even if you don't solve any puzzles, it's a fun time just wandering around and watching the intensity and hilarity of the other teams. Trust me when I say that you get so in to it that you think everything is meant to be a clue. One lady called a bank (that had an advertisement on the clue handout) and tried to open a bank account using $100 worth of gold.

I highly recommend putting on your thinking caps (and perhaps silly costumes?) and heading out for next year's Post Hunt.

*The order (15-31-34) of presidents "Boo"-Canon, Hoover, and Eyes-and-hour.

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