New: Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Except When Preempted

If you follow The Game/Bay Area puzzle hunt stuff, you might be surprised to see that I posted to this blog this afternoon. I should be with Team Mystic Fish at Menlo Park turning in an application for the Paparazzi game.

But Libby, a.k.a. Liberty Belle, a.k.a. that sweet dog of Alexandra Dixon's--Libby had a rough night last night. Libby's been sick with cancer for a while. Last night, she had a really rough night, staggering around, disoriented. Today, Alexandra drove Libby up to the emergency room at U.C. Davis.

Alexandra is Team Mystic Fish's captain. Our game application is in her apartment. If the rest of us Mystic Fishies were really hardcore, we'd break into her apartment, grab the application, and deliver it to Menlo Park. But we're not. At least I'm not. So instead of trying to break in to Alexandra's apartment, I'll sit here and type in the story I hoped to tell her on the way to Menlo Park today.


I know I shouldn't try to reverse-solve the Bay Area. In the weeks leading up to the Genome Game, I obsessed about gene- and DNA- themed locations in the Bay Area. If you have some idea of what a puzzle's solution looks like, sometimes that puzzle is easier to solve. So if you've noted the existence of a place named, say the DNA Lounge and you're solving a puzzle and have figured out it's something like ?NA??U?G?, you can make some good guesses. Maybe.

"Reverse-solving" is slang for figuring out a puzzle by having a pretty good guess of what the solution is going to look like.

The Bay Area is big, with many locations. Trying to use Bay Area Location Names as your solution set--well, it doesn't narrow things down that much. Thus, "Do not try to reverse-solve the Bay Area." I guess that's not precise language. Better to say "Do not use Bay Area Location Names to reverse-solve puzzles." But that's a mouthful. Anyhow.

I figured out I was being silly about the DNA Lounge, but not before I made some pronouncements which got me gently teased later.

I learned my lesson. But I did not learn it well. Last weekend, I was strolling in Oakland's Rockridge district, waiting for Zachary's to make me a pizza. I noticed I was crossing Taft Street. I could have kept walking, but I stopped.

In a few weeks, we will play in a game hosted by the team Taft on a Raft. This game is themed on the movie The Fifth Element, and has had some elementish punnery. And it makes fun of the TV show "The Apprentice".

If I had learned my lesson well, I would have walked past Taft Street. I would have strolled down to the Hudson Bay Cafe, sat, drank coffee, and anticipated pizza. But I didn't. I turned onto Taft. I couldn't help myself. I walked past houses, telling myself that I was being very silly.

Still, when I crossed Broadway and saw the sign saying The Element, a frisson went down my spine. Omigosh omigosh it was the most perfect puzzle site possible.

Until I noticed the rest of the sign. The Elementary School of Arts and Sciences. The frisson stopped running down my spine and slunk off to... wherever frissons go when they're not on duty.

Do not attempt to reverse-solve the Bay Area. There are a lot of oddball coincidences here, and you can drive yourself to distraction.

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Posted 2006-03-19

 lahosken said...

There's a "5 Elements Design" business listing in West Berkeley.

14 April, 2006 11:35
 lahosken said...

...and there's a Quintessential Elements online gift store that's based out of Oakland

14 April, 2006 11:37
 Darcy said...

Err, here's a repost of that comment:

Of course, if you'd thought about Taft Street again after solving the starting location puzzle, you'd have had a great idea as to where the next site would be! :)

22 December, 2008 08:40