As is an occasional tradition at our house, this year we did a “mystery hunt”, where I prepare a series of clues, each pointing to the location of the next. The final clue identifies the location of the prize. The ladies work together to decipher these clues and outsmart “Mr. E”.
In order to complete this year’s hunt, some of the stuff they needed to know (or be able to find):
- Smokey Robinson lyrics and/or the plotline of Pagliacci
- Greek mythology and traditional iconography of statuary based on it
- the value of Pi to 32 decimal places
- how to use a known ciphertext to crack a substitution cipher in characters in another alphabet, and then use that cipher to decode unknown text
- how to recognize GPS coördinates, and use them to identify a location at a 1m resolution
- how to extract embedded text strings from a printed QR code
- how to translate from Latin to English
- how to translate a simple rebus embedded in a frame of a digital video file
- how to solve a bunch of more traditional, goofy riddle clues
It took them just under an hour.
(I guess I’ve got to up my game next time, and make some of these things actually hard.)
My favourite of the clues was actually the one that identified a particular episode of Once Upon A Time (the show Sarah is currently working her way through), and a timecode in it. I had edited the file on our media server to overlay that second with a couple of images so, if you were watching at the specific time code you would have seen this: