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June 4, 2012

11
A.M.

You survived the 2012 Post Hunt!

Total Responses: 69

About the hosts

About the host

Dave Barry

Dave Barry is a humor columnist. For 25 years he was a syndicated columnist whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Many people are still trying to figure out how this happened.

Dave has also written a total of 30 books, although virtually none of them contain useful information. Two of his books were used as the basis for the CBS TV sitcom "Dave's World," in which Harry Anderson played a much taller version of Dave.

Tom Shroder

Tom Shroder has been an award-winning journalist for more than 30 years. As editor of The Washington Post Magazine, he edited multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning features. He's also edited humor columns by Dave Barry, Gene Weingarten and Tony Kornheiser, as well as conceived and launched the internationally syndicated comic strip, Cul de Sac, by Richard Thompson.

Gene Weingarten

Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

About the topic

The Post Hunt, our crazy day of brainteasers, returned for its fifth year on Sunday, June 3 in downtown Washington. So how did you do?

Hunt creators Gene Weingarten, Tom Shroder and Dave Barry took your questions and abuse in the aftermath. The transcript is here.

How to solve the 2012 Post Hunt puzzles
Winners and more
Our photos
Your photos
Full coverage: 2012 Post Hunt
Q.

Gene Weingarten :

... And welcome to the Post-Post Hunt-post-mortem. This is Weingarten.  By the patentend Shroder-metric Crowd-Tally System -- in which Tom takes a hi-res photo of a section the audience, pivots exactly 14 degrees from centerline, shoots again, etc, then assembles the full 360-degree array, counts pixels, carefully eliminates random street people and ducks, then gives up and takes a wild, uninformed stab -- we estimate 12,021 people yesterday, which sets an official Post Hunt attendance record AND is a palindrome.  Congratulations to all of you. 

If any of you noticed that this was a pretty wel- run event, you can thank Tom and Dave and me for our wisdom and skill in putting everything in the incredibly competent hands of Kathryn Johansen, Megan Graham and Julie Perlstein, as opposed to ourselves.  You are most welcome. 

We forgot to mention the name of one of the most talented and entertaining people out there, the auctioneer:  He was Michael Levick.  

We learned a lesson from this Hunt that we will apply to any others we happen to do:  There is, in fact, such a thing as requiring too much walking. Near as we can tell, almost all teams got to all the Puzzles (and each of the followup sites, if you realized you had to go somewhere else) but it was more of a race to finish than we had intended.   We should build in more leisure time, and will.

For the second straight year, we wound up with a Hunt so difficult that we had exactly the right number of winners (3) and runners-up (1)  and no more.    That is actually an ideal result, but wildly scary to us as the day goes along.   Some of you have asked what our target results are, so I'll try to explain:

We want each of the Big Puzzles, ideally, to be solvable by at least half the teams, which means, if my algebra is right, at least one in 32 teams will have solved all five and thus be in a position to tackle the Endgame.   That's roughly 160 teams still in this thing at 3 o'clock.     That's when things get tricky for us (and you.)      At this point, we are talking directly the the most skilled and experienced Hunters, and just how hard to make The Endgame is less science than intuition.    Ideally, as I said, it's just hard enough to get winners, but not too many.   We want this to be an intellectual challenge, not a foot race-stampede to get somewhere first. 

Lastly, a few people asked why we gave a hint from the stage.  That goes back to our first goal:  Roughly 50 percent solve rate for each Big Puzzle.   If we're finding, as we did here, that one puzzle is SERIOUSLY missing that goal (by asking people, we were guessing the percent was in single digits), then we conclude we made one too hard, and it's just not fair. In this case, the hard one wasn't hard because it was intellectually challenging:  It involved more investigative walking than many of you wanted to do.   (Or maybe thought we would require.)

As it happens, though, none of the winners had needed that hint.   So it was sort of moot.  

Lastly we have a big pile of poop that I hope to auction off for charity.  What do you predict it will fetch?

Okay, now we take questions.  

Q.

Hungry for T-shirts

Thanks for a great Hunt! The cover art for the magazine was awesome, and we were really looking forward to buying T-shirts based on it. Was there a reason that that (rumored) design was scrapped? Are there any other ways we can support the Post Hunt?
A.
Amanda McGrath :
– June 04, 2012 11:00 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

You could mail us money directly in a box.

– June 04, 2012 11:00 AM
Q.

NOBODY thought having to count almost 700 words was a bad idea???

We really enjoyed the 5 puzzles, were lucky enough to solve them, were excited to take on the Final End Game, then a lot of that enjoyment and excitement turned into a certain palindrome auction item when it looked like we had to count almost 700 words on a dense page of text!!! Felt like the End Game became less about puzzle-solving and more about ability to complete an incredibly tedious and time-consuming task -- especially with it being so easy to be off by 1 or 2 in your count, in which case you had to do the whole thing over again! Seriously, it couldn't have been the 32nd, 35th, 60th, and 66th word?!?!?!
A.
Tom Shroder :

Hey, WE had to count and recount all those words too! But yeah, that was tedious and difficult. Not that this will make you forgive us, but it was difficult to get the "DEGREE" words into the instructions text in a way that would seem natural while still making all the points we needed to make. We figured if you were willing to translate Gene's column into German, then counting would be a breeze by comparison.

 

– June 04, 2012 11:01 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

You're right; that was not a great idea. Although it did provide us with that one wonderful moment when, right after we announced the 3 p.m. clue and everybody was sitting down to count words, one young man went sprinting out of the park, headed to God knows where,

– June 04, 2012 11:01 AM
Q.

Firefox (Click!)

I'll admit that I didn't solve the Firefox puzzle, because I didn't know, when you click on it, it goes to the Web. I thought it went to the Firefox home page, like Google and Explorer do. So, color me stupid. But on the upside, I really enjoyed that bizarre little skit. Excellent work, cursing man!
A.
Amanda McGrath :

I can't tell if this is a joke or not.

Either way, here's the skit again.

– June 04, 2012 11:01 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

The skit-sters were fabulous.

– June 04, 2012 11:01 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

The skitsters were Caitlin Gibson (Firefox), Dan Zak (cursor), Rachel Manteuffel (mouse), David Montomery (Ned the Newshound), Tim Jucovy (chicken), and magazine editor Lynn Medford (pig.) 

– June 04, 2012 11:01 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

A stage note here: The firefox costume head was so heavy, poor Caitlin kept losing her footing and toppling over like one of those punching bag dummies. We OWE her. Big time.

– June 04, 2012 11:01 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

We want to thank Blake Ross for supplying the Firefox costume. Thanks, Blake.

– June 04, 2012 11:01 AM
Q.

I'm Bragging Here

I actually solved the "number" puzzle, only because anybody who does crossword puzzles knows that -- at some point -- "flower" is going to mean "the Thames river" and "shower" is going to mean "one who handles prize dogs." Also, when I first looked at the pictures on the Hunt map, I tried to think of alternate word meanings. I figured the scuba-diving monk might be a "deep friar." And possibly the crying guitar player would end up being someone sitting in a "blue rocker." But I'm VERY disappointed that the king holding a baby didn't turn out to be a large fan next to a toilet -- an "air to the throne."
A.
Tom Shroder :

We were WONDERING what the pun on that King-baby thing was supposed to be! Nice work.

– June 04, 2012 11:03 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

The artist put in several visual puns.  The horse with a party hat was a party animal. 

– June 04, 2012 11:03 AM
Q.

Post hunt 10k

Yo Gene, did you actually walk the puzzle? Since we didn't start at Franklin square, but did the other sites first (as you suggested), we added 2 miles to our route - walking back and forth to judiciary square. Was the idea to help fight obesity? The route was over 5 miles, not counting the search for the bowling pins. We spent a lot more time walking than puzzle solving. We usually have time to stop for a snack to work on clues, but all our thinking had to be done while walking - the chess one was hardest to solve while walking :-)
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Because I love you all, I am going to share an extremely humiliating and intimate fact.  

For the fifth year running, I was severely crippling by the end of The Hunt, not because I have artificial knees but because something irritating happens at the tops of my thighs after miles and miles and hours and hours of nonstop walking in jeans.   I think it would not happen if I were about 10 pounds lighter.     Anyone else suffer from Hunt Chafe?  And yes, I know this is TMI.  

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

If you think Hunt Chafe is bad, try Listening To Gene Describe His Hunt Chafe.

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

This year I brought Hunt Chafe ointment.  It barely helped. 

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
Q.

Firefox Puzzle

It's good that you still have a Ned the Newshound costume hanging around. But what happened to those blue Post Point costumes, that looked like diaphragms? Use those next year!!
A.
Dave Barry :

TRUE FACT: The role of Ned the Newshound was played by Justin Bieber.

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

They really DO look like walking, talking, very disturbing diaphragms. 

Meanwhile, when I image-googled "Post points" this was the first hit. 

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
Q.

"Key Board"

Those keys! Stop moving my keys! How can we solves the puzzle if peoples keep touching the keys, my Preciousssss???
A.
Dave Barry :

Yeah, people got seriously hung up on the keys.

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

People WANTED the keys. We had folks lining up to take them home after the Hunt.

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
Q.

Keys?

So were the keys there as nothing but a red-herring? Or did I miss something?
A.
Dave Barry :

They were keys on a board. A key board. A KEYBOARD. To go with the MOUSE and the CURSOR. Which are parts of a COMPUTER. I can go on like this ALL DAY LONG because my computer has a CAPS LOCK KEY.

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
Q.

Two things

Thanks for once again putting this on. We had a great time. We have two complaints though and are sharing them for when you start planning next year: We got the "dreaded number" reference, went to 11th and H and hung out there for a while, but never got the next clue. We have no idea where they were handing that out. We tried every corner of that intersection. Also, we decided to go to the furthest clue first and work back, especially since you had advised people to go where it was less crowded. We arrived back at Franklin Square around 2:40. It took about 10 minutes to hear the "web" clue and figure it out and by then it was too late to go to the web, which was several blocks away, and make it back by 3. We had no idea the clue we had saved for last would send us back to where we already had been, and that we wouldn't have time to go there. Anyway, looking forward to next year.
A.
Tom Shroder :

Hmm, I don't know why you missed the three (or four?) volunteers in staff shirts right on 11th street near H standing out in the middle of the sidewalk. I hung with them for a while and Hunters were walking up without seeming to have a problem. Your point about the amount of walking is well taken. There was too much space between the puzzles, and we were only saved from catastrophe by the unbelievably perfect weather. If it had been 92 and 99% humidity, we would have had Hunters dropping like very confused flies. Not ... going... to... happen.... again.

 

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Speaking of dropping, Caitlin Gibson, who ably played the Firefox, kept falling down.  It turns out that those costume heads weigh a lot and if you are a slim person with a high center of gravity, it turns you into a Drinking Duck. 

– June 04, 2012 11:04 AM
Q.

Bowling Clue

Why did you decide to give the answer to the bowling clue when so many people had gotten it right?
A.
Amanda McGrath :
– June 04, 2012 11:06 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

I never believe that show of hands for getting the correct answer is a true reflection. But we have to make snap decisions at the end that are driven by a simple fact: We design the Hunt so that in order to solve the very challenging endgame you have to have solved all five Hunt puzzles first. We figure that just due to the partially random way team brainstorming works, you need a lot of teams to solve all five puzzles in order to have a large enough pool of contenders to ensure the endgame will be solved within an hour. So when 2 pm comes and in our wanderings we are not finding many teams who got the bowling puzzle correctly, we begin to worry that we won't have that critical mass that guarantees the endgame will get solved.  We decided to give all those teams that DID solve it a half hour head start, then let other teams who did not get a crack at the endgame after 30 minutes passed.

– June 04, 2012 11:06 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

We thought, based on surveying the crowd, that that was the puzzle most people failed to get. Apparently we are idiots.

– June 04, 2012 11:06 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

To reiterate, it didn't matter.   The winners hadn't needed the hint, and for those of you who did, it didn't seem to help. 

– June 04, 2012 11:06 AM
Q.

Spirit of the Event

Here's the thing. I had a great time, and my little team will be back next year. We solved all of the preliminary puzzles and have nothing but praise and admiration for the organizers and hosts of this event. Especially those forced to wear fuzzy outfits. Where I am a little disappointed is in the winning team. While such a large team doesn't offer any meaningful advantage when it comes to the initial 5 puzzles, it offers a virtually insurmountable advantage in solving the end game. Instead of attempting to run from place to place, such a large team can exploit the power of networking to maximize coverage and minimize time. And while this approach is completely withing the rules, and certainly is effective, there is still something about this approach that seems a bit tacky.
A.
Tom Shroder :

You can count on the fact that next year, the distances won't be so vast. But, hey, if you can't beat em, why not show up with a bigger team next time?

– June 04, 2012 11:06 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

Look at it this way: They won about $4.25 apiece.

– June 04, 2012 11:06 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I contend that a larger team is not necessarily a better team.  Four seems ideal -- you can still split up.   A huge team can sometimes mean a committee system: too many voices operating on consensus judgment, which is not always good. 

– June 04, 2012 11:06 AM
Q.

Hunt

Did you guys intentionally throw in "duck" clues to throw people off track? Gene gave an odd warning about ducks in the park before the Hunt began, and his entire column was about ducks...
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Coincidence.   But there WERE ducks in the park. 

What was not coincidence were the multiple references to German.   We just did that.  For fun. 

– June 04, 2012 11:07 AM
Q.

Explaining the answers

On a scale from Mitt Romney to Mel Gibson, how drunk was Dave while he was describing the answers and endgame at 4:00?
A.
Dave Barry :

I was sober, but reading notes provided by Shroder, which put me in Ozzy Osbourne territory.

– June 04, 2012 11:08 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I have said this before, but it bears repeating: Shroder is always wrong.    One year, he should be a Puzzle.  We just put him out there, and whatever he tells you, do the opposite. 

– June 04, 2012 11:08 AM
Q.

20-20 Heinie Sight

If you could change anything about Post Hunt 2012, what would it be? Besides the chess puzzle, I mean.
A.
Dave Barry :

We would give Gene a more powerful sedative.

– June 04, 2012 11:08 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Hating on the chess puzzle is wrong.   It was a good, fair puzzle and most people got it.   In short, you are stupid.   AND short, probably. 

– June 04, 2012 11:08 AM
Q.

Auction Action

That was a VERY excellent auctioneer. So amazing to hear the prices being chanted at top speed -- "nine-nine-nine-nine-do-I-hear-ten?" He had some funny jokes, too, especially about the poop. How did you find him to hire?
A.
Amanda McGrath :
– June 04, 2012 11:09 AM
Q.

Franklin Park

I worried a bit beforehand about how the Post Hunt crowd would mingle with the long-time residents of Franklin Park -- homeless people as well as ducks. Were there any problems? (I did notice a couple of ducks flying away at top speed, with panicked looks in their eyes.)
A.
Dave Barry :

A team of ducks came in fifth. They were Miami ducks.

– June 04, 2012 11:09 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

I didn't witness any problems, but I did note that by the end of the Hunt, a couple of the park's long-term residents were gleefully handing out free bottles of water. Not sure how that came about, but it was heartwarming, and headturning. In fact, when I stepped into a pothole as I was turning my head, one of the benefactors observed that a twisted ankle was what I got for not accepting a free bottle of water.

– June 04, 2012 11:09 AM
Q.

Okay, Seriously

That chess puzzle. Whaaaaaat? Still don't get it.
A.
Amanda McGrath :
– June 04, 2012 11:10 AM
Q.

Pulchritudinous Poop

Each of the Hunts usually has a defining characteristic -- The One With the Big Head Presidents, The One With the Flying Sheep, etc. Congratulations! Looks like the 2012 Post Hunt shall forever be known as "The One With the Giant Poop"!
A.
Amanda McGrath :

The poop in question

– June 04, 2012 11:10 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

And we are SO proud.

– June 04, 2012 11:10 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

Believe it or not: That was real poop.

– June 04, 2012 11:10 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

For those who asked, yes, that was modeled directly on my Twitter avatar.

– June 04, 2012 11:10 AM
Q.

Mistake?

You kept saying stuff about ketchup in the pre-Post hUnt chat, but today I never saw any puzzles with ketchnup. Did you forget about the ketchup?
A.
Tom Shroder :

We left the ketchup in the refrigerator.

– June 04, 2012 11:10 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

Wait: You missed the ketchup puzzle?

– June 04, 2012 11:10 AM
Q.

Big Poop

So what was that giant swirl of poop made out of? I sure wasn't going to get up close enough to touch it. Eww.
A.
Dave Barry :

I answered this earlier, but to repeat: The poop was poop.

– June 04, 2012 11:11 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

Lots of interest in the poop. We had to FIGHT for the right to use that poop. Some more mature types thought it may be offensive. Fortunately, we had Weingarten on our side. He's like some kind of miracle anti-maturity formula.

– June 04, 2012 11:11 AM
Q.

Titanic, Hindenburg, Post Hunt

Were there any near-disasters before or during the 2012 Post Hunt?
A.
Dave Barry :

Between 9 a.m. and noon, Gene formally declared 17 separate States of Emergency, a new personal record for him.

– June 04, 2012 11:12 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

And at least one of Gene's alarms was a legitimate near-disaster: we had a period on Friday where the endgame text messaging system crashed and burned. We had to devise an emergency alternative end to the endgame and have it at the ready in case the system crashed again on Sunday.

– June 04, 2012 11:12 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I am not an alarmist.  I am a realist.   Someone has to be.  These other two guys are Pollyannas.   "It's gonna go swell!"

– June 04, 2012 11:12 AM
Q.

Kids Today

I watched the mouse-pig-hound-chicken-fox cursing-guy skit a couple of times and couldn't figure it out. And then some little kid, a boy about 8 or 9 years old, walked up to the stage, watched it once, and solved it instantly. $*&^$%# whippersnappers!!!
A.
Amanda McGrath :
– June 04, 2012 11:12 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

Yes, isn't youth annoying?

– June 04, 2012 11:12 AM
Q.

Numb-er

The dreaded red "number" took us a while, but did feed into the end game (we recognized the word play for "tower" pretty quickly because of that previous clue) so while difficult, it played an extended role in the theme! Thanks again for such a great day and great event! Can't wait until next year. Well done to all
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I'm publishing this because it is relentlessly positive.   

– June 04, 2012 11:13 AM
Q.

Just wondering

What do you do to insure picture-perfect weather for each year's hunt? My daughter would like an outdoor wedding but is afraid to risk the elements.
A.
Dave Barry :

The key is to have a giant poop.

– June 04, 2012 11:14 AM
Q.

Cell Phone with modern features

Not that it mattered, but not all cell phones have cameras. There are still plenty of older phones that, while capable of text, don't take pictures.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

We figured most teams would have ONE person with a camera.   

– June 04, 2012 11:14 AM
Q.

Knight moves

I am sure that you are taking some heat for inverting the color on the chess-board, but it didn't take that long to figure this out once we stopped getting annoyed at that stupid music and actually listened to what was being said.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Yeah, after talking to a bunch of people, we realized that people were still solving it fine; it was mostly a matter of being slowed down for a bit.   

– June 04, 2012 11:14 AM
Q.

If people had to walk that far to use the Web, the internet would have failed

So we decided to do the super far-away puzzle first, then did the stage puzzle last, only to find out we had to go all the way f*$#@^! back to 4th & Tatooine. We solved the puzzles in fairly good time (and walked pretty fast the entire time), but between having to scour for bowling pins and having to go to 4th & D TWICE, we BARELY made it back to Franklin Square by 3:00. That web-browser sandwich board could have been anywhere -- why so far away?? Do you hate us? Have we not bought enough copies of your books??
A.
Dave Barry :

I'm truly sorry. We badly miscalculated how far people had to walk. And by "we," I mean "Tom."

– June 04, 2012 11:14 AM
Q.

My Official Unbiased Opinion of the 2012 Post Hunt

What a pisser!! But it was a FUN pisser.
A.
Tom Shroder :

That's the best kind of pisser.

– June 04, 2012 11:14 AM
Q.

How do I submit?

I heard Dave say one of the puzzles was submitted by a reader. How do I submit my puzzles for next year?
A.
Gene Weingarten :

We'll let you know when we figure it out.  I'll mention it in a chat, and Twitter, and whatnot.  

– June 04, 2012 11:15 AM
Q.

Caitlin

I notice that both Tom and Gene have mentioned Caitlin falling down. Will Dave be mentioning it too, or is this some sort of new in-joke that we will hear 2038 times, or is this a new Hunt challenge (count the number of times Caitlin-falling-down is mentioned!)?
A.
Dave Barry :

There is no need to refrigerate ketchup.

– June 04, 2012 11:16 AM
Q.

Performance Art Clue

When we arrived at the stage we found a bunch of half-dressed people messily devouring popsickles. It was with some relieve that we discovered that this wasn't actually the clue.
A.
Tom Shroder :

Well, it will be NEXT year.

– June 04, 2012 11:16 AM
Q.

Poop Prank

I think you should keep that poop statue at least until next April Fool's Day. Find some jerk with a "No Dog Poop" sign on his lawn and ... surprise!
A.
Dave Barry :

We would do that, except the Smithsonian has asked for the poop.

– June 04, 2012 11:16 AM
Q.

Rage with a dash of self-loathing

Let's be clear: I hate every single one of you. But the one I hate the very most is Dave Barry for saying in the beginning that we could solve the puzzles in any order and that it was okay to come back to the Firefox puzzle later. Sure, except that the answer key to that puzzle was a 20 minute walk away, so when we got there with 45 minutes left to go, we had to scramble to make it in time. At the Spy Museum, it said to look for "the dreaded red number" so we stood on the corner and from there we could see the giant V of the Verizon sign - meaning five. We figured it was dreaded because everyone hates Verizon (Fact.) When we walked over, the V turned into a backwards 7. It say "from a different type of perspective" so we thought to ourselves: "NAILED IT!" I don't really hate you guys; in fact, I love you immensely. Thanks for another great hunt. It was a lot of fun.
A.
Dave Barry :

I love you back, even though you hate me the very most.

– June 04, 2012 11:16 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

By hating Dave the very most, do you mean that you hate him more than you hate Tom and me, or do you mean that you hate him more than anyone else on Earth hates him?  Because I just don't think that's true.   

– June 04, 2012 11:16 AM
Q.

Oh Well

I completely missed the Bowling Pins puzzle site. Didn't see it on the map, or something. I hear it was real nice. Anyway. What were the bowling pins made out of? The one in Franklin Park felt like extra-sturdy Styrofoam.
A.
Amanda McGrath :

the bowling pin

– June 04, 2012 11:17 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

They wre made of ketchup.

– June 04, 2012 11:17 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

It was room temperature.

– June 04, 2012 11:17 AM
Q.

Time

Okay, so exactly how long did it take for the winning team to solve the Hunt? Twelve minutes, like *someone* predicted, or until the end of time?
A.
Amanda McGrath :

You can see the winning photo for yourself at the bottom of the End Game explainer: 3:37 p.m.

– June 04, 2012 11:17 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

We had spotters at the clock site, and the moment the first photo was snapped is seared in my memory: 3:37.

By the way, the clock was in the window of the Laughing Man tavern, directly across the street from the -- and I am not making this up -- Church of the Epiphany.

– June 04, 2012 11:17 AM
Q.

2012 Post Hunt

If the clue given at noon is the "aptly-named noon clue", why is the clue given at 3:00 called the "final clue"?
A.
Gene Weingarten :

We will consider this over several drinks at fashionable restaurants, and get back to you. 

– June 04, 2012 11:17 AM
A.
Dave Barry :

Next year we're going to call it "Bob."

– June 04, 2012 11:17 AM
Q.

DC Attitude

It always seems like there is a lot of grumbling, but as a team-member said "It wouldn't be the Hunt if something didn't get screwed up." Here's the thing, the Hunt is basically a big piece of performance art, flash mob, and street party. Each year that I have gone I have had a fun time. And if things go "wrong," well that's just part of the challenge. For example, solving the chess problem occurred because we simple *assumed* that mistakes would be made. It's a fuzzy logic kind of thing.
A.
Dave Barry :

Thank you.

– June 04, 2012 11:18 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

We have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

– June 04, 2012 11:18 AM
Q.

Video Solutions

Do you have video solutions of this year's puzzles like you did for last year?
A.
Amanda McGrath :

We switched things up: this year's solutions are text/photo/video instead of just narrated video.

– June 04, 2012 11:18 AM
Q.

Endgame

First off, a few expected glitches aside, congratulations on another successful Post Hunt. Now, my team actually identified the proper page of the magazine where the sun, indeed, does not shine. One of us actually thought about counting the words, but quickly abandoned it as being simply so tedious as something that only a sadist would conceive. (In retrospect, this should have been a hint that we were on the right track.) Be that as it may, how confident are you that the winning teams actually decoded this text to make that phone call and didn't simply encounter the 10 pin through chance or guile?
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Very confident, because we deprogrammed them afterwards.    The team that finished second actually had not solved one of the puzzles, but realized they had to make a letter transposition, and searched the clue page for that letter in a transposed context.   Totally fair and good way to solve it.  

– June 04, 2012 11:20 AM
Q.

2012 Reelection Bumper Stickers

1. Blind ambition, let it lead you even more than now. 2. Rectitude, I would offer mine if I had any. 3.  Thingamajigs. Buy one and let's do some hoping and changing with this economy

A.
Dave Barry :

Is this the vice president?

– June 04, 2012 11:20 AM
Q.

12 person team

I'm jealous, not because they won but because I don't know half that many people who could peacefully co-exist over the course of such a stressful afternoon.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

It was like Woodstock, only bigger. 

– June 04, 2012 11:21 AM
Q.

Post Hunt

I was able to solve 3 and 3 1/2 puzzles in the last two Hunts, but not a single one this year. Why?
A.
Dave Barry :

You're getting old?

– June 04, 2012 11:22 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

My son, Dan, was in a team of two that solved only one puzzle.  But that puzzle was the auction, which Dan declared the easiest puzzle in Hunt history.  

Or more or less hunt history.   Dan was born in 84, the year of the first Hunt. 

– June 04, 2012 11:22 AM
Q.

Dreaded red number??

How drunk did you guys have to get to come up with that one?? :-)
A.
Dave Barry :

Why does everybody always assume alcohol was involved? Whatever happened to plain old heroin?

– June 04, 2012 11:22 AM
Q.

Hunt Chafe Solution

Baby powder. Before you put on the pants. The more the merrier. Ok, maybe not merrier.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Thank you. 

– June 04, 2012 11:23 AM
Q.

I don't believe the poop was actually poop

. . . because I saw a picture of Dave leaning against it.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

It was very FIRM poop.  The best kind. 

– June 04, 2012 11:24 AM
Q.

Post Hunt rules from year to year

Is it the rule every year that the text of the clue associated with the five answers (the numbers that answer each of the five main clues) is only useful for the Endgame? My team wasn't sure and a Post Staff member refused to tell us; thus we puzzled over those riddles prematurely.
A.
Tom Shroder :

Yes, the five real clues you get from solving the main puzzles are all designed to work with the endgame.

– June 04, 2012 11:24 AM
Q.

Two's company; three's a clowder.

How does the number of players at this Hunt compare to previous Post Hunts? How do you estimate crowd size?
A.
Tom Shroder :

I would say this was at least tied for last year as the largest turnout ever. It is likely more, since the area of the park was bigger to begin with than Freedom Plaza.

– June 04, 2012 11:24 AM
Q.

We're both right, I swear!

Isn't the 7 pin to the left of the 8 pin? And isn't the bloody V a red number on the front of the Post Magazine, and if you stand in the perspective of the hunter or Napoleon you see a typed Fourteen? And why do you hate me so much? Keeping my leg elevated after yesterday, Bill
A.
Tom Shroder :

But the 7-pin wasn't standing, so, as the poem indicated, it was knocked down on the first roll, and not relevant. Oh, and, nothing personal. We hate everyone.

– June 04, 2012 11:25 AM
Q.

washington, dc

Particularly diabolical this year--my team has placed in the past and, while we solved all five puzzles, we never left Franklin Square during the endgame. Speaking of Franklin Square, I imagine the uncertainty of occupiers at Freedom Plaza caused the relocation. I hope it doesn't stay at Franklin Square, though. I live downtown and know it very well but it's just not as pleasant to wade through construction areas like K St and City Center as it is to play on the Ellipse and Pennsyvalnia Ave. But definitely a fun year, once again--thanks!
A.
Dave Barry :

You are welcome.

– June 04, 2012 11:25 AM
Q.

Getting things wrong

In the middle of the map there is the picture of a horse in a party-hat and blowing a noise maker. Under the pressure of the moment I convinced myself that this could be a donkey, as in the party-game "pin-the-tail on the donkey." We all know that there is a more earthy term for donkey - a term that can also be associated with the phrase "where the sun doesn't shine." All of which is why we were wandering around the place at 3:15 making the cops in front of Ford's Theater a little nervous.
A.
Dave Barry :

I think that's brilliant.

– June 04, 2012 11:27 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Wow.    

I have to point out though, that the sun shines on the arse.   It don't shine IN the arse. 

– June 04, 2012 11:27 AM
Q.

Who cleaned up the poop?

Someone with a really big newspaper sleeve?
A.
Dave Barry :

The Secret Service. Please do not tell anyone.

– June 04, 2012 11:27 AM
Q.

Able was I ere I saw Elba.

If Napoleon was so able, how come he was defeated and sent to Elba?
A.
Dave Barry :

He was able ere that.

– June 04, 2012 11:28 AM
Q.

distance between clues

Had a fantastic time at the Post Hunt, even got a few right this year....but that diabolical number clue....ugh! Brilliant but so tough! My question is about the distances between the puzzles. Our team moved at a pretty good pace, and didn't linger long at all at the auction or chess game. But that trip to the chess game took a huge amount of time. Any thought that the puzzles were a bit too far apart this year? Thanks for a great hunt, see you next year--
A.
Tom Shroder :

So true. "Yeah, I guess," is never a good sign that you've solved the puzzle. It should feel more like the moment I witnessed when two large Hunters did a thundering chest bump in the moment of revelation.

 

– June 04, 2012 11:28 AM
Q.

and also

who still calls the internet the "web"????
A.
Dave Barry :

People designing a Hunt. Who wants to know?

– June 04, 2012 11:29 AM
Q.

268

Where on earth were the other bowling pins? We searched the areas of Pins 1,4, 7, and 9 thoroughly, and so figured out that the answer had to be 268 by elimination. However, while we admit to not looking for the 6-pin, we did search for the 2-pin... to no avail! Where was it?
A.
Dave Barry :

Two of them were in Canada.

– June 04, 2012 11:29 AM
Q.

Coxsackie virus

We had to skip the Post Hunt for the first time since my team had coxsackie (aka hand, foot and mouth disease). It's running rampant in NoVa. What did we miss?
A.
Dave Barry :

A really big poop.

– June 04, 2012 11:29 AM
Q.

End Game

In the pre-chat, you guys alluded to an internal debate over whether some part of the end game was too difficult. Which part was that? And was Dave's announcement that the final clue corresponded to the first numerical clue (15) your way of seeking to address that concern?
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Nope, the discussion was over the difficulty of getting people to figure out that they had to text "your name and phone number" instead of their name and phone number.   

– June 04, 2012 11:30 AM
Q.

More coordinates

At the auction, my husband translated "Civic" into Roman numerals, yielding 207. There was no 207 on the clue page, but he came up with "To O-7", which would have sent us to New Jersey Ave and Mass Ave. We declined to do that; I'm glad he was barking up the wrong tree!
A.
Dave Barry :

We need to design a Hunt wherein at some point you have to bark up a tree.

– June 04, 2012 11:31 AM
Q.

The Washington Post

has a mascot? And it's incredibly sad? How old is that costume?
A.
Tom Shroder :

Ned the freaking Newshound!

– June 04, 2012 11:31 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Apparently, it is very very disagreeable inside there.  David Montgomery is a brave and steadfast man. 

– June 04, 2012 11:31 AM
Q.

Hunt difficulty

I see that Andy (@tropichunt) mentioned he didn't think this year's Hunt was that difficult. From your experience, was this year's Hunt more devious that other years?
A.
Tom Shroder :

I think it was on the harder end of the spectrum. And you didn't see Andy hoisting that oversized check at 4 pm, did you?

– June 04, 2012 11:32 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I have not participated in all of the Herald Hunts, but I think this was the hardest of the 5 Post Hunts.  Which is good, because people are more experienced.  

– June 04, 2012 11:32 AM
Q.

Well Done

I thought the design of this year's Hunt was the best yet (and I was on a team that didn't really come close to solving it). Building in some time-consuming work and extra difficulty after the final clue worked well because it prevented the mad rush of people swarming intersections, and I'd encourage you to use that technique in the future. My only complaint would be that the chess game failed to produce that "aha" moment you strive for, partly because of the color mix-up but also because it seemed strange to just be trying to spell out any number rather than having a specific set of correct "knight moves." Anyway, great job and I look forward to next year's Hunt!
A.
Tom Shroder :

The chess clue was Gene's idea.

– June 04, 2012 11:33 AM
Q.

Is 12 the bew 4?

Do you think this year's winning team will lead to more large teams? After all, $166.67 still buys a lot of beer.
A.
Tom Shroder :

Some day, the entire mass of Hunters will all be one big team, kind of like The Borg in Star Trek.

– June 04, 2012 11:33 AM
Q.

Worst earworm ever

If I never, ever hear "Night Moves" again in my lifetime, it will be too soon. Almost 24 hours later and I STILL can't get it out of my head. Thanks, guys!
A.
Dave Barry :

One year, in Miami, some volunteers had to dress as mermaids and listen to "Under the Sea" for three straight hours. On the other hand, there was a lot less walking.

– June 04, 2012 11:35 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

You SHOULD thank us. It could just as easily have been "A Horse With No Name."

– June 04, 2012 11:35 AM
A.
Gene Weingarten :

In one of the very earliest Hunts, we had an endless loop of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line."    But as I recall, just a single lyric.   Several people killed other people that year to make the noise stop. 

– June 04, 2012 11:35 AM
Q.

we done did it!

We figured it out. Granted, it wasn't quite what we expected, and we did have to taser a guard (I guess you weren't expected there to be guards there on a Sunday), and it did take awhile to cut it loose, but we loaded into our van and we should have the winning clue back to the Post building early tomorrow afternoon, depending on traffic.
A.
Dave Barry :

We are standing by with a suitcase full of cash.

– June 04, 2012 11:35 AM
Q.

Puzzles

I thought one of the puzzles would be a Sidewalk-Bicycle-Riding Challenge?
A.
Gene Weingarten :

I do not find that amusing.   At ALL.

– June 04, 2012 11:36 AM
Q.

poop

Is the Smithsonian really taking the poop? Why oh why do they want it?
A.
Gene Weingarten :

Dave sometimes says things that are not entirely accurate.  For example, one time he wrote that it was so hot in Miami, even the statues have armpit stains. 

– June 04, 2012 11:37 AM
Q.

flip it and reverse it

You know, if you "reverse" 15, like the colors on the chess board were, you get 51, a possible clue answer. I spent half of the afternoon trying to figure out what "cluck" would be in the past pluperfect.
A.
Gene Weingarten :

We're not sure, but it has an umlaut. 

– June 04, 2012 11:38 AM
Q.

How many steps?

My counter said i took over 15,000 steps. How many is that per correct question? There would have been more correct if our team didn't decide the sun don't shine in that bar.
A.
Tom Shroder :

But you would have been crankier.

– June 04, 2012 11:39 AM
Q.

Animal Costumes

Fuzzy animal costumes? Seriously? Didn't you do this to Rachel and Caitlin a few years ago? I'm starting to wonder which one of you has the repressed fetish issues.
A.
Dave Barry :

You don't see us putting on the costumes.

– June 04, 2012 11:39 AM
A.
Tom Shroder :

Weingarten. He's got ALL the fetishes.

– June 04, 2012 11:39 AM
Q.

Gene Weingarten :

Okay, the questions have slowed to a trickle, so I am going to declare us down.   Thanks so much for being so enthusiastic, smart, and forgiving! 

We hope to see you next year.  

Q.

 

A.
Host: