The 2011 Post Hunt: Are you ready?

Jun 03, 2011

It's time for our fourth-annual day of puzzles, prizes and ad­ven­ture! Join us for the 2011 Post Hunt on Sunday, June 5 at Freedom Plaza ( Pennsylvania Ave. NW between 13th &14th Streets). The game kicks off at noon sharp (but we recommend arriving by 11:30 a.m.).

Founders Dave Barry, Tom Shroder and Gene Weingarten took your pre-Hunt questions, comments and general harassment.

Don't know what the Post Hunt is? Check out this handy guide to how the whole crazy day will work.

Already a Post Hunt pro? Upload a photo of your team, or take a stab at designing your own puzzle. Dave, Tom and Gene will choose their favorites -- winners get Post Hunt T-shirts. Fancy!

If you're Tweeting about it, use the hash tag #posthunt in your message. And don't forget to follow us @posthunt and find us on Facebook.

Good afternoon.   This is where we will take your pre-Post Hunt posts, post-haste.  Some of you filed early, so yours are the pre-posted pre-Post Hunt posts.      

The Hunt starts at noon Sunday at Freedom Plaza.  Be there a little early, because the format has changed a bit; we are not telling you this the way voicemail systems tell you to listen carefully as the menu has recently changed.  That is always a lie; they are just trying to get you to listen.   We're not doing that.   As Pulitzer-prizewinning journalists and Tom, we are committed to the truth.  

 As I disclosed in my chat on Tuesday, we are changing things about quite a bit because we are three men at mid life and we wish to prove we  are not tired old farts who fear risk and are settling into comfy senescence, soft in the middle and content to live out our lives in the safety of the familiar.

Before we begin, one small bookkeeping matter:   In the printed magazine, we say that your team needs to have at least one cellphone.   We don't know if they still make cellphones without text messaging capability, but in case they do:  You'll need at least one cell phone with text messaging.  

We're posting this a few minutes early.   First question gets taken at 11:59:59.


a) Follow @posthunt on Twitter -- we'll be doing some fun stuff on Sunday. And if you're tweeting about the Hunt, use #posthunt


b) Win Post Hunt swag (aka snazzy T-shirts) by uploading a photo of your team or proposing your own Hunt puzzle

c) Come back to on Monday morning for videos, more chatting and other post-Post Hunt commisterating

The Herald Hunt has criss-crossed SoFla over the years but our Hunt seems to have put down roots in Freedom Plaza. How about looking for some place new for next Year? My suggestion: Arlington Cemetery.

I'm not sure having the hunt at Arlington would be tasteless enough.   How about the Vietnam Memorial, or on the grounds of Walter Reed?   

I bet people would be dying to Hunt there!

In his previous answer, Tom means Arlington.  Because even he would not be tasteless enough to make that joke about Walter Reed.   

I think we should hold it at CIA headquarters and not tell anybody until it's over.

What kind of solace can you offer those of us who didn't pay attention and scheduled unimportant things during this grand event?

You will be able to see a video explanation of all the puzzles online after the Hunt. Perhaps Amanda can tell you when that will go up. The fearless video team usually pulls an allnighter.

-- From Weingarten:   Tom's failure to hyphenate all-nighter reminds me of the joy I got last year in correcting his misspellings.   I hope we will have a repeat of that.    But, Tom: DON'T WORRY AND FREEZE UP.

If you don't attend, you actually stand a better chance of winning.

Did you all know that Gene can't read maps? He makes my wife look like Magellan.

My goal for this year's hunt is not (necessarily) to win, but to at least solve the end game correctly. I am wondering: will there be any record kept of how many teams get to the very end, and perhaps in which order? Even if I don't win I'd love to be able to say "well, my team came in 57th." Is there a way to make this happen?


In fact, if we wind up doing it, it will be because of this post.   You will have Changed The World.   

I hereby declare that your team came in 57th. Spread the word!

Although I know it must have taken near Herculean effort, please let us know now exactly how you incorporated Weinergate into this year's Hunt. Signed, Team "Can't Say With Certitude."

Dave once wrote a column about the time we toured South Beach in a giant, mechanized weiner. It was a huge chick magnet. HUGE.

Tom is so aroused by the memory that he forgot how to spell "wiener."

This is gonna be so great.   Not the Hunt: our ganging up on Tom.    

Will there be a Herald Hunt this year?

There will indeed. Next week, Dave and I start planning. It will be in November.

Please note that I don't usually help with the Herald Hunt because, 17 years ago, someone from The Herald was mean to me.  Yes, I am that petty.  

There will be, and it will be great, because Weingarten is not involved.

Will Weinergate be involved?

Why do you think we told you to bring a cell phone?   

Weinergate, by the way, anagrams to "Weingartee."  

So, it's not just Papa John's swag? We need to get one for clues? What if you run out the way you ran out of seafood menus last year?

That's why we're booked on the 3:15 to Brazil.

Just in case, we've reordered a large supply of the seafood menus from last year.

We'll be putting up the solution videos as fast as we can get them edited ... hopefully Sunday night, definitely by early early Monday morning. Will tweet/facebook when they're live

If our team wins first prize in the Post Hunt, can we have the money in gasoline vouchers?

Perhaps we could just soak you in gasoline.

I believe first prize is a handsome photograph that either is or is not of Rep. Anothony Weiner.

How great is it that Rep. Weiner isn't sure if that is a picture of his bulge? 

Is it true that in the case of Dave and Gene that the huge penises used to belong to arctic mammals?

Hey, I have a walrus penis too! And it is WAY huger than Dave's or Gene's.

I cannot say with certitude where that penis came from.

That's what SHE said.

Hello! My sister and I are so excited for our third attempt at what we call "the most humbling weekend of the year." We particated in the first Post Hunt and were convinced we would win. After all, she is a CPA, and I was still in law school at the time, so who could beat that combination? Instead, we only got two puzzles right and wasted an hour analyzing an Indiana Jones movie flyer for clues because my sister apparently does not know how to read Roman numerals. We have since increased our average number of correct puzzles to 3. Almost got 4 correct last year, if we had just gotten the right answer on that one... Our question: At what point in the year do you start designing the puzzles, and how many people do you test them on before deciding they are hard enough (or not hard enough) for the Hunt? We have invited our younger brother into our inner circle this year, so maybe we will reach that elusive fourth or fifth correct puzzle. See you on Sunday!

We start years in advance. Years.  We do not just pull this thing out of our butts in the final few weeks. That is a TOTALLY FALSE ALLEGATION, and I insist that you TAKE IT BACK.

Who is drawing the Post Hunt map this year?


You know, it's probably not fair to the real artist to joke about who drew the map this year.    All kidding aside, we DO have a new artist.   It is Edouard Manet.  

We're bringing a 1 year old and a 3 year old. Do we get a handicap?

You already have one, dude. 



Why was the Grid introduced this year? Don't you have several years of proof that you're driving us insane enough?

The Grid was Tom's inspiration.  If it doesn't work, it was Tom's fault.   If it does work, it really was pretty much a team effort.  

I cannot say with certitude whether I did or did not have anything to do with the Grid.

Actually, we just like saying the word "grid." Say it 50 times fast and you'll see what I mean.

I am trying to decide whether it is more important for me to obtain relationship advice from Hax, or Hunt advice from you hacks.

Carolyn's chat goes on for a few hours so ... stay here for now, go there later? :)

We can help you with your relationship! Get out of it RIGHT NOW.

In fact, The Hunt is a great opportunity for couples to break up.    What happens is, you argue over puzzles and then have revenge sex with a stranger who is breaking up with his or her girl or boyfriend.   

Would the New York Times ever have something like a Times Hunt? Here's the difference between The Post and The Times: yesterday I was loking at the Web pages of both papers. The Post had several stories on its first page about Congressman Weiner's Twitter problem, including a double-entendre-filled story by Capital Hill snark reporter Dana Millbank. The Times had nothing about Weinergate on its front. As experienced journalists, do you think that is because The Times editors thought the whole thing was unseemly and beneath their notice, or were they reluctant to ridicule someone whose politics they favor?

It's the former. The Times doesn't do weiners.

And when they try, they do it badly.   Remember that bizarre piece on the alleged affair John McCain might or might not have had with a lobbyist who he might or might not have helped?   

The Miami Herald has a story suggesting this might be the work of Fidel Castro.

If we can't figure out the first one, is it possible to move on to the second? Or do you have to go in order?

You can do em in any order.    And if you can't solve one, just circle on back.   Sometimes we have seen teams trading solutions, which strikes us as Communist.   

We catch anyone trading solutions this year, they get sent to reeducation camp.

You don't have to circle back. You can walk in a straight line.

I thought I wouldn't be able to do the Post Hunt since my due date was yesterday, but this child doesn't seem to want to join us quite yet. So now my plan is to use 3 hours of walking on Sunday to get him to come out, if I make it that long. Two questions: (1) I can't quite recall the bathroom situation. Are there port-o-potties or do we just hope some restaurants will take pity on a 9+ month pregnant woman? and (2) Do I get something cool for being your most pregnant person there? Like a "my mommy dragged me to the Post Hunt" shirt or something?

If you actually deliver during the Hunt, AT the Hunt, eschewing ambulances and trusting Molly the veterinarian to deliver you, we will make you forever famous.  

It's okay, Molly will be there and she delivered four great Dane pups just yesterday.   

And yes.   Many restaurants and hotels with bathrooms.   There will also be porta-potties, but you don't need to go there, mama.   

What Gene is not telling you -- and what makes Molly's feat all the more impressive -- is that she delivered the four great Dane pups from a RABBIT.

Should we bring marmite, or vegemite?

I cannot say with certitude whether you're supposed to refrigerate Marmite or Vegemite, so I'm going to play it safe and answer "maybe."

Not sure, but dynamite is definitely a bad idea.

Gentlemen! Now that you're looking my way again, I was wondering if there was any reason I should not attempt to participate in the Hunt even though most of my team and I would not be able to be there until at least 1 pm. My team would have a man on the ground to collect the necessary items by noon; we just wouldn't be able to start tackling the brunt of the problem-solving until we all arrive. We may be overconfident, but we did extremely well last year with the initial problems and were only tripped up at the end stage because our spotter at the main stage misread the symbols being juggled. Oops.

You have "spotters"?   You have "men on the ground"?   Do you have infra-red goggles?  Copters?

Yes, two hours should be enough time to finish the first part of The Hunt.   Insanely prepared teams have done it in an hour.

At the moment I am typing this, my daughter informed me that Jack Kevorkian died.    In his honor I would like to now publish the greatest non-published entry in Style Invitational history.    Couldn't get it past the censors.   The challenge had been to write a limerick using the name "Kevorkian."   Here it is:

A comely young lass from Nantucket

Needed help in kicking the bucket. 

"No problem, my child,"

Doc Kevorkian smiled,

"Wrap your lips 'round my tailpipe and suck it."

Gene forgot to mention that this limerick is NOT a clue.

If it weren't for Nantucket, I doubt that limericks would ever have been invented.

When/where will the June 5 WP magazine be available? Will it be online?

It'll be online (as a PDF) on the Post Hunt page at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

We've already published the opening instructions.   Amanda, can you link to that? 

In fact, we already have a winner.

...a red-headed Hunt veteran since 1984 (with an unbroken losing streak) will have a chance this year?

Andy, my people have a saying: "Why is this night different than any other night?" I think in this case, the answer is: It isn't. Just saying.

Of course, Andy! Everybody has a chance! Until it actually starts.

When Tom says "my people," he means dyslexics. 

After waiting a year for the next Hunt, I now find that I cannot make it this weekend. I am severely depressed. Do you think you guys could postpone it a week or two? Thanks!


Yes, just show up at Freedom Plaza NEXT week.  

Is it true that Tom has lined up Barry Manilow to serenade Dave as one of the clues?

Actually, I hired Wolfgang Puck to marinate Dave for one of the clues.

The Who says cellphones cause cancer. Does this mean Pete Townsend has stopped using them ?

Thanks a lot.   Eric The Company Lawyer is probably now going to have to have you all sign a waiver.  

From a recent column of mine: 

"Newspaper lawyers are, and have always been, very cautious.   

Newspaper lawyer: Your story on Watergate seems to be implying President Nixon is a crook.   Can you prove that?

Bob Woodward:  Yes. 

Newspaper lawyer:  Well, has he ever robbed a convenience store and pistol-whipped the clerk?

Bob Woodward:  Not to my knowledge. 

Newspaper lawyer:  Well, let's put that in, just to be safe. 


Ooh, I can disclose a key fact about the Hunt:  A top Washington Post lawyer is going to be participating in one of the Big Puzzles.   

Talk about excitement.

Better: hard or soft pretzels? And assuming you are men of taste and the answer is soft, cheese or mustard?

As Rep. Weiner can tell you, hard is better than soft in all things.   Except pretzels.   And mustard, definitely. 

Dave is going to say, right about now, that you do not have to refrigerate either mustard or ketchup.  

This seems like a good time to point out that you don't need to refrigerate either mustard or ketchup. You DO need to refrigerate mayonniase, but anybody who puts mayonnaise on a pretzel deserves to die.

I was wondering about those presidential statues you used in a Post Hunt puzzle two years ago: the vacuum cleaner, the stack of eyeballs, etc. Did you ever sell them or are they still sitting in someone's backyard?

They are now the major national monuments in Tazikistan.


Will any of the puzzles this year involve vague imitations of football referee hand signals?

Rachel WILL be onstage again.   If she chooses to signal "touchdown" again, there's no stopping her.   Believe me, we tried last year.   

If I bring my own, which would be best: rum, vodka, or a nice boxed wine?

I like a nice boxed vodka myself.

A lot of people get good results with heroin.

I can't make it this year. Can I have the prize anyway?


These are extremely helpful tips. You're as effective as Congress.

"To serve and protect" is the Hunt designer's motto.

We are sort of like Congress, except that we have (Note to editors: This is NOT a penis joke) larger staffs.

We have been notified by editors that we have too many penis jokes in this chat.   So, we're going to limit future penis references to two, at most.    We'll show a higher standard. 

Don't you read fast enough to click back & forth? I used to juggle Hax, Kelly, & Milbank every Friday noon. Until my boss noticed.

Did you get a raise?

Is this Joe Biden?

Huge changes to the Hunt. Isn't that one of the signs of the impending Apocalypse? Do you hope that these changes will be as successful as TWP's website redesign?

Given the fact that we have apparently angered editors about that other thing, we are NOT going to participate in any snide referencing of the Post's new web redesign, which we all love.   

Nor can he recognize faces, nor can he remember where he put his car/glasses/etc. How does Gene entice people to help him get through his average day? this is why they awarded him Pulitzers; they can't figure out how he manages to come up with such serious journalism when he can barely tie his own shoes. (Whoever "they" are.)

Gene has a "condition."

I would like to point out that in private conversations, Tom has described my map dysfunction as being a female trait.    I disavow this idea entirely, but want to make it clear that I consider it a compliment to be compared to women.     When I do something courageous, I feel I have "ovaried up."

I'm coming down from NJ and want to know if I'll be able to use my state-owned helicopter during the Hunt ?

I'm amazed that thing can get off the ground.

I probably am not supposed to disclose this, but Seal Team 6 is going to be competing this year.

Is it true you guys just sat back & relaxed until the world didn't end on May 21, and then scrambled to do the Hunt?

Wait... the world didn't end May 21?

how do we get the clues and how to submit them? it's my first time

Check this out -- should explain the basics.

Our secret weapon this year will be my 11 month old. All I'm going to do is count the number of times she says "da da da" in front of any given puzzle, and I am positive that is the solution. Since she is also an excellent pointer, I am also 94% positive she will guide us through the end game (and not to Anacostia).

I rely on my horse, Silver.

Tom: Huh?

Response from Tom: Clearly you don't own a horse that can count by tapping his hoof. I pity you.

I am not sure what either of you is talking about.   There seems to be a joke lurking in there somewhere.   But it died and is stinking up the joint. 

Gene, it's a good thing you proclaimed "yes, I am that petty." Confess, now, you are picking on Tom the Butcher in retribution for his editing you all those years.

Here's the thing. For many years, Gene was an editor, and he edited the living poop out of people. Then he became a writer, and all of a sudden he was all HOW DARE YOU TOUCH MY PRECIOUS WORDS!?? So in conclusion -- and I cannot stress this enough -- neither mustard nor ketchup will spoil whenn kept at room temperature.

The Style Invitational's sense of humor is missing. Please locate it.

We don't want to give anything away, but it's location COULD be the solution to the Hunt.

I have been secretly entering the Invitational for several weeks, under pseydonyms.   I am spending more time coming up with pseudonyms to fool Pat than I am on the entries.   

You guys are WAY faster at answering questions than Carolyn. Just say'in.

To be fair, there are two of us. And Gene.

But there are FOUR of Carolyn. Or is that supposed to be a secret?

I have never done one of these hunts, but I am interested. What should one do to prepare? Does one need to know the intracacies of D.C. locations, or what?

No. But a sense of humor is a must.

Important tip:  Try to make sure each team has at least one Jew.   

Did you ever get that Date Lab tie-in for the Hunt that you talked about in a chat a while back? Will the couple have to wear name tags? And are the rest of us allowed to mock them mercilessly?

We've done Post Hunt Date Labs in the past, but decided not to this year. It is a loooooong day for a first, completely blind date.

I am old enough to remember a Doonesbury strip from the Watergate hearings days, where one of the committee members sighs, "If only he'd just knock over a bank or something."

I'm old enough to remember the French and Indian War.

Which reminds me: We need a different name for the French and Indian War. When you hear "French and Indian War," you naturally assume the French and the Indiands fought against each other. When in fact they were on the same side. Somebody needs to hold hearings on this.

The Chinese hacked your g-mail accounts? Are you not worth it?

This is not a challenge to the  Chinese, but if they hacked my gmail account, Human Resources would escort me to the door within minutes.   Then I would be summarily executed.   

I am pretty sure the Chinese hacked my toaster.

We're running out of questions to answer.   Please submit some good ones, or we are going to have to go back to the penis-joke well.   Which is bottomless. 

Is it considered good form to slip a couple of bucks to the Post Hunt founders, in gratitude for the enjoyable event?

That would be wrong. The proper form is to make a sizeable deposit in our Swiss bank accounts.

I probably shouldn't say this, but Tom really likes it when people moon him.   He's just shy to say it.  

But Carolyn's answers contain approximately 1,000 times more substance. Just sayin'.

Our answers contain plenty of substance. I just can't say what that substance is. In a family news web site.

seriously, Mr. Editor? A.Tom Shroder : We don't want to give anything away, but it's location COULD be the solution to the Hunt.

Did I mention that Gene can't read a map?

Well, the Time of Tribulation it does every May. Blistering heat & humidity and probably drought. WHich doesn't end until October. Every year. Sorta like the Mayan calendar.

The Hunt has created rain each of the first four years.   Just saying. 

The Hunt has also appearently ruined the US economy.

Any more insights you can give us on The Grid? It sounds kind of like a torture device, and I'm a little scared!

The Grid is exactly like The Rack, only it does not have the same sort of sexual innuendo.   

Can you please help me contain my excitement about the Post Hunt?

Is this Joe Biden?

It could be renamed Operation Early Rezoning.

Or The Last Really Exciting Thing That Happened in Canada.

You mentioned that there are some big changes in the Hunt this year. Care to elaborate?


I agree.  That would be good. 

is how the British refer to what we foolishly call the French & Indian war. Which sounds like something from Tom Sietsema's column. I myself like both French & Indian. would it be better to start calling it the Franco-Indian War, like the Sino-Japanese or the Russo-Finnish Wars, or is that too foody-sounding, too? Franco-Indian pappadums with hollandaise!

I am pretty sure you need to refrigerate hollandaise sauce.

Is any taxpayer money involved in the Hunt? Extra security, TSA scanners, spies, that sort of thing.

It's done entirely with private money, except that the Pentagon is letting us use a nuclear submarine, but that is all we can say about that at this time.

A copter would be lovely. I will instead be pushing a double-stroller containing my two-and-under while shouting orders to my team in broad (hah!) imitation of Napoleon. Would night-vision goggles help?

Only if they are being worn by your live-in nanny.

Is it true we have to display our long-form birth certificates and take off our shoes before participating in the Post Hunt?

Not your shoes.  Your pants. 

EDITORS: Notice how we are refraining from making any penis jokes involving the words "long form."

Okay, folks.   I am declaring us down here. 

We hope to see thousands of you downtown on Sunday.   We're so excited, we're practically tumescent!   

Seeya.  It'll be great.   We hope.  

Then why do the packages say to refrigerate them after opening? (insert penis joke here)

Those packages have been HACKED. Or it might be a prank. Either way, it is a distraction, and I am not going to let it distract me from doing what I am being paid to do, whatever that may be.

If I stand back and cross my eyes a little, will the shape on the grid reveal itself to me before I've solved any of the puzzles?

This is where the heroin comes in.

Is there an official Post Hunt song that we should learn?


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Gene Weingarten
Tom Shroder
Dave Barry
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