Links of Interest
If the whole concept of solving real-life literary riddles and searching for global treasure while never leaving the comfort of your couch sounds appealing, check out The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club, an England-based organization formed by Dan James, the author of various puzzle projects, including Helium Dream and the Lost Heart, Treasure, and the hunts Aureum and Charlie’s Christmas Gift. The club also offers a mailing list.
A must-see site is Mark Parry’s Armchair Treasure Hunting page. Not only is it filled with a timeline and excellent content, but he’s got a much better bunny logo than I do. You’ll find details about hunts past and present here, as well as an excellent collection of international links.
The solution to Masquerade is also available as part of the rec.puzzles archive.
I received an advance copy of The Whistle Pig, a new treasure hunt book of short stories written by Duck Miller and due to be published in February 2004. There is a key hidden somewhere in the United States–”a unique and unmistakable key hidden on accessible public property within the borders of the United States,” says the introduction–and this book cryptically tells you how to find it. The book is a small hardcover and therefore not imposing…but, you know, Masquerade didn’t have many pages, so I’m going going to judge this book by its cover either. The reading is pleasant and easy–it’s just a matter of figuring out, as always, when you’re reading pure fiction and when you’re reading something with a double meaning. For more information and to order a copy, check out thewhistlepig.net. Tell ‘em you heard about it here, if you don’t mind.
Puzzle creator Martyn Lambourne claims that his book Quest: A Zetetic Treasure Hunt can be solved anywhere by anyone, as the prize is not buried in a specific place and does not need to be dug up to be won. The book can be bought directly from the author at his web site–or you can answer his monthly riddle and be entered into the drawing for a free, signed copy. It’s a very nice hardcover book with impressive illustrations and plenty of riddles.
Not to be confused with the above, Bandicoot Books follows the success of Tasmanian Tiger with the simply-titled Quest. The prize is a very nice sword; to claim it, you’ve gotta name it. The authors say the solution is less convoluted than that of Tiger. To my knowledge, this hunt is still active.
He balanced on top of a building. He publicly chilled out in a huge block of ice. He can levitate, too. Then celebrated street magician David Blaine released a book called Mysterious Strangerwhich contained, among other things, a search for a $100,000 buried treasure. It’s also an autobiography, and I found it to be a great read. The puzzle involved hardcore cryptography and didn’t appeal to me as much as I’d hoped, but it was great stuff all the same. Cliff Johnson (creator of the classic computer puzzle The Fool’s Errand and the upcoming The Fool and His Money) helped design the puzzle for Blaine, and Cliff’s website features the complete solution.
An audio mystery is the Publius Enigma, a hunt/hoax by and for Pink Floyd fans. Supposedly the band’s Division Bell album contains a secret message which leads listeners to a secret prize that’s very very secret. I wrote a feature article on this for Guitar World magazine back in the early 90′s, and depending on who you believe, the answer was either discovered by an online Floyd fan who was never actually rewarded (but was publicly acknowledged as the “winner”), or it was all a hoax from the band’s lighting director. Maybe it was both. Others, clearly, feel differently–just like some people don’t believe that Masquerade is over, either. So check it out if you like, but I’ve washed my hands of it.
And last but not least, Christopher Manson’s treasureless but riddle-packed and maddening Maze is available both as a paperback and a web site. While the shortest path through the maze has been determined, the master riddle from this book is still being debated, I think…
Looking for a hunt in London? Check out The Wild Hunt–they’ll build one for you, your friends, and/or your company’s next outing.