I’m a geocacher. That’s a hobby where people hide caches in publicly accessible areas, rural or urban, and post the coordinates online. Other geocachers go out to find the cache, sign the log sheet, then rehide the cache in the same spot. Some caches are Unknown or Puzzle caches, where the coordinates showing on the website page are phony and you must find the real coordinates by solving a puzzle of some kind. I have created many of these. I enjoy writing amusing stories as part of the puzzle. I am posting the body of one of my puzzle caches here because it is a word game, in theme with this blog. The link to the game and the instructions are contained below. If you are not a geocacher, just a puzzle fan, it doesn’t matter because you can complete the game without realizing it has anything to do with geocaching. All you have to do is complete the 15 words or phrases as described. If you get a tax receipt at the end, you have conquered the game. If you’re a geocacher, you need to use the answers to derive coordinates to a cache. I will warn you, though, that you won’t be able to complete the game unless you figure out the real theme of the puzzle. Here’s the game:
As I approached the Goodwill truck with several bags of old clothes I intended to donate, I noticed the clerk, a rather ancient-looking black man. Despite his age he was listening to an iPod and tapping his toes in a lively fashion. He must have been hard of hearing as the volume was cranked up so loud I could hear the buzzing from his earbuds even from several feet away. He greeted me warmly and removed his earbuds as I plopped the bags on the counter, but as he began to pull out my old cast-offs he looked somewhat disapprovingly. This was Los Altos, after all, and they were more interested in designer dresses worn once than the cheap, worn-out stuff I was offering. As he was examining the bags I asked for a tax receipt.
“You’re going to take a charitable deduction for THIS?” he said, holding up a tattered T-shirt I got as a souvenir on a trip to New York. The picture on the front was a photo of the old Ziegfeld Theater from the 1950s. “That was a great musical, though,” he offered, pointing to the name on the marquee. “I saw that after I got out of the army.”
“You’re a fan of the theater, then?” I replied, trying to keep the surprise out of my voice.
“The theater, movies, music of all kinds, dance, opera, even the circus,” he answered. “I’m something of a cognoscente of all the performing arts.”
“Well I know my old clothes are more suitable for washing cars than being resold, but I still need my receipt,” I declared, impatient to get going.
He obviously pegged me for the cheapskate I am, more interested in the tax deduction that helping out the Goodwill. “I tell you what,” he said, holding up that T-shirt. “Let’s play word association. I’ll say a word, or the beginning of a word, and you guess the second part to complete the word or phrase I’m thinking of. If you can get fifteen right, I’ll give you your receipt. I’ll make the first one easy.”
I had no choice so I went along. The first few were easy enough, but then I got stuck. After a bit of quiet contemplation, though, I finally realized what was going through his head. I needed a lot of extra guesses here and there, but he let me guess as often as necessary on the harder ones, and I eventually got them all. As he handed me the receipt, he nodded his head respectfully and said, “I guess you’re something of a cognoscente, too. Maybe I’m a bit prejudiced, but I didn’t take you for someone who would know those.”
After I got home and did a little research I realized that the answers led to a perfect geocache hiding location, so I placed one there. If you want to play the same game, you can by clicking the link below.
Type your answer in the right-hand box and click the Try button. You will know if you got it right. The answers are not case-sensitive.