Monday, June 21, 2010


Though we successfully cracked one of the two Crack-a-Pots, it definitely wasn't smooth sailing. We had to plod and plod and plod. As with the Crack-a-Pots from previous editions of the Kiwanis Treasure Hunts, we usually have some inkling what to do but lack the finishing know-how. Brainstorming helped us conquer #33.

Crack-a-Pot #33/2010

Ans: Thaiger or Tigress.

To solve this puzzle, one would first need to recognize that each dot in the Clue represents one of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac. Knowing this, one can easily decipher that the enlarged dot represents the Tiger, the third animal in the Zodiac. With this relationship established, it did not take us long to convert all the time-periods into the respective animals. This was as far as we got and we were stuck here for a while until Adrian saw the light and figured out that the months and days were included in the Message as pointers.

Eg. 1940Feb5 = Rabbit.
Feb 5 => to take the 2nd and 5th letter from Rabbit ie A & I.

Crack-a-Pot #34/2010

Clue: max scoring rate
Code: nba icc pga irb

Ans: Back to Basics.

Knowing the solution, #34 appears to be the easier of the two Crack-a-Pots. When one can recognize that in the code provided are 4 sporting associations, and determine the maximum possible scoring (which is key) in an individual play for each sport, this Puzzle can be easily cracked.

nba (basketball) = 3, icc (cricket) = 6, pga (golf) = 1, irb (rugby) = 5.

The finishing touch would be to apply these pointers to the Message repeatedly in order to pick out the intended letters.

All is well until one realizes that there appears to be a crack in this puzzle. The maximum possible score for a single hole in golf IS NOT "1" but "3" (albatross or a double eagle). Rather "1" is the minimum number of strokes required. Of course one could argue that in golf that there are many systems other than stroke play, but that was not how the CoC explained it during the Q&A.

I am also not satisfied with the maximum scoring provided in two other sports. Ask any NBA fan and they will tell you that the maximum possible score for a single play in NBA is 4 points (when fouled during a 3 point shot), while technically the maximum possible score for a single play in rugby is 7 points (5 points for a Try and 2 points for the subsequent conversion).

To a lesser extent, I am also not happy that there were no keys provided in the Puzzle that would point to a need to repeat the code on the message. Though I am certain that most regulars who were able to get the code correct (in the first place) would have gone on to do that since the message provided was a rather long one.


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