Alex, I’ll Take “Harvard Math Professors” for $2000

Crossword constructor, ACPT B-Division Champion, and all-around nice guy Joon Pahk spent this past week completely dispatching his competition on Jeopardy. Here’s a great recap of his amazing week.

Fortunately, his run ain’t over yet. He won again yesterday, so he’ll be back on the show on Monday. Plus, he’s qualified for the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions, which will air in November.

Here, he dispatches his most recent set of opponents:

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Asian Women Online, and Spam

Like all other blogs, this one receives its share of spam from time to time. Fortunately, Akismet happily eliminates just about all of it, but it leaves it in a queue for me to sift through just in case it flags something important as spam.

In the spam queue today, I received what I believe is my favorite spam ever in the history of this blog. Someone from the site (don’t go there – you’ll regret it) tried to post this:

The paste stomachs the level developer near the cheese. The family reassures the stare. The wreck gates Puzzle Solving 101 with the coming chocolate. My distasteful laughter pops opposite the advertised intelligence.

I believe that last sentence says it all.

Puzzle Solving 101, Live at Mensa: The Gathering

I’ve been invited to give a short talk on my Puzzle Solving 101 series of geocaches for the Broward Mensa 2011 Regional Gathering.

If you like puzzles (and, if you’re reading this blog, I know you do), be there for an overview of the series; stories of its creation, solution, and discovery; and some fun audience participation.


Puzzlehead is back. In my misguided attempt to upgrade the site to the latest version of WordPress right before I went on vacation, I broke the site. It’s now fixed … mostly. There’s still an error under the search widget that doesn’t seem to affect the rest of the site, so I’m ignoring it until I can switch to a better theme.

Rock on.

Quoth the Maven: “Pottermore”

There is speculation that JK Rowling’s new web site for all things Harry Potter called Pottermore is not only a way to purchase digital editions of the wildly-popular book series, but is also an online treasure hunt.

According to British newspaper The Guardian:

It is thought Rowling’s new project, due to be officially launched on Thursday, will be a Potter-based treasure hunt entitled Pottermore, after an apparently secret memo emerged.

The new project is reportedly an online game that gives users clues which will lead them to prizes hidden in the real world. Aspiring wizards the world over can hope to find an undisclosed number of magic wands stashed throughout the UK and US, and possibly other countries. It is not yet clear if the treasure hunt is Pottermore itself or a marketing drive for another product, and details about the game remain hazy.

Puzzles and Caches and Finds (Oh My!)

Recently, a few lucky geocachers honestly and accidentally stumbled across the containers of some of my more difficult puzzle caches without solving their respective puzzles. The cachers signed the logs, and they submitted Found It logs online.

Some other geocachers posted notes on the log and sent me personal emails questioning the validity of those finds. For everyone who questions the validity of such a find, I refer you to the Groundspeak guidelines:

Physical geocaches can be logged online as “Found” once the physical log has been signed.

For physical caches, all logging requirements beyond finding the geocache and signing the log are considered additional logging requirements (ALRs) and must be optional. Cache finders can choose whether or not to attempt or accomplish such tasks.

Groundspeak Listing Requirements/Guidelines, Section 3.1

By these rules, solving the puzzle is an additional logging requirement and is therefore optional.

So, if you’ve signed the log, you found it. Log it online, and feel free to congratulate yourself on your good fortune. End of story.

And, please, everyone: enough with the questioning the validity of accidental finds! This is a game and games are supposed to be fun. Policing and being policed isn’t fun – let the moderators and the cache owners take care of that responsibility.

Cache on!