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1993 Tropic Hunt

Your online guide to the zaniness of the 1993 Tropic Hunt!

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1993 Tropic Hunt Cover Image

When:  5/2/1993

Where: Miami Beach

Miami Beach…what a great place! We went from the Hunt being held in a small locale to now being spread out across a somewhat larger area. And, unfortunately, closer to summer. It was sunny and hot…\n

That, of course, doesn\'t stop the thousands of people who wanted to Hunt from heading out to east Dade County! And then running smack into some really tough brain teasers: the giant inflatables at the Miami Beach Convention Center, the church bells (ugh..that STILL brings back nightmares!), the submarine puzzle…

\nOh, and did I mention the HEAT?!? Phew!

The Initial Puzzles
NOTE: The puzzle answers are hidden! In order to see them, you must highlight them with your mouse to reverse the text!

1. Assume that Kansas City and Los Angeles are exaclty 1,750 miles apart. At the same moment, Train A leave Kansas City traveling eastbound, and Train B leave Los Angeles traveling westbound. If both trains are traveling at exactly 50 miles per hour, then:
3) They will meet in 35 hours.
5) They will meet in 17.5 hours.
22) The people in train B are going to need scuba gear.
Answer: 22

2. Complete the Neil Diamond lyric that begins:
I am, I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Answer: 16

3. Bob and Jane live in South Dade and wish to hire a reasonably priced, competent and dependable roofing company. They should:
23) Move to Switzerland.
Answer: 23

4. Who won the 1983 World Series?
3) San Diego.
5) Boston.
6) Some baseball team.
Answer: 6

5. The letters in "Tropic Magazine" can be rearranged to spell:
3) "Aromatic Zen Pot."
9) "Caroming Ape Zit."
45) "The Late Adlai Stevenson."
Answer: 9

Main Puzzles (i.e. the puzzle sites)
NOTE: Puzzle answers and their descriptions are hidden! In order to see them, you must highlight them with your mouse to reverse the text!

Puzzle: Paper Submarine
Location: 17th Street and the Beach
At 17th Street and the beach, hunters got coupons with a cartoon submarine on one side and a map on the other. The map was marked with random symbols. But one of the symbols looked familiar: the cartoon submarine. If hunters went to that location on the map, they found a giant billboard picturing the same submarine, two Alka-Seltzer tablets, a tea bag, and a bar of Ivory soap.

Another hint was a plane flying over the beach all day towing a banner that said "WHAT DO YOU LACK? ABCDEFGPQRSTUVWXYZ."
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 37
How to get the answer:
First, in the billboard, all objects were ones that that are immersed in . . . water.

What is lacking from this alphabet are the letters "H to O" -- or H2O, the chemical symbol for water. To solve the clue, hunters only had to immerse their handout coupon with the submarine in a body of water (the Atlantic Ocean, for example). The number 37 appeared on top of the submarine, as if by magic. (Actually , it was by chemicals.)

Puzzle: Church Bells
Location: Federal Financial Building/Miami Beach Community Church
Three men carried sandwich boards that said: YOUR TIME IS UP. The boards were upside down. Fourteen floors up, at the top of the Federal Financial Building, the digital clock was stuck on 11:39. Smart hunters realized that the upside down sandwich boards meant: turn the time upside down. The digits 1139 upside down spell "bEll." At the Miami Beach Community Church, a block to the west, the bell tower had been tolling every five minutes.
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 76
How to get the answer:
It was playing a slow-motion version of "76 Trombones." The answer was 76.

Puzzle: Giant Inflatables
Location: Hall A at the Miami Beach Convention Center
Hall A at the Miami Beach Convention Center was filled with giant parade-type inflatable animals and objects. Each of the balloons should have looked familiar: The same images were printed in Tropic, tucked into regular columns and articles, each one bearing a number from 1 to 15. At the convention center, each of the balloons had letters instead of numbers.
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 33
How to get the answer:
The trick was to arrange the lettered balloons in the same order as the numbered images. If you did it correctly, the letters spelled GO WHERE FAY WRAY FELL.

Fay Wray was, of course, the actress held captive by a giant gorilla in the classic movie King Kong. The 40-foot-tall King Kong balloon at the convention center had one hand outstretched, palm down, as if dropping something -- i.e.: Fay Wray. If hunters stood beneath the hand -- "where Fay Wray fell" -- other letters draped high atop massive columns throughout the convention hall lined up to spell: FORTY MINUS SEVEN. The answer to this clue was 33.

Puzzle: Band Music
Location: Euclid and Lincoln Road Mall
At Euclid and Lincoln Road Mall, a band was playing on a small stage, under a banner that said:

While hunters were trying to make sense of the performance, some tough-looking kids were walking around the plaza irritating people with the loud rap music coming from their boom boxes.
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 63
How to get the answer:
Alert hunters noticed that "occurrence," "venerable" and "Mississippi" were missing the letters r, a and p -- "rap."

The kids were actually performers from the New World School of the Arts, and the rap lyrics gave the real answer to this puzzle: "The number that you want is 63."

Puzzle: "High" Comedians
Location: Hall B at the Miami Beach Convention Center
A series of stand-up comics went through their routines. If you listened to the comics long enough, you realized they kept repeating one theme: getting up, going to the top, getting high, etc.
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 98
How to get the answer:
Hunters had to "get high" by taking escalators to a skyway above the hall where the number 98 appeared in plain sight on the floor of the stage. The comics had been walking on the answer.

The Clues
33. Which line of poetry is correctly attributed?
A) "Now I am 6, and clever as ever" - A.A. Milne
B) "You load 16 tons, and what do you get?" - A. Hernia
37. Your best bet is to take Route 89. But you'll have to put it back.
63. It was 12 degrees in a 17 miles-an-hour wind and we thought we were going to freeze our gazongas off. And then this reassuring idea occurred to us: There is no such thing as a "gazonga."
76. So, get this: They're losing by 17, and what do they do? They run the Statue of Liberty play. Yes! Is that stupid, or WHAT? Especially in a baseball game.
98. The order is: Red dot, white dot, blue dot.
The order is: Green dot.

The Final Puzzle
NOTE: The final puzzle description is hidden! In order to see them, you must highlight them with your mouse to reverse the text!

The Final Puzzle:
You have all the numbers you need. Do we have to spell it out for you? It's your call.
Final puzzle photos and materials...
Solving the Hunt:
"'You have all the numbers you need" referred to the fact that four of the five clues (all except Clue 98) had numbers in them -- 6, 16, 89, 12, 17 and 17.

But what were you supposed to do with these numbers? The answer was in the words "spell it out." You were supposed to spell out each number -- so that "6," for example, became "six." Then you counted the letters in each spelled-out number. Thus "six," with three letters, equaled 3; "sixteen" equaled 7, and so on. The number "eighty-nine" had to retain the hyphen, as in a phone number, to separate the six- letter "eighty" from the four-letter "nine." Ultimately, you got: 376-4699.

If you called that phone number (there were many public phones in the Lincoln Road and Convention Center area) you heard a recording from the Books and Books bookstore, urging you to visit "our Lincoln Road Mall location." In the window of Books and Books at 933 Lincoln Road was a display of books; some of these had colored paper dots stuck to their covers.

That's where the fifth clue, Clue 98, came in. It said: The order is: Red dot, white dot, blue dot. The order is: Green dot. There was a red dot on a Spike Lee book featuring a giant "X" on the cover; there was a white dot on the cover of V by Thomas Pynchon; there was a blue dot on The Scarlet Letter; there was a green dot on the classic Dr. Seuss children's book Green Eggs and Ham. The Scarlet letter of course refers to "A" for adultery. So the first part of clue 98 -- "The order is: Red dot, white dot, blue dot" -- translates to "The order is: XVA."

The trick was to convert "XV-A" to map coordinates using Roman numerals -- 15-A. Coordinates 15-A on the Hunt map corresponded to a breakfast patio at The Cadet Hotel, where Tropic Editor Bill Rose, disguised in a mustache and waiter's uniform, awaited the winners. The prizes went to the first four Hunt teams to locate Bill and -- using the second part of clue 98 -- say: "The order is Green Eggs and Ham."

Who won (Congratulations!):
1st place team
Andrea Livingston
Glenna Allman
Grant Livingston
Larry Newberry

1st place team
The Streit Brothers


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