Home » Curriculum Vitae » CURRICULUM VITAE: Street Smarts 2: Codewalkers

CURRICULUM VITAE: Street Smarts 2: Codewalkers

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STREET SMARTS 2: CODEWALKERS
(Puzzle Hunt)

Teams are given a packet that contains a map of the Cherry Creek North shopping district and a series of puzzles. The map shows several marked locations and each puzzle can be completed with information findable at one of the locations. The final puzzle is a long series of instructions that use the solutions to the previous puzzles as data inputs. A team that successfully completes all of the instructions receives an answer phrase identifying the accomplishment.

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After the positive reception of the original Street Smarts event in 2008 I planned a sequel the following year. The hunt coincided with my 39th birthday so I chose “The 39 Steps” as a final answer and included references to other Hitchcock films throughout the 39 word transformation instructions comprising the meta puzzle. I was overambitious in designing the early stages of the event as I created eight puzzles to solve in various locations throughout the Cherry Creek North area. Few teams were close to completing all eight before the scheduled wrapup at California Pizza Kitchen, so I encouraged teams to combine and share information in order to complete the meta during dinner. The early puzzles included a word grid formed from a knickknack shelf in the JW Marriott lobby, a face carving identification puzzle at a plaza fountain, and a rainbow-themed letter extraction puzzle using a statue of a child reading a Wizard of Oz story book. My favorite puzzle involved a series of storefronts that needed to be identified from aerial-view photos taken from a rooftop parking lot. The starting point for the event was a Starbucks coffee shop that is about four blocks from another Starbucks, so I posted an “alternate universe” puzzle in the second Starbucks location. A word search puzzle solution directed solvers to find a compartment next to the drive-thru lane of a bank. On the day of the hunt I had hidden slips of paper in the compartment underneath a stack of bank deposit envelopes (the slips of paper had holes cut out, and overlaying the paper on the word search revealed the puzzle answer). One solver had to leave the event early, but he returned to Cherry Creek North about a month later to see if he could finish the puzzles. He reported that the paper slips were still in the bank compartment. Some slips could still be there today for all I know.

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