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1996 Tropic Hunt

Your online guide to the zaniness of the 1996 Tropic Hunt!

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1996 Tropic Hunt Cover Image

When:  11/3/1996

Where: Downtown Miami


The return to Downtown Miami.

\nIt had been 10 years since the last Hunt, and I guess the city of Miami was getting desparate for money. Just kidding…

\nSeriously, this was a welcome site to return to the Hunt. Public transportation (Metrorail, Metromover) made it easy to get there, Bayside provided a welcome place to get some food and go over puzzles…and go insane the entire time!

\nWhat was 1996? Why a presidential election year, of course! And with only a couple days until our elections, why not have a puzzle dedicated to a debate for the candidates? And, nearby, why not have a small barbecue while toasting your favorite baseball team? Or strain your eyes to see a 3D image…or…GASP…encounter an \'urban experience!\'

\nI had teamed up with some friends for this one…and this just went to show you that more people dedicating more brain power to the same amount of puzzles…doesn\'t necessarily get you anywhere. We enjoyed booing Dave Barry at the end during the explanation of the Hunt…


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!

No initial puzzles available for this year.

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: The Election Debate
Location: AT&T Amphitheater
Description:
At the Bayfront Amphitheater, the Second City comedy troupe from Chicago was performing a pre-election debate parody. Actors imitating Clinton, Dole and Perot were taking swipes at one another on the stage. The tone of the debate was deteriorating: Every few moments, one candidate would shout at another, "You know where you can stick it!" Oddly, each candidate had a campaign bumper sticker like the ones handed out to Hunters stuck to the seat of his pants.
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 47
How to get the answer:
Alert Hunters translated all this as follows: Stick the bumper sticker on your . . . donkey (a six-letter synonym for a three-letter word beginning with a). Inside Tropic magazine, there was a political cartoon featuring a Democratic donkey. If you stuck the bumper sticker on the donkey, aligned with the four stars in the cartoon, the red line on the bottom of the bumper sticker, combined with the red lines in the cartoon, formed the number 47, the solution to this puzzle.

Puzzle: Baseball/Barbeque
Location: Bayfront Park, on the stage near the Challenger Memorial
Description:
You came across a small covered pavillion in Bayfront Park, and underneath were 3 or 4 people wearing St. Lous Cardinal jerseys standing around in a roped-off wooden deck. They were BBQing, tossing a baseball, talking with anyone who walked up to them about anything they wanted to.
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 52
How to get the answer:
You had to realize what you were looking at: a "deck" of "cards". How many cards are there in a deck? 52.

Puzzle: 3D Glasses
Location: First Union Financial Center atrium
Description:
At the First Union Financial Center, a giant banner was unfurled three stories above the plaza. Hunt volunteers handed out 3-D glasses, while the PA system played a recording of Karen Carpenter singing "Close to You".
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 18
How to get the answer:
The trick was to look at the banner with the 3-D glasses and notice that one of the images on the banner leapt out. This image was what "close to you" referred to. It was "8T1" printed upside down. Take 81 and turn it upside down and you get 18, the answer to this puzzle.

Puzzle: People Mover
Location: All over MetroMover in downtown Miami
Description:
Hunters looking up at the Metromover cars that rolled around downtown Miami noticed large colorful images affixed to the train windows. In a chart in Tropic, a color graphic told Hunters how to order the Metromover signs by color to form a rebus -- a series of images that spell out a sentence. The images were these: An addition sign, a dress, the "at" sign (@), a witch, K-9, three bears, a cigarette butt.
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 66
How to get the answer:
Translated that gave you: ADD DRESS AT WITCH CANINE BEARS BUTT -- in other words, address at which dog bares butt. Alert Hunters noticed an item in Tropic about the famous Coppertone sign in downtown Miami featuring a dog pulling down the bathing suit of a little girl. To solve the clue, you had to realize that the rebus referred to the Coppertone sign, then find the address of the building on which the sign is displayed -- 66 Flagler St. The solution was 66.

Puzzle: Connect the Dots
Location: All over MetroMover in downtown Miami
Description:
On Northwest First Avenue, Hunt staff distributed a handbill with a map of the adjacent 12-block area and five photographs of architectural features from buildings within the map area.
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 189
How to get the answer:
The trick was to quickly locate each of the photographed features and plot them on the map, then connect the dots in the order given. If you did this, you got a five-pointed star. In Tropic, a "Hunt Conversion Chart" gave values for a dozen geometric figures. The value for the five-pointed star was 189, the solution for this puzzle.

Puzzle: The 'Urban Experience'
Location: All over MetroMover in downtown Miami
Description:
The Hunt directions told Hunters that one clue would be unmarked but in plain sight in downtown. Hunters were alerted to be "open to the urban experience." At strategic corners, hawkers offered a leaflet marked on top with a large "XXX" that appeared to be advertising some illicit product involving "LIVE NAKED GIRLS."
Related puzzle photos and materials...
Puzzle Answer: 30
How to get the answer:
Many Hunters moved to the other side of the sidewalk to avoid receiving this. But if they had been "open to the urban experience" they would have discovered that the handbill was a comical discourse on the fact that many fine artists painted nudes of living women. At the bottom, very small type announced: "Speaking of the ancient Romans, the answer to the Tropic Hunt Puzzle is at the top of this page." In Roman numerals, XXX equals 30.


The Clues
18. What are you looking for? 25 goes into it four times. But only on Sunday.
30. Go to the tropics. Take the red eye to get there.
52. Yo, Gene!
66. If Dave has 236 speaking invitations in a given month, how many does he average? And why should you care?
189. Tom, what is the frequency?
47. This is the key to the final three, and if you think about it, you will understand why the answer to this one is 25.

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:
Love 94 broadcast the final clue at 4 p.m. It sounded like an argument between a man and a woman:
Woman: "NO, NO, NO NO!"
Man: "YES!"
W: "NO NO!"
M: "YES!!!"
W: "NO!!!"
M: "YES!!!!"
W: "NO NO NO NO!!!!"
M: "YES!!!!!"
Final puzzle photos and materials...
Solving the Hunt:
When Hunters applied the puzzle solution numbers to the page of clues in Tropic, they came away with these six clues to help them solve the Hunt. The first one was:
18 -- What are you looking for? 25 goes into it four times. But only on Sunday.
What does 25 go into four times only on Sunday? A Miami Herald vending box. The Sunday Herald costs four quarters. So the trail to winning the Hunt began with finding one of the 20 Herald boxes in Downtown Miami.

Which brought you to clue 30:
Go to the tropics. Take the red eye to get there.
"The tropics" referred to the design on special rack cards placed in the Herald vending machines: the word TROPIC repeated in a pattern covering the entire card. "Take the red eye to get there" told the clever Hunter to look at the card with only the red lens of the red and blue 3-D glasses that Hunters got at the First Union plaza. If you did that, these words popped into view: GENE = PAGE, DAVE = PARAGRAPH, TOM = SENTENCE.

Things were beginning to fall into place. Three of the remaining four clues contained one of those three names (after Hunt creators Dave Barry, Tom Shroder and Gene Weingarten):
52 -- Yo, Gene!
66 -- If Dave has 236 speaking invitations in a given month, how many does he average? And why should you care?
189 -- Tom, what is the frequency?

The fourth remaining clue was this:
47 -- This is the key to the final three, and if you think about it, you will understand why the answer to this one is 25.
Clue 47 contained 25 words, so the answer was 25. It was telling you to count the words in the three name clues, and apply them to the formula on the rack card. For example: Yo, Gene! had two words so you knew: 2 = PAGE . Similarly you knew: 20 = PARAGRAPH and 5 = sentence.
On page 2 in Tropic, the fifth sentence of the 20th paragraph (a letter to the editor) read:
"Danny, we no longer call the job 'frogman' -- we say 'frog person'; join the 20th century!"
But there was no way to figure out what that meant until the final clue was broadcast.

The winning Hunters had to apply the sequence of NOs and YESes to the sentence in the 20th paragraph of page 2. You ignored the words that coincided with NOs and used the YES (bolded) words.
"Danny, we no longer call the job 'frogman' -- we say 'frog person'; join the 20th century! "
The solution: CALL FROGMAN SAY CENTURY. On the telephone dial, FROGMAN translates to 376-4626. If you were among the first to call that number and say, "Century, " you were a winner.

Who won (Congratulations!):



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Page last updated: Thursday, October 23, 2014  3:10:19 PM