19 May 2008

The Washington Post's 2008 Post Hunt

"Wait ... that's not the Geico Gecko!"

On a damp, cool afternoon, Washington D.C. experienced something new to the city ... The Post Hunt. This exercise in cerebral gymnastics was created by Dave Barry, Gene Weingarten and Tom Shroder. It is an off-shoot of The Herald Hunt, created by Dave Barry and Tom Shroder when they worked at The Miami Herald.

The turnout for this event was pretty impressive for a first year. I would estimate about 250 people showed, which comprised of locals from VA/DC/MD and visitors from FL who participated in past Herald Hunts. The object was simple ... solve clues to win the hunt.

The six games involved in solving the clues were not as simple.

Only six items were needed to compete in this free event - a copy of Sunday's Washington Post Magazine, a pencil, a piece of paper, a cell phone, your thinking cap, and a healthy sense of humor. If you didn't have a copy of the Post Magazine (because you're a cheap bastard), one was provided to you at the starting site. If you didn't have any of the other items ... well, you were SOL.

I was on a team comprising of myself, Peanut, Alpha Male, and Roommate Of Alpha Male. (Trust me, peeps, those nicknames are much less wordy and far easier to type than the ones they used to have.) Alpha Male and Roommate were fully prepared and had even tried to decipher some of the clues earlier in the morning (in lieu of sleeping, apparently). Peanut and I were not as prepared ... as I am both cheap and forgetful ... so we didn't get our Post Magazine until we arrived at the starting point.

I won't regale you with a play-by-play of the whole event. You can see the six games and their answers on the official website (and so understand the torture that we all went through yesterday). Instead, I'll cover some thoughts:
  • Comics who have to follow a script for a hunt aren't as funny as you would expect. But children who ad lib are hilarious!
  • The Washington Nationals Presidents rock!
  • A male ruminant is fast.
  • Reading comprehension is FUNdamental.
  • Booing Dave, Tom, and Gene at any and every opportunity is a Herald Hunt tradition and is explicitly encouraged by Dave, Tom, and Gene.
  • Coconut fortune cookies are very tasty.
  • Dave Barry is as funny in person as he is in writing.
  • I didn't think about getting Dave Barry's autograph until just now.
  • Some people don't know the difference between a crossword puzzle and a scavenger hunt.
  • I love Peanut and Alpha Male. And Roommate Of Alpha Male isn't too bad, either.
  • Everyone loves Journey.
  • The endgame was FAR too complicated and required thinking not only outside of the box but outside of reason.
  • Which means that the players on the teams that actually solved all six games should be institutionalized.
All in all, I am very proud of my teammates. We solved the first five games fairly quickly and easily. Each person on our team provided extremely valuable input ... no one person dominated. Ours was truly a team effort. If we had understood how to think like the organizers better before the hunt, I think we would have placed in the top three. (Are we all in agreement here, teammates?) It was a fun five hours spent with people I wish I could spend time with together more often.

I do hope that the Post makes this an annual tradition. It's a great way to spend a day in the city. It's great exercise, both mental and physical. It's a great way to see parts of the city you may not otherwise see. It's a great excuse to spend time with friends. In short, The Post Hunt is just great!


The Knowledgemonger said...

Alpha Male, huh! I thank my random myspacer for the nickname. I was going to post a blog about this; however, you did it so well and mirrored my thoughts (surprise!) that I couldn't do it justice. Instead I am going to just post a link on my blog to this post and go from there.


P.S. Don't use this comment as a clue :-)

Jimmie said...


I was committed out the ying-yang on Sunday, else I would have loved to have been there. I remember reading about the Herald Hunt.

FYI, I got about halfway to the end of the final clue just seeing what clues folks were given. We could have rocked the house.

Next year, please save me a spot on Team Awesome!

Tuffie said...

sounds like good times were had.

if i'm still living in dc if they have it again next year i'll have to check it out.