An estimated 5000 people showed up for the Miami Herald Hunt. The hunt offers teams of players a chance to win a 7 day Costa Caribbean cruise if they can find all the clues located around downtown Miami. The insanity began with a print out in the Miami Herald. There opening multiple choice questions were posted which would help locate coordinates on the supplied map to help pinpoint where clues were located. Here is one of those questions...
In August Sen Mel Martinez resigned as one of Florida's U.S. Senators. Whom did Gov. Charlie Crist appoint to replace him.
D. Gloria Estifan.
G. A live six foot nurse shark.
H. Some Lackey.
Well it wasn't Gloria, and not a nurse shark, so it had to be some lackey. Even I got this one right. The answer of H was then combined with a number given by Pulitzer prize winning author Dave Barry from the main stage to give a coordinate on the hunt map. This clue lead us to Trinity Cathedral a block away. Most of the crowd scattered. Terry and I were working with Hailey and she was the one who quickly got the map coordinates in place. As soon as the hunt began however some Carolers stepped out on the stage and started singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". Well hark means listen and this event was put on by the Herald so we stayed and listened. It soon became obvious that the two singers dressed as angels were not singing all the verses. They only sang verses 3, 5 and 11. In the paper 3511 was one of the clues. I thought, hey this is easy! We were off and running.
When we got to the Trinity Cathedral however we got bogged down. There volunteers gave each team a rubber bracelet and said "put it on your wrist". P 3 was stamped on to the bracelet. While everyone sat around looking at page 3 in the paper, trying to solve a letter jumble, I decided to just count the number of letters in "Put it on your wrist." That made the answer 16. I was excited and sure I was right but the rest of the team didn't agree. After half an hour of agonizing we decided to move on having not solved the puzzle. We even went so far as to count the number of bracelets on a mosaic located at the front of the cathedral but that was a false lead. After the event was over I found out 16 was the correct answer but for an entirely different reason. The jumble had "Put it on your wrist" within the jumbled letters and if you put the bracelet on the answer 16 letters were contained in the space. Ugh!!!
At this point I felt our team had no chance of winning and I started hunting for a sketch instead. At the Arsht Center Plaza, Juliet began calling out to Romeo from a balcony high above the crowd. She was so high up that Romeo has trouble hearing her and he yelled out that Juliet should call him. This clue lead astute hunters to a fake ad in the paper for an Italian restaurant called "The House of Montague". When the phone number in the add was called a message said "Where fore art thou has four syllables No, yes, no, yes." In other words pay attention to the second and fourth syllables. fore thou or 4000.
Another clue was given in the theater where a young white man named Jack was lying on the stage with a sword stuck in his chest. His friends tried to figure out who murdered Jack before the police arrived. As the actors were reenacting the events of the evening the house lights went out and the audience was told to stay seated while they fixed the problem. When the lights came back on the actors became concerned that something had changed. The murdered Jack had been replaced by a black actor. The answer to this puzzle was Black Jack or 21.
Other clues scattered about downtown consisted of an IV bottle and stand located outside the theater and a radio broadcast of a field goal. The answers would be 4 and 3. These were to help solve a Sudoku puzzle found down by the docks. Since my main goal now was no longer to win but to sketch, I returned to the main stage to sketch the carolers who had been performing every 15 minutes during the the event. As I was sketching, Dave Barry walked onto the stage and offered the final clue of the Hunt. He said, "I'd like to give you the final clue but it's just too gross." A gross is a dozen dozen or 144, two gross would be 288 this lead to a 6th clue in the paper that said "If words were inches". The insanely clever souls that had solved the 5 clues from around the city then counted the words in the 5 clues and got the answer of 48 words. 48 inches is 4 feet. On the Herald Hunt map, 4 feet were drawn near the theater and several teams sprinted in that direction. The location offered 4 bricks which were inscribed with the names of 4 made up donors all named Foot. The winners had to figure out the donors ages from dates inscribed on the bricks and from that they could assemble a phone number which when called announced them as the winners. Of course I never got that far, I was too busy sketching. Perhaps next year the Orlando team will be more of a contender.
It is a shame Orlando does not have such an exciting, fun, quirky way to get people excited about the arts and discovering the treasures of downtown. When the event was over I met Dave Barry and had him sign my sketch.