The Washington Post Hunt is an annual tradition that is part scavenger hunt, part riddle, part trivia competition. Mostly riddle though (and smartphones make the trivia a bit easier to manage, once you know what to look for).
Some 12,000 people competed, typically in teams, either to combine efforts on cracking the riddles, or to spread out across the city and gain an advantage in reaching the sites of physical clues.
This year for the first time a single individual won -- Sean Memon, a 2008 JD/MBA grad of Duke, and now an associate at Sullivan and Cromwell in DC. Congratulations, and good luck trying to deposit your oversized $2000 check. [WaPo]
For those of you unfamiliar with the competition (so ...probably all of you), some of the riddles are very challenging, and the final clue was particularly tough. After solving the previous five riddles, hunters were directed to a stage to receive the final clue at 3:00pm. The clue was as follows:
1.The final clue begins at three-oh-one.
So what happened at the stage at 3:01?
That was a clue. We'll give you a minute to work on it...
Did you come up with dialing 301-668-4464? (301-NOTHING) Yeah, probably not.
And that was just the start of the clue. A pre-recorded message left another clue, which once understood told hunters to use the four sets of letters to decipher a message hidden within an earlier puzzle which then turned into directions to the end point of the game, and those directions were themselves more riddles. Turn west at green mountains? Hope you're an Americana buff and know which is the Green Mountain State. [See all the puzzles and solutions here.]
It's a challenging enough competition when you have a team of folks who've studied all the past years' clues to get a feel for how they work. For an individual to win is pretty impressive, so congratulations once again to Sean Memon, and we'll leave you with these words of wisdom from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:
Well, you know, two chiefs ago, Chief Justice Burger, used to complain about the low quality of counsel. I used to have just the opposite reaction. I used to be disappointed that so many of the best minds in the country were being devoted to this enterprise.
I mean there’d be a, you know, a defense or public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isn’t she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?
I mean lawyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.
And they appear here in the Court, I mean, even the ones who will only argue here once and will never come again. I’m usually impressed with how good they are. Sometimes you get one who’s not so good. But, no, by and large I don’t have any complaint about the quality of counsel, except maybe we’re wasting some of our best minds.