Monday, May 23

Page 4

Here's Tricky Augustine's recap of page 4. Reposted due to technical difficulties.

Scavhunt 2011! Congrats to BJ for a well-deserved victory, to all the

other teams for breaking every official and unofficial record of

awesomeness, and cabal members both new and old for keeping the dream

alive in our silver anniversary. Below are some quick thoughts and

reflections on page 4, my page.

44. A creepy doll. That always follows you. That has a creepy eye.

That's always open. A creepy doll. That always follows you. That has a

pretty mouth. To swallow you whole. [3 points. 5 bonus points if it

freaks out a Judge with an appearance during an unexpected Scav


Notes: I’m not quite sure if this item is better if you know of the

Jonathan Coulton song, or if you don’t. In any case it’s catchy, and

there’s a youtube video of Neil Gaiman playing the tambourine part

somewhere. Actually, I have to admit I have a pretty low tolerance for

creepy dolls, to the point where a completely non-creepy doll might

have been a more difficult item. Still, these were great.

Best Completion: Personally, I have to give it to South Campus who

dropped their freakish stuffed deer-rabbit hybrid on us from on high

as soon as we entered their headquarters. Also, Breck’s managed to

make Judge Cynthia cower for a bit, which tends to be a pretty good

standard for shit-freaking. Finally, I was able to make Judge Citron

squeal by sneaking up on him with BJ’s. High comedy.

45. School dance photos of tenured faculty. Special consideration will

be given to powder blue tuxedos, beehive hairdos, and leisure suits.

[3 points each, 4 photos max]

Notes: Considering I’m never happy with how I look in most

photographs, I’m actually quite happy with most of my school dance

photos. It turns out our faculty should be as well. Man, 80s prom

dresses were awesome.

Best Completion: I’ve been sworn to secrecy on many of these. To get

sort of a general idea, check out Charles Lipson’s facebook profile.

There were beehives, there were leisure suits, there were blue

tuxedos, mistakes were made.

46. Trivial Fursuit: the internet-fetish trivia board game for ages 12

to adult. Very adult. [12 to adult points]

Notes: Pun items go in and out of style depending on the season, but

considering that only one letter has been changed, I was pretty happy

this got on the list. More than a few scavvies came up to me and told

me that this was their favorite item of 2011 to do. I’m glad.

Best Completion: All of these were just great. And the best part was

how there’s a non-zero chance that the converted Trivial Pursuit games

will all be returned to various dorm commons areas with questions

about Agony in Pink and Evangelion Hentai

47. The dress Miss Frizzle wore the day she taught Sex Ed. [13 points]

Notes: I had a lot of great teachers in my time, but I wish they had

worn themed-dresses when introducing volcanoes or whatever. Sadly, it

was only now that the dream has come true. Worth. The. Wait.

Best Completion: Again, all excellent, especially those that made sure

not to puncture the air bubble on the attached condoms (They’re still

good!). In addition, Snitchcock’s came accompanied with a video that

was as hilarious as would be likely to ruin the political career of

all involved, would it be publically released. Take my word on this


51. A basketball hoop that's a rib cage. A RIB CAGE! [12 points]

Notes: I’m not sure the Judge Cabal knew this was a 30 Rock reference

when I proposed it and it was passed. Then again, I have a quota of

skeleton items I try to get on the list every year. 12th times the

charm, right? I don’t know what was better, the basketball hoops or

the way I was able to force a meme by pure power of shouting… A RIB


Best Completion: With all due respect to those who valiantly ate their

weights in Rib and Bibs to complete this one, I have to give it to

MacPierce, whose interpretation combined the phrases “deer carcass”,

“roadside butchering” and “thousand-mile skeleton transport” into

something new and terrifying.

52. Seventeen magazine's “Traumarama" column featuring the most

embarrassing moments of Ernest

Hemingway, Ayn Rand, H.P. Lovecraft, and Batman. [4 points]

Notes: Many of my sufficiently advanced creative-writing scav items

are indistinguishable from McSweeney’s articles that I’m too lazy to


Best Completion: With all due respect to GASH’s Batman, which did

Frank Miller better than Frank Miller does Frank Miller, I have to

give it to Snitchcock who photoshopped and replaced pages in an actual

Seventeen magazine, so indistinguishable that it eventually lead to a

fellow judge picking up the magazine to look through it and eventually

getting really confused.

53. A dozen eggs, one prepared in each of the following styles:

scrambled, fried, poached, tamagoyakied, Scotched, tea-ed, century-ed,

blow-torched, defibrillated, spatula-bounced (five times in a row,

minimum), arc-welded, and Burning Man-ed. [15 points]

Notes: This came from a Seinfeld-like conversation I had at a

restaurant about how in diner speak “two eggs any style” really means

“scrambled or fried”, poached likely getting you some odd looks, and

anything involving chives being right out. Should have had a toast

requirement, too.

Best Completion: Not going to lie: this got a little repetitive to

judge by the end, especially since no team managed to get the full

dozen. My initial plan was to sample some of each, but round about egg

number 23, that plan was abandoned. Scav already gave me an eating

disorder, and I can’t imagine eating a gross of increasingly cold eggs

would help that out. Anyways, GASH probably had the best tamgoyaki,

Snitchcock the best scotched egg (along with the prerequisite British

team member who went totally anglophile in explaining the majesty of

sausage coating an egg), and Max P. gets points for indulging me by

arc-welding the egg right there at judgment.

54. A relief of a famous literary scene, carved entirely from its

print source. [22 points]

Notes: The above was inspired by the obviously-photoshopped Diary of

Anne Frank poster seen here: Desperately wanted to

see something like it in my hand.

Best Completion: Man, I guess I really getting wishy-washy in my

old-judge age, as I cannot seem to pick a favorite one for this

either. Shakespeare, Homer, Cervantes, Tolkien and others were

represented and represented wells. Probably the item I most wanted to

swipe from teams, though most made it clear they wished to hang on to

their work, and would have bit me had I tried it.

56. A box of cryptozoology animal crackers. [5 points]

Notes: Scav may have a special love for the hodag, but frankly, all

mythical beasts are up for grabs in my mind.

Best Completion: Any team that didn’t use glue to stick theirs

together, meaning I could actually chomp down on the chupacabra or

whatever. They know who they are…

57. You're at the movies with your date, but you can't seem to enjoy

M. Night's latest when you're too concerned about whether you should

be holding hands. Create an armrest-sized system that will allow both

parties to give clear signals ranging from “Why don't you go get some

popcorn?" to “Start sliding into second, homie." [8 points]

Notes: I have no clue why movies are considered such a good date

location. There's no conversation, the food sucks, and there's a

non-zero chance you'll have to watch something by Seltzer and

Friedberg. Let alone the battleground that is the armrest.

Best Completion: Especially loved BJ’s, which took the “signaling”

aspect to the next level. I had never before considered what the

unique symbolic equivalent for “start sliding into second, homie”

would be, but trust me, they got it.

59. One of the Captain Crunch whistles made famous by John Draper. [20 points]

Notes: Nerd lore time: John Draper was a phone phreaker in the 1970s,

using specially designed “blue boxes” to trick phone company computers

into giving him free phone calls. He went by the name Captain Crunch,

a reference to a whistle included in boxes of the cereal that just so

happened to play at 2600 hrtz, the frequency that, when played into

the AT&T phone system, would allow someone to use a toll-free number

to make numerous free long distance calls. Probably the most obscure

item on my page.

Best Completion: Sadly, I did not get the actual whistle in my hand,

though many teams came close. Blint, I believe, was able to get a

picture of the actual John Draper with his own whistle in front of

their logo. Very cool. Scampi modified a whistle to be pretty darn

close to 2600 hrtz (or so their team oscilloscope displayed). Finally,

Max P. convinced me through a series of photographs and shipping

orders that the genuine article on the way to campus, but was delayed

in transit. They’d better have it when I come next year.

63. A complete copy of A Fragment Out Of Time. [25 points]

Notes: This is the work generally considered to be the first work of

slash fiction, featuring the original slash couple Kirk and Spock. The

author never gave permission for it to be reprinted on the internet,

so you could only find this in obscure collections of science fiction

material. Hard to fine erotic Star Trek literature with important

nerd-history value? That’s a good go-find-it item in my mind.

Best Completion: The teams that completed this did so by calling in

connections at various college fanzine collections and, if failing to

do so, resorting to library breaking-and-enterings. I’m glad no one

got arrested but, let’s face it, attempted larceny of Star Trek slash

fiction would’ve been a hell of a thing to come up on a background


Thursday, May 12

Item 35, Continued, Continued

Here are my contributions to the puzzle hunt:

"A Trifling Monograph"

My judge bio pics are a .gif of me in various strange positions. A quick google of the title of this puzzle reveals that it's an homage to Sherlock Holmes and the cryptic alphabets in "The Adventure of the Dancing Man." At this point, it was just a job of trying to interpret my slightly-inaccurate positions to get the clue "Sorry won't act" -- meant to imply that the group concerned with the  midwest dialogue is not the culprit. After taking these photos, I have a new-found respect for people who can do unassisted handstands.


Well, the pie is pretty good in Chicago, but so is the "pi". The idea of this puzzle was translating Chicago's grid system into polar coordinates. Taking r = 1941.648 and degrees = 101.888 [[**A note: I think in future versions of this puzzle this will be in radians. I think this threw a lot of people off, though I'd be interested to hear your feedback. So take Θ = 1.77828]] and converting using the basic trig functions we get  (-400, 1900). Now, plugging this into the Chicago Grid System of course using Madison and State as (0/0) we get 400W, 1900N which is squarely on Wisconsin Avenue.

So: Wisconsin is especially angry about's new tax strategy.


This was the first one that many of you got. A straight one-to-one cryptogram, the code reveals "Even the juicy tales of corruption in the travel business could not make Assange care about poverty tourism"

"The Recording"

This clue was my baby and I very much enjoyed watching many of you struggle over it. However, I was sad that a lot of people got hung up on the 11 clips/10 spaces problem. Guys, that last bit, where there's a long pause and last bit of audio is not from a NPR report and instead has spliced in audio of the theme song -- that was a JOKE. So yeah, it's just the 10 clips for 10 spaces. Sorry about that. Anyways, here are the anchors/speakers. 

Steve Inskeep
Jad Abrumrad
Nora Raum
Larry Abramson
Liane Hansen
Renee Montagne
Lakshmi Singh
Magliozzi Brother #1
Peter Overby
Magliozzi Brother #2

So you get that the state of IA is concerned with Rahm's Mom.

A lot of people mistook Abrumrad (form WNYC's wonderful Radio Lab) for Ira Glass. A surprising number of people had problems with Liane Hansen, I think. That one you could have identified more easily from the music, which is exclusively used for Sunday Edition. 

Tuesday, May 10

Item 35 Cont'd

To follow up from Sam's post about Item 35, there are a couple of puzzles that he didn't explain:

Mad Props: Each of the props described is found (uniquely, I hope) in a movie. Taking letters from the different answers results in an acrostic-style solution: SIMPSON AND WISCONSIN ARE NOT the culprits. The answers to the individual movie props:
Ubiquitous ducts - Brazil
A teenager’s t-shirt, purchased in an emergency for one hundred dollars - No Country for Old Men
Photographic flash bulbs used to impede the advance of a murderer - Rear Window
A row of parking meters with their heads removed - Cool Hand Luke
A deliberately shredded opera program - Citizen Kane
A trainload of rotting vegetables - East of Eden
Multiple borrowed sticks of gum, to be paid back later - The Right Stuff
A hand of four threes that mysteriously becomes a hand of four jacks - The Sting
A golf club for exorcising demons - Dogma
False teeth used to stop time - The Hudsucker Proxy

Strange Motif: This was inspired by a puzzle taken from the Kaitai Dismantlement series of puzzles (look it up if you aren't familiar, it's really fun). If you print out the puzzle, cut apart each shape along the solid lines, and rearrange the pieces such that the icons line up with one another, you will spell out the letters RLSTINE.

Travel: The cities in the pictures ("visited") are of Seattle and SF, followed by Dallas, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, Chicago, and Omaha. If you draw lines connecting these cities, showing how RL Stine has been traveling recently the legs of the trip will spell out I (Seattle to SF) and A. Hence, the answer is IA or Iowa.

Item 35

I made it out to MIT Mystery Hunt and found it sufficiently nerdy and challenging to want to try to adapt a more UofC and Humanities version for Scav. I wound up organizing our mini-hunt and writing some of the puzzles, and dropping it on the list as item 35—a fairly long-winded introduction pointing to:

To give credit where due, C. L. came up with the Clue-style metapuzzle format, Rebecca Maurer wrote the scenario/flavortext for the metapuzzle, and both Daniel Citron and Rebecca also wrote puzzles.

Here are the ones I worked on, in order:

"A Freebie"

This was an answer written in a mixture of rare and dead scripts: Santali, Ugaritic cuneiform, Vai, Bamum, Mayan syllabary. The answer, "arugula", was meant to cue the fear of a foodie revolution. Take a look at Omniglot for more on these scripts.

"Architectural Tour"

Count the stories of the building that are shown, and take that letter of the building's name. Hence the odd cropping, and "It's a shame that they don't show more, though you'll do your best to piece together their story." Yields NFILLION.


These are all very fast-and-loose interpretations of laws laid down in Deuteronomy. Only a few chapters contain laws like this, but each chapter has about 26 verses. Take the letter corresponding to the verse number of each of these (A=1...), and you'll get your answer. Yields SLUMTOURS.


The "distributed quite frequently" should suggest a frequency distribution, and the most commonly used frequency distribution in image-related work is the histogram of brightness values—It's displayed by default in Photoshop.

The raw histogram should be letter-like enough to keep you on the right track. To get the solution, you need to realize that there are really only two gradients in the image and flip/move pieces to reconstruct them. The resulting histograms should read JGOODALL and DAIRYCOW. This was created with the help of Histoface, with a hat tip to Ezra for the suggestion.


To begin with, this one had an error: the clip from "Grace Kelly" should have been from the same album's "Lollipop." A Blint scavvie pointed this out late in the hunt, and a correction was sent out. In any case, find the albums that these tracks came out on, and take the letter of the album title corresponding to the track's number.


This was a group effort, stemming from a dropped item by Leah Rand, and adapted to the puzzle hunt by Daniel, but I'll run through it since I assembled the final version.

You should first notice that the asterisk has eight points, rather than the usual six. Some technically-inclined poking around should reveal that it's not just an image, but a Scalable Vector Graphics format image. Most browsers can't zoom in enough to reveal any detail, but opening it in an editor and blowing it up 4000+ percent should reveal that the arms of the asterisk are squished text:

Either stretching the image or viewing the screen from a steep angle yields the four words of the solution.


or, "Joking" in Italian, should cue Commedia dell'arte, the classic performance genre revolving around a fairly consistent set of stock characters. Find the name of the character described by each label, take the letter from it corresponding to the number in brackets, and you should get RAHMS MOM.

Sorry about the typo in the first line, it was entirely accidental.

"The Book"

It's hard to get out of here as an undergrad without having to pick up a copy of the Marx-Engels Reader. It's cheap and prominent enough that it's a ubiquitous feature on Hyde Park bookshelves, and the same edition has been used for quite a few years.

Take the first word on the numbered pages, and extract the marked letters, to get NEBRASKASNEIGHBORS.

"The Composer"

The flavortext should cue the composer Dvořák, and by extension the (otherwise unrelated) Dvorak alternative English keyboard layout. Typing the letters shown using their Dvorak keyboard positions but on a QWERTY keyboard yields THEBLUEGRASSSTATE.

"The Meeting Place"

These are from the JA sections of both the Regenstein and SSA libraries on campus, suggesting Julian Assange.

"The Poem"

Find the famous poem from which each line was drawn, and take the letter of the poem's title corresponding to the original line number of the excerpted line to get DAMEJANE. Why Dame? She's a member of the Order of the British Empire.

These, plus the other puzzles, should all agree on the following correspondences. Ys in the three main grid denote relationships between attributes, Ys on the margins represent attributes of the unique culprit.

Monday, May 9

Page Six

Item 86: Speaking of the apocalypse, I want to be able to enjoy haute cuisine in my fallout shelter. Donnez-moi homemade, powdered versions of each of Careme's mother sauces.

This was actually Julian’s item, but my background as a giant nerd gave me a good idea of how it would ideally be completed. The ideal completion was to make the sauce, dry in a thin layer (using a lyopholizer), then pulse the weird solid result with maltodextrin to powder it. Then repeat three times to make the four sauces of Careme – it was Escoffier who had the five sauce breakdown.

Nobody did it my ideal way, but there were definitely teams that got close by doing some parts but not all by using maltodextrin, using all powdered ingredients (powdered eggs exist?), or drying into a solid that could be powdered. In the end, who cares? They were excellent and apparently quite tasty according to my One True Love, Emily Watkins. Sorry I didn’t eat any of your creations – it was all thanks to item 103.

Item 87: A diabetes-themed video game.

This was actually a go-find-it. Quite a few teams delivered the ROM for the old SNES game, Captain Novolin, in which you play a superhero with type-1 diabetes. Snitchcock actually managed to get a ROM for the other SNES game about diabetes that I’ve heard of: Packy and Marlon. You play elephants with diabetes who side-scroll about in their adventures while remembering to maintain their blood glucose levels. There’s actually also another diabetes game that nobody got; it’s for the Nintendo DS – DIDGET! It’s connected to an actual glucose monitor that gives you reward points based on how often you test and how good your blood levels are.

I got a LOT of homemade games, and I totally still gave them many points for being awesome. Please, please, PLEASE upload all of these somewhere so we can get drunk and play as Wilford Brimley. Scampi had an amazing move-laterally-and-dodge-candy-or-syringes game with a realistic glucose level monitor and hilariously weird sound effects. GASH had a lateral-movement game to dodge candy which would cause you to lose your toes in diabetes-driven gangrene. There was an RPG-type game where you played as Wilford Brimley and even more Brimley-related game goodness that I don’t remember as well.

Item 89: Geologists, put down your beers|I am calling you out. You might spend your nights thinking about cleavage, but can you tell your calcite from your saponite? Your ikaite from your montmorillonite? Come to the Bartlett Trophy Room at 2 p.m. on Friday, and get ready to bite the dust.

I don’t know why, but people thought this was fun. Seriously? I made you eat rocks! You all ended up earning a high number of points for an hours worth of work and impressed the shit out of me. It was admittedly a really hard set of rocks to ID because I designed it with Christian, and he’s a PhD graduate with a BS in the geophysical sciences. Be thankful for Christian because I know nothing about rocks, and he pointed out that we shouldn’t make you eat obsidian because every cleavage would just make it sharper and sharper like razorblades in your mouth. My favorite rock was chrysocolla because it’s hygroscopic and your tongue actually sticks to it. The arsenopyrite was supposed to smell like garlic, but didn’t because it was too small of a sample or something, so I just rubbed actual garlic on it.

Item 93: As many dachshunds as you can, each accurately costumed as a regional hot dog. One per DCA geographical region.

I was really sad that I didn’t get more dogs, but still really thankful for what I got. My one dream was that I would end up buried in six dogs per team and literally explode from joy. I really like dogs. Scampi and Blint were actually the only teams to get me real-life dogs which I was basically crapping my pants over. Dogs! Guys! Dogs! I saw a dog! Breckinridge managed to get only photos, but provided more than seven distinct dogs in different outfits, all of which were adorable.

Photos of Scampi's two dogs:

Speaking of dachshunds, doesn’t this dog look so much like Sam Bowman? It’s a long wire-haired dachshund that I set as his picture on my cell phone.

Item 96: Compose a fun party ditty in the lyrical style of Mozart's Leck Mich Im Arsch.

I have never enjoyed being told to lick balls or suck dicks so thoroughly. Snitchcock did an amazing job with a traditional-style song that breaks into a rap interlude that discusses Reagan and how cum will slide down my chin like trickle-down economics. However, the most charming song was definitely MacPierce’s, titled Die Zwei Vater. Emily and I nearly DIED as they serenaded us about our dads “rumping it man-style.” Never in my life have I wanted a recording of a song so much.

Item 98: Saber a champagne bottle at Judgment.

This was incredible all around. I think the most impressive was Snitchcock’s scimitar, mainly for the style points and the fact that the Scavvie had actually done it before. Thanks very much to FIST, who was not equipped to actually complete the item with a plastic lightsaber but let another team use their bottle to replace one that had spontaneously popped. The best part was when the Breck Scavvie (I think) did not cut his thumb off with a sword.

Item 99: Each of us is a brain and an athlete and a basket case and a criminal and a girl who can do her morning makeup routine using nothing more than her cleavage. No modifications of makeup. Lips, mascara, eyeliner, and blush. Points to be awarded based on resultant beauty and preservation of ocular integrity.

Some girls did this SO WELL. It was sick. I can’t put on makeup as quickly or beautifully with my hands. Goddddddddddddamn. Blint, Breck, and BJ provided the best boobs in terms of accuracy and smoothness. Dissapointments? Nobody on Pals tried this item.

Item 101: An ice puppeteer with an ice puppet.

Christian and I both independently came up with this item, identical down to the wording. I realized later that I got it from an episode of Home Movies when it was proposed as a movie idea, but maybe Christian got it from another source. Either way, these were all interesting for different reasons, but BJ definitely stole my heart with their two dinosaur puppets. Their ice sculptures were of two dinosaurs, carved or melted so their parts were dino-like rather than cube-like, and they performed a great skit.

Item 102: Traditional Halloween pumpkin carving marks the summer's end with images of death and terror cut into a hollow carapace. But it's May, so your non-traditional watermelon carvings should instead celebrate new life with the full range of pinks, greens, and whites that the fruit provides.

This item was amazing, and in the end I rewarded fairly traditional carvings because they were just so well-done. Scampi and MaxP should have had their carvers strut around with their watermelons declaring their superiority the whole goddamn time because GODDAMN.

Max P's carving:

Item 103: I don't like most perfumes, colognes and so on, but it occurred to me recently that this might just be because they don't smell like things I like. I mean, sandalwood? When was the last time you saw that? Hint: it's not an erection in a shoe. But what if they smelled like things I actually enjoy, like frying onions or musty books? Adorn yourself with your favorite scent, and bring me a sample for my own collection.

I was sad that everyone did food smells rather than trying to somehow distill the smell of old books, but that might be because they just know that all I want to do is eat. Breckinridge did an amazing job by making a lotion that smelled like Sunday Breakfast. It was exactly like French toast and bacon, and I wanted to smell it all day. GASH made a fried rice perfume that smelled so scallion-y and rice-y, it was incredible. But truly, let me tell you, Scampi made the stand-out perfume that was amazing in its own way. They made Harold’s chicken perfume that smelled EXACTLY like Harold’s. But it was so strong, accurate, and out of context that it made me basically dry heave for an hour and live in fear of every subsequent perfume being that jarring. Congrats, Scampi, on somehow putting me off my appetite enough to completely skip lunch.

More photos are up! Click above. Recap soon.

Item 2: The Wire King

In my oh so humble opinion, Item 2 is the world's greatest Scav Hunt item. However, what many of you may/probably do not know is that Item 2 is not an original; in fact, it stems from a conversation (which I was not present for) between HJE and Saint Christian the Kammerer, in which the entirety of the Wire was explained as an elaborate Lion King metaphor. Having missed it (although thankfully being quite familiar with both the Lion King and all five seasons of the Wire), I felt the need to get the same glorious explanation, except by making you all do it for me.

Out of all of the iterations of Item 2, this, by MacPierce, is by far the best.
MacPierce: The Wire King

Honorable mentions go to GASH (for pairing "You come at the king, you best not miss" with Scar pushing Mufasa falling off the cliff) and Blint (for using only the 4-minute "fuuuuuuuuuck" sequence between McNulty and Bunk). I can't find these videos online, but hopefully will have them soon.

Sunday, May 8

Almost there.

Finishing up with the showcase pointing.  This is one of the few areas where I agree with my fellow Judges about not letting anyone see beyond the veil, so let me just say instead that:

I would never have believed in a hundred years that I would see Jordan Phillips complete two showcase items by puncturing a latex container that hung, pendulously, full of a common drink, letting the contents fall into a second container, and then quaffing the result to surprise and applause.  

Not in a hundred years, - Cthonathon


I am afraid that because it is so so so late at night, and I am weary beyond belief thanks to perhaps ten (wonderful, but tiring) HQ visits, and of course we have Judgment tomorrow, so all I can offer you from this glorious day are some photos and very brief commentary.

The day was amazing. Scav Olympics is always a good time, but I have to say that when I think back about today the things I will remember are these:

1. Santa Claus. Usually this happens every year, but you don't always see santa leading dances. Also, having more fun than anyone else:

2. The tiger, and the lion. Is there anything to say about this that hasn't been said? There was a lion, and a tiger, and they were on the midway. The lion peed on the midway. The tiger growled and scared young children. I forget which team was responsible for bringing the tiger, but the inter-team work that brought the lion was truly a beautiful sight, all these scavvies working together for the greater glory of scav.

But there was so much more! The Scampy watermelon carving was incredible, and so was their carving of Hamlet in a copy of Hamlet. The GASH fireflower made me scream like an insane man (in a good way) but my video of it didn't come out super well (also, it features me screaming like an insane man). Dinner was delicious, as always, visiting HQs was fun and made me remember why even though judging is fun, there's so much fun that we miss out on by not being on a team. Visiting the HQ for team Pals was cool too - I really love the ideas of these micro-teams (like last years' Team Lanie). At lunch, a long-time judge named joe (AJoe I think, but I've learned a lot of names recently so who knows) said that once, as an undergrad, a friend of his got drunk and challenged him to scav hunt, 1 on 1. So each of them would have to get as many points as possible, on their own (but then joe became a judge so it didn't work out). Still, great idea, no? I think it should be encouraged in every way.

Well, this started out as a post that would just be pictures so I could get to sleep, now I'm the only one still awake in CDA, the clickity-clack of my laptop keys and the glowing light of my laptop screen no doubt irritating the other judges immensely. Judgment is coming in Too Few Hours (i'm sure you agree with me on this one) so I will have to get ready to sleep at least a little between now and then.

Good luck to all of you tomorrow - it's been a great hunt so far and I am sure the rest of it will be amazing. I particularly look forward to your combination guitar player / jugglers! Anyone who does that item will earn a hearty high-five from me.

Puzzle Hunt Stat of the Day

Augh. So much food—ranging from "really good" to [extended bout of elated swearing]. So much. Also, HQ visits were great. Photos soon.


Total unique visitors to so far: 2,902.

Saturday, May 7

A reminder...

We test every item.

Coloring contest results: Awesome. (More)

Highlights from Days 1 and 2

Day 1:
- Playing the theme song at Captains' Crypt and EVERYBODY spontaneously singing along
- One word: BINNEY

Day 2:
- Googly eyes on Classics, Harper, Rockefeller chapel
- Realizing that, with 15 minutes left to register and already having run out of rules packets, there were still something like 100 people waiting in line to play in the GBWR attempt.

And we still have a day and a half to go!

Puzzle Hunt Stat of the Day

Most difficult puzzles, by median time spent viewing:
1. Architectural Tour
2. Scherzando
3. Recording
4. Coordinates
5. Poem

Most difficult puzzles, by pageviews:
1. Freebie
2. Architectural Tour
3. Clipping
4. Coordinates
5. Scherzando

Also, more hunt photos are up on Flickr.

Friday! Friday! Everything has eyeballs for some REASON

You know, it's a funny thing being a scav judge, especially in your second year of it. In my experience, your first year as a judge is filled with months and months of planning utterly ridiculous items and events and then all of them appear, as if by insane magic, during four days in May. So then, in your second year, maybe you'd expect the wonder and joy to wear off - after all, you go into the event knowing that your wildest dreams will be realized.

And then you see stuff like this:

IT IS A PAIR OF GOOGLEY EYES. ON ROCKEFELLER CHAPEL. 200 feet in the air. staring down at campus.

maybe even staring down angrily, disapprovingly! Who knows???!

I like to imagine the rest of the face looks like this:

And that was just the beginning! There were also pyramids on the quads:

Judge Baby!

Judge Chris in a sweet hat!

And of course,the last official event of the night was our world record attempt on the quads. I'm sure more will be written on this later, but, if you were anywhere nearby you know the main thrust of what happened: a HUGE number of people showed up. Way more than expected. As you may have seen, Head Judge Grace was quoted in the Maroon today as saying she expected 500 people to show up, and this was considered a highly ambitious estimate. We're still not sure on the final number, but The Turk (who was in charge of this event and deserves enormous credit for his very hard work and organization on this) told us at the end that we had at least 880 people participating. Which is more than four times as many as those danged Canadian school kids who currently hold the record.

Anyway, here's a photo I took of the crowd (hope you love lens flare!)


I hope you all liked the scav-within-a-scav. For me it was super tiring, though I did get to re-establish my dominance as The Loudest Judge. Take that, guy from 2002's The Hunt!

Oh my lord, what a day.

Now we're watching Ozzie, because as they say, ain't no rule says a koala can't be a terrifying anamatronic monster!

this is not about scav hunt

but it's something I saw today because if it wasn't for scav, there is certainly NO WAY i would have been spending time in cobb. Anyway, I feel that it is important:


that will be all

Friday, May 6

GBWR Attempt

Thank you all for coming! We beat the record by at least a factor of 4. I will post tons of stats and info about the event later after we have had more time to tally.

Puzzle Hunt Stat of the Day

I've been eagerly watching the stats roll in for—the set of puzzles that makes up item 35.

For today:

We've had visitors from every 41 states, and 24 countries. (ქართულებო, გამარჯობათ!—apparently that 75-year-old has set down her shovel for now.)

Thursday, May 5

Day One

The Scav Sheriff debate was amazing. That is all. Click for more photos.

As Ezra mentioned, my coloring contest item was a bit misleading as written:

39. Bring your CrayolasTM for a coloring contest. We'll expect realism, so you'd better bring lots of colors and know them well. Meet on Thursday in Hutch—we'll be starting at 5:30 p.m. to catch the best late-afternoon light. [20 points]

When I met the scavvies (nine competitors, and about two dozen more boosters), I laid out the goals—color in three innocuous drawings, and then copy a painting freehand in crayon in an hour, with an emphasis on color fidelity—and then took them to the CW office downstairs.

The misleading bit was that line about the "late-afternoon light." The light we used was, in fact, a low-pressure sodium bulb. These lamps are used as streetlights here and there, though nowhere nearby recently. Their energy efficiency (the highest brightness per watt of any commercially available technology) is usually outweighed by their problematic spectrum. Unlike most light sources, these bulbs emit all of their light at exactly one wavelength, a pure yellow-orange.

The result? You see everything in monochrome.

I owe Olafur Eliasson a huge hat tip—he lit the entrance to his SFMOMA show in these lights a few years ago (and I hear he used them to awesome effect at The Tate), and the effect that I discovered there and borrowed here is delightfully surreal. Vision is a huge part of human perception, and until you experience it, it's not easy to tease color apart from the rest of vision.

The event was a lot of fun, and some of the Starry Nights were good enough to deserve their own post when I track down a scanner. Many thanks to those who came out.

For most of us on this side, the bulk of the work is largely either done or just over the horizon at this point in the hunt. It's strange going through a day of Scav without a feeling of looming, manic urgency, and I miss it. Things will get busier, but I still ate and slept and showered and went to classes and exhaled once in a while, and hardly missed a thing.

crayon coloring bloggin'

Sam Bowman and I are hanging out in the Chicago Weekly office (which, by the way, features an awful lot of awards for one "Sam Feldman") with all the scavvies who decided to come out for the crayon coloring contest. Alas, the only light we were able to provide them with is coming from a low pressure sodium lightbulb, which has the unfortunate side effect of seriously dulling all the colors they are trying to use. So, for example, here are two crayons I stole from Blint - note that this picture hasn't been altered at all, this is how it looks to all of us right now:

And for reference, here are those same two crayons under the illicit, full-spectrum light of my laptop screen:

Overheard in the room:

--"We're painting with all the colors of the wind here, guys."
--"No, we're painting with all the colors of blindness."

Weekday at Bernie's

Thursday morning and early afternoon met us with road trip send-offs, Captains' breakfast, and the beginnings of the pyramids on the quads (there were some other events too, including the compassing of the admin building, but I chose to use that time to take a nap, unfortunately). Thursday morning is fun, it's the first chance for all the teams to come together and see what they've all come up with for costumes (both for themselves and their road trips), talk about items, figure out what item wordings were still unclear even though we spent hours trying to figure out every possible way they could be misinterpreted - etc. Also, despite some pretty serious lack of sleep, I managed to not die right there in Hutch, which was a concern for a while.

The weather managed to get a good deal nicer than it has been, so walking around and watching the pyramid building was a mighty fine way to spend the early afternoon.

Most importantly, everyone's good friend Bernie showed up, even though he's usually pretty busy in New York, or throwing one of his crazy weekend parties. He seemed a little tired, but he must have been pretty active because we saw him hanging out with a whole bunch of different teams. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have my picture taken with the guy.

The resemblance is truly uncanny. Just call me Larry Wilson!

I would also like to direct everyone's attention to the final line of the wikipedia plot synopsis of Weekend and Bernie's, which is: "At last, Bernie is buried and can rest in peace... or can he?" That said, it pales in comparison to the final line of the synopsis of Weekend and Bernie's II.

We'll see you all tonight at the debate for Scav Sheriff! Should be a good time.

Photos from Road Trip Sendoff and Captains' Crypt

Click the photo for more like it. Also, I'd encourage anyone who uses flickr to throw "scav11" on your hunt photos, paralleling our official hashtag.

So it begins.

It is ON like donkey kong country returns!

And with that, the lists have been given out to each and every team, the easter eggs have been (for the most part) found and returned, and the judges have now returned to the apartment which, this year at least, is filled with the ancient spirit of C, D, and A. Rumor has it that the night will feature Portal, half a ton of off-brand party snack mix, and a weekend or two at Bernie's.

HJG's glass eye came out well in this photo.

List release was a rousing success, as far as I could tell, with some 1800 easter eggs spread throughout the lower half of the quads, some percentage of which contained GOLDEN TICKETS, which could, under the right circumstances, be traded in for the liiiiiiiiiissssst! Also there were some SWEET JAMS which we played as loudly as we could, including some awesome theme songs of scav hunts past. I'll say it now: I danced a lot more than I expected to. What can I say? I'm damn excited.

This is the dance of total joy. Scav Hunt is going to rock this year, guys!

Also, I would have included a picture of the easter egg event itself, but the only one Margaret took was of an egg that was hidden in the loving embrace of a dead, totally gross squirrel. You can thank me later.

Wednesday, May 4

Judge Alignments

For those Scavvies who don't know us so well, here's a quick guide to our personalities based on criteria that you are probably familiar with:

Head Judge Grace Chapin - Lawful, Good, Smiley
Christian Kammerer - Neutral, Neutral, Smiley
Jonathan Williams - Chaotic, Good, Neutral
Emily Watkins - Lawful, Neutral, Smiley
Daniel "Turk" Citron - Lawful, Good, Frowny
Dan Wade - Chaotic, Neutral, Frowny
Paul Davis - Chaotic, Evil, Smiley
Chris Havlin - Neutral, Good, Neutral
Ben Umans - Lawful, Evil, Frowny
Cynthia Liu - Chaotic, Evil, Frowny
Leah Rand - Lawful, Neutral, Smiley
Margaret Anne Mallari- Lawful, Good, Smiley
Ezra Deutsch-Feldman - Chaotic, Neutral, Smiley
Sam Feldman - Lawful, Good, Smiley
Sarah Staudt - Lawful, Good, Smiley
Sam Bowman - Neutral, Good, Frowny
Julian Schwaller - Chaotic, Good, Frowny
Rebecca Maurer - Lawful, Good, Smiley
Alex Brandt - Chaotic, Neutral, Neutral

The Hunt Draws Nigh!

OH EM GEE it is almost Scav Time. Are you all ready? I bet you are not! NOTHING WILL PREPARE YOU for the madness we have this year! It is truly insane.

Judges, once dispersed throughout the land, have begun to crawl back to Hyde Park like salmon, instinctively returning upstream to spawn in their foul mating ritual. Broadway "Danny" Putnam, Dr. Watkins, St. Christian, The Trickster, AFeld of the Clan AFeld, and more - some of them even now walk the campus, preparing for the otherworldly monstrosity that is now, by my count, but seven hours away.

So get ready! Keep scavenging, keep spreading the word for our world record attempt, keep telling those cocky first years that even though they feel pretty sure they have this whole "college" thing under control, their world is about to get rocked like none other.

Speaking of rocking, I've just learned about a newfangled toy called "Donkey Kong Country Returns," so I think I know how I'LL be spending my time from now until Sunday.

Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong are each different, with different skills and abilities, but they work together to form something wonderful. In this way they are like the Judges (Donkey) and the Scavvies (Diddy), working together for the greater glory of chaos and freedom and whatnot. Also, Diddy has a rocket or missile of some kind, and it's very dangerous. So there's that.

Friday, April 22

Not Our Theme Song

This is not our theme song. But it is, indeed, The Jam.

Stick it in your ear-holes,


Welcome to the Big Show

Hi there!

In past years, an informal blog like this has been a fun way to chronicle the hour-to-hour awesomeness of the Hunt.  Judges get to geek out about about their favorite item completions, team members get some feedback or learn about the cool things happening on other teams, and some great pictures make the rounds.

Imposing too many rules usually backfires.  Let's see if we can make do with two:

If you are posting, try not to be too negative about items you are linking to specific teams.
If you are commenting, try to comment specifically on the posts.

T minus 20,  - Cthonathon