Naomi (naomikritzer) wrote,

Winter Carnival Medallion 2012

So, today was the first day we made it out to look for the Winter Carnival Medallion. If you're not familiar with this particular bit of local tradition: during the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the Pioneer Press hides a hockey-puck sized "medallion" somewhere outside on public land in Ramsey County (that is not a golf course). The finder wins up to $10K (if they had a Winter Carnival button, copies of all the clues, etc.) I've taken Molly out looking most years since 2007, when it dawned on me that my mystery-and-code-obsessed child would probably be really into the idea of a real-life treasure hunt complete with cryptic clues.

We're pretty far into the hunt, so below the cut, I'll give you the clues and then the analysis we did before heading out.



CLUE NO. 1

The time has come around again
For using all your cunning and ken
To unravel Boreas' befuddling clues
Circulated in the PiPress news.

Within our realm explore and search.
No private properties besmirch.
The treasure rests in a public park.
On a course for golf, please leave no mark.

CLUE NO. 2

It's time to get this off our chest:
Mix treasured lore into your quest.
Triple score provides a clue;
So do the colors red and blue.

CLUE NO. 3

Crack the nut and find the treasure.
There's a place to cook and a place for leisure.
A road there is that's interfacial.
Bag the treasure if you are able.

CLUE NO. 4

"Woof" says the dog. "Babble" says the brook,
And here is wisdom on which to make book:
When in Rome you should do
Exactly as a Roman should do

CLUE NO. 5

If it's treasure you're trackin'
Stop chattin'. Get crackin'.
As the sun will lighten up your day,
This clue will brighten up your way.

CLUE NO. 6

Let us stop the haw and hem
And get you looking for the gem.
Incorporate thinking outside the box.
Sort it out as you like it - opportunity knocks.

CLUE NO. 7

Search the land through darkest night;
Follow the crowd to the treasure's site.
Wear warm clothes, and don't come to harm.
And bring along your good luck charm.

CLUE NO. 8

Many there are in many a park;
Find the right one, and you're close to the mark.
Think big, and you'll be right in the game
When you spot a place with a special claim.

...So.

When I read through those this morning, I thought it would probably make sense to go search in Highland, for a couple of reasons.

Crack the nut and find the treasure.
There's a place to cook and a place for leisure.
A road there is that's interfacial.
Bag the treasure if you are able.


Montreal Ave runs through Highland. On one side, you can find a cookout/picnic area; on the other side, a playground. There's actually a bridge connecting the two areas.

When in Rome you should do
Exactly as a Roman should do


Circus Juventas is right by Highland Park. (Nova Classical Academy is also shouting distance from its borders.)

Follow the crowd to the treasure's site.

Suggests "look where everyone else is looking" -- I haven't been following the hunt closely enough to know if there's a consensus on where it is, yet, but the Pioneer Press site has a "which park do you think it's at?" survey and Highland had more votes than any of the others (though it wasn't a consensus, by a long shot).

However, when I talked this through with my family over lunch, we decided to go search at Como. This was in large part due to Ed's theory that

Triple score provides a clue;
So do the colors red and blue.


Refers to Scrabble. It has triple word and letter scores, and red and blue squares (or pink and cyan, but you know, whatever.) There's a later clue that suggests

Incorporate thinking outside the box.
Sort it out as you like it - opportunity knocks.


We got out our Scrabble set and looked at the literal outside of the box. It shows a game in progress and one of the words that appears in someone's rack is ZOO. Como Park has the zoo.

(Yes, the clues really do get this convoluted. Thousands of people go out looking for this thing. In 2007 it was found the second day when someone looked at the phrase "on the level" and thought maybe this was a reference to Cleveland Ave, which runs near the park, and maybe it suggested that Cleveland POINTED at the location of the medallion? AND HE WAS RIGHT.)

"Woof" says the dog. "Babble" says the brook,
And here is wisdom on which to make book:
When in Rome you should do
Exactly as a Roman should do


The St. Paul animal shelter is right next to Como Park. There's also a road called "Estabrook" that runs through the park. We tossed around a few interpretations of the Romans in the context of Como -- maybe it's a reference to the town of Como, Italy, or maybe it's the Latin word "how."

Think big, and you'll be right in the game
When you spot a place with a special claim.


We thought maybe the treasure would be hidden close to a historical marker that makes a claim about something "big" or "special," and focused our hunts near such markers. We didn't find any markers that really seemed to fit the bill, although did you know that near Lake Como, there's a war memorial honoring a submarine crew that died during WWII that is outfitted with the model of a missile on top?!



Anyway, needless to say we didn't find it. There weren't even any points where I had that surge of excitement that comes from being certain you are ON THE RIGHT TRACK (like one year, when we were walking around Highland and there was a clue that said something about "pitching your tent" and I suddenly realized we were right near the Circus Juventas "big top." It turned out the medallion was at Indian Mounds park, nowhere near Highland, so it was completely misguided confidence, but oh well.) We did, however, spend a lovely afternoon enjoying sunny, temperate winter weather.
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