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DsrtMtnRox

Where is the right place to ask

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I have most of the caches around where I live already.....

 

Now all I have to work on closest to me are these totally confusing (to me) puzzle caches. I pull them up and just stare at them blankly because I have no idea where to even start!

 

For instance....

 

[link to cache removed by moderator]

 

I have no idea in the world what this is...BUT I don't want someone to just give me answers I want to LEARN how to figure these out!!!

 

How do you even begin to search for what this thing on the cache page even is?? To start with....

 

Here is another one....[link to cache removed by moderator]

 

How do you know what that is!!!

 

p.s. I never said I was smart! :sad:

Edited by Keystone

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I would ask the owners if they would be willing to provide a bump in the right direction. It's not my place to do it for them as they might not want to give help at all. It's their choice.

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The "right place to ask" is in an email to the cache owner. Ask the owner to confirm your solving strategy ("are you using the mysterious hamster code?") or to beg for a hint.

 

I've edited the links to specific caches out of your post. That way, we can have a nice discussion of general approaches to solving puzzle caches, without spoiling any one cache.

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I'm sure niraD will be along soon with his excellent puzzle post, but I was able to see which caches you linked to before Keystone edited them out, so I'll mention something (don't worry, I'll be general).

When faced with a puzzle cache, look at the difficulty rating. A low difficulty rating usually means that a puzzle isn't going to involve long, complex codes or anything that will take a lot of work to solve. It can be hard, but try not to overthink it. I've gotten stuck on many a puzzle because I've been WAY overthinking it.

 

Like the others said, the best place to get help is from the owner. They (usually) want their cache to be found, so they (usually) won't have any problem getting you started on the path to doing so.

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The "right place to ask" is in an email to the cache owner. Ask the owner to confirm your solving strategy ("are you using the mysterious hamster code?") or to beg for a hint.

 

I've edited the links to specific caches out of your post. That way, we can have a nice discussion of general approaches to solving puzzle caches, without spoiling any one cache.

Thank you...

 

These things are just so frustrating for a bird brain like me.

 

I feel like they are all closing in on me!!! :smile:

 

Staring at a picture of something that I have no idea what the heck it is makes me feel totally STUPID! I know there are cachers around that would just look at it and TELL me what to do...but that isn't any fun. I want to LEARN how to look at these things and learn how to figure out what they are! :)

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These things are just so frustrating for a bird brain like me.

 

I feel like they are all closing in on me!!! :smile:

 

Staring at a picture of something that I have no idea what the heck it is makes me feel totally STUPID! I know there are cachers around that would just look at it and TELL me what to do...but that isn't any fun. I want to LEARN how to look at these things and learn how to figure out what they are! :)

I depend on a caching friend to direct me to puzzles that are easy. He'll email me asking if I've solved a particular one yet, and he's actually trying to say, "Dude, this one's really really really easy!", in a nice way :anicute:.

 

One thing that will help is to compile all the info you can about a puzzle. Read everything on the cache description, look at the Cache Owner's other puzzles, read the logs, look something up on Google. Check out a variety of other puzzle caches. Most of them have coordinates for the anwser, so consider how you'll arrive at "coordinates". Most of them are in the general area, so you may even guess most of the coords solution.

 

As mentioned, ask the Cache Owner. If it's got low difficulty rating, the CO may think the puzzle is simple -- but he already knows what it means.

 

If you can't figure out where to start, try a different puzzle and try again when you think of something to try. There's no urgency to solve them all immediately. The whole point of some of the puzzles is deciding what the "puzzle" is. Some cachers prefer only standard puzzles, some only new mysterious ones. You may pick and choose which ones to do.

 

Good luck!

Edited by kunarion

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Staring at a picture of something that I have no idea what the heck it is makes me feel totally STUPID! I know there are cachers around that would just look at it and TELL me what to do...but that isn't any fun. I want to LEARN how to look at these things and learn how to figure out what they are! :)

You are assuming a lot of things. As a puzzle cache owner I won't tell you the answer but I will give you a nudge in the right direction.

As a fellow cacher, who may have solved the puzzle you're working on, I'll do the same thing, making some possibly obscure comment about it as we're talking.

 

Listen to how the other person answers you, and to what they say. It might be something as simple as "Oh that one is a piece of pie."

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These things are just so frustrating for a bird brain like me.

You may write to the Cache Owner and ask for a slight nudge, or ask for a big hint, or just ask for the coordinates (hey, that's worth a shot!). I usually put the weird ones at the bottom of the pile and wait for an epiphany. So, they're all still at the bottom of the pile :anicute:, and I go find other caches instead. But if I were to write to the Cache Owner, my preference would be to ask for a slight nudge, then additional slight nudges. Eventually, the CO might offer a big hint, or the actual coordinates, since he'll realize I'm too thick to figure out his puzzle :laughing:. But I think by then, I'll have additional puzzle-solving insights. Or at least, that's the plan.

 

It might be good to type a note on a cache page when you've spent time on a puzzle, and gave up. I think I've only done that once, and not only do I not want to clutter up a cache page, I don't want to be the only one who obviously is too dumb to figure it out -- when no other logs mention they even did the puzzle, let alone had any problems with it. Maybe once in a while, a note like that is useful to the Cache Owner, especially if the cache difficulty rating doesn't seem to match the difficulty of the puzzle.

Edited by kunarion

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I'm sure niraD will be along soon with his excellent puzzle post
Ask and ye shall receive... Here are some general puzzle tips (based in part on a puzzle-solving class event presented by The Rat a while ago):

 

Identify the theme. Check the cache title, the hint, the HTML source, the graphics (including names/URLs), any links (including URLs), whatever is at the posted coordinates, etc. If you can figure out the theme, then you should look for numbering systems that are associated with that theme (zip codes, athletes’ jersey numbers, episode numbers, product codes, etc.).

 

Around here, coordinates will have 15 digits, and will look like "N 37° xx.xxx W 122° xx.xxx". So when I'm solving a nearby puzzle, I look for a group of 15 things, and then I look for ways to get the digits 37xxxxx122xxxxx from them. In general, I look for ways to get the number 37 (or the digits 3 and 7) from something near the beginning of the puzzle, and the number 122 (or the digits 1, 2, and 2) from something near the middle of the puzzle. (Of course, you'll need to adjust this for the coordinates near you.)

 

Other useful resources include:

Puzzle Solving 101 Series (bookmark list)

Puzzle Shortcuts Series (bookmark list)

Solving Puzzle Caches (online article)

How Do I Solve All These $@! Puzzle Caches? (tutorial-style puzzle cache)

Puzzle FUNdamentals (archived event cache) and the Puzzle FUNdamentals resources on the GeocacheAlaska! education page

The GBA's Puzzle Cache FAQ (for puzzle designers, but useful for understanding how puzzle caches work)

 

If you’re interested in extremely challenging puzzles, then consider the online discussions of Venona’s ACTIVITIES in the GBA forums. The puzzles for this annual event are very challenging, intended to be solved by multiple people working together online. (You'll need to register on the GBA site to view these forum threads.)

Overview: Venona's 2011 ACTIVITIES

Overview: Venona's 2012 ACTIVITIES

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I'm sure niraD will be along soon with his excellent puzzle post
Ask and ye shall receive... Here are some general puzzle tips (based in part on a puzzle-solving class event presented by The Rat a while ago):

 

Identify the theme. Check the cache title, the hint, the HTML source, the graphics (including names/URLs), any links (including URLs), whatever is at the posted coordinates, etc. If you can figure out the theme, then you should look for numbering systems that are associated with that theme (zip codes, athletes’ jersey numbers, episode numbers, product codes, etc.).

 

Around here, coordinates will have 15 digits, and will look like "N 37° xx.xxx W 122° xx.xxx". So when I'm solving a nearby puzzle, I look for a group of 15 things, and then I look for ways to get the digits 37xxxxx122xxxxx from them. In general, I look for ways to get the number 37 (or the digits 3 and 7) from something near the beginning of the puzzle, and the number 122 (or the digits 1, 2, and 2) from something near the middle of the puzzle. (Of course, you'll need to adjust this for the coordinates near you.)

 

Other useful resources include:

Puzzle Solving 101 Series (bookmark list)

Puzzle Shortcuts Series (bookmark list)

Solving Puzzle Caches (online article)

How Do I Solve All These $@! Puzzle Caches? (tutorial-style puzzle cache)

Puzzle FUNdamentals (archived event cache) and the Puzzle FUNdamentals resources on the GeocacheAlaska! education page

The GBA's Puzzle Cache FAQ (for puzzle designers, but useful for understanding how puzzle caches work)

 

If you’re interested in extremely challenging puzzles, then consider the online discussions of Venona’s ACTIVITIES in the GBA forums. The puzzles for this annual event are very challenging, intended to be solved by multiple people working together online. (You'll need to register on the GBA site to view these forum threads.)

Overview: Venona's 2011 ACTIVITIES

Overview: Venona's 2012 ACTIVITIES

Thank you niraD!!!

 

I actually did a little more searching on the forums and I found a post by you when another cacher was wanting to learn how to do these frustrating little boogers! I've had a lot going on the last few days but I did get to start reading one of the first caches on one of the bookmarks you listed. I can't wait to be able to dive in and start learning these things. :)

 

Gosh...without you....where would we be! Lost and frustrated with our OCD!!!

 

haha

 

Thanks again for all the great links and info.

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The best method to solving puzzle caches is....

 

...send a note to a previous cacher who solved it. lol

Cute! :)

 

I want to LEARN how to solve them...not just get the answer. :)

 

I'm working on it. :)

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