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Useless Hints


Jamie Z
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On a new cache in England:

 

crog Mae tua

 

This is Welsh for "Hanging Around". So useful once translated, but few people in England speak Welsh. And unless you figured this out in advance or have a device to access the internet in the field it doesn't help.

 

But it isn't totally useless.. just less useful than if it was "Hanging Around".

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Today's: "LTAS"

 

???? :sad:

 

Could it be an anagram? Would Salt, Slat, or Last make any sense in the situation?

 

Not really. It appears to be hidden in a monster of a cedar tree/shrub/thing in a cemetery. I didn't see any nearby grave markers with those names or initials.

 

There is a tree known as Salt Cedar. The hint backwards and misspeled would fit.

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Then some people think your hint is useless because they don't understand it.

With our caches, if we think it needs a hint, it is usually cryptic but not too hard. One that comes to mind is a cache (bison tube) we have on a large sign. The cacher found the cache but went away wondering what the hint meant. The sign was a very large yellow one warning of a submarine cable across a water channel. The hint? "We all live in one - Lennon McCartney" Perhaps its a generational thing like another we have "----- as a -----" Jethro Tull, a bison tube inside a house brick.

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Then some people think your hint is useless because they don't understand it.

With our caches, if we think it needs a hint, it is usually cryptic but not too hard. One that comes to mind is a cache (bison tube) we have on a large sign. The cacher found the cache but went away wondering what the hint meant. The sign was a very large yellow one warning of a submarine cable across a water channel. The hint? "We all live in one - Lennon McCartney" Perhaps its a generational thing like another we have "----- as a -----" Jethro Tull, a bison tube inside a house brick.

You're on the verge of an irk of mine. As it happens, I would recognize what those hints are referring to, and might even understand what they mean as hints. But it drives me crazy when a similar hint from another era -- for example, from current popular music -- means absolutely nothing to me. Why risk it? Why not just have the hint be "submarine" or "brick" instead of making the hint require some additional knowledge that won't be available to many people in the field where they're hoping for a hint?

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Then some people think your hint is useless because they don't understand it.

With our caches, if we think it needs a hint, it is usually cryptic but not too hard. One that comes to mind is a cache (bison tube) we have on a large sign. The cacher found the cache but went away wondering what the hint meant. The sign was a very large yellow one warning of a submarine cable across a water channel. The hint? "We all live in one - Lennon McCartney" Perhaps its a generational thing like another we have "----- as a -----" Jethro Tull, a bison tube inside a house brick.

I'd have no clue what your hints mean without a smart phone to Google it (and I don't have one currently). For me, those hints would be the same as no hint.

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Then some people think your hint is useless because they don't understand it.

With our caches, if we think it needs a hint, it is usually cryptic but not too hard. One that comes to mind is a cache (bison tube) we have on a large sign. The cacher found the cache but went away wondering what the hint meant. The sign was a very large yellow one warning of a submarine cable across a water channel. The hint? "We all live in one - Lennon McCartney" Perhaps its a generational thing like another we have "----- as a -----" Jethro Tull, a bison tube inside a house brick.

You're on the verge of an irk of mine. As it happens, I would recognize what those hints are referring to, and might even understand what they mean as hints. But it drives me crazy when a similar hint from another era -- for example, from current popular music -- means absolutely nothing to me. Why risk it? Why not just have the hint be "submarine" or "brick" instead of making the hint require some additional knowledge that won't be available to many people in the field where they're hoping for a hint?

 

I have mixed feelings about hints like that. The hint is useful to many, but will be useless to some. I've learnt recently that the "All Saints" have a song "Under the Bridge"; I didn't know that before so a hint of "All Saints" didn't help me. I recently found a second cache with that same hint and this time I knew.

 

I generally prefer a cryptic hint to be general, so not to require specific knowledge (e.g music from a certain era). Even if I don't "get it". One such hint was "overdraft" (meaning to let your bank balance go negative). Which is also known as being "in the red". The cache was in a red phone box. I kept thinking "bank" and looking on a bank. These are common terms that don't require specialist knowledge but you still need to make the connection. They are also less helpful to foreign visitors who may know English but not so well to understand.

 

Having said that I think the owner has the right to choose the kind of hint they want - cryptic or not. As long as it is useful to some.

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Occasionally I'll provide a hint that requires saying it out loud, which seems to confuse a number of folks. One hide is located in a gap in a low stone wall and my hint is "Ms. Ingston". For another that is hidden in the 'V' formed in a tree near a walking trail, the hint is "between you and Dubya". Just silly hints I wanted to provide to help people find the caches without too much trouble, but didn't want to just say "gap in the stone wall" or "vee of the tallest tree"...a 'push' in the right direction as opposed to a flashing neon sign. Still, there are folks who just don't get it. You can't please everyone.

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Then some people think your hint is useless because they don't understand it.

With our caches, if we think it needs a hint, it is usually cryptic but not too hard. One that comes to mind is a cache (bison tube) we have on a large sign. The cacher found the cache but went away wondering what the hint meant. The sign was a very large yellow one warning of a submarine cable across a water channel. The hint? "We all live in one - Lennon McCartney" Perhaps its a generational thing like another we have "----- as a -----" Jethro Tull, a bison tube inside a house brick.

You're on the verge of an irk of mine. As it happens, I would recognize what those hints are referring to, and might even understand what they mean as hints. But it drives me crazy when a similar hint from another era -- for example, from current popular music -- means absolutely nothing to me. Why risk it? Why not just have the hint be "submarine" or "brick" instead of making the hint require some additional knowledge that won't be available to many people in the field where they're hoping for a hint?

 

I have mixed feelings about hints like that. The hint is useful to many, but will be useless to some. I've learnt recently that the "All Saints" have a song "Under the Bridge"; I didn't know that before so a hint of "All Saints" didn't help me. I recently found a second cache with that same hint and this time I knew.

 

I generally prefer a cryptic hint to be general, so not to require specific knowledge (e.g music from a certain era). Even if I don't "get it". One such hint was "overdraft" (meaning to let your bank balance go negative). Which is also known as being "in the red". The cache was in a red phone box. I kept thinking "bank" and looking on a bank. These are common terms that don't require specialist knowledge but you still need to make the connection. They are also less helpful to foreign visitors who may know English but not so well to understand.

 

Having said that I think the owner has the right to choose the kind of hint they want - cryptic or not. As long as it is useful to some.

 

Did not enjoy making my way to the cache site, searching a bit, then reading the hint: "Clint Eastwood Movie". Means nothing to me. Or 'Check out the video on the cache page.' Trouble doing that with my GPS. Oh, well.

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As we are now caching in UK some hints were baffling to us, therefore useless. It seemed to be a demographic thing. Two that come to mind are ICT and MTT. Had never seen this before coming here. We have now figured it out.

 

Or regional. I was in Florida last week and the hint was "Florida style". I kind of had to figure out on my own that it referred to palm trees.

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As we are now caching in UK some hints were baffling to us, therefore useless. It seemed to be a demographic thing. Two that come to mind are ICT and MTT. Had never seen this before coming here. We have now figured it out.

 

MTT I've seen before but ICT - I can't fathom out what that might refer to - other than some other form of T?

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As we are now caching in UK some hints were baffling to us, therefore useless. It seemed to be a demographic thing. Two that come to mind are ICT and MTT. Had never seen this before coming here. We have now figured it out.

 

I remember looking for a cache in Pennsylvania where the clue was "MKH". So I was looking for objects that might have had initials on them, maybe something like paths that formed letters, or a particular point where the skyline formed letters, or objects that might have given anything away. The cache turned out to be hidden underneath one of the big square planters and MKH stood for "magnetic key holder". I've always called those things keysafes. I never did find the cache, I only found out it was a keyholder when I asked the owner for a clue and didn't make it back to the cache site to retrieve the cache.

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The hint is useful to many, but will be useless to some.

The problem is that the CO knows what the reference means, so he'll naturally think it's useful to many even when it's hardly useful to anyone.

 

I've learnt recently that the "All Saints" have a song "Under the Bridge"; I didn't know that before so a hint of "All Saints" didn't help me. I recently found a second cache with that same hint and this time I knew.

Oh, yeah, that reminds me: hints that only have meaning locally. As a visitor, that leaves me with no hints in areas where those are popular. And how do I know I'm not supposed to think of "All Hooked Up" or "I Feel You"?

 

I generally prefer a cryptic hint to be general, so not to require specific knowledge (e.g music from a certain era). Even if I don't "get it". One such hint was "overdraft" (meaning to let your bank balance go negative). Which is also known as being "in the red". The cache was in a red phone box. I kept thinking "bank" and looking on a bank. These are common terms that don't require specialist knowledge but you still need to make the connection. They are also less helpful to foreign visitors who may know English but not so well to understand.

Another good example: when the CO makes the hint cryptic, it almost always opens it up to multiple meanings with no way to determine which is right. "overdraft" means "red" is a clear case of a hint that means nothing until you find the cache, if then.

 

Having said that I think the owner has the right to choose the kind of hint they want - cryptic or not. As long as it is useful to some.

Well, sure, I just don't think people that do hints like that realize how often they're useless and annoying.

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As we are now caching in UK some hints were baffling to us, therefore useless. It seemed to be a demographic thing. Two that come to mind are ICT and MTT. Had never seen this before coming here. We have now figured it out.

 

MTT I've seen before but ICT - I can't fathom out what that might refer to - other than some other form of T?

 

ICT is Ivy Covered Tree.

 

A very common hide in the UK.

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As we are now caching in UK some hints were baffling to us, therefore useless. It seemed to be a demographic thing. Two that come to mind are ICT and MTT. Had never seen this before coming here. We have now figured it out.

 

MTT I've seen before but ICT - I can't fathom out what that might refer to - other than some other form of T?

 

ICT is Ivy Covered Tree.

 

A very common hide in the UK.

 

Ah! :)

 

Multi Trunk Tree (MTT) I'd seen before.

 

Thanks for that.

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Occasionally I'll provide a hint that requires saying it out loud, which seems to confuse a number of folks. One hide is located in a gap in a low stone wall and my hint is "Ms. Ingston". For another that is hidden in the 'V' formed in a tree near a walking trail, the hint is "between you and Dubya". Just silly hints I wanted to provide to help people find the caches without too much trouble, but didn't want to just say "gap in the stone wall" or "vee of the tallest tree"...a 'push' in the right direction as opposed to a flashing neon sign. Still, there are folks who just don't get it. You can't please everyone.

Assuming it even dawned on me to say the hint out loud, I'd pronounce "Ms. Ingston" as "Mizz 'Ing-stun" (emphasis on the Ing). I don't think I'd manage to turn "Mizz 'Ing-stun" into "missing stone" without an "e" at the end of Ingston.

 

I'd treat it as though no hint were provided and hopefully find it without. Certainly it's fine to not provide a hint, and I tell myself I'm out of line if I get irked over cryptic hints, but deep down it feels like I've been left out of an inside joke. Ridiculous, yes, but true. This is where (and why) the irk originates. My head knows that's stupid. My heart, on the other hand, well...it just irks it's way along. :D

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"Tree" Umm, have you seen what the PNW looks like? The underbrush in the PNW is taller than some forests in Colorado.

 

The underbrush here in "The Redwoods" can get like jungle ...

 

Least favorite hint in these parts ..."STUMP" ... smack dab in the middle of an area that has seen is 5th. harvest ... Stumps as far as the eye can see excluding the ones buried in ferns, berry brambles and that ever so wonderful evil three leafed plant. (poison oak). Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Edited by humboldt flier
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As we are now caching in UK some hints were baffling to us, therefore useless. It seemed to be a demographic thing. Two that come to mind are ICT and MTT. Had never seen this before coming here. We have now figured it out.

 

MTT I've seen before but ICT - I can't fathom out what that might refer to - other than some other form of T?

 

ICT is Ivy Covered Tree.

 

A very common hide in the UK.

 

In Oz we rarely come across ivy and never on trees (ICT). MTT, multi trunk tree, uncommon too.

I may have to start abbreviating logs too; IHI-I hate ivy or MBH - more bloody hawthorn.

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I don't mind cryptic hints where it's appropriate to the theme or the puzzle. They can be fun. The yellow submarine hint would be fine if the cache page involved Beatles or rock music from the 60s or 70s, or even if it's not themed. Not everyone is going to get every hoint. That's why they're called hints, not instructions. As mentioned many times here, "No hint needed" (encrypted) is indeed very vexing. It's annoying for more than the obvious reason that you are expecting help only find that there is none. It's also downright insulting. If you are looking at the hint, presumably you are not finding the cache and need one, so for starters, it's factually wrong. On top of that it's very existence implies that you are so lousy at geocaching that you can't find something that is so easy no one needs a hint. I wrote a caustic DNF log on a cache like that that was rated as a 1 difficulty and the cache was a thin slip of paper in a tiny baggie behind a magnetic number placard on a utility box. It looked almost exactly like the real utility co. number decals nearby and I had never seen that hide style in 12 years of geocaching. The CO removed the "hint" after my log, which was considerate, and I felt a bit embarrassed at my log afterward. She's a good geocacher and CO, and to her that seemed like an obvious hide because she'd seen a bunch of them, but I hadn't. This raises a related annoyance, and that is misrated caches.

 

Perhaps worse are caches with false, inaccurate, or misleading information or hints, especially when it is negative in nature, e.g. "reachable from sidewalk" (if you're 6'2" like the CO, but not for most people) or "Park hours are 6AM-sunset" (which is true, but the cache isn't in the park). I was FTF on one cache with that latter warning when it was published in the evening and I discovered the coordinates were outside the park and accessible from a public street. I found it at 11PM or so without passing through the park. The CO deleted my FTF log that evening, even though I said in my log I had checked four different maps showing that the coordinates were well outside the park. He later let me log it, but congratulated someone else on the cache page for their FTF and basically harrumphed at my evidence (which I had sent him), saying I should have known not to try to get it except during the hours on the cache page. He never admitted he had been careless and just assumed it was part of the park land. I lost the FTF "credit" (if there is such a thing) even though it was a hard puzzle and the CO put a lot of red herrings in his puzzles. I thought the park hours remark was just another red herring. I can think of several instances where I didn't find a cache because the hint was just plain wrong. I can adjust for that if it's the kind of thing that changes over time, beyond the CO's control, like the height of the cache in a bush, but so often it's the CO's fault. "It's 20 feet SE of the sign" when it's actually 30 feet SW of the sign.

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I didn't realize so many people treat the hints as last resorts and go through all of the trouble of waiting to manually decrypting them in the field if they need. I've always assumed they were meant to be (and mostly are) just a helpful nudge, therefore I always decrypt them ahead of time on the cache page. Of course when they turn out to be a dead giveaway I'm unhappy, but most of the time they aren't. I figure if they put it on the cache page as a hint, they want people to consider that info in trying to find it. If they're willing to totally give away the hide in the hint, they must not mind people using it to find the cache. Using a hint and cheating on a puzzle aren't the same thing.

 

Therefore, while I'd prefer them all to be merely "helpful nudges", I'd rather have a useless hint than one that totally ruins the fun altogether.

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I think the whole point of the hint is to maximize the chances of the finder succeeding in finding the cache. You can decrypt or not, as you choose, but the whole reason it's encrypted in the first place is because it is supposed to be a spoiler. Otherwise, it wouldn't need to be encrypted. If reading the hint spoils the fun for you, then don't read it. If you want a challenge in the search (I don't), then don't even think of reading the hint until after you've tried and failed and get so frustrated that you actually want a spoiler.

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If reading the hint spoils the fun for you, then don't read it.

LOL, but you won't know if its a spoiler or not until you read it! At least in my experience, most of the time it isn't, it's just a helpful nudge.

 

I'd much rather risk a spoiler by decrypting them all ahead of time with just one click on the cache page than risk going thorough all the trouble of manually deciphering out in the field it just to get some useless inane comment like those that people are posting in this thread. That would be annoying.

Edited by TopShelfRob
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I didn't realize so many people treat the hints as last resorts and go through all of the trouble of waiting to manually decrypting them in the field if they need.
And then there are those of us who hold off reading the hint, but decrypt the hint with a push of a button when we finally decide to use it.
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I didn't realize so many people treat the hints as last resorts and go through all of the trouble of waiting to manually decrypting them in the field if they need.
And then there are those of us who hold off reading the hint, but decrypt the hint with a push of a button when we finally decide to use it.

And there are those of us that have GPRs that just automatically decode the hint and display it as part of the description. But, of course, I often don't look at the description, either...
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Occasionally I'll provide a hint that requires saying it out loud, which seems to confuse a number of folks. One hide is located in a gap in a low stone wall and my hint is "Ms. Ingston". For another that is hidden in the 'V' formed in a tree near a walking trail, the hint is "between you and Dubya". Just silly hints I wanted to provide to help people find the caches without too much trouble, but didn't want to just say "gap in the stone wall" or "vee of the tallest tree"...a 'push' in the right direction as opposed to a flashing neon sign. Still, there are folks who just don't get it. You can't please everyone.

Assuming it even dawned on me to say the hint out loud, I'd pronounce "Ms. Ingston" as "Mizz 'Ing-stun" (emphasis on the Ing). I don't think I'd manage to turn "Mizz 'Ing-stun" into "missing stone" without an "e" at the end of Ingston.

 

I'd treat it as though no hint were provided and hopefully find it without. Certainly it's fine to not provide a hint, and I tell myself I'm out of line if I get irked over cryptic hints, but deep down it feels like I've been left out of an inside joke. Ridiculous, yes, but true. This is where (and why) the irk originates. My head knows that's stupid. My heart, on the other hand, well...it just irks it's way along. :D

 

I think the whole point of the hint is to maximize the chances of the finder succeeding in finding the cache. You can decrypt or not, as you choose, but the whole reason it's encrypted in the first place is because it is supposed to be a spoiler. Otherwise, it wouldn't need to be encrypted. If reading the hint spoils the fun for you, then don't read it. If you want a challenge in the search (I don't), then don't even think of reading the hint until after you've tried and failed and get so frustrated that you actually want a spoiler.

 

That's just it, though...it's a HINT. Defined as "a slight or indirect indication or suggestion". To me, "gap in the stone wall" isn't a hint...it's telling you exactly where to look. It's a spoiler. My wordplay is a nudge, possibly open to interpretation...but once you are at GZ and can observe your surroundings, the answer is likely to come to you once you give it some thought.

 

I guess I just don't like how some folks have come to expect the hint to be a total giveaway.

Edited by J Grouchy
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Hints need to very location friendly, if your cache in in a sensitive environmental area a hint needs to be a spoiler but if your cache is a tricky big city hide then stick your finger in the first hole on the right you see, now stick your toe ten holes to the left and stick any available body part three inches above your toe and the cache will be within licking distance is not necessary.

Edited by Roman!
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I do get irked when people want direct spoiler of where the cache is in the hint.

 

Much of the time, I would just like the hint to give away the location.

 

For instance, if I'm enjoying a nice hike, I just want to grab the cache and go to the next one. Unless there's a special camo job, there's no reason on God's green earth for me to be rooting around in the bushes with my bum up in the air for 20 minutes looking for each cache. #1 it's annoying and pointless and a waste of time #2 it's damaging to the environment

 

Most of my caches are super easy to find. I will give a very specific hint and also put pink flagging right above the cache. I think people appreciate that. I also have a few where I purposely haven't given much a hint because they are special hides and a specific hint would take away from the 'Eureka' moment.

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Therefore, while I'd prefer them all to be merely "helpful nudges", I'd rather have a useless hint than one that totally ruins the fun altogether.

 

You may find this changes once you've got more finds under your belt. I remember being at around 100, like you are, and avoiding reading the hints unless it became absolutely necessary. I got alot of satisfaction from making the find with just the coordinates alone. Often I wouldn't even look the size. 2000 finds later, I've gotten lazy and read the hint before I even get to GZ. :P

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Therefore, while I'd prefer them all to be merely "helpful nudges", I'd rather have a useless hint than one that totally ruins the fun altogether.

 

You may find this changes once you've got more finds under your belt. I remember being at around 100, like you are, and avoiding reading the hints unless it became absolutely necessary. I got alot of satisfaction from making the find with just the coordinates alone. Often I wouldn't even look the size. 2000 finds later, I've gotten lazy and read the hint before I even get to GZ. :P

I just can't grasp how someone's behaviour/ethics might change with the smiley count.

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I do get irked when people want direct spoiler of where the cache is in the hint.

 

Much of the time, I would just like the hint to give away the location.

 

For instance, if I'm enjoying a nice hike, I just want to grab the cache and go to the next one. Unless there's a special camo job, there's no reason on God's green earth for me to be rooting around in the bushes with my bum up in the air for 20 minutes looking for each cache. #1 it's annoying and pointless and a waste of time #2 it's damaging to the environment

 

Most of my caches are super easy to find. I will give a very specific hint and also put pink flagging right above the cache. I think people appreciate that. I also have a few where I purposely haven't given much a hint because they are special hides and a specific hint would take away from the 'Eureka' moment.

Might be an area thing?

In mine, flagging tape above the cache would be removed, thinking someone with little experience placed it there "to help out..." or a lazy/forgetful hunter didn't remove on his way back to the car.

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I do get irked when people want direct spoiler of where the cache is in the hint.

 

Much of the time, I would just like the hint to give away the location.

 

For instance, if I'm enjoying a nice hike, I just want to grab the cache and go to the next one. Unless there's a special camo job, there's no reason on God's green earth for me to be rooting around in the bushes with my bum up in the air for 20 minutes looking for each cache. #1 it's annoying and pointless and a waste of time #2 it's damaging to the environment

 

Most of my caches are super easy to find. I will give a very specific hint and also put pink flagging right above the cache. I think people appreciate that. I also have a few where I purposely haven't given much a hint because they are special hides and a specific hint would take away from the 'Eureka' moment.

Might be an area thing?

In mine, flagging tape above the cache would be removed, thinking someone with little experience placed it there "to help out..." or a lazy/forgetful hunter didn't remove on his way back to the car.

 

Yeah...I'd think it was pretty annoying to basically be told I'm not observant enough to figure it out on my own...whether or not that is the intention.

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