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solomanda

puzzle caches

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I have several puzzle caches that I'm trying to work on.  The caches either seem fun for my kids or would fill in a new D/T combo, etc...  ANYWAY, I'm awful at them, but still want to do them.  I seem to get ones that mostly require me to translate something (elvish, for one example - holiday symbols, for a second one) into coords.  Is there some kind of tool that can help with this?  I don't think there is a shift or play fair cypher involved so I can't use a decrypting tool.  I think the real answer to my question is to just keep working on them, but if there is something in the world to keep me from feeling like a dummy, I'll try it!

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7 minutes ago, solomanda said:

I have several puzzle caches that I'm trying to work on.  The caches either seem fun for my kids or would fill in a new D/T combo, etc...  ANYWAY, I'm awful at them, but still want to do them.  I seem to get ones that mostly require me to translate something (elvish, for one example - holiday symbols, for a second one) into coords.  Is there some kind of tool that can help with this?  I don't think there is a shift or play fair cypher involved so I can't use a decrypting tool.  I think the real answer to my question is to just keep working on them, but if there is something in the world to keep me from feeling like a dummy, I'll try it!

Geocaching Toolbox can help with a lot of those types of puzzles.

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8 minutes ago, solomanda said:

I think the real answer to my question is to just keep working on them...

 

You bet! :)

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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.)


If you ask the cache owner for a hint, then be sure to mention the approaches you have tried so far, and the results those approaches have yielded. It can also be helpful to work together with others who are trying to solve the same puzzle. Geocaching events are a good place to meet other geocachers; ask around to see if anyone else is trying to solve the same puzzle(s) as you.


Other useful resources include:


 

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1 hour ago, niraD said:

It can also be helpful to work together with others who are trying to solve the same puzzle. Geocaching events are a good place to meet other geocachers; ask around to see if anyone else is trying to solve the same puzzle(s) as you.

Yep.

I feel events are a good place to ask around.

Realize that for puzzles out a while, there may be some who already found it and might not offer a hint without an okay from the CO.

 

Even this dyslexic old fart can do some puzzles, but have combined skills with others to solve them too.

 -  There's been a few where we headed out as a team because the brainiac solved the puzzle, but wasn't able to access the hide.   :)

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Generally speaking, I prefer to not ask for help on puzzles, which is why I'm now about three years into trying to solve a friend's puzzle. I've made tremendous progress, but that last step has me stumped.   The CO accidentally blurted something I can expect to find in the puzzle, once I have it solved, but for the life of me I'm not seeing it!  I'm not the slightest bit embarrassed about taking so long to figure it out.

 

Not everyone can solve every puzzle. I've solved some within minutes that took others weeks. Some have solved local puzzles quickly that I still don't have a clue on. 

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50 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

Not everyone can solve every puzzle. I've solved some within minutes that took others weeks. Some have solved local puzzles quickly that I still don't have a clue on. 

 

I had several pages of notes on a puzzle.  Someone wrote to ask me if I'd come up with anything.  Sure, two heads are better than one.  This could be cache #1000 for me, it's a win-win.  Cool.  So I sent him all my notes, which helped so much, he solved the puzzle and got FTF.  I still haven't solved it.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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26 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

I had several pages of notes on a puzzle.  Someone wrote to ask me if I'd come up with anything.  Sure, two heads are better than one.  This could be cache #1000 for me, it's a win-win.  Cool.  So I sent him all my notes, which helped so much, he solved the puzzle and got FTF.  I still haven't solved it.

 

 

The EXACT same thing has happened to me!

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29 minutes ago, kunarion said:

I had several pages of notes on a puzzle.  Someone wrote to ask me if I'd come up with anything.  Sure, two heads are better than one.  This could be cache #1000 for me, it's a win-win.  Cool.  So I sent him all my notes, which helped so much, he solved the puzzle and got FTF.  I still haven't solved it.

11 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

The EXACT same thing has happened to me!

 

Figures, huh?   

We're careful now after similar experiences.  Good to see it's not just us.    :) 

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13 hours ago, Max and 99 said:
14 hours ago, kunarion said:

I had several pages of notes on a puzzle.  Someone wrote to ask me if I'd come up with anything.  Sure, two heads are better than one.  This could be cache #1000 for me, it's a win-win.  Cool.  So I sent him all my notes, which helped so much, he solved the puzzle and got FTF.  I still haven't solved it.

The EXACT same thing has happened to me!

Do you mean that the other person didn't share what they learned with you, or do you mean that your notes were enough for someone else to figure it out, but you still couldn't get it?  I'm assuming the latter, but cerberus1's comment sounds like the former.

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6 hours ago, noncentric said:

Do you mean that the other person didn't share what they learned with you, or do you mean that your notes were enough for someone else to figure it out, but you still couldn't get it?  I'm assuming the latter, but cerberus1's comment sounds like the former.

 

I was still sending new guesses til the moment he found it, clues he didn't seem too keen to discuss anymore.  He never mentioned to me that he had solved the puzzle.  In the FTF, he didn't mention teamwork.

 

The coolest part:  I asked what finally cracked the code, and he couldn't remember any of it.

 

You know, he's got principles. Hey, he's not gonna spoil someone's puzzle cache.  :ph34r:

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3 hours ago, kunarion said:

I was still sending new guesses til the moment he found it, clues he didn't seem too keen to discuss anymore.  He never mentioned to me that he had solved the puzzle.  In the FTF, he didn't mention teamwork.

 

The coolest part:  I asked what finally cracked the code, and he couldn't remember any of it.

 

You know, he's got principles. Hey, he's not gonna spoil someone's puzzle cache.  :ph34r:

Thanks for talking about this experience. I never really expect anything like this to happen, but I still approach cooperation as if the person's just pumping me for information, not honestly interested in teamwork. So first of all, unless it's a friend, I always treat any  "let's work together" as a simple request for hints, so that's all I give them, not my complete notes. If they start to give me hints back, then I'll start thinking of them as a friend and possibly being more open. I'm actually kinda stingy with friends, too, although at least once I've solved it, I continue feeding them hints until they've solved it, too. For particularly hard puzzles, I do fully partner with a friend or a group of friends and feed them everything I have, and I've always felt I got back enough to warrant the exchange.

 

Of course, my friends might describe it differently, since once I get the solution when we're fully into team mode, I get kinda gleeful about dropping obscure hints instead of telling them the answer outright. But I give in when they feel like they've had enough fun trying to solve it for themselves.

 

On the other end, I'm often a little disappointed when someone finds the cache and doesn't even mention that they had help, let along give me credit. I've gotten used to it, and I think it's probably not that big of a deal. I don't really need to get credit, after all, but still, I know what you're feeling. I try to focus on the fact that there's a lot to put in a log, so my help just didn't rise up to the cutoff point for what the finder wanted to say about it. It's possible that what I told them didn't actually help solve it after all. Admittedly a little more rude in an FTF situation, though.

 

Having said all that, though, in this case my guess is that the guy you were feeding information to didn't solve the puzzle at all. Whether he just talked someone else into giving him the answer -- as he was hoping you'd do, by the way -- or fed your information to someone else who then solved it for him, the reason he couldn't remember solving it is most likely because he didn't. Anyway, at least you know one person not to bother trying to work with again.

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11 hours ago, kunarion said:

I was still sending new guesses til the moment he found it, clues he didn't seem too keen to discuss anymore.  He never mentioned to me that he had solved the puzzle.  In the FTF, he didn't mention teamwork.

 

The coolest part:  I asked what finally cracked the code, and he couldn't remember any of it.

 

You know, he's got principles. Hey, he's not gonna spoil someone's puzzle cache.  :ph34r:

Wow, that is rude.

I've had cachers ask me for hints on puzzles, but they reached out to me because I was a recent finder of the puzzle cache.  I haven't yet had someone, even someone I know, ask me about a puzzle before it's been found though. Will keep your experience in the back of my mind if that ever happens.

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48 minutes ago, noncentric said:

I haven't yet had someone, even someone I know, ask me about a puzzle before it's been found though. Will keep your experience in the back of my mind if that ever happens.

 

There are some surprisingly cutthroat Geocachers. The backstabbing to gather limited goodies really comes out at times, especially at Events. It's kind of a turnoff. B)

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30 minutes ago, kunarion said:

There are some surprisingly cutthroat Geocachers. The backstabbing to gather limited goodies really comes out at times, especially at Events.

Veering OT, but...

Yep.  Hopefully not a regional thing.    :)

Maybe it is an area thing, but one of the few reasons the other 2/3rds doesn't cache anymore was my refusal to just give people finals.

Knowing I could care less what they think of me, they'd hound her. 

I'd be happy to give small hints on caches not mine, but rare anyone ever asked me for one.  

 

One funny one (think I explained it before)  was a guy who'd call her about FTF on our caches when he couldn't find them right away.

One day she finally handed the phone to me, I said "Don't worry, I'm sure someone will be along soon to help...", and haven't gotten a call from him since. 

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On 11/9/2018 at 10:08 PM, kunarion said:

 

There are some surprisingly cutthroat Geocachers. The backstabbing to gather limited goodies really comes out at times, especially at Events. It's kind of a turnoff. B)

I want to put it out there, that I would never use someone else's work and take credit.  What kind of geocachers are this competitive?  I'd love to be a FTF (I've never done that, especially since I just learned how to set up alerts like 6 weeks ago), but c'mon this is not a game where you win.

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2 hours ago, solomanda said:

I want to put it out there, that I would never use someone else's work and take credit.  What kind of geocachers are this competitive?  I'd love to be a FTF (I've never done that, especially since I just learned how to set up alerts like 6 weeks ago), but c'mon this is not a game where you win.

 

Yeah.  That's a good way to do it.

 

There's a great post on the GGA site with links to puzzle resources.  If you need to solve a puzzle cache, it's likely that you'll find tools there.  But that page is a massive amount of information.  Just one of the links is a codebook (may take a while to download), and that may help identify and decode a cypher.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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On 11/8/2018 at 6:30 AM, niraD said:

Here are some general puzzle tips (based in part on a puzzle-solving class event presented by The Rat a while ago):


...


Other useful resources include:...


 

Thanks for taking the time to add that list.  I have gotten to the point where when I open a map in the areas where I frequently go caching and the only unfound ones left have this big question mark icon.  On most of them I am just utterly clueless on how to even start or perhaps too impatient when I can't solve the puzzle quickly on those that I might be able to get a start on.  Normally I'd rather do a ten mile hike to get a cache than to spend the same amount of hours (or more) pulling my hair out trying to solve a #@%%!! puzzle cache.  However, I am beginning to realize that maybe this is an aspect of the game that I should pay more attention to, spend more time with, and maybe enjoy the pleasure that will possibly come with finally solving one of these darned things.  I'm inspired to get started by the comments and information in this thread (minus the deplorable incident experienced by kunarion).  Nevertheless, I don't think I will start with the one I was looking at not long ago that brings you to the middle of a field and just says "the cache is not at the posted coordinates."  Thanks niraD and others who posted some suggestions.  

Edited by Spandoc

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