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Puzzles puzzling me...


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I geocached a decent amount years ago and decided to get back into it. Now I'm seeing lots of caches that state "****The cache is not located at the posted coordinates****" and I have to solve a puzzle to be validated before I get the actual coords.

 

The problem is, however, that more and more I'm finding ones where I have NO CLUE what the puzzle even is. Take this one for example. I don't have a clue what I need to do to know what gets added/subtracted from the coords.

 

I love the hunt for caches, and I don't mind a puzzle that is straightforward, but I'm not loving puzzles where what I need to do is so unclear that I can't even try the puzzle itself.

 

Anyone else feel that way or have pointers on how to approach these types of caches?

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1 hour ago, TeamTJ said:

I'm not loving puzzles where what I need to do is so unclear that I can't even try the puzzle itself.

 

Anyone else feel that way or have pointers on how to approach these types of caches?

 

I like that kind!  Especially if they are so obscure, that few people ever solve them.  The whole idea of the puzzle may be that you are to "make it not unclear", deciding where the "puzzle" is, at which point the actual math is easy.  What I do is keep a separate text document on my PC, as well as an Indiana Jones style diary, and add clues and notes as I think of things to try.  With one, I was able to rule out vast areas of possible hiding spots, and due to increasing cache saturation, eventually reduced the possibilities to a single line, 1/4 of a mile long.  Without "solving it", I walked that line until the cache hint looked right.  This was 4 years after I started working on it.

 

One guy used my own notes to get FTF on a cache without crediting me on the find (then he immediately "forgot" how he solved it, and forgot the coordinates, darn the luck).  So I know that set of notes is good, and I'm simply waiting for an epiphany, so I can go hunt the thing.

 

So one tip, provided that you're a whiz at puzzles in general, is to have patience and try new ideas as you get more experience.  Some Cache Owners recycle their puzzles, or at least design puzzles that are similar.  Have you solved a lot of other puzzles by the same CO?  Also, you may ask the Cache Owner.  One of the caches I couldn't solve had a typo that made it unsolvable.

 

But another thing I do is I wait til a caching friend is in the area and asks me to come along.  It's great when he's already solved these.  Or I ask people at a caching Event.

 

Edited by kunarion
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You can always just kinda ignore them, or just put them on your ignore list so you can't see them anymore. You don't have to find every cache.

Only 34 people have found the cache, so you're not the only one who's struggling with this one. 

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most puzzle caches I have seen I have no clue how to solve. The best help may be conferring with the CO, explain what you have tried etc. I asked a few non- puzzle cache owners for a hint or correction to my thinking and they told me where it is and what to look for-- not what I asked for though!

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7 minutes ago, Jayeffel said:

I asked a few non- puzzle cache owners for a hint or correction to my thinking and they told me where it is and what to look for-- not what I asked for though!

 

If I ask someone, that's what I usually get, the coordinates (or the specific location).  I think that's because they either don't remember how they solved it, or they also got the coords from someone else.  Some puzzles are pretty obscure.  But some are quite elegant and unique and set up for that cool "AHA!" moment.  If you don't take time to ponder the puzzle, you miss out on the fun.

 

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9 hours ago, TeamTJ said:

I geocached a decent amount years ago and decided to get back into it. Now I'm seeing lots of caches that state "****The cache is not located at the posted coordinates****" and I have to solve a puzzle to be validated before I get the actual coords.

 

The problem is, however, that more and more I'm finding ones where I have NO CLUE what the puzzle even is. Take this one for example. I don't have a clue what I need to do to know what gets added/subtracted from the coords.

 

I love the hunt for caches, and I don't mind a puzzle that is straightforward, but I'm not loving puzzles where what I need to do is so unclear that I can't even try the puzzle itself.

 

Anyone else feel that way or have pointers on how to approach these types of caches?

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 35° xx.xxx W 084° 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 35xxxxx084xxxxx from them. In general, I look for ways to get the number 35 (or the digits 3 and 5) from something near the beginning of the puzzle, and the number 084 (or the digits 0, 8, and 4) 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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There is a fine line between puzzles that seem like they simply add layers of work, those that are “easier if you add trigonometry to your repetoire” (as a CO once told me), and those that are based on a chain of thought that may be logical only to the CO.  If you enjoy them, that is great, but I have enough puzzles in my everyday life without adding caching to the mix in any serious way.   
 

If you are not enjoying a puzzle then simply move on.    

Edited by geodarts
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28 minutes ago, geodarts said:

If you are not enjoying a puzzle then simply move on.

The point of geocaching is to have fun, so if you aren't enjoying a puzzle geocache, then definitely move on.

 

But sometimes it helps to get away from a puzzle that isn't making sense. I've solved (and found) a number of puzzles that didn't make sense at first (or maybe even at second, or at third). But at some point I came back and looked at the puzzle with fresh eyes and had the "Aha!" moment when I figured out the logic of the puzzle.

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I'm a big fan of puzzle caches myself. Am I good at them? No. However, as a puzzle cache owner and as someone who has solved a decent number of puzzles, I always find it nice to just message the CO for a hint... let them know you've put some effort into it (show what you have tried), and very often they'll be happy to nudge you in the right direction.

 

My puzzles are meant to be solved. Sure, some of them are evil, but I am more than happy to give assistance to anyone who needs/wants it, and I think many other COs feel the same way.

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