Monday, October 22, 2007

Calling All Smart People.

I have joined a fairly cool virtual geocaching game called "Quest for the Ice Fox", a promotional campaign run by McClelland & Stewart Publishers through Facebook and Google Maps. The game promotes a new book called "The Frozen Thames", by Helen Humphreys.
The Frozen Thames is a series of stories about life in historical London and the river Thames that ebbs, flows, and freezes throughout its history. The Quest for the Ice Fox contest intends to pull readers virtually down to the river and into that tarnished, talented knot of humanity. The natural vehicle for that journey is Google MyMaps. This amazing tool allows you to not only explore streets, buildings and geographical features the world over, but also to annotate them. You will need access to Google MyMaps to make the journey and solve its riddles.

The River Thames has frozen over 40 times in recorded history. When it does, "frost fairs" often spring up on its unyielding surface, offering food, fortune telling, and all manner of diversion. In 1684, a fox was set loose on the frozen Thames during a frost fair. Confused, it found itself lost in time and space in a white and chilly London. It's been spotted in eight locations about the capital. Each location holds cryptic clues and ciphers which, when untangled, contains a piece of the final destination of the fox. Your task is to tackle each of the clues as they're revealed in a special Google Map, discover the final destination of the ice fox to keep it safe from its pursuers, and then enter our contest. You could win a grand prize including a $2000 travel voucher and a copy of The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys. Five runners-up will also win $100 worth of McClelland & Stewart books from McClelland.com and The Frozen Thames.


Okay. So I had no real intention of taking part in the game when I first heard about it, thinking I wouldn't have time. Problem is, I went and did the first clue just for kicks, and now I'm kind of......well, I'm addicted. BUT. The second clue was released today and I've been trying to solve it, and I'm STUCK. I need your help, O Most Brainy Reader.

Here's the clue.

"Home, James"
Near Waterloo Bridge, upon The Frozen Thames
51.507283 latitude-0.117158 longitude
Latitude Clue
To move south along the latitude to the second sighting of the fox, add 2205 to the year the Crystal Palace opened. Then divide by a million and subtract the result from the source latitude.
Longitude Clue
To move west along the longitude to the second sighting of the fox, add 8839 to the year the Spanish Armada was defeated. Then divide by a million and add the result to the source longitude. (Note: The minus sign in the longitude indicates direction only. You should ignore it when doing math.)
The place upon which you land will help you solve this cryptic clue:

We hear a former scrutineer lives nearby.

The word is your key to this cipher:

VAQNQ PAQ LI OLQJHO ABO LIO

And that cipher reveals a two digit number you will need to solve the final puzzle of the Quest for the Ice Fox. Collect these numbers to determine the final destination of our wily, frigid friend.

So the latitude and longitude gets me to Downing Street. What's sticking me is the "former scrutineer" part. Any ideas? I have tried crunching the cipher with "London Eye" and "Big Ben" (because "we hear"), but no luck. I'm missing something...

And if you are interested in doing this game for yourself, check it out on Facebook. The Group is simply called "Quest for the Ice Fox".

UPDATE:
Whew! I figured it out. Anybody else get it?

8 comments:

Shannon2 said...

What no responses so far? So I am guessing that we are not a bunch of smart lab rats...sigh

Tabatha said...

I have no brains. The zombies ate them.

Shan said...

I guess they must have been instructed to by their zombie masters.

Gwen said...

I read this post despite the title. Hope that's okay.

lizbon said...

All I know (or think I know) is that the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588. I think. I could google to check, but I'd rather just believe I'm right. And I know all about the frost fairs; one of the times it froze over was during the reign of QE1. There's a scene in "Orlando" about it. It's cool. No pun intended. I declined to try and figure out the entire clue because I only do math (particularly anything that involves dividing by a million) if I'm being paid to do it. Wow, what a long, content-free comment.

kate said...

I knew you would have figured it out by the time I got to the end of the clue. Besides, you didn't really want us to solve it for you, now did you?
(No, I didn't really bother trying, but I thought those were two good justifications.)

karen said...

So, when you win, where will you go with your travel voucher - perhaps to London(?) to see the places in person ( in the winter when the Thames has frozen over - you never know - with this global warming it could happen this year!)Good Luck - you're off to a good start...

Tabatha said...

Yeah, I know the zombies' masters and they totally told them to.


(Bargaining, am I right?)