I haven't mentioned it again after the first time, but I have been following the game keenly, honing my skills and sharpening my instinct.....and now I am keen, honed and sharpened into a massive case of nerves. You should have seen me last night, sitting awake until 2:00 AM (when the clue was due to be released), nauseated and shaking, sweaty palms and all.
The clue was posted just a moment before 2:00 AM. I tell you, I have never been so tense as those few seconds, trying to steady my hand enough to type in the latitudes and longitudes. This was the clue as posted:
Clue Eight - Nuns and Habits
The Quest for the Ice Fox. Near Limehouse, upon The Frozen Thames.
To move north along the latitude to the eighth sighting of the fox, add 5052 to the year The Pagoda in Kew Gardens was built. Then divide by a million and add the result to the source latitude.
To move west along the longitude to the eighth sighting of the fox, multiply 10167 by two times the number of Henry Moore’s standing figures in Battersea Park. Then divide by a million and add the result to the source longitude. The place upon which you land will help you solve this cryptic clue:
For whom the bell tolls, in a manner of speaking.
The one-word plural answer is your key to this cipher:
JIE HBITQ JIE RAEI RAE ITHOEP JY LEIKE XJT QBIS C QJIS COJTR.
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.
=======The End Game, at Last!
Congratulations: if you’ve solved all the clues, you should now have a collection of eight two digit numbers, one for each clue solution. Those numbers, as promised, are your keys to finding the spot where the fox finally weighed anchor. Here’s how. Each two digit number is a part of either the latitude or longitude of the fox’s final destination. You put them together like this:
Got the solution? Great!
Okay. First of all, it's not as bad as it looks. Break it down, it's just a matter of simple steps. The problem wasn't in the solving, it was in the racing - first person to email the correct answer to McClelland and Stewart wins round-trip airfare for two to London in the form of a AmEx travel voucher.
I really felt like I was on my mettle in this game. There was no list of who was playing, but I knew there were about 150 people in the Facebook group, which was the centre of the game. Of those, only a few of us were regularly posting on the discussion board, but that doesn't mean only a few of us were actually working the clues. And of those few of us, two that I knew of were professional geocachers. People who do this for a living.
Anyway, I know you're just dying to know how long it took me to do the clue.....it was a little under ten minutes. Did I win? I don't know. Ten minutes sounds pretty good - and it felt great - but I did make a little mistake in my entry email. I still can't believe it but I was in such a hurry to send in my answer that I fired off the email before realizing it was supposed to include my snail mail address. When I DID realize it, I seriously felt like all the blood was draining from my body through my feet. Paper white, from the face down. See, you only get one entry, and if you enter more than once they disqualify you.
I did risk sending a second email right after the first, with my address and an apology for missing it, but without repeating the GPS coordinates lest they thought I was trying another entry.
There has been nothing but silence on the part of the contest coordinators today, so I have no clue where I stand. I'm thinking ten minutes would be pretty hard to beat, but I might have bollocksed it up with the non-regulation entry email.
The good news is, it's okay if I didn't win. I mean, I worked really hard for this game, sweating out eight clues over two months' time, but what I liked best about it was discovering that I could do it, you know? That what seemed, at first, to be a bafflingly complex game was in fact well within my capabilities. So the trip to London would be a nice bonus, but just taking part in the Quest for the Ice Fox was absolutely brilliant.
I'll let you know what happens.
Edit: Okay, I didn't win the trip. I DID get one of the runner-up prizes, but.....well, I admit I'm disappointed. On the other hand, if someone beat my time of 10 minutes? they totally deserve to go to London in my stead. Now I'm consoling myself by choosing from the McClelland Stewart catalogue.