Iouri Chadrine The Herald Hunt
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2002 Herald Hunt Solution

Here's a step-by-step solution to the 2002 Herald Hunt:

At the Tower of Light in Bayfront Park, hunters encountered a PA system playing Under the Sea. From the balcony surrounding the tower, hunters could see Hunt staffers dressed as mermaids scurrying about 15 feet below, while other staffers handed them fishing lines. If they lowered a fishing line, the mermaids attached a piece of paper to the hook. The paper had what seemed to be randomly arranged letters in a rectangular grid. Under the Sea was the clue. If you looked under each ''C'' in the letter grid and noted the letter below it, you came up with: ''HOWMANYSTARFISH.'' On the tower hung a backdrop depicting sea life, including 14 starfish. The answer to this puzzle: 14.

Round, raised platforms lined the path that stretched through Bayfront Park from Flagler to the fountain. A sign nearby read: ''Connect the dots.'' Standing on the platforms were 15 young actors dressed as notable figures. Many hunters figured out that each circular platform was a ''dot'' -- and connected the dots by drawing lines between characters who had a distinct connection. For example, Mickey Mantle could be connected to Roger Maris, his fellow Yankees slugger. If the dots were charted, then connected, they clearly spelled out ''XXVII,'' the Roman numerals for 27, which was the answer.

At the entrance to the Hotel InterContinental, five flagpoles flew five flags. Each flag was a white field with capital letters: STAFF; LER; PLUS; RANT; ELLATE. Hunters had to realize the lettering on the flags on either side of the ''PLUS'' would form words if you added the same first syllable to each: flagSTAFF flagLER PLUS flagRANT flagELLATE. Astute hunters had noticed, in the Hunt section of the Herald, a vocabulary quiz that challenged readers to define a series of phrases. Among the correct word answers were Flagstaff (worth 4 points), Flagler (6 points), flagrant (3 points) and flagellate (2 points). If you replaced the score for the words in the flags you got 46 PLUS 32, or 78, the answer to this puzzle.

At the Bayfront Amphitheater, John Nations, a juggler, entertained the crowd beneath a banner that read: ''The hue marks the clue.'' The words were in black, except for ''hue,'' which was bright red. The clue was three red items being juggled: A Roman-type column, a bust and a red letter ''A.'' Hunters had to run those words together: columnbustA, or Columbus Day, Oct. 14, or 1014, the answer to this clue.

Near the bay, hunters discovered a large eye chart in front of a statue of the late Claude Pepper. Hunt staffers handed out cardboard glasses with red lenses. On the earpiece was printed: ``What's the bottom line?'' But the bottom line on the eye chart was unreadable, even with the glasses. Astute hunters noticed a second Pepper statue pictured on the map of downtown in the Hunt section in Bayside. If hunters went to that spot and looked in the same direction the statue on the map was looking, they saw an ad for CP Optometrists. Looking at the ad through the red lenses, secret clues popped into view from the ad's borders: Expenses = 8,176; Revenue = 12,554; Net Profit = 4,378. The ''bottom line,'' or net profit, is the answer to this puzzle: 4,378.


Each of the number answers above corresponded to a rambling verbal clue on a page of real and decoy clues in the Hunt section.

Taken together, the clues were meaningless -- until hunters got a sixth clue from the amphitheater stage at 3 p.m.: ''If letters were days of the week, these would be Wednesdays.'' Insanely smart hunters realized that was the key to the code. If they treated each letter in the five earlier clues as a blank in a calendar, and assigned each a day of the week, beginning with Sunday, the letters that fell on a ''Wednesday'' spelled the following message: ``Chart the stars in the park. When you see, go there. What's in a name that's shiny and new? Now find it again. Make the call.''

The ''stars in the park'' referred to seven characters from the ''connect the dots'' puzzle, who had quietly taken up positions around Bayfront Park. If their positions were charted, it became clear they corresponded to the ''Big Dipper'' constellation. Some hunters spotted a ''big dipper'' on their map: a large woman bather about to dip into the Bayfront fountain. They had to ''go there'' and notice the name of the fountain, the Mildred and Claude Pepper Fountain, in raised letters. Two of the letters, recently replaced, were shinier than the rest: an ''E'' and a ``P.''

A few hunters noticed an E and a P together on the Hunt map and hurried to the Navigation Center Book Store.

There, they saw in the window a listing of phony business names with phone numbers. One of the businesses was E&P Enterprises. To win the Hunt merely required calling the corresponding phone number.