A mega-puzzle of many parts
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Not at the published coordinates, of course.
My 98th puzzle cache and part of my last series of puzzle caches.
Here, I try to explore the various types of puzzle caches by setting one mega-puzzle which involves most of the major types. Here are some types I have come across (and even set) before:
1) Cache page puzzles: Ones which use a standard feature of the GC cache page for the puzzle. It must be a standard feature i.e. one that is present on every cache page (or one of the associated pages in the GC website). The feature can be used to present the coordinates, or offer a means to decode the puzzle. An example from my "oeuvre": Terse Puzzle 2 (GCYEAN).
2) Bonus puzzles: Ones where you have to get the components of a formula from other caches in a series, or even from stages within the same cache. Some would argue that these aren't really puzzles. Typically a single number, needed for the formula, is collected from each stage or cache. There are thousands of examples of such caches.
3) Notable people puzzles: Ones where you have to do some (google) research into famous/local/historical people. Examples from my oeuvre: Surrey has the well known "X Marks the Spot" series (to which I have contributed along with several other contributors). X Marks Bookmark List
4) Puzzles for nerds: Ones where you have to use some knowledge or information from mathematics, computing or physics to generate the coordinates. Arguably my A Hard Puzzle (GC13JEW) is of this type but it fits another type as well. My set of 3 Two Hans caches are easy examples of this type.
5) Commemorating achievement puzzles: Ones which are published on or close to the date or anniversary of some notable achievement (eg in sports etc). An example from my oeuvre: Look Disconsolate (GC16X1C).
6) List puzzles: Ones where you use or link the clues to find a (web-)published list of people or things; the coordinates may be generated from (stable) features of the list. An example from my oeuvre would be Three (fictitious) weddings and a funeral(GC1830W), although this is also a text puzzle.
7) Standard puzzles: Ones which use a well-known puzzle type to generate the coordinates. A typical example are the Sudoku caches that are out there, local excellent examples being set by Ian Too. An example from my oeuvre: Screen Stars 9 (GC1JJCG).
8) Image puzzles: Ones in which an image or images on the cache page give(s) the coordinates in some way. Often, the images each directly provides a number in the coordinate formula. An example from my oeuvre: Dorking by Pictures (GCTGBY). Sometimes, however, the puzzle requires you to identify the images and gives explicit instructions in how to use the identity of the pictures to generate coordinates. An example from my oeuvre would be: The Puzzle Cachers' Last Stand (GC1A5C1).
9) Text puzzles: Ones which present some text on the cache page, and this more or less cunningly conceals the coordinates or the means for finding them. This is more than just dropping the odd clue in the text on the cache page as this is a common feature of many puzzles. Examples of the sort of text might be a specially constructed story or poem. An example from my oeuvre would be "Enough to send you .... " (GCVYBT).
10) Cipher puzzles: Ones which encode the coordinates using a "standard" cipher (eg Vigenere cipher). An example from my oeuvre: Gary Honey is a Streaker (GC14ADB).
11) Hobby puzzles: Ones which require the solver to find information relevant to a particular hobby, pastime or sport in order to generate the coordinates. An example from my oeuvre: Double Entendre (GC188NJ).
12) Interactive puzzles: Ones in which geocachers have to post logs on the cache page, or contribute in some other way, to generate the solution of the puzzle interactively. An example from my oeuvre (and the original one of this type): A cooperative geocache (GC11NG5).
13) Standard number system puzzles: Ones which use a familar or standard numbering system to encode coordinates (e.g. book ISBN numbers, the mobile phone SMS code; electrical resistor colour codes). Obviously the number system might be familiar only to those who use it regularly. An example from my oeuvre: Terse 10 (GCYWAK).
14) "Link the clues" puzzles: Ones which require the solver to form a link between the various seemingly unrelated clues on the cache page. When you have the link the method of decoding becomes (fairly) obvious, and without the link you (probably) couldn't interpret any of the parts. Croquetmike, in my view, has set some classic examples of these puzzles. An example from my oeuvre: Can you chase the train of thought? (GC19XTW).
I am sure this list is not exhaustive but it covers most types of puzzles I have encountered.
This current puzzle will also evolve in stages. I will add a new stage from time to time, and each new stage will involve a different kind of puzzle from the previous ones. Naturally, you will not be able to progress to a subsequent stage and solve it, without having solved the preceding stage. If anyone posts a good example of a common type of puzzle that I have missed, then I may be able to add a stage of that kind to this puzzle.
Stage One As part of stage one, you **must** solve the word puzzle below, of a kind which appears in the pages of certain newspapers. Using each letter from the alphabet (except J) once only, you have to complete the grid below so that you can read the following geocaching words from the grid:
tracks; box; map; query; view; cito; charts; finds; log; size; web
To read words from the grid you must trace from letter to letter starting at any square and moving in any direction (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) to any touching square. There is a unique solution. Strangely, viewers using some browsers (eg netscape) may not see this image properly.
Put a watch on this cache and I will write a log each time I add the next stage.
The second bit of stage one, requires that you have solved the relatively easy puzzle of mine called "Stepping Down from the Shoulders of Giants". Find the name of the relative nonentity depicted on that cache page. This will be the password (first name second name, no spaces) that is needed at the link below, in order to gain access to the stage 2 puzzle clue:
Get password-protected page here
I hope this will be a lot of fun....
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum