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4 Velvet Elvises (2014 Cachemas in NoVAGO) Mystery Cache

Hidden : 12/09/2014
1.5 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

"Do we have kitsch? We invented kitsch!" - A friend of mine while touring Europe when asked about some less than tasteful local artwork.

Welcome to 2014 Cachemas in NoVAGO!

This cache is the 4th in the series: Four Velvet Elvises

A holiday treat from all of us at NoVAGO! The 2014 Cachemas in NoVAGO Series (or CiN for short) is a 13-part journey based on the 12 Days of Christmas that will take you on a tour of Northern Virginia. From Arlington to Purcellville to McLean and beyond, happy holidays from NoVAGO to you!

Each cache in the 2014 Cachemas Series can be found individually, but make sure you collect the clue inside. You'll need it to find the 2014 Cachemas Bonus! The clue is hidden in plain sight in each container and is in the format "[+-]#.### [+-]#.###". More details can be found on the Bonus cache page.

There is NO cache at the posted coordinates. It is in the middle of the woods. While it looks like it might possibly have a cache, it doesn't. You are more than welcome to go there because it is a nice walk but you will NOT find a cache there.

This is not a particularly difficult puzzle. A little internet research and it is yours. Add in a little math just to keep things interesting and you should be good to go. Those are the plusses. The minuses are that you get to explore some of the underbelly of our culture. The stuff that we all do but nobody talks about because quite frankly it can be just a little embarrassing. So, for those of you who are still with me and have not been frightened off by the fact this is a puzzle, let us begin.

As most of you are aware, we are a tacky people. It is in our very DNA. Indeed, where else in the world would possibly allow the items referenced in the cache title? OK, other than Tiajuana. And I won't even bring up places like Breezewood, PA or Gatlinburg, TN (although I think I just did). Since some of the highlights of the season are Grandma getting run over by reindeer and wanting a "Christmas Wishal" I thought we needed a tacky cache for the Cachemas season.  Think of this as the sort of thing that if you got it for the holidays you would quickly figure out a reason why it had to be returned. Or re-gifted.

There are going to be several steps in this process and there will be math involved. For the math-phobic out there, it will be tasteful math (unlike the puzzle).  You can figure out the coordinates at home while in your jammies and wearing your pink bunny slippers if that would make you happy.

Step 1. Figure out what Cachemas Day this puzzle represents. (Remember the part about the math being easy.) As a checksum, the answer will be somewhere between three and five.

Step 2. Find a cumulative song (hint, hint) for the season that references the answer from step 1.  Possibly, the cache name will be useful. There are various tools on the Internet to help you on this one. I could name 12 of them (My goodness, did another hint just go whooshing by?).

Step 3. We are dealing with what is pretty much a folk song, so these things will tend to "evolve" over the years. Find four (4) different versions of said song. There are a lot more out there but four will suffice for now. For convenience sake, and because we need a way to keep the numbers straight, we will label these versions with random strings such as

      1. "Trad" (a while back)
      2. "AS" (1963)
      3. "B&DM aka GWN" (1982)
      4. "JF" (1995)

Just to get you started, and to demonstrate that my heart is NOT two sizes too small, I will let slip that "Trad" stands for "Traditional".  There are a number of ways you can get the information required. I went with wikipedia, lyrics-freak, carolingcorner (it is there but you have to look a bit) and metrolyrics, in that order, although there are many other places. The numbers in parentheses are when the version was released.

Step 4. Determine the item received on this day (step 1) for each of the answers in step 3. Just as a checksum, you will need four items, one for each Velvet Elvis referenced in the cache title.

OK, here is where the math could get just a shade hairy. Or maybe not. Take a deep breath if you are feeling stressed.

Step 5. Write out the COMPLETE item from step 4 exactly as written/sung.  Ignore punctuation (that would be your commas, etc.) Spell out all numbers (e.g. 12 would be "twelve").  If necessary, spell out all gerunds. If you need to look up what that word means, now would be a good time.

Step 6. For each of the items in step 5, add up all of the letters using the traditional a=1, b=2, ...  Upper case letters will have the same value as lower case letters. Blanks can either be ignored or valued as zero depending if you were a liberal arts major or an engineer. Rumkin has a nice tool to take some of the grunt work out of this step. If you are uncertain about your math, the checksums (Add the digits of the answer. If greater than 10 continue the process until you get a single digit), are:

1. "Trad" (8)
2. "AS" (3)
3. "B&DM aka GWN" (6)
4. "JF" (7)

Please note that there are a lot of checksums out there. This is just an easy one I can do without having to take my socks off, which can be tacky beyond belief.

Step 7. Add all four of the numbers from step 6 together. (We're not talking rocket surgery here.) Your checksum is 6.

Step 8. Getting back to our overarching theme of kitsch and tackiness mentioned above, and speaking of tacky places, pretend this is an OYR cache. (Did you notice how I just slipped that in as pretty as you please?) You will need to either add or subtract the number from step 7 to the reference coordinates. And because this is supposed to be the season for giving gifts, tacky as they might be, I will tell you that the final will be either NW (hint, hint) or SE of the reference coordinates, so either add (hint, hint) or subtract the answer from step 7 to the reference coordinates, both latitude and longitude.  There is the whole move the decimal point three places to the left thing (or multiply by .001), but we leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Step 9. Go and find the cache. You are looking for a medium sized L&L in a fairly typical hide. OK, typical for around here, as opposed to Florida where they hide caches in palm trees. It's NOT in a palm tree. It may or may not be decorated in a method appropriate for the season. You are just going to have to discover that yourself.

Parking is available nearby to the East and North. It is perfectly good, safe, and legal parking. If you are in a place where there is a chance you are going to get a ticket or a bumper up your rear end, you may want to think about your choice of parking spots. I don't care if you DO have Yosemite Sam mud-flaps. You will need to bushwhack a short distance through reasonably open woods.  If you find yourself climbing over fences, climbing steep inclines, or in someone's back yard, you may want to check your math on the puzzle. Perfectly suitable for mini-cachers and geo-pups (my geo-pups have already been to GZ without incident).

And because this is a Northern Virginia cache, remember to heed all signs, park respectfully, and send your grandmother a thank you note for the sweater. She meant well even if it is pretty ugly.

Please include in your log information about a tacky or totally inappropriate gift you have either given or received.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Rqtne Yrrgrt

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)