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Nightmare Before Cachemas: Lock, Shock & Barrel Multi-Cache

This cache has been archived.

zgrav: Archiving this cache a year to the day since a found log was last made. Thanks to everyone that solved the puzzles and enjoyed the hunt!

Hidden : 10/08/2021
3.5 out of 5
2.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

Santa needs help… save him before it is too late and “Cachemas” is ruined...

Lock, Shock & Barrel offer this puzzling contribution to the NOVAGO 2021 Nightmare Before Cachemas! 

The terrible trio is large and in charge for this cache: 

LOCK, first in this power trio. Blue from the cold and ready for fun.

Shock, second in the trio with her purple outfit and witch hat.  Sandy Claws beware!

Barrel, the third times the charm with his green hair and skeleton costume.  Most likely to be left holding the bag. 

These three spirited residents of Halloweentown have created a multicache adventure to enjoy as a part of the NOVAGO Nightmare Before Cachemas 2021 celebration.  After working through the puzzle to get the location of the first stage your search will take you to several stages of tricky hides and a field puzzle or two before you can find Jack Skellington’s Keepsafe.  All stages for this geocache use these numbers:  N 38 50.XXX  W 11.XXX.  The field puzzles are for the six digits in the decimal portions of the North and West coordinates.

Start by solving the Word Search below.  As you find each word on the list that is already in alphabetical order, make a note of whether the direction when reading the word in the puzzle goes N, S, E or W.  Also keep track of the position in alphabetical order of the words in each of the four groups so you can, for example, identify the 4th word the is read in the East direction (there are no diagonal words used for this puzzle).    

Each digit in the coordinates for the starting point has a code that is a number-letter-number.   The first number refers to where that word is found in the list of words for each of the four letters.  The letters refer to the direction that the word is read.  Normally words are read from left (west) to right (east), and that would be given the "E" letter.  West direction is backwards from how it would normally be read, South is read from top to bottom, and North is read from bottom to top.   Using your list of the found words GROUPED BY N, S, E or W, the number in front of the letter is which word to use in that group (keeping them in alphabetical order).  The number after the direction refers to the letter in that word.  

For example, for the 1W3 code below, it refers to the first word in the list that is read in the West direction.  If that word were CACHEMAS, the third letter is C, and the coordinate number would be “3”  (For this puzzle, A=1, B=2,C=3 ….. J=0).  The second entry, 1E10, should give you an “8” for the coordinate, in the familiar 38 XX.XXX  77 XX.XXX format.    You will also be able to use the two 7s for the West coordinates as reference points.      

1W3  *  1E10  *  1N6  *  4W1  *  5W17  *  6E10  *  6W6  * 

5E3  *  7E11  *  4E7  *  9E3  *  6E5 *  4W1  *  1N8  *



After you obtain a set of coordinates from decoding the word search, go to the location of the solved coordinates.  Take a seat, and then position yourself as far to the left as possible.  Looking forward, sight through a frame in front of you to locate a slightly more distant object.   Go inspect that object for your first field puzzle, and you will be on your way to track Lock, Shock & Barrel through the park.  The field puzzles should be fun, but note that the hides for the stages may be difficult.  Or maybe the field puzzles will be difficult, but the hides will be straightforward.  Or both.  Maybe neither.  Opinions will likely differ.  It is those unknowns that make caching fun!

Important Note:  A tool of the trade strongly recommended  for one of the field puzzles is SUNLIGHT, which is a good fit for a park placement that is only available during daylight.  Cloudy or overcast days may make it impossible to do one of the field puzzles.  You might be able to use the flashlight on your phone if you hold at the right place at the right angle if you squint, but even that may not work, or will leave you with a bit of uncertainty.  Please treat that field puzzle carefully when handling it and replacing it.  No need to remove any tape to open the padding or to use the puzzle.


Note the terrain and difficulty rating.  Lots of ivy, thorns and things to trip over in the woods.  Long pants recommended, as is bug spray for all but the coldest time of year.  


Fairfax County Park Placemnt.  NO NIGHT CACHING.


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Fgntr Bar: Cynlshy Ivrjsvaqre; Fgntr Gjb: Ba gur Oevqtr bs Fbeebj; Fgntr Guerr: Sbegvsvpngvba; Fgntr Sbhe: Ivfvba Dhrfg; Fgntr Svir: Pnpurznf nzzb pna.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)