I received an urgent summons from my friend, the famed consulting detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and immediately hurried to his apartments at 211B Baker Street. After Mrs. Hudson admitted me, I ascended the stairs and rapped on Holmes' door. Holmes instantly appeared, flinging the door open.
"Watson, come in. We have work to do and little time. The game is afoot!"
As I entered Holmes' study I noted some papers carelessly scattered about the apartment. They all appeared to have the same crude drawings of matchstick men on them. Holmes picked up one of the pages and scrutinized it with a magnifying glass while comparing it to another scribbling.
"What game, Holmes? What is this all about?"
"It's him, Watson. I thought we had finally rid ourselves of that menace at Reichenbach Falls, but I fear he has returned."
My jaw dropped, "Moriarity? Alive? Impossible!
"On the contrary, quite probable." Holmes handed me one of the drawings, "And the Napoleon of Crime has already been busy spinning new webs of intrigue."
"But what are these children's drawings, Holmes? And what do they have to do with Moriarity?"
Holmes put down his glass and strode over to the fireplace, digging into the Persian slipper affixed to the mantle for more tobacco for his pipe, "Watson, how soon you forget. We have encountered this code before. You must remember the affair in Norfolk involving that American ruffian?"
"Of course!" I exclaimed, "I thought these figures looked familiar! But where are these from? Norfolk, again?"
"No. Mrs. Hudson brought them to my attention this morning. They had been scrawled on the front door on Baker Street - an obvious invitation. Before the poor woman erased them, I was able to copy them down." Holmes shuffled through the pages on his desk and produced a page with the matchstick men.
"These characters appeared along the top of the door, under the lentil."
Holmes then produced a second page, "These figures were by the doorknob."
I searched the pages but could not discern any message from the welter of stick figures.
"Don't bother yourself, Watson, I have already divined the message."
"Well, what does it mean?"
A small smile curled across Holmes' lips, "Numbers, mostly. Before I sent for you, I paid a visit to my brother Mycroft to gain his insight into this riddle. Mycroft believes that Moriarity is challenging us to engage in some sort of a game, hobby or sport."
"Well, which one is it Holmes? A game, a hobby or a sport?"
"I'm not entirely sure and, apparently, neither are the participants of this activity. In any event, it appears Moriarity has secreted a cache on public grounds and is daring us to find his hoard by deciphering this code."
"What is in this cache? Some kind of bomb or contagion?"
"No, Doctor, Moriarity is not so blunt. I would suspect that there must be some sinister purpose in stashing boxes in the woods. However, I am informed by Mycroft that caches in this activity usually contain only harmless articles, such as curios, bricabrac and other odd notions."
I was too familiar with the handiwork of Professor Moriarity and was incredulous that his only intention was to engage Holmes in some child's play. "This is passing strange, Holmes. I fear Moriarity has something sinister in store for us."
"Indeed, Doctor, but we have no reason yet to suspect foul play. The gauntlet has been thrown down and the challenge must be met. Once we locate Moriarity's stash, all your questions will be answered."
I was resigned to the fact that Holmes' curiousity had been piqued. "These scribblings will lead us to where Moriarity hid his cache?"
Holmes gathered up the drawings into a portfolio, "Not exactly. We require a peculiar electronic device to translate and navigate with the information in these drawings." Holmes grabbed his cape and deerstalker cap and headed for the door passing the portfolio to me.
"Watson, do you know of any dry goods stores nearby that stock electronic sporting accoutrements?"
Free counters provided by Andale.
Have you cracked Moriarity's code? You can check your answer at Geochecker.com.
If you are bushwacking up the side of a hill, you are doing it the hard way.
Information and a trail map of Gedney Park can be found here.
In particular, please note that dogs are not allowed in the playground or ball fields. In all other areas, leashed dogs are welcome. In addition, dogs may be off leash on the trails from dawn to 8:00 am on Saturday and dawn to 10:30 am Sunday through Friday. Plan accordingly.
Interesting Trivia (at least to the cache owner): Apparently this cache is the oldest active Mystery puzzle cache in Westchester. If you don't count Mystery caches that do not require solving a puzzle (such as orienteering caches like Saxon Woods Geo-O cache), this cache is the oldest puzzle cache. It still counts as only one smiley though.