I worked out the identity of X a long time ago. Then one Sunday we had a family drive and visited 3 out of 4 of the locations. However we weren't that certain on the Surrey village so we didn't take it any further.
Then last month I started looking at this puzzle again (as I thought it might help me qualify for EL-JOs All About a Challenge # 1 : The Series). Nobody had found it for well over a year so I wondered it was still solvable. I couldn't find the old paperwork, but I knew where to go for the first three locations, and this time (with the help of Google Maps) I'd also got a very likely candidate for the Surrey village.
So early last month we went for another drive around to pick up the clues. The first location was fine, but the warning sign at the second now appears to have gone (more on this later). I remembered where to go in the Sussex village. The numbers are now a lot fainter than they were but if you know how these things work you can still work out the 8th number from the right (though I nearly walked away with the wrong number as I'd forgotten where the WI was). Then finally the Surrey village where I soon found the relevant number.
I sent off an email to a previous finder to confirm my answers. Of course the one for location 2 was missing, so while waiting for a reply I rummaged around in a drawer and what do you know within minutes I'd found my old printout. That revealed that the Sunday when we'd first visited was in January 2010 - over three years ago. But the most important thing written on the printout was my missing answer for location 2. So I fired off another email to the previous finder and was pleased to receive a smiley in reply.
We decided to look for the cache today. After all the problems we'd had getting the information, finding the cache itself was surprisingly straightforward. The GZ was a fair distance from where we'd parked but it was a pleasant walk. Bobcat started wandering around in circles as the GPSr didn't want to settle, so I started looking for the cache and quickly spotted it. It was only then that I saw the X, I'd missed it before as we'd approached from the wrong direction.
It was really interesting reading the log book - 4 pages of explanation by Nanny Ogg about the puzzle, followed by some good long logs by a lot of famous finders. We felt like we were in exulted company.
It's a nice big cache box so we left a large Thunderbird 3 toy. We were startled to find that it can speak - as we put it in the box it said: "International Rescue...we're on our way". I hope its mission will be successful. We took some marbles. A really fun puzzle.
Now back to location 2 with its missing warning on the gate. If anybody else is stuck there then I can offer the following replacement question: "There is a warning sign near the eastern entrance to his Alma Mater. The first word of the sign has B letters."
#1278 TFTC (+ fave point)