Hardest Puzzle Cache?

by doug April 09, 2009 22:19

Puzzled Even if you’ve only been caching for a short time I’m guessing that you’ve encountered one or more next-to-impossible puzzle caches.  There are a lot of people out there who love to come up with the most devious, unsolvable puzzles.  Fight fire with fire I say!  I recently ran across this puzzle that you can use in your next puzzle cache to confound everyone (and I mean everyone):

A hundred prisoners are each locked in a room with three pirates, one of whom will walk the plank in the morning. Each prisoner has 10 bottles of wine, one of which has been poisoned; and each pirate has 12 coins, one of which is counterfeit and weighs either more or less than a genuine coin. In the room is a single switch, which the prisoner may either leave as it is, or flip. Before being led into the rooms, the prisoners are all made to wear either a red hat or a blue hat; they can see all the other prisoners' hats, but not their own. Meanwhile, a six-digit prime number of monkeys multiply until their digits reverse, then all have to get across a river using a canoe that can hold at most two monkeys at a time. But half the monkeys always lie and the other half always tell the truth. Given that the Nth prisoner knows that one of the monkeys doesn't know that a pirate doesn't know the product of two numbers between 1 and 100 without knowing that the N+1th prisoner has flipped the switch in his room or not after having determined which bottle of wine was poisoned and what colour his hat is, what is the solution to this puzzle?

OK, it’s not a real puzzle.  It’s from the Car Talk website.  I can just hear Tom and Ray yuking it up over this one.

But wait! Maybe there really are geocache coordinates hidden here.  Maybe I just need to take all the digits mentioned, assign each of those a letter and use that as the key to a Vigenère cipher to decipher the text of the puzzle which will yield a Morse code pattern when spelled out on the buttons of a phone where an odd digit represents a dash and and even represents a dot.  Then once I have the Morse code decoded it will tell me to look up all the number one hit singles from 1972 and take the 4th letter from each one.  Using those letters...OK, now it’s just getting silly.

Aren’t puzzle caches fun ;-)



Version 3.0.3 released: Find nearby caches, show cache icons

by doug April 05, 2009 17:22

Confused "Haven't we been here before?"  As I approach my 5th anniversary of geocaching, I find myself asking that more and more as older caches get archived and new ones are created to take their place.  Often I have a vague recollection of the area, but can't remember which cache (if any) used to be there.  It used to be that you could go to the maps at geocaching.com to see all caches in an area including the archived ones, but they removed that feature a couple of years ago. I was sad to see that feature go because I often used it to refresh my memory as to when and why we were previously in that area. This release of CacheStats contains a new feature that partially addresses the issue.  You can now show all caches (that you have found) that are nearby any given cache.  Here's how it works.

First, in the cache list, select the cache you would like to find nearby caches for.  For this example, I’ll select a cache called Hospital View:


Then select how far away you want to search, and click Show:


When you click show, the cache list will update to show just those caches that are within the given distance of the selected cache. When you click on those caches, CacheStats displays the distance away from the original cache in the cache description area.  In this example, I had previously found a cache just 1/10 of a mile away from the Hospital View cache:


When you are done, click Cancel to display the full list again.

This feature can also be used to explore cache density.  For example, pick a cache in a cache-rich area and see how many caches you have found within a mile of it.

Remember, your GPX pocket query only contains caches that you have found, so CacheStats can't show you nearby caches that you haven't found yet. Too bad, because the other situation I run into is that caches that I thought were in an area are no longer there when I'm ready to go look for them.  I like to know if it got archived recently, and if so, why?  Unless you can remember the name, there's no way to know.  Hopefully at some point geocaching.com will bring back the capability to show archived caches.

Another new feature in this release which you may have noticed in the first screenshot above: the cache list now shows type icons next to the cache name (e.g. traditional, multi, event, etc.)

Finally, I added a new blogger, TripCyclone, to the list of blogs to choose from on the news and status page.  If you know of any bloggers who write frequent articles that are of general interest, let me know and I can include them in the next release.

Hope you enjoy the new feature.

Combining Group with Search or Show

by doug April 02, 2009 21:05

I’ve noticed a couple of nice reviews of CacheStats 3.0 already: one at Geocaching Online and another at Trip’s GeoAdventures.  I especially liked TripCyclone’s suggestion to combine grouping with the show caches feature to learn interesting nuggets about your finds.  For example:

 Grouping ShowDNFs

With these settings, I can see whose caches I’ve had to log the most DNFs on (Did Not Find it logs).  One caveat about DNFs: geocaching.com only includes the caches you have found in the my finds pocket query.  So any caches that you’ve logged a DNF on but haven’t found yet won’t be included.  You can easily think of other interesting combinations:

  • FTFs (First To Find) grouped by status (see which of your FTFs have been archived)
  • DNFs grouped by difficulty
  • DNFs grouped by size (any surprise that Micros is at the top of my list?)

In the same manner, you can also combine grouping with search.  I previously suggested some interesting items to search on, for example weather-related terms. So if I search on “rain” while grouping by month, guess what?  No mentions of rain in December or January, but plenty in the summer months. No big surprise of course. But you might run into a few surprises too. I searched for “bike” and grouped by terrain.  The highest terrain that we biked on was a 3.5 believe it or not.

Give it a try, especially if you like to stroll down memory lane.  You might find some interesting facts about your finds.

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