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 ;-)



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.

Searching Logs

by doug March 24, 2009 22:52

SearchNo, I’m not talking about looking for a geocache in a fallen tree. Rather, I’m talking about one of the new features in CacheStats 3.0, the ability to search your logs, the cache names, or the cache descriptions for a particular word or phrase.  Searching for text in cache names or the cache description can be handy when you’re trying to look up a specific geocache but can only remember part of the name or a few details about the cache such as the name of the park it was hidden in.  But searching for text in your logs can be kind of fun and may reveal interesting facts about your geocaching adventures.  Here are some of the things that I found interesting to search for.

  • Weather conditions: rain, pouring, freezing, sunny, beautiful day, windy, cold, hot, humid
  • Animals and insects: deer, dog, mosquito, ticks
  • Scenery: beautiful, great view, steep
  • Cache condition and contents: wet, soaked, open, TB, McToy
  • Access mode: bike, hike, jog

So here are some stats from searching our logs.  Out of 616 caches found:

  • Deer is mentioned 4 times, but mosquito is mentioned 24 times.  There are a lot of deer in SE Wisconsin, but the mosquito is the unofficial state bird (as I’m sure it is in many other states as well), so this isn’t surprising.
  • Sunny is mentioned 12 times, but rain is mentioned 45 times.  But I think most of the mentions of rain are something like “decided to go geocaching after the rain stopped”.  (We don’t do much caching in the rain).
  • View is mentioned 13 times, dark is mentioned 12 times.  I’m guessing that view and dark are never mentioned together in the same log.
  • Bike is mentioned 48 times.  Geocaching definitely motivates me to get on my bike more than I would otherwise.  Jog is mentioned 0 times.  I’m clearly not into jogging.
  • TFTC is mentioned 483 times.  I wonder what it was about the other 133 that we didn’t include it?  Oh wait, we mention thanks 79 times, so overall we have thanked almost every cache owner.

So what words or phrases can you think of to search for in your logs? Do your searches reveal anything interesting? Feel free to post your comments here.

The CacheStats Blog

by doug February 22, 2009 18:06

Welcome to the CacheStats blog!  I am the author of CacheStats which you are probably already familiar with, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this.  In geocaching life, our family's team name is ABCDMCachers.  I plan on using this blog to inform you of CacheStats features and new releases.  But I also hope to add general interest articles about geocaching from time to time.  We'll see how it goes.  One of the new features of soon-to-be-released CacheStats 3.0 is that it can display articles from this blog as well as others.  This will make it especially easy for me to keep you informed of new product releases since the announcements will show directly in CacheStats.  Hope you enjoy reading - feel free to leave comments.

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