2008 Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt

The 2008 Pioneer Press Treasure was found shortly after midnight on January 29 in Indian Mounds Park after 11 clues. The lucky finders are the brother and sister team of Andrew Burke, 21, of Knapp, Wisconsin, and Jessica French, 26, of Baldwin, Wisconsin. The pair had clipped the clues, and had a registered Winter Carnival Button, netting them the full $10,000 prize, plus the $1,200 in Cub Foods gift certificates.

It's kind of fitting that as the Cooler Crew celebrates 10 years, a brother and sister team find the medallion, in much the same way that Steve and Maureen found it in Chair-O-Key in 1998.

Hunt information
First Clue:Sunday, January 20, 2008
Found on:Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Andrew BurkeKnapp, Wisconsin
Jessica FrenchBaldwin, Wisconsin
Maximum Prize:$10,000
Awarded Prize:$10,000
General Location:Indian Mounds Park
Exact Location:Underneath a fallen tree
Concealer: Plastic-covered packaging from 3M Highland brand invisible tape
Published on Sunday, January 20, 2008
You've joined the hunt for the regal runt
To prove searching does pay
Don't dig a hole or knock down a pole
And the golf course is out of play

Last year Jake took home the cake
With a clue a bit off level
This year we'll rinse off all our prints
Lest this hunt go to the devil.
We advise hunters not to dig or knock down anything, and to stay off golf courses. We refer to the hunter who found the medallion after the second clue last year, the fastest on record. He said he deduced "Cleveland" Avenue from the word "level," then followed our footprints to the prize. This year we vow to keep the hunt from going to the devil by making it more challenging and not leaving telltale footprints behind.
Our Thoughts:
It's a first clue. Not much more. Not much less.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Monday, January 21, 2008
The point of all this is so that you won't miss
Your big chance to grab all the cash
Now gather your guys and a gal who is wise
You'll have to do something quite rash
This is a reference to the proximity of Point Douglas Road to Indian Mounds Park, where the medallion was hidden. "Guys and wise gal" refer indirectly to the Order of the Eastern Star, a male-and-female fraternal organization that is an offshoot of the Masons, and which planted a star-shaped "Matron's Grove" of trees at Indian Mounds park. A "rash" often accompanies a burn -- an indirect allusion to Burns Avenue near the park.
Our Thoughts:
Point Douglas Road??? Doesn't even come close to Indian Mounds, let alone the part of the park the medallion was in. Since this was something of a re-do of the Capture the Flag hunt in 2005, where the flag was hidden near the Matron's Grove, those of us who participated in that hunt had some knowledge of the grove. That doesn't mean that the guys and wise gal makes for a good reference to the grove though. We've never seen a rash associated with a burn, however rashes often come with the sensation of burning. Given the fact that most hunters have had the impression that Indian Mounds is verboten, even if not explicitly stated as such, we believe that doing something quite rash makes much more sense as a reference to searching at Indian Mounds rather than a nearby street.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Published on Tuesday, January 22, 2008
We've scanned the county to hide our bounty
And keep you on your toes
It may sound risible, but our puck's invisible
Although it might just stick to your nose.
Hunters must be on their toes because we've hid it in hilly territory which we scanned from the top of a hill in the park. "Invisible" and "stick to your nose" refers to the "invisible tape" box in which the medallion is hidden.
Our Thoughts:
We grant points on this explanation for the method of concealment used for this year's puck. We fail to make the link between being on one's toes, and searching hilly territory. Given the presumed off-limits nature of the park, this makes more sense as an indicator that Indian Mounds is considered a regional park, in concert with Battle Creek, rather than a local park (hence the county reference), and that hunters should expect a surprise when the park is actually revealed.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Wednesday, January 23, 2008
How fun is the snow how far will we go
You really ought to go see
Get up for the mission and not just the wishin'
Get into the game-it's all free
Pretty darn obscure: "Game" is a reference to Obbs Sports Bar across the street from the park. Really obscure: "Far" and "go" are a reference to Wells Fargo Place downtown, which is visible from Indian Mounds Park.
Our Thoughts:
We actually think the Wells Fargo reference is a pretty darn good landmarking reference, and that the Obbs reference is a lot more obscure. However, while WFP is visible from the park, it's visible from nearly any other park within a couple of miles from downtown. Being clue four, this clue is right on the border of where we should start seeing landmarks that are visible from the medallion site, rather than from the general area. Getting up for the mission may have been a better reference for the air national guard hangar at the Downtown Saint Paul Airport
Clue Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Thursday, January 24, 2008
There once was a clue that drove you-know-who
To threaten a heinous act
We'd use it again but we're afraid of his pen
My friend, that's an unfortunate fact
This is a reference to a certain newspaper columnist who freaked out several hunts ago. He took issue with a clue referring obliquely to the location of a French immersion school - which is now at Parkway School, not far from Indian Mounds Park. The Pioneer Press had a short article about a play at the school called "Kaposia,'' which debuted during this year's hunt. The play dealt with the Native American community that once thrived at Indian Mounds Park.
Our Thoughts:
For those of us who paid attention to Mr. Soucheray's "heinous act", this clue could actually have made a lot of sense. In some ways, making the leaps from the school, to the play, to the Native Americans, to the park is taking way too many steps. If one looks at it from the perspective of the "L'étoile du Nord" clue, the school is about two miles up the road from the park and the location of the puck within the park, roughly the same distance in the previous clue. We'd say that despite being afraid of Clueless Joe's pen, they did use the clue again, and while, like the original clue, it is completely useless to the task at hand (if you neglect the context of the clue's history), they get bonus points for that. The only thing preventing this clue from garnering five stars is the triple leap in the official explanation.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Friday, January 25, 2008
All ye who look should honor the book
As one who stood for hope
Much was built in the name of the kilt
Look sharp now and never mope.
Calling all history buffs: Edward Duffield Neill was the first to conduct excavations at Indian Mounds Park. He was a Presbyterian minister and educator ("ye," "honor the book") who had been a presidential aide to Abraham Lincoln. In Minnesota, he founded Macalester College and the House of Hope Presbyterian Church ("hope.") These are two St. Paul institutions that honor the Scottish traditions ("kilt.") The word "hope" also invokes the Hopewell Indians, the ancient tribe that built the mounds.
Our Thoughts:
At clue six, since little has been effectively revealed by the clues this far, the Scottish references make this a great red herring for Highland Park. Kudos to the writers for that one. However, the kudos are hereby revoked because it takes so many hops to get from the kilt, to the particular church and college (both of which are south and west of downtown, and again more indicative of Highland Park), to their founder, and back to the first excavations at the mounds. The kilt reference would have been better, had it been to the Scottish Rite Mason temple across the river from Indian Mounds. Now, hope evoking the Hopewell Indians, that's a good reference, which could have been enhanced by including the word well somewhere within the text of the clue.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Saturday, January 26, 2008
If you should go look high then low
One could see it from a bower
If it's your bent you might seek a tent
To protect in case of shower

Take note of the wood and do what you should
To extract the prize for yourself
Build a bridge to your dreams as high as they seem
Leave nothing behind on the shelf
The tent refers to the Indians who lived on the site of Indian Mounds Park. "High then low" refers to the hilly terrain where the medallion is hidden. The "shelf" refers to the side of the hill where the medallion is hidden.

Another reference to the woods in the area in which it is hidden and to the bridge that crosses Warner Road from Mounds Park.
Our Thoughts:
Not bad references overall, but by the 7th clue, we should know the park and start to restrict down where specifically in the park the medallion is hidden. From the open space near the medallion, the Warner Road bridge over the railroad yard should be at least partially visible providing something of a landmark, but there's still a lot of park space where that bridge could be seen from.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Sunday, January 27, 2008
Look at the buck to acquire good luck
In finding the grail this year
Link a jar, a line, a star lawyer divine
While crying in your beer

He won, then lost and the nation was tossed
Into strife that was far from civil
The point I'm making is yours for the taking
Believe me - not the message board drivel
There are deer in Indian Mounds Park. Jar, line and star lawyer refer to the word "Mason,'' a reference to the Masonic memorial in Mounds Park. There is also a reference to the beverage enjoyed at Obbs sports bar.

Another reference to Point Douglas Road, located near the park, which was named after Stephen A. Douglas, who defeated Abraham Lincoln in the 1858 U.S. Senate race but lost to him for the presidency two years later. The Civil War followed shortly after the election. We also refer to the many message boards purporting to know where the medallion was hidden.
Our Thoughts:
Not only are there deer in Indian Mounds, but there are deer in Battle Creek and there are deer in Highland Park. In fact, there are probably deer in most of the larger parks in Saint Paul. Big deal. I understand the Mason Memorial in the park, but again, it's not anywhere near where the medallion was found. Once again, they refer to Point Douglas Road. Why? It's not near enough to the medallion spot at this point. What's really interesting about this though, is that if you link up a line between Obbs and the Matron's Grove, and run a line from there to the Scottish Rite temple on Plato, the medallion was found roughly along that line. What could have been a really interesting clue explanation, was drowned out in excess cruft.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Monday, January 28, 2008
This name brings tears, elation and cheers
And occasionally even outrages
It sits on walls and rides the halls
And fills a dozen pages

The hills are alive and you'll have arrived
Refrain from the very injurious
Be bold and be brave but your skin you must save
What's off-limits should frankly be obvious
The name is "Johnson," filling 12 pages in the telephone book. Johnson Parkway ends at Indian Mounds Park. There is also a bench at the park ("sits") named for a Minnesota "Johnson."

Another reference to the hills and potentially dangerous terrain in the area where it is hidden; "brave" is an Indian term. The "frankly obvious" area that is off-limits is the area of the ancient mounds themselves.
Our Thoughts:
A great reference to a nearby street. But given its lack of proximity to the hiding spot, it's too late in the game. This could have been a single-stanza clue, with just the last verse and had the same effect. Since it wasn't, if you look at the hills are referring to the mounds themselves, it sets up some nice boundaries between the street and the mounds as far ends for where you should dig, given the puck's resting place, roughly halfway between the two. What had the potential to be a great clue was marred by its final explanation.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Look for the sight you hope is just right
You're doubtful and you're torn
Make the rounds for what rhymes with grounds
And part of a rose with a horn

Through flames and flow this park where you'll go
Is the site of sacred relics
Stay away from these and the cliffs if you please
Or you'll be in a heckuva fix
Both stanzas clearly point to "Mounds" park, rhyming with "grounds,'' and to the "horn" of a rose, referring to nearby Thorn Street. We tell people to stay away from "sacred relics" - the actual Indian mounds - and from the cliffs. "Flames" refer to Burns and "flow" to Etna, two streets near the park.
Our Thoughts:
So we officially get Mounds Park, together with three street references. The Burns and Etna references are really useless at this point, particularly Etna, since it runs into the far eastern end of the park. Thorn Street is actually the best reference here, as it puts you close to the hiding spot.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Air and river sounds lead all to Mounds
Far from the graves take your entourage
'Twixt Burns and Thorn an icy pathway is born
Across Mounds from a gray house and tan garage

Hell no fury hath as those on the wrong path
Mounds and Warner form a woodsy perimeter
The path, not official, contains footprints beneficial
Some 300 trudges in -- not a quest for a quitter

This trail you must follow goes down a narrow hollow
Under a fallen tree to an old rusted drum
From here you must search for a hillside path perch
Wherein lies the center of fun
These stanzas get the hunters into the area where the medallion is hidden in Indian Mounds Park. Between Burns and Thorn street, across Mounds Boulevard from a house-and-garage, begins an icy path worn by many footprints. It goes through a narrow hollow or creek bed, under a fallen tree, to an old rusted drum. We counted 300 steps from the street to the drum. We encourage hunters to look for a "hillside path perch" in this area -- on a hillside, near a path -- but we did not give the exact location.
Our Thoughts:
Didn't they say they were going to cover their tracks this year? Oh well, pretty good clue, without a lot of excess explanation, though about half of it should probably been saved for tomorrow.
Clue Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Your blood will coagulate whilst you triangulate
From the drum at the heart of it all
A slope nearby you will espy
Fifty steps up the hill - careful, don't fall

Near a hollowed half-tree a fallen limb you will see
The cover for our precious goods
Across the path from the half-tree lift the limb and you'll see
There's gold in them thar' woods

Quick like a fox see the blue-and-white box
Away you casually sidle
Inside is the prize, two-domed and super-sized
Congratulations - you're our Minnesota Idol
This identifies the exact spot where the medallion is located. It is close to a "hollowed half-tree" - a split trunk that is a marker for our treasure. Across the icy path from this half-tree are some dead limbs on the ground. The treasure is under one of them. It is in a blue-and-white box of 3M invisible tape. The marker tree is about 50 steps up the hill from the rusted drum.
Our Thoughts:
Clue number 12. Although, we take issue with using movable (and removable) objects as references for anything with the medallion
Clue Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)