2009 Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt

The 2009 Pioneer Press Treasure was found at approximately 9:30am on January 28 in Swede Hollow Park. The lucky finders were the father/daughter team of Joe and Jessica Horwath of Maplewood. Thanks to having a registered button, and clippings of the clues, they took home $10,000 in cash and $1,200 in gift certificates from Cub Foods. The puck was found near a tree at the lower end of a spring which crosses the eastern walking path in the park. The Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt logo, with red lipstick on the bulldog was affixed to the medallion.
 
Hunt information
Dates:
First Clue:Sunday, January 18, 2009
Found on:Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Finders:
NameHometown
Joe HorwathMaplewood
Jessica HorwathMaplewood
Prize:
Maximum Prize:$10,000
Awarded Prize:$10,000
Location:
General Location:Swede Hollow Park
Exact Location:Near a tree at the end of the spring whose water crosses the eastern walking path.
Concealer:The Pioneer Press Hunt logo with red lipstick on the bulldog was affixed to the medallion
Clues
Published on Sunday, January 18, 2009
Oh great King Boreas, make winter glorious:
Unleash the medallion quest!
We'll be up front: We devote the hunt
To Box, our friend, now at rest
Explanation:
We dedicate this year's hunt to Pioneer Press columnist Don Boxmeyer, a longtime clue-writer and hunt expert who died Aug. 10 at the age of 67. Box was a resident and chronicler of St. Paul's East Side, and he had a special fascination with and affection for the story of Swede Hollow, one of St. Paul's "lost neighborhoods."
Our Thoughts:
A veteran clue-writer, whose clues always rang sound for treasure hunters, Don Boxmeyer passed away on August 10, 2008, at the age of 67. His fascination with Swede Hollow and its history set the stage for this year's hunt taking us to the Hollow. While the official explanation sets up this link, we think it's a little too obscure. We'd have also preferred it if they could have made Vulcanus Rex rhyme instead of Boreas.
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Monday, January 19, 2009
Tramping hill and dell, you may hear tell
About the contests waged of yore
Much of the history remains a mystery
Which we hope to bring to the fore
Explanation:
Dell refers to the hollow, and the contests of yore refer to many activities, including ballgames, that took place in Swede Hollow when it was a living community. We emphasize the mystery and history of the area and signal that we will emphasize historical hints.
Our Thoughts:
Given that "dale" and "dell", as geographical features, share the same root word, this clue could easily have been a red herring for any of the parks near Dale St.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
All we see was done naturally
Water and ice are here
In this harbor of impressive arbor
Approach and have no fear
Explanation:
Refers to creek and icy patches in the park, to the natural processes that created it, and to the large tree that marks the spot where the medallion is buried.
Our Thoughts:
For the third clue, after referencing the "dell" that is Swede Hollow, this one is something of a regression, leading to a significantly larger number of parks, either those with lakes, pools, or anywhere near the River. This one would actually have made a better clue #2.
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Even those in detention during our recent convention,
Heard a politically hip chick
Is it a pig or pit bull, it was argued most fitful,
That looks more lovely in lipstick?
Explanation:
Refers to the RNC in St. Paul in September, when vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin said the only difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull was lipstick. In honor of the RNC, our medallion is decorated with a Pioneer Press bulldog wearing ruby-red lip gloss (assuming the image remained connected to the medallion.) Extra credit to those who derived "Hamm's" from "pig"; Hamm's was the venerable brewery on the edge of Swede Hollow.
Our Thoughts:
Gotta give this one five stars for the double meaning and the relatively current events context while concealing how the puck was hidden. Plus, it came at a nice point in the hunt.
 
Clue Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Published on Thursday, January 22, 2009
It takes all sorts to come and play sports
In this sweet land of fun and frolic
With bower enclosed and beasts exposed
You're bound to lose your colic
Explanation:
The deep gulch of Swede Hollow encloses the trees and plant life, while the clearing of parts of the land in the '50s exposed many of the animals -- including the humans -- who lived there. The key to this clue is "sweet land" -- the 2005 movie is about Scandinavian immigrants to Minnesota -- some of whom established Swede Hollow in the mid- 19th century. In addition, "sweet" sounds much like "Swede."
Our Thoughts:
Another reference to the "hollow" of Swede Hollow. By itself, this would be tolerable at this point in the hunt. Then they made a reference to an obscure movie from four years ago that few people had heard of. Skip that part of the explanation clue writers, and just go with "sweet" sounds like "Swede".
 
Clue Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Published on Friday, January 23, 2009
The dankness of the vale may your spirit impale:
The setting seems oh so gloomy!
But be brave, you endless knave,
You'll find it really quite roomy.
Explanation:
"Dankness," "vale" and "gloomy" refer to the wet gulch that is Swede Hollow - and encourages those who fear the Hollow as a treacherous ravine to reconsider the open spaces in the park. Also, "dankness vale" and "endless knave" are anagrams for "svenske dalen" (and the alternate spelling, "svenska dalen"), Swedish for "Swedish dale" - what its early inhabitants called the area and where 'Swede Hollow" came from.
Our Thoughts:
The first line, making the third reference to the hollow itself, is the only part of this clue keeping it from being a five star clue and explanation. Come on here. This is the sixth clue. The horse is dead. Stop beating it already. Multiple anagrams for the same Swedish words (except "dankness" and "vale" are interspersed with "of" and" the", OK, we'll give partial credit because "dankness of the vale" anagrams to "dalen of the svenske"), giving us the sorts of puzzles we all yearn to solve, and the redirection to the more open spaces of the park, combine to redeem this clue.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Saturday, January 24, 2009
'Neath King and Court, they once did cavort
As though living in times quite feudal
But time brings change, so it's not so strange
To see an owner walk his poodle
Explanation:
Above the squalid settlement of Swede Hollow loomed the Hamm Mansion and the Hamm's brewery, which one historian said created an "almost medieval scene, standing like a baronial castle over Swede Hollow."
Our Thoughts:
Fourth Swede Hollow reference. However, this one is redeemed by the fact that it's not a reference to the hollow itself, but to a landmark effectively within the park (although all that is left of it is cornerstones and pillars). This clue has the flaw that, like the previous clue with its open spaces reference, it would have tended to draw the typical hunter to the upper portion of the park, when the puck was actually in the ravine. That said, we're not going to crucify this clue and explanation as being lousy, in light of the three previous references to the hollow itself, which would tend to draw most people back down into the hollow. Swede isn't big enough on its own to really give away too much of the actual location this early.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saints and sinners, losers and winners
Sped by at a quickened pace
While the gangster's moll, a German doll
Once played at this star-crossed place
Explanation:
The clue refers to the classic thriller Saint Mudd, "a novel of gangsters and saints" set in Depression-era St. Paul and written by local author Steve Thayer (Don Boxmeyer was a significant early supporter of both author and book). One of the main characters is the beautiful Roxy Schultze, the German doll and gangster's moll, whose origin in Swede Hollow is an important part of the narrative.
Our Thoughts:
An obscure clue, this late in the game, making yet another reference to Swede Hollow. If anything this would have pulled us over towards Harriet Island, with its proximity to the once gangster-infested Wabasha St. Caves. Bad clue-writer. Bad.
 
Clue Rating: 
1
Average: 1 (1 vote)

Published on Monday, January 26, 2009
One whistled Dixie so says a pixie
While another worked stern to stem
Though they never met, it's a darn good bet
Together they'll lead to the gem
Explanation:
Payne Avenue, Maury Street and Margaret Street all border Swede Hollow Park. Payne was named for Rice Payne, who owned much of the land on the East Side - until it was confiscated after he decided to join the Confederate Army; Maury was named for Matthew Maury, a well-known oceanographer of the 19th Century; Margaret Street was formerly Pearl Street (the gem) - not too great a stretch, since "margaret" is derived from the Latin word for pearl.
Our Thoughts:
This would have been an excellent clue, had the medallion in fact been found in an area bounded by Payne Avenue and Maury, and Margaret Streets. Sure, they don't run into the ravine, but this could have been a really nice way of narrowing down the location without giving it away, especially at this point in the game. Even though Payne is rather irrelevant, the bounding streets in the park are more like Tedesco and North Streets. Kudos for a puzzle naming streets, but without having any direct relationship to the location of the puck, this is just another really late reference to the park.
 
Clue Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Published on Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Tho' hills abound, it's on level ground
A rivulet gurgles by
The answer's meshing with a beer refreshing
In the midst should seekers vie
Explanation:
The medallion is not placed on a hillside, but on a level spot. It is near a small rivulet. It's hidden in a park (Swede Hollow) associated with Hamms, "the beer refreshing.'' It's in the middle of the hollow -- not on either end.
Our Thoughts:
Though it probably would have made a better clue slightly earlier in the game, this one provides some good landmarking since it gives a close proximity to Phalen Creek, somewhere in the middle of the park. Since we know it's in Swede already, Hamms is redundant, but since they needed something to fill out a verse, why not make an explicit reference to the mansion above.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Wednesday, January 28, 2009
At the base of a big tree, collect a fee
It rests not far from the weeds
Who finds the spring will be able to sing
Eureka! And thanks to the Swedes
Explanation:
The medallion is hidden near a large tree, not far from some weeds, near the running spring waters, in Swede Hollow on St. Paul's East Side.
Our Thoughts:
It's really hard to evaluate a clue 11 like this. For those people who couldn't figure it out, it gives away the park, but not a precise location, leaving the roughly mile long creek (although it was limited by the previous clue to the middle) as the bounds. One can probably assume that, being not far from the weeds, implies that you've got a 50 foot wide path from one end of the park to the other to search, 25 on either side of the creek.
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

A trail you follow to the center of Swede Hollow
Where water oft runs free
Twenty-five steps marches you toward the arches
Look toward the creek and a big bare tree

Toward the tree you glide, on the brewery side
You'll find it sitting just so
The puck is wed with lips that are red
And sleeps in a mound of fresh snow
Explanation:
Puts hunters in Swede Hollow park on St. Paul's east side. Directs them to a spring that runs across the walking path -- when it isn't too cold -- and from there, 25 steps toward the double-arches under 7th Street. A large tree is visible in the direction of the creek. On the "brewery side" of the base of the tree -- the side facing the old brewery works -- the puck was planted. Its only decoration this year, if it survived the hunt, is a taped-on picture of the Pioneer Press bulldog with its lips painted red.
Our Thoughts:
We object to two things in this clue. First, if you're not familiar with the park, you may not know where the spring crosses the path. Second, they taped a picture of the bulldog on the medallion and "if it survived the hunt" would provide an indicator that the puck was found? Raccoon? Phalen? Donut? Does any of this ring a bell?

We would have enjoyed seeing references to the various landmarks around the park, like the cross of First Lutheran Church which lights up the nighttime sky above the park, or the cellular phone antenna at the south end of the park. Overall, though, this hunt probably had better clues than some of the previous years. Considering they honored Box with the hunt, they had to; he would have come back to smite them if they hadn't.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)