2010 Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt

The 2010 Cooler Crew button
The 2010 medallion was found by Rob Brass of Cooler Crew fame, and Jake Ingebrigtson at about 1pm on January 27, 2010, after 11 clues. The pair teamed up three years ago to find the medallion in Hidden Falls Park in a record three clues. The medallion was tucked in an existing footprint in the snow, near an uprooted tree across the river from the grain silos in Lilydale Park. It was wrapped in a depiction of the two Pulitzer Prizes won by the Pioneer Press under the leadership of Deborah Howell, who was recently killed in a car crash in New Zealand.
 
Hunt information
Dates:
First Clue:Sunday, January 17, 2010
Found on:Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Finders:
NameHometown
Rob BrassChaska
Jake IngebrigtsonSaint Paul
Prize:
Maximum Prize:$10,000
Awarded Prize:$10,000
Location:
General Location:Lilydale Park
Exact Location:Tucked in a footprint in the snow near an uprooted tree, across the river from grain silos and a circular piling in the river.
Concealer:Plastic bag, with a depiction of the Pioneer Press's two Pulitzer Prizes.
Clues
Published on Sunday, January 17, 2010
All hail, O Fire King, of thee we sing
Thy blast of winter heat scorches
When ice was like concrete it would've been so sweet
If the Vulcans plowed with their torches

Emerge from the den as we once again
Offer a bodacious bounty
And this tip to the frozen: bring thick lederhosen
To public land in Ramsey County
Explanation:
We invoke the Winter Carnival's Fire King and the Vulcans, comment on the brutal cold and tell you the medallion is hidden on public land in Ramsey County. The "den" refers to the West Side caves near our site (we would NEVER hide it inside a cave -- too dangerous). Suggesting the Vulcans plow our icy streets with their torches was an idea borrowed from a well-known Pioneer Press columnist who, once and for all, is not the clue writer. Honest. Come on, would we kid you?
Our Thoughts:
An interesting start to an 11-clue hunt. Traditionally, the hunt has started off "in Boreas' realm". Looking back, this is the first time the clue writers have ever invoked the true king of the Winter Carnival, Vulcanus Rex, and his following. Apart from the largely irrelevant reference to Joe Soucheray, the den reference would have given observant hunters a very limited set of places to start their hunt, without explicitly limiting the hunt to Saint Paul. A well thought out first clue with a lot of potential for noodling.
 
Clue Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Published on Monday, January 18, 2010
Kissed by a Vulcan, she left him sulkin'
"Sir Soot, I'll not forgive these sins!"
Her airs Elizabethan, her language, bleepin' heathen,
Our mother once blessed us with twins.
Explanation:
A clue that honors former Pioneer Press editor Deborah Howell, who died in a car accident on a New Year's trip to New Zealand. She was once smooched most ardently by a Vulcan and was not happy about it. The "twins" are two Pulitzer Prizes the newspaper won during her leadership. The medallion was buried with a depiction of the Pulitzer Prize in her memory.
Our Thoughts:
The video that went along with this clue was very interesting. The original version, when released on Sunday night, didn't have the f-bomb quite censored out completely. Ma Press replaced the video Monday morning with one that had the language changed, and the f-bomb/bleepin' replaced with a poorly dubbed "quite", although the written clue remained the same.

An early clue which gave away the concealer of the hunt to astute noodlers who knew the history of the Pioneer Press' Pulitzer Prizes. For those who didn't, this clue had the potential to get hunters to the right area, with views of the twin smokestacks from the new Xcel Energy plant across the river from the treasure site, although Highland Park is home to the twin blue water towers in St. Paul.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Look high, look low, wherever you go
Follow a picturesque route
There are ways to travel away from the gravel
That keep you in hot pursuit
Explanation:
"High" refers to the High Bridge downstream from our hiding place. The "picturesque route" refers to the running, biking and hiking trails in the park that are off some of the gravel roads in the park.
Our Thoughts:
Like the last clue, this one had the potential to lure hunters to a small set of parks within the city: anywhere near the High Bridge, or Highland Park. Highland is virtually eliminated, not having gravel roads, leaving parks with a significant amount of undeveloped land, i.e., Lilydale.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Code by Morse should set your course
To long dashes that dot the landscape.
You or your avatar should park your car
On your way to this great escape.
Explanation:
The nautical "set your course" invokes the lake in the park and the river that borders it. The "long dashes" refer to running trails. "Great escape" refers to the wild and uncultivated nature of Lilydale, as does "Avatar," the film set in pristine wilderness. "Avatar" also refers to the ridiculous characters featured in the online clue videos.
Our Thoughts:
A classic red herring. "Code by Morse" did a great job of at least getting the masses thinking about going to Como Park. A silly red herring given that Como doesn't fit anything else, but that's ok, because as we've said in previous clues, silly is fun

The long dashes seem to be a rather obscure reference, but in retrospect they do make sense. By this point, most hunters wanted to park the video avatars in a car and submerge it in the river adjacent to the park.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Thursday, January 21, 2010
Take a westerly tack up from the stack,
A landmark most uncouth.
Figures grand in scale point to a trail
Of footprints left by our sleuth.
Explanation:
"The stack" is the smokestack of the old power plant downriver and across the Mississippi from our site. "Figures grand in scale" refers to giant grain silos across the river from the park. Both dominate the view from the river side of the park not far from where the medallion was hidden.
Our Thoughts:
We hoped that the clue writer/hider didn't make the same mistakes he made in 2007, not covering up his footsteps, which allowed the medallion to be found within 3 days. Fortunately, the footprints mentioned in this clue were a reference to the existing footprint in the snow into which the medallion was placed according to later published videos.

This clue gives us a lot of information limiting down the area of Lilydale Park to search in. Referencing the smokestack of the Island Station Power Plant (and farther downstream, the High Bridge Plant), gives us the idea that we need to stay upriver of the smokestacks. Despite being a little more obscure, the figures grand in scale made an interesting reference, but the best reference in this clue is the one that went undocumented: The Landmark Brewery across the river from the treasure site.
 
Clue Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Published on Friday, January 22, 2010
You'll want to go shopping where things are hopping
And storeowners once dropped anchor
Go down the main drag, but be sure not to lag,
You'll have plenty for which to thank her
Explanation:
Shopping in the Twin Cities is linked to the "Dales," which leads us to "Lilydale." The site of current Lilydale Regional Park housed the city of Lilydale, which moved atop the cliff because of seasonal flooding; "anchor" refers to Annapolis (also the name of the U.S. Naval Academy's home) Street that marks the county border. The "main drag" is nearby Water Street. "Her" is another reference to Deborah Howell.
Our Thoughts:
The Dales reference, combined with the unattributed (frog) hopping = lily pads reference, was a great way to subtly give away the park. Straddling both Dakota and Ramsey Counties, the Annapolis reference, while requiring multiple hops to process, provides caution to hunters to stay within Ramsey County, at least we hoped that the boundary wasn't crossed anyway.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Saturday, January 23, 2010
Escape your troubles where the water bubbles
Or gurgles like a stream.
You may be chargin' right up to the margin.
Look for a productive seam.
Explanation:
An aerator in Pickerel Lake pumps bubbles under the ice, across the road from the gurgling Mississippi. The "margin" refers to the Ramsey-Dakota border in the area. This area once had a "productive seam" mined for material to make bricks.
Our Thoughts:
The aerator reference seems rather obscure, and the Mississippi hardly can be compared to a stream. The last two lines of the clue give us our best references, the county line and the brick manufacturing that used to go on in Lilydale, for those who know their history.
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Sunday, January 24, 2010
Down on the delta where there's no ice to melta
The purple horde raids a golden legion
Today before kick off the prize you'll pick off
If you search in just the right region

To find the seed, energy you need
In search for your clues to glean
What once was planted is taken for granted
Stored in one of fifteen
Explanation:
Besides NFL football, New Orleans and Minnesota have the Mississippi in common. "Region" invokes Lilydale Regional Park. "Energy" is the old power plant and "seed" is the grain silos, 15 in all.
Our Thoughts:
The first part of this clue does very little to help us, considering that every park along the Mississippi in St. Paul is a regional park or part of a larger regional park (Harriet Island/Lilydale, Hidden Falls/Crosby Farm, and Indian Mounds/Battle Creek). The second verse gives us more insight into the location within Lilydale. In addition to the 15 visible silos across the river (13 large and 2 smaller ones, and the complex is actually 3 silos deep, but that can't be seen from the park), the Union Pacific Swing Bridge across the river was built as Omaha Railroad Bridge number 15, and as such has the number 15 cast into the concrete counterweight attached to it. In addition, according to the Wikipedia article on the bridge, it was built in 1915, and the original bridge on the site, built in 1869, was one of the original 15 bridges across the Mississippi River.
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Monday, January 25, 2010
Not far from stones and ancient bones
Lay clues that are fit for Jim
Lure the egrets to yield all secrets
And you should satisfy him

Get your kicks by hitting the bricks
Admiring the trees and view
Be ever glad hopping pad to pad
Like amphibians in '52
Explanation:
"Yield all" is an anagram for "Lilydale." The exploits of Jim and Huckleberry Finn took place on the Mississippi. The "stones and ancient bones" are the monolithic stones and fossils found in the area. "Egrets" refers to the wild birds that can be seen in the area. "Bricks" refers to the nearby brickyard, "amphibians" refers to the flood of 1952 and to the lilypads that invoke the park's name.
Our Thoughts:
After a long hiatus, the mighty anagram returns to the clue. Yay, a real puzzle to solve, albeit a tiny one! For anyone looking in other parks, this one should have taken care of that problem, giving away the park using multiple methods.
 
Clue Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Published on Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Stonehenge tumbled down near a crumbled town
Not far from the lights of the city
If you would hike away from the pike
You might stumble on something pretty

Upstream from the landing lay a place in good standing
Where people prayed, God willin'
Now midst the cocklebur and rusted spur
Is nothing but murder and killin'

This park is a sliver, from ancient beds to river,
In neither is the prize to be found
Look for the goods among timber and woods
Do not dig in the fossil ground.
Explanation:
"Stonehenge" is the grouping of monolithic stones near the hiding place. "Hike" and "pike" refer to hiking trails and Pickerel Lake in the park. The "crumbled town" is Lilydale; the city lights are in downtown St. Paul. We direct you away from the lake toward the river. The park is just upstream from the Upper Landing, and the old Lilydale is the place once "in good standing." Cocklebur (sorry about that, hunters!) and a "murder" of crows frequent the park. Other features are the old railroad spur and killin' or kiln, which refers to the brickyards. Stay away from fossils and bodies of water!
Our Thoughts:
Apart from the general location notes, which at this point are becoming ridiculous, this clue does narrow down the area of the park to search to that bounded by the railroad tracks, the lake, the river, and the county line.
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Go for a lark in Lilydale Park
Between Water Street and the river
The city boundary sign and the old rail line
Define the zone that will deliver

You're outside the pale if you're close to the rail
It's not to be found near the tracks
Be nice and cooperative, respect private property
On public land launch your attacks

Within this area lies medallion hysteria
A tangle near the river -- not too close!
About four dozen paces from the waterline to places
Where you should tromp, dig and freeze your nose
Explanation:
Makes it clear that the medallion is in Lilydale Park and defines the boundaries as Water Street, the river, the city boundary and the rail line. Stay away from rail lines! Hunt in a narrow strip of woods not far from the waterline.
Our Thoughts:
Not much else here other than formal confirmation that it's in Lilydale and a further restriction on the area of the park to look. This is something of a nice touch, breaking away from the history of the last seven years where you couldn't even start to narrow down a portion of the park until this point.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Avoiding a sliver, head toward the river
Until you're near the water but on high ground
(Next to water or ice or anything not nice
The puck will never be found)

Head like a troll for a downriver stroll
Until lined up with skyscrapers of grain
Wet and beguiling floats a circular piling
Across the channel in sun or in rain

From this turn your team away from the stream
Hike to an uprooted tree
The downriver side is marked with a pink guide
Demarking all that we see

Look for the loot eight paces from the root
Alongside this log you must snoop
Buried in snow in a bag that you know
Is the prize -- a really big scoop
Explanation:
Leads hunters toward high ground near the river (stay away from bodies of water, even those covered with ice); then down river until they see the grain silos and round structure in the water, and finally, to an uprooted tree where the prize lies eight paces from the root. It is inside a Pioneer Press bag and contains a depiction of the Pulitzer Prize medal, in memory of former editor Deborah Howell.
Our Thoughts:
Clue 12. What more can be said?
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)