2011 Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt

The 2011 Cooler Crew button
Found in Battle Creek Park after 7 clues by mother-daughter team Mary and Molly Hermes, together with Molly's boyfriend Dan Murphy. They found the puck near the site of the former ski jump in the park, near a tree whose roots had their dirt eroded away. Unfortunately for someone else, another hunter had cleared the snow from that tree but neglected to carefully check what they were tossing. Our own MrMnMikey believes it to be himself. For more coverage, check out the Pioneer Press' hunt coverage.
 
Hunt information
Dates:
First Clue:Sunday, January 23, 2011
Found on:Saturday, January 29, 2011
Finders:
NameHometown
Molly Hermes
Mary Hermes
Dan Murphy
Prize:
Maximum Prize:$10,000
Awarded Prize:$10,000
Location:
General Location:Battle Creek Park
Exact Location:Near the remnants of the former ski jump site
Concealer:Clear Newspaper Wrapping
Clues
Published on Sunday, January 23, 2011
Hanging like vultures, the icicle sculptures
Show the Vulcans to be most artistic
But forget your worries and find a park amid the flurries
You have reasons to be optimistic

As the cold wind blows through our record snows
In this land of the dammed and ice
We bid you fair welcome, whether heaven or hell come,
To hunt treasure that's sure to suffice
Explanation:
Invoking the Vulcans amidst an unusually cold and snowy Minnesota winter, we direct hunters to a park — a park with a body of water that, like our houses, is subject to ice dams.
Our Thoughts:
For the second year in a row, the clue writer pays homage to the Vulc. For the second year in a row we've had miserably deep snow to contend with for the hunt. Coincidence? We think not. We actually get a rare look into a specific area of the park to search with this one, with that section of the park's namesake creek filled with many dams, and a reference to Upper and Lower Afton Roads (heaven or hell coming), cordoning off the right portion of the park. For the first clue this is rather risky, but given the trend of the past few years we have to give this one a total thumbs up.
 
Clue Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Published on Monday, January 24, 2011
Through the stormy seas, minding our Qs and Ps,
He captained a steady ship
With purpose clear he made us cheer
Or at least keep a stiff upper lip

Move with elation like folks from circulation
Each morn they stand and deliver
Take many more steps away from your doorsteps
Like carriers, hunters must shiver
Explanation:
A shout out to our departing editor, Thom Fladung. References to doorstep and circulation are in honor of those who deliver the PP daily; the medallion is wrapped in a clear plastic newspaper delivery bag. Upper invokes Upper Afton Road, near the park.
Our Thoughts:
An interesting clue. Many of us thought the second verse was added later, as a total newspaper reference to the departing editor of the Press. Turns out the many steps was a reference to the stairs that led to the now demolished ski jump,.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2011
A chestnut gentle makes me sentimental,
For those glorious stories of yore.
Of the days in the glen, when men were men,
Och! Have I become a prodigious bore?
Explanation:
Chestnut gentle and glen refer to an old song called "Flow Gently Sweet Afton," based on a poem from Robert Burns; it suggests Upper Afton and Lower Afton roads, which border Battle Creek. The Afton in the poem is a stream, just like the one that runs through the park — where the medallion is hidden, not far from its banks. For you Treasure Hunt history buffs, a similar reference was used in Clue 10 in 1970, when the medallion was hidden in Battle Creek.
Our Thoughts:
We prefer to think of the days in the glen when men were men to be an allusion to the ski jump in the park, particularly in light of our heaven or hell coming interpretation of clue one. All in all, a lame, useless clue.
 
Clue Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Published on Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Step off the math from the nearest path
The prize awaits excavation
Water to ice is a fitting price
To pay for this prime location
Explanation:
The prize is quite near a popular walking path, but it is buried deep. It is near the frozen creek in one of St. Paul's most beautiful park settings.
Our Thoughts:
While the puck was roughly 32 steps off the path through the park, this one created a classic red herring situation, which we don't know if the clue writer knew about or not. There are signs at Como saying that there are 3200 steps around the lake. Combining the temperatures in both the Fahrenheit and Celsius (where water freezes at 00 degrees), one gets 3200. We like red herrings. Especially good red herrings.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Published on Thursday, January 27, 2011
Don't give up yet, like aging Brett
Go where winter lovers meet
We hope you find those of like mind
And not da agony of da feet
Explanation:
A shot at our aged-out, finally retired QB; a reference to a park that is famed for its wintry beauty and privacy; and a veiled reference to both the aging QB's sore ankle and to the famed TV phrase "the agony of defeat." This was intoned by broadcaster Jim McKay as a ski-jumper fell in the intro to "ABC's Wide World of Sports." Our site is at the bottom of the old ski-jump hill in Battle Creek. The use of "da" suggests "da Bears" — or, in the case of Battle Creek, nearby White Bear Avenue.
Our Thoughts:
Yet another opportunity for a red herring. In winter (and the other seasons for that matter), lovers meet in either the Como Conservatory (off limits of course), or the gates ajar. Great job there. On the downside, the area is surrounded by A, B, and C streets, the only such named streets in the city. The Wide World of Sports reference could have been nailed as a double meaning clue here.
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Published on Friday, January 28, 2011
In pants baggy with dog shaggy
Walk amongst the lonesome pine
Don't forget the clues that fit
Or you'll flub away what's mine
Explanation:
Fred MacMurray starred in "The Shaggy Dog," "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine," "The Absent-Minded Professor," and "Son of Flubber," while another McMurray, a tea merchant named William, helped found the park in 1925 and suggested that "Pine Coulee" be renamed "Battle Creek."
Our Thoughts:
Can you say another red herring? Yes. Yes you can. And like the one from clue 4, this one is great. We all know Como is overdue, with Battle Creek being more recently used than Como, so this one appealed to any Como-holics out there. With the ability to pull us in multiple directions, we tip our hats to the clue writer.
 
Clue Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Published on Saturday, January 29, 2011
Leave your kettle and test your mettle
Out in the frigid cold
With a nip to brace and a bit of grace
You will have the item to hold
Explanation:
The first rhyming words of the first and third lines are "kettle" and "brace," which is an anagram for Battle Creek.
Our Thoughts:
As always, we like the puzzle that is known as an anagram. The only concern we have is that for the first time in known history, the anagram is split across multiple clue lines, raising questions about its validity. So, we have to withhold one star for that. Following that, we have "testing your mettle". Used as a homophone for metal in 2001, anyone who has been to this year's treasure site knows that there is plenty of metal re-bar sticking out from the remains of the ski jump.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Strap on each boot and go look for the loot
Don't wait 'til you kick the bucket!
Be you girl or boy, you'll jump for joy
At the sight of the precious ducat
Explanation:
Strapping on boots suggests the skiing — formerly downhill and jumping and now mostly cross-country — that goes on at Battle Creek. Jump refers to the long-abandoned ski jump that once dominated the part of the park where the medallion is hidden.
Our Thoughts:
Strapping on your boots also suggests going for a hike in the snow, or a walk to the bus stop in the morning. Hey, it even suggests a long hike through the park, like you would have had to do to get to this year's medallion. This clue should probably have been, say clue 2 or 3.
 
Clue Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Hillsides rift and provide a lift
A spot for walking beagles
197 aims toward heaven
Tim was up there with eagles
Explanation:
"Lift" and soared like eagles suggest the Battle Creek ski jump, where Tim Dennison once set the record by jumping 197 feet in 1971. So happens, the medallion is not far from the old stairs that went up the ski-jump hill where spectators watched the jumpers fly overhead.
Our Thoughts:
What's with the dog theme with this hunt? Huskies, Poodles, Sheepdogs, and now Beagles. This clue was actually a decent clue, and well-placed in the hunt. Too bad the ordering of the clues didn't let us get this far.
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Even a Norwegian will enjoy a park regional
A bridge too far for a raft
Skip your supper near Lower and Upper
Always look fore and Aft
Explanation:
We salute Minnesota's Northern European heritage and note that this is a "regional" park. We name the site near a bridge that couldn't handle a raft; "Lower" and "Upper" and "Aft" refer to Lower Afton Road and Upper Afton Road, which run through beautiful, snowy, iced-over Battle Creek Regional Park.
Our Thoughts:
Thanks for giving us Upper and Lower Afton again. At least we got another landmark within a regional park (which by this time we already know).
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Follow the cattle and join the battle
Whether ye be women or men
Those who dare to find the end of White Bear
Jump in the direction of Ten
Explanation:
Refers to Battle Creek Regional Park and the end of White Bear Avenue, which leads to woods and the old ski jump site. "Jump" is a reference to the ski jump, and the direction is toward U.S. Highway 10, which runs along the Mississippi River.
Our Thoughts:
A good clue, except according to our spotters, the puck was east of White Bear Avenue, not west as would be the direction of Highway 61/10. Cluewriter fail.
 
Clue Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

What you need most is to find the last post
Where ski jumpers came to ground
It's not for the meek to be facing the creek
Eight steps to your left 'twill be found

You might be tarried, for deep it is buried
Dig till you feel cold and quivery
Before your hopes sag you'll spot a clear bag
Used for each morning's delivery
Explanation:
The "last post" that supported the steps of the old ski jump is near the run-out where jumpers landed. From the post, facing Battle Creek, eight steps to the left, or up creek, is the site. It was deeply buried under perhaps 18 inches of snow and ice, contained in a Pioneer Press newspaper delivery bag.
Our Thoughts:
"X" marks the spot. Actually a pretty good clue, compared to the 200 paces of Phalen in 2004.
 
Clue Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)