2017 Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt

Fourth time's the charm, I guess. Yes, for the fourth time this decade, the medallion was hidden outside of St. Paul proper. Jerome Krieger of Forest Lake found it just north of Highway 36 near the channel between Keller and Spoon Lakes. It took nine clues to get him there.

Hunt information
Dates:
First Clue:Sunday, January 22, 2017
Found on:Monday, January 30, 2017
Finders:
NameHometown
Jerome Krieger Forest Lake
Prize:
Maximum Prize:$10,000
Awarded Prize:$10,000
Location:
General Location:Keller Park
Exact Location:In the woods between Keller Parkway and Spoon Lake
Concealer:A chunk of ice, stepped on by a boot
Clues
Published on Sunday, January 22, 2017
By hack or by hex Vulcanus Rex
Has usurped the cool cold king
By trick or by tweet, it will be sweet
The breaks for some he’ll bring

Leave your lair, the puck’s out there
You won’t read fake news here
Veer off course, avoid the gorse
If you hope to find what’s dear.
Explanation:
Change is coming across the land as the king of fire reigns ascendant over King Boreas. Good times could be returning, at least for some, such as the finder of the medallion. Trick and tweet refers to the significant role social media has taken in the treasure hunt.

“Veer off course” and “avoid the gorse” refer to the golf courses – at Phalen and Keller – are in the area where the medallion is hidden, but we remind you they are off-limits as stated in Treasure Hunt rules.
Our Thoughts:
At least one treasure hunter took this clue as one that gave away a street name, if not the park itself. Cool, cold King Frost Avenue runs east to west through the southern portion of Keller Park, paralleling the Gateway Trail.
 
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Published on Monday, January 23, 2017
Picking a park can be a lark.
East or west, choose your grounds.
Look for clues, they’re next to news,
Just make sure to stay in bounds.
Scrambled Clue:
can a park lark a picking be
or west choose east grounds your
next look to they’re news for clues
bounds just in stay sure make to
Explanation:
Part of the fun of the Treasure Hunt is cavorting in a park with hundreds of other like-minded hunters. With big parks like Como, Keller and Phalen having so many common landmarks — lakes, bridges and golf courses — it’s usually easier just to pick a park early in the hunt and start searching. But you’ll need the daily clues, which are printed in the newspaper, and remember to keep your hunt confined to the public spaces of Ramsey County.
Our Thoughts:
Two clues to define the boundaries and rules of the hunt? Not necessary.
 
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Published on Tuesday, January 24, 2017
On historic land this ancient band
Will play all day among you
Out for a spin, bring your kin,
Or bid them toodle loo.
Scrambled Clue:
historic on land this ancient band
you play among will day all
out a kin bring spin for your
them loo toodle bid or
Explanation:
Four new tuj lub courts were opened last year by the Ramsey County Parks & Recreation at Keller Regional Park, the county’s oldest park and the site of the medallion. Tuj lub, which is pronounced “too-loo,” is a traditional Hmong (“ancient band” and “among”) top-spinning game played on a grass field about the size of a tennis court.
Our Thoughts:
This one could have appeared really obscure if you weren't aware of the Hmong game. Nice call cluewriter!
 
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Published on Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Off the track is your hunting pack
If it gets caught below the tire.
It’ll be in hand, just as you planned
When you find the dome by the mire.
Scrambled Clue:
pack the track off hunting your is
tire caught below if gets the it
planned you be just as in it’ll hand
find mire by the you the dome when
Explanation:
A boundary for hunters early in the hunt warning them not to sleuth south of, or below, Wheelock Parkway; otherwise, their search will be going in the wrong direction. Better to look north for the medallion, which this year features an etching of the glass-domed Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and is planted on dry land between wet, swampy ground.
Our Thoughts:
We kinda figured the dome was on the medallion from this one, but running from tire to Wheelock? Seems a bit of a stretch.
 
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Published on Thursday, January 26, 2017
If it’s closed for the season that’s pretty good reason
to find another spot.
When nature calls, but without any stalls,
go around for the prized pot.
Scrambled Clue:
the for reason season that’s it’s closed good pretty if
find to another spot
stalls calls without when nature any but
the go prized around pot for
Explanation:
A clue to tuck away for later in the hunt — at Spoon Lake, the main bathrooms are “Closed for the season,” according to signs. That’s no problem, because you’ll want to go around back to a choice patch of woods to find where the medallion is hidden.
Our Thoughts:
One would think that the Pioneer Press would have exercised caution on this clue, considering what happened with "And please lay your litter to rest." in 1996. A fun clue nonetheless.
 
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Published on Friday, January 27, 2017
Any fool can find a pool
When it's treasure that we dangle
But a lucky devil gets to revel
By sleuthing the perfect angle.
Scrambled Clue:
a pool fool can any find
treasure dangle when that it’s we
to gets but revel lucky a devil
by the sleuthing angle perfect
Explanation:
With pools, ponds and lakes stretching across St. Paul and Ramsey County, there’s plenty of water to waylay half-boiled noodlers. “Dangle” and “angle” are meant to help hunters focus on the waters that allow fishing, and crafty hunters will piece together the golf course references from Clue 1 and start searching Como, Keller or Phalen, all with golf courses and fishing access.
Our Thoughts:
Officially at least this clue narrows down the search zone. However I still can't get over seeing Como, Keller, and Phalen all in the same clue, yet "any fool can find a pool". One of these things is definitely not like the others in that regard.
 
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Published on Saturday, January 28, 2017
Stop your pondering and start wandering
From the crowd you must rebel
Look for a track beneath the pack
And please ignore no bell
Scrambled Clue:
wandering stop your start and pondering
you from rebel must crowd the
the pack for track a look beneath
ignore no bell and please
Explanation:
“Wandering” “track” “rebel” and “no bell” all refer to our state’s Nobel Prize in literature winner Bob Dylan. Dylan wrote “wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin,” which along with “track” and “pack” suggest that the medallion is packed in icy bootprint. Bonus points to Dylan scholars who remember his song “Highway 61 Revisited” – the highway that runs by parts of Phalen-Keller Park.
Our Thoughts:
I think most hunters actually picked up on "ignore no bell" for Bob Dylan before "wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin'". In fact, this clue sent many a hunter to Battle Creek because of its length running along Highway 61. How easily we as hunters forget however, that Highway 61 divides the mega-park known as Battle Creek - Indian Mounds, as well as Phalen-Keller, and Bald Eagle-Otter Lake. More than one hunter was expecting a reprise of the latter from this clue (and the tire from clue 4).
 
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Published on Sunday, January 29, 2017
The young boy’s amusement, to his elders’ bemusement,
Is casting his luck to the skies
His supple wrist flicks with a twist
Hoping to catch a silvery prize
Scrambled Clue:
amusement bemusement boy’s his young the elders’ to
luck to is casting his the skies
twist wrist his flicks supple with a
prize to a silvery hoping catch
Explanation:
The clue could refer to a boy fishing, which points to the lakes of the Phalen-Keller Regional Park, including Spoon Lake, near which the medallion is hidden; or to a boy playing pinball that combined with “amusement” (the crux of this clue) points to Arcade Street, which cuts between Gervais Lake and Spoon Lake. Master clue solvers will note that “young boy” “supple wrist” “twist” and “amusement” come out of lyrics of The Who’s song about the deaf and blind Pinball Wizard (the subject of the Who’s “rock opera” album), who leads both to Arcade Street and to Helen Keller, whose surname identifies the relevant park (and who will become more prominent in a later clue).
Our Thoughts:
Oh
My
God.

This is probably one of the best clue/explanation pairings in the history of the hunt. Not because of what it says, but because of the double meaning. Not only was it a double meaning clue, but both meanings given for the clue are actually relevant to the hiding location. The only thing really missing for this explanation is a silver spoon to make it a triple meaning clue for Spoon Lake. Yes, there's a jump from the deaf, blind, Pinball Wizard to Helen Keller, but it's a manageable jump.
 
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Published on Monday, January 30, 2017
Do not fear if you cannot hear
Clues that are unsound
Do not flee if you cannot see —
You must feel it on the ground
Scrambled Clue:
not hear if fear do cannot you
unsound that are clues
flee see do cannot if you not
must the ground on it feel you
Explanation:
Cannot hear and see refer to Helen Keller, whose last name is shared with the target park. Feel it on the ground tells you the medallion is hidden on the ground, and cannot be seen because it is frozen in an icy boot print.
Our Thoughts:
This one confirms the park for anyone still in doubt. Plus if you got spoon out of the silvery prize earlier, you should have a decent idea where to look within the park here. Our finder did.
 
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If you’re bored and never scored
Ponder over Jesus saves
You’ll be right with your sight
If you’ve left the land of taves. (tave, dialectal, British: to thrash or toss wildly : struggle)
Explanation:
A landmark clue here for those who are desperate for some direction (and a find): On the boardwalk from Keller to Spoon lake is a spot to cast a line, where some bored soul wrote “Lord Jesus Saves.” By looking over the graffiti, a hunter can see the area where the medallion is hidden — the site is off to the right, not to the left, where only a wild struggle awaits hunters.
Our Thoughts:
It seems a bit risky to use a piece of graffiti as a clue; Parks and Rec could just as easily painted it over between the time the clue was written and when it was published. Probably not as much of a risk during the winter though since paint doesn't usually like to cure when it's this cold out. At the same time, it also seems that if you have to use an OED definition for a word because it's British English, it's a bit over the top. I'd like to have seen how this clue was going to come out scrambled early though.
 
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You can be masters of avoiding disasters
By taking the fork in the road
Step not in the goop or the watery soup
And you’ll feast on dessert ala mode.
Explanation:
Fork, soup, and dessert ala mode all refer to eating utensils, the last two with a spoon, which refers to the Spoon Lake area, where the medallion is hidden. In goop and watery soup, we tell you to stay away from marshy areas. “Masters” is the last name of the author of the classic book of short poems in which a body of water is named “Spoon” — the “Spoon River Anthology.”
Our Thoughts:
Interesting. We never got a chance to noodle this one so it's hard to comment on. But interesting nonetheless.
 
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If you’re reading this, you’re close to bliss
And digging in Spoon Lake Park.
Head to the lot for the fishing spot,
And look for a bunch of bark.

Move southeast so you won’t be fleeced,
And look through all the brush.
When you see a sign (last two numbers = nine)
You’ve passed the puck in your rush.

Find the nearest green box and quick as a fox
Head west 25 paces
You’ll find the loot in the iced print of a boot
And leave Spoon feeling aces.
Explanation:
Here it is — Clue 12 and hunters should be in Spoon Lake Park for the scramble. To get to the medallion, folks need to congregate on the east side of the park, where there’s a sign for the designated fishing area. To the southeast, a stand of trees contains the prize. The land peters out between Keller Parkway and a service road, near a sign that reads “2345.” If they see this, they need to turn around and head 75 feet to the west and scratch through the brush for a frozen boot print containing the medallion.
 
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