2020 Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt

We got a change of sponsor this year. Love Your Melon took over sponsorship of the hunt, and rather than having the Winter Carnival button augment the prize by $5000, the Pioneer Press sold their own blinky medallions, the purchase of which augmented the prize for the winner.

Julie Schonhardt picked it out of the snow and her husband Dan was ready to throw it in the trash thinking it was garbage. Lesson for you Dan, nothing is garbage in this hunt until you verify that it is garbage. They're splitting the prize with their team.

Thanks to ignorant hunters crossing the fences and climbing the burial mounds at Indian Mounds, the Pioneer Press made an unprecedented move in announcing that the park was off limits before Clue 10 was released.

Hunt information
Dates:
First Clue:Sunday, January 19, 2020
Found on:Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Finders:
NameHometown
Julie Schonhardt Eagan
Dan Schonhardt Eagan
Josh Ellingson Apple Valley
Zak Rexford Edina
Amy Ellingson Apple Valley
Nate Messerich Burnsville
Craig Heinen Richfield
Prize:
Maximum Prize:$10,000
Awarded Prize:$10,000
Location:
General Location:Highland Park
Exact Location:Near the Edgcumbe Road Bridge over the ravine
Concealer:A pile of sticks
Clues
Published on Sunday, January 19, 2020
There’s just enough snow and temperatures low
To rouse us from our snoozing
And hide the MacGuffin, no we ain’t bluffin,
In a park of our very own choosing.

The Vikings are done, the Twins yet begun
What excuse do you have to dawdle?
Gather your kin, prepare for the win
And be sure to bring a hot bottle
Scrambled Clue:
There’s choosing snow MacGuffin, of just we enough
very ain’t and no own temperatures low
a To park our hide the rouse In us from
And our snoozing bluffin, of

Gather Vikings bring Twins be prepare
The win bottle your are done, the yet begun sure
What hot for kin, the excuse do you
And have to dawdle? to a
Explanation:
We mildly complain about a too temperate year for the Treasure Hunt — though that is expected to change the day or two before the hunt begins. We also tell you it’s in a park. The MacGuffin is a nebulous thing we all desperately seek, a term famously used by Alfred Hitchcock in describing the plot driver for some of his movies. In our case, the MacGuffin is the medallion. The giveaway here is the MacGuffin is a Scottish name, appropriate for the park in which our MacGuffin is hidden: Highland Park. In addition, “kin” is a popular word among Scots.
Our Thoughts:
The annual park pic pool had 18 picks for Highland and 17 for Hidden Falls. The former because having last been hidden there in 1994 it is far overdue, the latter because of MacGuffin. This is one of those "they gave it away on clue one" things. Hidden Falls would have been far too obvious of course but for those of us who watch Outlander we should have been familiar enough with the Scottish lingua franca that Highland should have floated to the top of the list quickly. Alas, at least for the Como loving crowd, 'a park of our very own choosing" seemed to point towards Como since it has been there the most. And of course as me2 pointed out, there's a backwards zoo if you're snoozing.
 
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Published on Monday, January 20, 2020
Though the times be quite peachy, we do so beseech ye,
To venture out of doors for a romp
As you traipse through the snow, your medallions aglow,
Careful of what flora you stomp
Scrambled Clue:
Though flora aglow, the be quite, out of doors we do so you
To stomp medallions venture what for a romp
As you of through the snow, Careful
your traipse peachy times beseech ye,
Explanation:
“Peachy” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and “medallions aglow” reminds hunters that they should get the light-up medallion, not the Winter Carnival button, if they are to have a chance at the full prize. We warn heavy-footed hunters from stomping on delicate vegetation, especially that on golf courses, which are off-limits. Highland Park boasts not one but two golf courses.
Our Thoughts:
Is golf course turf really "flora"? We suppose technically it is but its still kinda ugly. And come on, the golf courses are explicitly off limits per the rules. Every. Single. Year. Being careful of what flora you stomp is an obvious reference to the Conservatory at Como. It's also a potential reference to cities like Roseville or Maplewood with their flora-inspired names. Maplewood gets a nod here because both times it was in Wakefield the park was practically stomped to death. We shan't regurgitate the stories here; you can find them elsewhere on this site.

Now, if we really want to consider grass flora, perhaps we should have a chat with the idiots who disregarded the fences around the mounds at IM. They're there for a reason folks. Stay off the mounds. Thanks for ruining hunting in a really good park folks. You know it'll be off limits forevermore.

Now, as for potential word games; if the Scots MacGuffin weren't enough to get you thinking Highland, did "traipse" perhaps evoke thoughts of the trapeze artists at the on-site Circus Juventas? It did for some folks. Oh yeahm ad who didn't see "to vent" and think of the nature sanctuary. More on some of these word plays later

If you think of presidential impeachments, you get Clinton and Trump, but you also get Johnson (Parkway) and Nixon (at Watergate Marina in Crosby; yes we know he wasn't actually impeached but he was pretty close to it).

Lastly, if you read the official explanation article from the Pioneer Press, the last line of the clue reads "Careful flora you do not stomp". We know not why, but it is an interesting observation nonetheless.
 
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Published on Tuesday, January 21, 2020
This hunt’s guarantor settles that forevermore
Noodlers treasure noggins; keep that in mind.
So doff your warm cap, study dog-eared map
And genuflect in the presence of the find.
Scrambled Clue:
This hunt’s dog-eared noggins; guarantor settles that forevermore
Noodlers genuflect treasure warm cap keep that in mind.
So doff your, presence of the find.
study map And in the
Explanation:
A nod to sponsor Love Your Melon that lets hunters know the treasure is in a head. “Dog-eared” is a reference to Snoopy, of “Peanuts” fame. Peanuts” was created by St. Paul’s son Charles Schulz, who has a Highland Park ice arena named after him: The Charles M. Schulz-Highland Arena. “Genuflect” tells hunters to get down on one knee to find the medallion.
Our Thoughts:
Honestly, with the new sponsor, the medallion should have been in one of their hats. We think it a bit of a stretch to go from dog-eared to Snoopy to Schultz to Highland. Too many steps to take. How about you study your dog-eared map since the very first hunt was in Highland in '52. Or Como again, since your map pages for that park would have the most dog ears.

As for genuflecting, sure it works, but making note of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church would have been better,

And why didn't we hear anything here about Cap Wiggington desigining the historic water tower? The obvious red herring here being the Wigington Pavilion at Harriet Island
 
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Published on Wednesday, January 22, 2020
One patterned neat and trim, one salvaged life and limb
Did the two cutters who lived down the way.
Herringbones or sawbones?
You decide which will play.
Scrambled Clue:
sawbones? and salvaged one lived trim, life and two or
Did decide neat down cutters will You the way.
the play. Herringbones
limb which who One patterned
Explanation:
Foreman, the head of Foreman & Clark’s men’s clothing store (popular for its suits), and Donald Lannin, orthopedic surgeon and first and longtime physician for the Minnesota Vikings, were longtime neighbors on Edgcumbe Road, several blocks away from where the medallion was hidden in Highland Park. The reference to play refers to the fact that like Lannin, Foreman also had a connection to sports: He often used Minnesota Twins great Harmon Killebrew in his advertisements.
Our Thoughts:
Next clue please. But before we do, we'll make a mention of the red herringbone walkway at the Mannheimer memorial at Como. Just because for posterity's sake we have to get everything into Como for this hunt, and get it there easily. Oh and herringbone kinda brings up thoughts of Harriet Island, and perhaps an old sawbones named Justus Ohage, who incidentally lived on Irvine Park. Perhaps we should ask the Glib Ghoul about that.
 
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Published on Thursday, January 23, 2020
We will protect each clue from the GRU
Nyet hackers! Have you no shame?
They may fix our elections, but we’ll spark insurrection,
If they try to interfere with our game
Scrambled Clue:
our If we’ll They to clue they We
our with each protect interfere you
Nyet may game will GRU fix elections, spark the
shame? try from insurrection, Have but no hackers!
Explanation:
There are several Russian connections to Highland Park, including a large immigrant population of Jews from the former Soviet Union (they get low-cost services at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center in Highland through the Russian American Jews in Minnesota organization). Also, the Highland Park Library has a special collection of books that were originally written in or translated into Russian.
Our Thoughts:
Wow, that's really specific. Almost as if a certain curmudgeon from the area wrote it. There is another nice word play here, as "nyet hackers" anagrams to "shanty creek", and we all know Swede Hollow was filled with shanties until 1956. Yup this clue got a large mass of people to the hollow. Of course there's also the hidden reference to the 2012 hunt in Tony Schmidt park where a video version of the clue was accessed early. The Pioneer Press called it hacking, and if you read the stories on it you might mispronounce the alleged hackers name as something that could well sound a lot like Phalen, as in a park or a creek.

Where's the Como reference here? As the first battle of the American Revolution, the British might have regarded Lexington as a mere insurrection. Of course that one works for Highland as well. They should have used it. It would have made the perfect red herring (See clue 8)
 
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Published on Friday, January 24, 2020
Once at the summit, it did quite plummet
Before it got to the bluff
Starting and stopping, winding and hopping
It will eventually lead to the stuff
Scrambled Clue:
lead and and got will stopping, bluff It
plummet Starting at hopping to did
Before it stuff the Once summit,
quite eventually the to winding the it
Explanation:
This clue refers to Edgcumbe Road, which wends its way throughout Highland Park, including past the site of the medallion. This road goes up and down, curves, goes straight, and has right corners. Years ago, Edgcumbe was called South Summit as there were city plans to connect it to Summit Avenue along the bluff Linwood Park now occupies.
Our Thoughts:
OK we think this one is actually really really good. You could get so many things from this. It could be a Hamm mansion reference. It could be a mad mouse ride at Como Town reference. It could be an Edgcumbe reference. But picking up South Summit is a decent red herring as most of the masses thought of the current Summit Avenue and not the unknown Summit Avenue.
 
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Published on Saturday, January 25, 2020
If you’re in town, swing on down
To a park lit up some nights
Before it gets hotter, line three bodies water
And you’ll have it in your sites
Scrambled Clue:
water it your Before lit a you’ll
you’re down it three nights have gets
town, And swing line on in some
park in hotter, up To bodies sites If
Explanation:
The first two lines “swing on down” and “lights” allude to Circus Juventas, which is in Highland Park near the municipal aquatic center and across Montreal from where the medallion is hidden. The second two lines ask you to look at an aerial view of the park, note the aquatic center in the park and a private pool just outside it, and remember that there was once a municipal pool on the north side of Montreal. Line the three up, and that line goes right through the hiding spot.
Our Thoughts:
In town should make it clear to anyone that the park is in St. Paul. By this point that should be naturally obvious. Swing on down is actually a really good reference for Circus Juventas, and we like the pools at Highland, but the one in someone's back yard? Come on. Besides, "town" is a pointer to Como Town, where the three bodies of water are either the lake, frog pond, and Mannheimer pond, or the mannheimer pond, hamm waterfalls, and the lake. Take your pick. Also, sites is spelled incorrectly for its usage, no matter how you chose to use it. There were actually a lot of seeming grammatical errors in these clues.
 
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Published on Sunday, January 26, 2020
Water is grand in our hunt’s land
Up above our site and lower.
You won’t need suit nor rubber boot
If you walk amongst the bower.
Scrambled Clue:
you grand Water bower. walk above hunt’s
the amongst land and our lower.
need You If suit our site
is Up in won’t nor rubber
Explanation:
Highland Park has plenty of water features, including pools, nearby water towers above the hiding site and the Mississippi River below. Our descriptors are something of a red herring, for Battle Creek Regional Park shares land with Upper and Lower Afton roads. We felt OK with that fish, though, as Upper and Lower St. Dennis roads are near the hiding spot. “You won’t need suit nor rubber boot” directs hunters away from water features and into the “bower,” or woods.
Our Thoughts:
And here's the really good red herring. When you use glaring upper and lower references, you're naturally going to get hunters to think of Battle Creek, Most aren't aware of St. Dennis's roads or if they are simply don't think of them. They were OK with that fish and it even passes our smell test. And it makes us wonder, again, if a certain old curmudgeon was in high dudgeon when he was asked to write the clues this year. Not needing a suit however makes us think of Como, where swimming is not allowed in the lake. And since we liked the Hamm waterfalls at this point, there are signs there to keep you on the paths and out of the falls with your rubber boots on.
 
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Published on Monday, January 27, 2020
A coal man had a plan
To lay down roots in St. Paul.
His path proffers good math –
Even though short of hill it does fall.
Scrambled Clue:
lay short St. coal down A
a math it of – though fall. in
does path had Even roots
hill plan good His To Paul. proffers man
Explanation:
“Coal man” is Saunders, who has a street named after him in Highland Park near where he farmed in Highland Park. Along with James J. Hill, he was co-founder of the Northwestern Fuel Co. Following his street to the east past where it ends at Snelling brings hunters to the puck, set at the bottom of a hill.
Our Thoughts:
There's actually a lot of good wordplay in this clue. Is it literally a "coal man" or, perhaps a "Coleman" and if so is it Chris or Norm? Norm might actually take you to Linwood Park, and you might actually get Chris out of it if you think about his gubernatorial campaigns falling short of the (capitol) hill. For our Como mindset (even though it took us a while to get there), the roots laid down in St. Paul were actually "routes", namely the St. Paul Grand Rounds which would take hunters along the Mississippi Gorge, Hidden Falls, Crosby, Upper and Lower Landings, Indian Mounds, Phalen, and finally back to Como. Of course there are a few other big parks in there besides Como, but parks where hunters were thinking, like Swede Hollow, are left out of this explanation. So are parks where hunters weren't really thinking, like Highland. That said, there's a Math and Science Academy overlooking Trout Brook.
 
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Published on Tuesday, January 28, 2020
A lover’s fix under tangle of sticks
The medallion scratches hunters’ itches.
Where bridge spans a gap; nearby a trap.
Line up putts that are pitches
Scrambled Clue:
The putts gap; Line trap. hunters’ sticks
of are pitches. lover’s a
medallion that nearby bridge A under up itches.
scratches Where fix spans a tangle
Explanation:
A “lover’s fix” is an anagram for Silver Fox, the men’s group that holds annual booyas at the Highland Park booya shed. Landmarks, including the bridge over Montreal Avenue, the Edgcumbe Road bridge, and the trapping targets on the disc golf course, lead hunters closer to the medallion. Finally, if hunters follow the path of the disc golf course, “putts that are pitches,” they’ll come near the hiding spot.
Our Thoughts:
Even though we could still use this for Como in a couple of our spots, it became glaringly obvious here that the park was Highland. All of a sudden you can go back to clue 1 and make everything fit (except for that herringbones and sawbones clue but we're going to try to pretend that regardless of park that clue was never written). Lover's fix seems like a bad try at an anagram, especially this late in the game for what it described and was really unnecessary if you knew your disc golf and park bridges (and that there's a sand trap from the real golf course literally across the street from the location.

As an aside here, we expected to have an out of place verse added here, as the Pioneer Press had to announce that the medallion was not at Indian Mounds park
 
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This is our pledge if you’re on edge
We’ll get you to the prize.
As you toss your cares, pay heed to stares
And get low to avoid the cries.
Explanation:
“… if you’re on edge” refers to the puck’s location near Edgcumbe Road, adjacent to the disc golf course where plenty of discs get tossed. Because hunters might be treading on fairways, we direct them to watch for the hard stare of golfers and the sets of stairs that lead down to the prize’s hiding spot. The low-lying location will keep hunters safe from any insults hurled by players.
Our Thoughts:
We never got this far, so its hard to put the blinders back on and think about this. Had the puck not been found with clue 10, it would have been with this one.
 
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If you’ve found you’ve been around
Every park in the county,
You need to go with those in the know
Highland Park’s where we hid the bounty.

Our talk of pitches and of itches
Leads to an important fact:
‘Tween holes 13 and 14, in a wooded ravine
Is a spot about to be sacked.

At the bottom of the stairs, in singles or pairs,
Start your journey to dry pool.
Step over small tree, then strides seven plus three
Lead to something very cool.

Down to the right, at squirrel’s height
Is a recess in a small pile of brush.
Reach inside and withdraw with pride
The noggin that will give you a rush
Explanation:
After potentially taking a tour of our county parks, hunters should find themselves at Highland Park, in a ravine near Edgcumbe Road and the disc golf course. By following stairs to the bottom of the ravine and heading south toward the old pool site (which is one of three bodies of water that align with the hiding spot — the others are the park’s aquatic center farther south and a residential pool just north of Edgcumbe), hunters should be focused on low-lying areas for the medallion — they might even have to kneel, or genuflect, to reach for the prize — which this year was hidden in a doll’s head and secreted in a gap among a collection of sticks.
Our Thoughts:
And there it is. This clue writer knew exactly what they were doing with us. We might not have all seen the same references to parks but counting up everything we have seen, we have references (in no particular order) to Phalen, Swede Hollow, Battle Creek, Indian Mounds, Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, Hidden Falls, Como, Crosby Farm, Irvine, Central, Acorn, Wakefield, Trout Brook, anywhere along Summit Avenue, and probably more that we're missing here.

There were a total of 94 choices in the park pick pool this year. As mentioned above 18 of those were for Highland Park, 17 for Hidden Falls. It is very interesting to note that despite Highland taking home the crown for number of picks in the pool, it took until Clue 10, mere hours before it was found, for people to seriously consider it as a hiding place.
 
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