Scavenging for Contest Winners

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By: Joe Strupp

If it flies in Miami, will it be a hit in D.C? That’s what the folks at The Washington Post Magazine wondered as they planned their first “Post Hunt,” a scavenger hunt of sorts that is also part puzzle. The brainchild of Magazine editor Tom Shroder, staff writer Gene Weingarten, and humor columnist Dave Barry, the hunt began at The Miami Herald 17 years ago when the three worked at its Sunday magazine, Tropic.

When Tropic folded and Weingarten and Shroder moved to the Post, the trio continued to run the Miami event, and finally brought it to D.C. this spring. Some 5,000 readers braved a rainy Sunday on May 18 in the nation’s capital to participate, copies of that day’s magazine in hand, following clues related to various puzzles set up around the Penn Quarter area. After solving five number-related puzzles nearby, readers were directed to combine the number answers from each for the final puzzle. The first three participants to solve it all received trips to Florida.

“Our ideal hunt is when people feel challenged, but also that we are fair ? and enough people solve the puzzle,” says Shroder. “The first people solved it in about half an hour ? that was great.” Adds Barry: “We think the readers of the Post are predisposed to like this kind of thing. Smart people do well on it, and we know everyone in Washington is smart.”

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