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The Next Rant.. The impossible puzzle cache

September 27, 2012

Let me start by saying, I’m not crazy about puzzle caches.  I don’t mind doing the puzzles, I just hope the effort I’ve made solving the puzzle will somehow be rewarded with a nice find.

One puzzle that comes to mind, is one of the caches closest to my house. A local cacher had adopted the cache from the original owner, saying in her adoption log “this is a good one, I couldn’t just let it die.” So I worked on the puzzle on and off, for about 3 days. In all the questions asked, each had possible multiple answers.  The cache description did not include a geo-checker, I tried multiple co-rds on google earth, eventually I was able to confirm my co-rds, only due to fact that of the recent finders left a tell-tale photograph of the area of the  find. (The photo revealed a film container in an industrial park.) The proper co-rds are still  in my GPS a year and a half after solving the puzzle, I still don’t think it is worth finding, (even after doing all the work). I really don’t get why this was worth adopting, it did not get the finders to a significant area, or a clever hide, or even had some themed swag for kids. I simply put it on the ignore list. (There is also very good chance this may be on private property). A bonk on the head to the adopter of this cache, you could have tweaked the questions a bit, or put some effort into the cache itself, to make it a worthwhile find, instead you did nothing. In the recent photos of the cache logbook, people are leaving signatures on top of old ones, so obviously you can’t be bothered to maintain it either. So why did you feel this was worth adopting again? Oh, yeah,  you said it was ” a good one” , well.., you can dream.

Another puzzle cache that comes to mind, was one that had an extremely cryptic set of numbers and letters in a graph to solve for the final co-rds. Two weeks had gone by, and no cacher had claimed a FTF yet. After multiple tries pulling my hair out, and submitting the puzzle to several learned friends of mine, I still had no clue on what was needed to solve the puzzle. I decided the best thing to do was contact the cache owner for a hint. I explained to him how the puzzle had been plaguing me, that I had been trying everything I  could think of and still no luck, could I please have a hint in the right direction. He wrote me back one line of type, “What have you tried so far?”  I replied with what I had already tried, once again politely asking for a hint, even giving him a compliment for making the puzzle so clever no one has managed to find it yet. He wrote me back yet another single line of type, “Nope, that’s not it either” I decided it was best just to give up the chase and go on to something less infuriating. I did  however  put a watch on the cache listing, three weeks later,  two cachers claimed a find. A year after the cache was posted, (and only 4 finders in total)  I received a watchlist note, the cache owner archived the listing saying “Well, if no one else is going to make the effort, I might as well retire the cache”  Are you serious @$$hole?!!  You were not willing to give a polite request from a cacher any hint at all, are you really surprised no one else has bothered to solve it? A major bonk on the head goes to this guy. If you want it to to be found, actually HELP the cachers who contact you.

There are many puzzle caches I already have on my ignore list. Many cache owners put puzzles of their favorite subjects or hobbies out.. It is all a matter of personal tastes I guess, but I refuse to waste one minute of my time researching crap such as “Family guy” episodes,”Glee” trivia or how many Taylor swift albums there are. If I am going to get an education for doing a puzzle cache, I must insist it be something worthwhile.  Questions about  the flora and fauna near the GZ,  local history, or just good old fashioned math and logic puzzles will actually exercise the brain as well as the body. There seem to be cachers in my area who will find the answers to most any piece of crap puzzle. I just personally don’t find these worthwhile, the info learned by doing them will never be of use anywhere else in life, so why should I bother?  I really don’t care how many episodes of E.R. George Clooney has been on, couldn’t you have picked a worthwhile subject?

It is nice that some cachers put out puzzles in honor of other players in the game, but if I have to contact these players to get the answer to “What is their cats’ name?” You can bet these are going on the ignore list too. Puzzle caches are supposed to be able to be solved by the general public, not just all their geo-friends. A bonk on the head to the reviewers for these ones. It shows me once again that reviewers are not non partisan. How are users who are just touring our area from another region supposed to solve these puzzles when they don’t know who the locals are?

So in closing;  if you are thinking of placing a puzzle cache sometime soon,  can you ask yourself a few questions first please. “Is the effort of the solving, worth the find?” (i.e. nice place, fun find) “Can anyone with a computer or access to a library solve it?” (please tell me I’m not going to have to watch 15 seasons of” “Doctor Who” to solve it) “Did I make it so specific  that only a few cachers will be bothering to find it?” (please understand your hobbies and interests are only interesting to you) “Was the hint understandable to all cachers or just as cryptic as the puzzle?” (please have a beta tester). “Did I add a geo-checker so cachers won’t waste their time on a simple miscalculation?”   Bottom line is here “Don’t you want it to be found?” Many cachers are families with busy lives who are more likely to skip over your cache and go find a traditional, than waste precious time solving lame puzzles based on pop culture. Too bad, I like reading these peoples log entries, it is unfortunate you’ll never be getting one from them.

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I just started caching this year and it’s so much fun…except for puzzle caches. I have sat here and tried to figure a few out…to no avail. I can’t believe the one you were talking about where the guy only had 4 finders. Why the heck he didn’t change that so more could find? I also agree if you are going to go to a lot of trouble with a puzzle, take the cachers to a neat place or swag. I find fewer and fewer caches that are that great. I bought a bunch of stuff from the Oriental Trading Co and the Dollar Tree for caches.

  2. My first visit to your blog after you found mine and I’m intrigued. I’m quite bitten by the geocaching bug thanks to my kids and am fascinated by the effort that can be put into it. This post was interesting and I’m stunned that some cachers can be so obtuse or overly simple. My 14-year old would not be impressed by having to hunt down TV triva; he’d be far more engaged in learning local history, geographical facts, math or logic puzzles, etc.!

  3. Just came back from wasting an hour at a “field puzzle”. I agree. Some of these things just aren’t worth the effort. Now trying to mount an expedition to find a cache trapped on a cliff, that’s my style!
    By the way, I’m adding you blog to my list of recommendations.

    • sometimes I have the inclination to create my own “Impossible puzzle cache”, but then I remember that would take more work on MY part, lol

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