Geodyssey Update #11: We Are the Champions

Contest Results

There were 8 entries in the Local Challenge contest, 65 entries in the Remote Challenge contest, and 45 entries in the Hidden Challenge contest. Here are the winners, chosen entirely at random from all applicable contest entries:

Local Challenge Grand Prize Brad Clare
Local Challenge Geocoin Prize Tim Hall
Remote Challenge Grand Prize Ciprian Tutu
Remote Challenge Geocoin Prize Jon Sarche
Hidden Challenge Grand Prize Brad Eldredge
Hidden Challenge Geocoin Prize Chris Rickard
How to Puzzle Cache Book Prize Richard Dennis
Bonus Geocoin Prize * Roseanne Fox

(* I found one spare unactivated geocoin in my collection, so I threw that into the prize pool as well, choosing at random from all entries in all contests.)

I should have the prize packages shipped by this weekend, so watch your email for tracking info.

Congratulations to all the winners! I expect that you’ll all be singing this (which, as I know you all know, is Thing A Week #53):


Now that the contest is over, I’ve added hints for all of the puzzles to the web site. At the bottom of each page is a link to a hint page specifically for that puzzle. The hints are protected with spoiler reveal buttons, so you can choose for yourself how spoiled you want to be (but I didn’t provide outright solutions for any of the puzzles).

More FAQs

I updated the FAQ list with all of the latest info. If there’s anything you’re still wondering about, please check there. And if you don’t find it there, please contact me.

What’s Next?

The Geodyssey web site will stay online for the foreseeable future, including the Bonus Puzzle and the Final Final Puzzle (links to find them are in the FAQ and on the home page).

The geocache in South Florida will still be active. If you’re planning to visit it, please let me know … perhaps we can get together in person if you do.

I’ve got some more puzzle projects in the works right now that will hopefully see the light of day soon. If you enjoyed Geodyssey, I have a feeling you’ll appreciate them.

The best way to find out about them if and when they appear is to join the email list and the Puzzlehead group on Facebook. Please get involved in the discussion in the Facebook group to stay connected to your fellow solvers.

Thank You!

Thanks so much to everyone who helped to create Geodyssey and especially to everyone that took the time to solve it. I hope you enjoyed solving it as much as I enjoyed interacting with all of you.

Sincerely, Your Puzzlehead,

Eric Peterson / ePeterso2


Geodyssey Update #10: The End of the Road

Happy Belated April Fools Day!

In case you haven’t realized it yet, my new contest rule was a simple April Fools Day prank. Fear not: if you already entered the contest, your entry has not been invalidated.

On page 6 of Puzzlecraft, Mike Selinker says:

“The central skill of a puzzlemaker is not the mastery of wordplay or logic or math. The puzzlemaker’s most important skill is the mastery of frustration. I’ve had many puzzle event staffers work for me over the years, and I look for a certain balance of emotions in them. The ones that don’t get invited back are those that cannot bear to see a solver in pain. The solver will come up, eraser worn to a nub, and say “I can’t solve this!” The puzzle staffer who says, “Here, I’ll show you the answer” is failing in her job. Because the solver doesn’t want to know the answer. People solve puzzles because they like pain, and they like being released from pain, and they like most of all that they find within themselves the power to release themselves from their own pain.

The fact that the contest ended right on April Fools Day wasn’t a coincidence. What better way to celebrate a holiday based upon frustration than to release yet another puzzle?

In case you missed it, the Final Final Puzzle is still and will continue to be available for solving. Click here for the Final Final Puzzle.

End of the Contest

Now that Howland Island has ticked over into April 2, the contest is officially closed for new entries. I’ll announce the winners early next week here and in the Facebook group. Stay tuned!

Eric Peterson / ePeterso2
Chief Puzzlehead

Geodyssey Update #9: Important Announcement

Important Announcement

I’ve become increasingly convinced that Geodyssey is too easy to solve. There are far more contest entries and Found It logs and Discovered It notes than I ever anticipated, and I didn’t get anywhere near as many hint requests as I expected I would.

As a result, you have forced me to make this last minute, unannounced change to the contest rules:

If you submitted a contest entry to any of the three challenges (Local, Remote, or Hidden), you must now solve a new final puzzle or your contest entry will be disqualified.

Click here for the Final Final Puzzle


End of the Contest

To give you all time to satisfy this new requirement, I’m going to extend the window for accepting contest entries. The contest will now end on Friday, April 1 at exactly 11:59 PM on Howland Island. (That’s Sat Apr 2 at 6:59 AM for those in US Eastern time.)



Eric Peterson / ePeterso2
Chief Puzzlehead

Geodyssey Update #8: Shoutin’ in That Amen Corner

I’m Still Stuck!

Okay, okay, I hear you. And your Deposed Despot of Castles Sensible is not unsympathetic.

In fact, from now until the end of the contest (which is this Thursday, March 31), I’m going to offer free hints to anyone who asks.

Yes, you read that right – I’ll give you whatever nudges you need to get you unstuck (except, of course, the actual password – TANSTAAFL, you know).

To get a hint, send email to  To further get my attention and to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack, use your favorite Jonathan Coulton song title or song lyric as the subject line.

If for some reason you can’t remember that but you can remember the web site, I will accept hints submitted via the contact forms on the Geodyssey or Puzzlehead web sites.

Be aware that messages submitted via the contact form are all given the exact same subject line, so they tend to get smashed together into one long, confused conversation that my mail reader finds difficult to pick apart. This increases the likelihood that I will miss your request and leave you feeling abandoned, which would be very sad for both you and me.

To reduce that risk, skip the contact form and send email directly to


But That’s Not Fair!

I know, I know. And I don’t want to unfairly penalize the folks that completed Geodyssey without hints (or, at least, with very few hints).

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way for me to discriminate between people who required hints and people who didn’t. So here’s how I’ve decided to give more people a chance to finish while at the same time acknowledges the achievements of those who finished early.

I’m going to treat your contest entries as though they were entries in a raffle. The earlier you submitted your entry (which means the fewer hints you may have required), the more raffle tickets you get.

  • Jan 29 through Feb 28 – 5 tickets
  • Feb 29 through Mar 27 – 2 tickets
  • Mar 28 through Mar 31 – 1 ticket

The site analytics tell me you’re all spread across a vast expanse of time zones, so I’ll give you all the benefit of the doubt by measuring the time stamp of your entry relative the time zone of Howland Island. (Give yourself a gold star if you knew the most memorable thing about Howland Island before you clicked that link.)

What’s All This “Amen Corner” Nonsense?

The Geodyssey puzzles for which I have received the greatest number of hint requests are 11, 12, and 13, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has been through them. (And if you haven’t gotten to them yet, <insert evil laughter here>.)

I found an interesting and entirely unintended parallel between those puzzles and holes 11, 12, and 13 at Augusta National Golf Club (where The Masters is held). That stretch of holes was nicknamed “Amen Corner” in 1958 because some of the most exciting golf in the tournament had taken place there (and still does today). The phrase was inspired by this recording of jazz singer Mildred Bailey:

All I’m saying is this: I’ve heard your shoutin’ in that Amen Corner 🙂

That’s all for now … I look forward to seeing all of your contest entries this week!

Eric Peterson / ePeterso2
Chief Puzzlehead


Geodyssey Update #7: Bonus Puzzle!

Exclusive Offer for Puzzlehead Subscribers

I’ve written a brand new puzzle for Puzzlehead fans. It can only be discovered on the blog, on the mailing list, and in the Facebook group. There are no links or references to this puzzle on the Geodyssey web site – the only way to access it is via this link:

Click here for the Bonus Puzzle


The Deposed King of Sensible Castle

Did you hear about the Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah puzzle event that Mike Selinker and the Cards Against Humanity folks ran a few months ago? Most of the gifts were pairs of white socks, but fortunately the final gift was a turn as the king of Sensible Castle for 3 minutes.

It was my turn on March 9 at 8:09 am US Eastern time, during which I issued three different decrees. ICMYI, here it is in all its glory, with help from the subject of Puzzle 7.

To see who is the king right now, go to


That’s all for now … enjoy the bonus puzzle!

Eric Peterson / ePeterso2
Chief Puzzlehead

Oh, almost forgot: JOCVP PBXLY VWBTJ

Geodyssey Update #6: Let EP Assist Puzzleheads (LEAP) Day

Who Wants a Hint?

In Geodyssey Update #5, I said:

I’ve got an important announcement to make about Geodyssey this coming Monday (Feb 29). I’ll give you a hint: you absolutely won’t want to miss it.

I meant that emphasized part quite literally: I will help you successfully complete whatever puzzle you’re currently stuck on.

There’s just one catch: you must include the title of your favorite song by Jonathan Coulton in your hint request. (If you don’t know the titles of any Jonathan Coulton songs, then you clearly haven’t worked on Puzzle 7 yet.)

If you want help, send me email or use the contact form on this site. Entries must be postmarked Feb 29 and must include:

  • the number of the puzzle you need help with,
  • solutions you’ve tried so far, and
  • the name of your favorite JoCo song.

Happy LEAP Day, everyone!

New Prize in the Pool

Thanks to geocacher, constructor, solver, and author Cully Long, there’s new swag in the Geodyssey prize bag. Cully has generously offered to add a copy of his book How to Puzzle Cache to the prize pool!


Eight years ago, I created the Puzzle Solving 101 series of geocaches to help people overcome their fear of the scary blue question mark. My goal was to put puzzle-solving tools into people’s hands and help others discover the best part of puzzle caches, which is that they give you that “a-ha!” moment twice: once when you solve the puzzle, and once again when you find the cache.

How to Puzzle Cache takes that intent to an entirely new level, with way more detail, examples, illustrations, and solving guides than I could ever have crammed into PS101. It is the definitive guide on how to become a better solver, no matter what your current ability level is.

The winner will be chosen at random from all entries to the Remote Challenge.

Thanks, Cully!


That’s all for now, and I’m looking forward to receiving your hint requests!

Eric Peterson / ePeterso2
Chief Puzzlehead

Geodyssey Update #5: Diving into the Prize Pool


I’ve got an important announcement to make about Geodyssey this coming Monday (Feb 29). I’ll give you a hint: you absolutely won’t want to miss it. Watch the blog, the Facebook group, and the mailing list for details.

Eyeses on the Prizes

The final prizes for the Geodyssey contest arrived this week! I’m giving away copies of book Puzzlecraft, sets of secret decoder pencils from the Maze of Games Kickstarter project, cool swag from the Geocaching Puzzle of the Day, and some mystery unactivated geocoins from my personal collection.

If you’ve got something you think would be cool to add to the prize pool, please let me know.

So far, two people entered the Local Challenge contest, 22 entered the Remote Challenge contest, and 17 entered the Hidden Challenge contest. So your chances of winning are still quite good (well, at least, way better than your chances of winning the Powerball drawing).

Geodyssey in the News

Geodyssey has been getting some mad props from other online media, including:

The full list of mentions of which I’m aware is here. Please let me know if you’ve found Geodyssey mentioned somewhere on the internet so I can add it to the list.


That’s it for this update. See you back here on Leap Day!