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


Author: Eric Peterson

I'm ePeterso2, and I'm a puzzlehead.