The Great Twin Cities Treasure Hunt — CLUES EXPLAINED
#1
INTRODUCTION
  • The em-dashes at the end of the lines in these two stanzas correspond to the Morse code for "T" and "O"—the first two letters of a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #1
  • "Train" is meant to suggest searching near a railroad track—specifically, the Soo Line/CP Rail trackage a block west of the hiding spot.
  • "park terrain" is meant to suggest hunting on park land—specifically, the parkway median of Summit Avenue near Dunlap Street.
  • The periods and em-dash at the end of the lines in these two stanzas correspond to the Morse code for "S" and "U"—the third and fourth letters of a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #2
  • "Here is sport for spartans," "Dashing into sunshine," "Racing with the tempest," and "Nothing earthly, equals riding" are all references to old Soo Line advertising; they're meant to suggest the Short Line railroad trackage that runs parallel to Ayd Mill Road, a block west of the hiding spot.
  • "spartans" could also be taken to suggest St. George Greek Orthodox Church.
  • "help" and "payday" are meant to suggest "aid," and Ayd Mill Road.
  • "way" could be taken to suggest Summit Avenue Parkway, Lexington Parkway, and/or the Griggs Street Bikeway.
  • "Racing" is meant to suggest the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon route, which is run for its final four miles and change along Summit Avenue, including right past the hiding spot.
  • "riding two wheels to the prize" is meant to suggest both Summit Avenue Regional Trail, which has dedicated bike lanes running in both directions of Summit Avenue, or the Griggs Street Bikeway, which terminates at Summit Avenue, just west of the jewel's hiding spot.
  • The em-dashes at the end of the lines in this stanza correspond to the Morse code for "M"—the fifth letter of a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #3
  • "regional trail" is meant to suggest hunting along a regional trail—specifically, Summit Avenue Regional Trail (one of Saint Paul's most recent additions to its network of trails). Worth noting is the fact that Minneapolis' main network of trails—connected via the Grand Rounds—is considered a "National Scenic Byway," leaving scant few "regional" trails within Minneapolis proper.
  • "just off the rail" is meant to suggest searching near CP Rail's "Merriam Park Subdivision," also known as the "Short Line"—specifically, in an area near a bridge that crosses the railway at Summit Avenue.
  • "in the shade" is meant to suggest searching an area with a lot of shade—and that the jewel itself was hidden in the arbor of a shrub (itself in turn beneath a tree).
  • "zero in" is meant to suggest Summit Avenue, which represents the boundary between north-south addressing in Saint Paul west of Downtown.
  • "overturn" could be taken to suggest "revolution"—the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were shot in Lexington, Massachusetts; Lexington Parkway is just west of the hiding spot.
  • "perch" is meant to suggest the MacGuffin for the hunt; a pair of birds' nests, cupped together and woven shut with twigs, concealed the jewel—itself hidden in a small, black pouch.
  • The em-dashes at the end of the lines in this stanza correspond to the Morse code for "M"—the sixth letter of a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #4
  • "search along the parkway" is meant to suggest looking for the jewel along a parkway—specifically, along Summit Avenue Parkway and Lexington Parkway where one intersects the other.
  • "history" is meant to suggest searching historic districts—specifically, a pair that overlap: West Summit Avenue Historic District and Historic Hill District.
  • "Turn back the clock to another time and solve our mystery" is meant not just to reinforce searching in a historic district, but also that the remainder of the clue takes place in history, and references a landmark that no longer exists.
  • "the rabbit hole, where you could do a double take" and "the phantom of the lake" are meant to suggest "Hare's Lake," doubly known as "Lake's Lake"—a narrow, spring-fed lake that roughly followed the course of present-day Oxford Street. By the turn of the 20th century, it had been almost entirely drained and graded to street level. Sadly, one of the children of the Lake family drowned in the very lake that (twice) bore their name.
  • The periods at the end of the lines in this stanza correspond to the Morse code for "I"—the seventh letter of a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #5
  • "Beat the bushes, trees, and shrubs to claim the hidden trove" is meant to suggest searching in a wooded area—specifically, along a bush-, tree-, and shrub-lined path running down the parkway median of Summit Avenue, near Dunlap Street.
  • "nestled" is meant to suggest the hunt MacGuffin; two nests woven together concealed the jewel at the hiding spot.
  • "tangle of roots" is meant to suggest searching the hiding spot for an old stump with exposed roots; it is also meant to suggest the many routes referenced throughout the hunt—which all converge in the two-to-three block area around the hiding spot.
  • "a secret grove" is meant to suggest the nameless, well vegetated stretch of Summit Avenue Parkway—between Griggs Street and Lexington Parkway—that housed the prize.
  • "the scales that measure right and wrong" is a reference to Georgia Greeley's poem Tipping The Scales—a past winner of Saint Paul Public Works' sidewalk poetry contest; the poem is etched into the sidewalk just south of Summit Avenue on Dunlap Street (among other places throughout the city).
  • "As legend has it, only the chosen may wield the stone in the sword" is meant to suggest the jewel's hiding spot in the three-block area along Summit Avenue between Syndicate Street and Lexington Parkway; the area appears a lot like a sword from above, with the bridge crossing Ayd Mill Road forming its "hilt," and the Lexington end its "tip." The phrase could also be taken to suggest Saint Paul, who was frequently depicted in artworks wielding a sword.
  • The em-dash at the end of a line in this stanza corresponds to the Morse code for "T"—the eighth letter of a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #6
  • "along your trail of desire" is meant to suggest searching along a desire path (an erosion trail created by pedestrian activity)—specifically, the well-worn path on the parkway median of Summit Avenue between Griggs Street and Lexington Parkway.
  • "It starts with a monarch without a crown, and ends in a chalice of fire" is meant to suggest Summit Avenue—which begins with Josias R. King, the Civil War volunteer immortalized atop the Soldiers and Sailors monument at Summit Park; and ends at Shadow Falls with the World War I monument that has at its top a cross engraved with the image of a flaming goblet. 
  • "Search for the prize to the rear of a bench, on a covert garden path" is meant to suggest locating the entrance to a "trail of desire" behind the parkway median's only real amenity: a lonely bench, near Lexington Parkway.
  • "cardinal gem" is meant to suggest the color (red) and the nature (ruby) of the jewel, as well as the nature of the MacGuffin (a pair of nests).
  • "You'll be right on the gem, once you've done some math" is meant to suggest that hunters will (eventually) be able to use their math skills to help them find the hiding spot, but it's also meant to reveal it: "done some" and "math" are meant to suggest Dunlap Street at Summit Avenue.
  • The period and em-dash at the end of the lines in this stanza correspond to the Morse code for "A"—the ninth letter in a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #7
  • "Look both ways before you cross" is meant to suggest the nature of the jewel's hiding spot: on a parkway median, in the middle of Summit Avenue.
  • "cross" could also be taken to suggest St. George Greek Orthodox Church, located just Northeast of the hiding spot on Summit Avenue.
  • "dance along the blade" is meant to reinforce "the sword" from Clue #5, and hint at a popular scene from Brigadoon—a musical about a secret, mystical land that appears only once every hundred years (referenced in the next clue).
  • "rose" is meant to suggest the large rose window on the front of Saint Thomas More Catholic Church, just across Lexington Parkway from the hiding spot.
  • "FromHydrangea and Russian sage into the wooded glade" is meant to suggest a small garden at the Lexington Parkway end of the Summit Avenue parkway median, which is comprised of hydrangea and Russian sage, and forms the entrance to the "trail of desire" and "covert garden path" that runs through the parkway at the hiding spot: "A straight and narrow path of least resistance through the copse".
  • "crimson crystal" is meant to suggest the ruby color of this hunt's jewel.
  • "hidden in the midst" is meant to suggest the nature of the treasure's hiding spot: in the middle of Summit Avenue.
  • "triangular crops" is meant to suggest the numerous Yield signs arranged around the hiding spot.
  • The em-dash at the end of the line in this stanza corresponds to the Morse code for "T"—the tenth letter in a secret message hidden in the clues .

CLUE #8
  • "amid the peaceful cornucopia" is meant to suggest the wide variety of trees, shrubs, bushes, and other plants throughout the immediate search area; it could also be taken to suggest a "peaceful" gathering of people from different walks of life—or a "peace summit."
  • "an Eden for all seasons" is meant to suggest the tranquil, idyllic nature of the hiding spot—itself hidden in plain view between the east and westbound lanes of Summit Avenue.
  • "for all seasons" is meant to suggest A Man for All Seasons—a play about Sir Thomas More, namesake of Saint Thomas More Catholic Community, located on the Northeast corner of Summit Avenue at Lexington Parkway, kitty-corner from the hiding spot. "a true utopia" is meant to suggest "Utopia," a famous work of satire penned—and term coined—by More.
  • "Brigadoon" is a musical about a secret paradise that appears just "once, every hundred years," and, combined with "utopia" and "Eden"  is meant to suggest the idyllic, unknown (and semi-unnamed) nature of this hunt's hiding spot.
  • "Brigadoon" is also a reference to the "Brig o' Doon" in Scotland—an ancient bridge (and namesake to the musical referenced above); "Hurry to our Brigadoon, before it disappears" is meant to suggest the imminent demolition of the Summit Avenue bridge running over Ayd Mill Road—its dismantling is currently scheduled to begin this fall, shortly after the Twin Cities Marathon.
  • The periods at the end of the lines in this stanza correspond to the Morse code for "D"—the 11th letter in a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #9
  • This math trick is designed to result in an answer of 83, regardless of what number is initially chosen. Here it is with 10 as an example:
    • 10 + 1 = 11
    • 11 · 2 = 22
    • 22 + 4 = 26
    • 26 ÷ 2 = 13
    • 13 + (4 · 20) = 93 
    • 93 - 10 = 83
  • "83" is meant to suggest Metro Transit route 83, which runs primarily along Lexington Parkway from Como Park to Highland Park—including along the eastern tip of this hunt's search area at Summit Avenue.
  • The periods and em-dash at the end of the lines in this stanza correspond to the Morse code for "U"—the 12th letter in a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #10
  • "in its nest" is meant to suggest this hunt's MacGuffin: a pair of bird's nests cupped together and woven shut with twigs—which concealed the jewel.
  • "vermillion crest" is meant to suggest the ruby color of this hunt's jewel.
  • "crest" is also meant to suggest Summit Avenue.
  • "revelation" is meant to suggest the Biblical nature of references from both this clue and Clue #11—which contain allusions to Saint Paul's "Areopagus Sermon."
  • "a region at once significant to city, state, and nation" is meant to suggest an area where the West Summit Avenue Historic District and the Historic Hill District overlap—and is therefore deemed historic at the local, state, and national levels.
  • "Southeast of Ellie's garden" is meant to suggest searching an area southeast of Eleanor Graham Community Garden in Saint Paul (The garden—or perhaps the Hamline and Hague Tot Lot—is the closest officially-named park entity to the area where the jewel was hidden, while "Short Line Park" is the neighborhood's unofficial designation for a small triangular green space located at the northeast corner of Syndicate Street and Summit Avenue).
  • "Stand on top of a hill to embark on your very own mission to Mars" is meant to suggest Paul the Apostle, or Saint Paul, and the "Areopagus" or "Mars Hill" Sermon he delivered in Athens, on his second missionary journey. He traveled there from Jerusalem. All together, this is meant to suggest following Saint Paul's journey through the city that bears his name, between an area reminiscent of Jerusalem (i.e. Mount Zion Temple) and an area reminiscent of Athens (i.e. St. George Greek Orthodox Church); this is clarified in Clue #11.
  • "Stand on top of a hill" is also meant to suggest a stand of trees on the top of a hill—or "Summit."
  • The em-dash and period at the end of lines in this stanza correspond to the Morse code for "N"—the 13th letter in a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #11
  • "Make a pilgrimage," "What you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you," "The man from Tarsus brings catharsis; heed his words and actions," and "Follow in his footsteps from Jerusalem to Athens" are all references to Saint Paul, and his "Areopagus Sermon;" this is meant to suggest hunters follow Summit Avenue Parkway from Mount Zion Temple to St. George Greek Orthodox Church, and search for the jewel on that path.
  • "halcyon"—meaning "denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful," "nesting," and "a type of mythical bird"—is meant not just to suggest the bygone, idyllic nature of this hunt's search area, but also both its jewel and MacGuffin: a ruby gem hidden in a pair of birds' nests, cupped together and woven shut with twigs.
  • "west of the walls" is meant to suggest the search area's location west of the Minnesota Governor's mansion—currently home to the Walz family.
  • "a thicket down the road" is meant to suggest this hunt's immediate search area: a grouping of trees, bushes, and shrubs covering two blocks of Summit Avenue's median parkway—between Griggs Street and Lexington Parkway.
  • "Go to church" is meant to suggest St. George Greek Orthodox Church and/or St. Thomas More Catholic Church, situated across Lexington Parkway from each other on the north side of Summit Avenue—at the northeast corner of the search area.
  • "decipher our code" is meant to suggest this hunt's longshot: The periods and em-dashes at the end of the lines in each clue correspond to the Morse code for a secret message hidden within them.
  • "gold-topped" is meant to suggest the golden dome of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, visible from the search area on Summit Avenue.
  • "A gold-topped interloper," "tips the scales," "poetic justice," and "Impressive words" are meant to suggest the poems "Interloper," by Tirows Byrd, and "Tipping the Scales," by Georgia Greeley—past winners of St. Paul Public Works' sidewalk poetry contest, etched into concrete near the hiding spot, just south of Summit Avenue on Dunlap Street.
  • "a home for birds" is meant to suggest this hunt's MacGuffin; the jewel was hidden in a pair of birds' nests, cupped together and woven shut with twigs.
  • "The race is on" and "Search the route" are meant to reinforce searching on the Twin Cities Marathon route.
  • "Search the route" is also meant to suggest looking near the exposed roots of a stump at the base of a shrub along that same Marathon route—specifically, the one near Dunlap Street that concealed the jewel.
  • "Search the route for our Brig o' Doon" is meant to reinforce the "Brigadoon" reference from Clue #8
  • "along the wooded avenue" is meant to suggest not just the immediate search area in a wooded section of Summit Avenue's median parkway, but also a small section of Summit Avenue's original wooden pavement, situated in the alleyway along Summit and Portland Avenues between Dunlap Street and Lexington Parkway—running parallel to the search area.
  • "the site of a starting blast" is meant to suggest the infamous "shot heard ‘round the world" that kicked off the American Revolutionary War in Lexington, Massachusetts. Lexington Parkway forms the eastern border of this hunt's immediate search area—and the "tip" of "the sword" from Clue #5.
  • "Between" … "our Brig o' Doon" and "the site of a starting blast" … "you'll find our secret grove of paradise" is meant to suggest this hunt's immediate search area—along Summit Avenue, between the bridge over Ayd Mill Road and Lexington Parkway.
  • "this hunt" … "goes to eleven twice" is meant to suggest St. George Greek Orthodox Church, which is located across the street from the hiding place—at 1111 Summit Avenue.
  • The periods and em-dashes at the end of the lines in this stanza correspond to the Morse code for "L," "A," and "P"—the 14th, 15th, and 16th letters in a secret message hidden in the clues.

CLUE #12
  • "Look in plain view on the avenue for our lovely hiding spot" is meant to suggest a search area on Summit Avenue proper, while calling back to Clue #3.
  • "if you're looking for detractors, just listen to Lloyd or Scott" and "both were frank, and likened it to a monstrous mausoleum" are meant to suggest Frank Lloyd Wright and F. Scott Fitzgerald—two famous critics of Summit Avenue.
  • "The district, now historic, forms a marvelous museum" is meant to reinforce searching Summit Avenue's historic districts—namely a space where two overlap.
  • "a fortress at the bend" is meant to suggest Dunlap Street; Dunlop/Dunlap is a Scottish name meaning "fortress at the bend."
  • "in a bush where ivy has crept" is meant to suggest a section of the search area where ground ivy and creeping Charlie have encroached—within which the jewel was hidden.
  • "to the south of a golden dome" is meant to suggest the large, domed, golden rooftop and spire of St. George Greek Orthodox Church—visible from the search area to the north.
  • "not far from where Dillinger slept" situates the search area just a few blocks Northwest of Lincoln Court Apartments—the temporary Saint Paul residence of John Dillinger, where he shot it out with the police and took a bullet in the leg, courtesy of Saint Paul's own Detective Henry Cummings.
  • "Find the gem where north meets south" is meant to suggest Summit Avenue, which represents the boundary between north-south addressing in Saint Paul west of Downtown.
  • "along a well known seam" is meant to suggest Summit Avenue and/or Ayd Mill Road—two of the area's best-used routes.
  • "sum it up" is meant to suggest Summit Avenue.
  • The periods and em-dashes at the end of the lines in this stanza correspond to the Morse code for "+" or "AR"—the Morse code prosign for "end of transmission."

SECRET CLUE
  • At the Great TC Treasure Hunt Kick-off party, winning trivia team "Finders, Inc." was awarded with the Bradley B. Meeker Trophy—a golden pig with wings. The following secret clue was hidden inside: 
    • What's this? A clue! It's up to you to figure out our prank: / Pigs can fly in a pig's eye—where you could break the bank.
      • "It's up" could be taken to suggest Summit Avenue.
      • "Pigs can fly in a pig's eye" is meant to suggest cutting the search area in half, and looking for the jewel exclusively in Saint Paul.
      • "the bank"—taken with "it's up"—could be taken to suggest the Summit Hill neighborhood.

LONGSHOT
  • The periods and em-dashes at the end of the lines in the introduction and each clue correspond to the Morse code for a secret message hidden within them: 
    – / – – – // · · · / · · — / — — / — — / · · / — // · — / — // — · · / · · — / — · / · — · · / · — / · — — · // · — / · — · 
    • Introduction: TO 
    • Clue #1: SU 
    • Clue #2: M
    • Clue #3: M
    • Clue #4: I
    • Clue #5: T
    • Clue #6: A
    • Clue #7: T
    • Clue #8: D
    • Clue #9: U
    • Clue #10: N
    • Clue #11: LAP
    • Clue #12: + (end of transmission)
This map shows the search area and landmarks referenced in the hunt.

[DRAFT]
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