Yesterday was Wonder Boy’s birthday. Leading up to it I worried that I’d used up all my surprises on our anniversary, but I had one more in store – a treasure hunt! I’ve had this idea for awhile but never think of it in time to prepare one. You make a treasure hunt that ultimately leads the person to their present. I thought I’d share the clues in case other people have a geek in their lives that they’d like to do a treasure hunt for. Some of the clues are your run of the mill riddles and word games, but I did try to come up with some nerdy ones on my own. It was a lot of fun following Steve around and watching the wheels turning as he figured out each clue 🙂
I started by handing him this on a card:
And then gave him his first clue. I made the first clue easy to start things off slow. Also I just needed a clue that involved keys because I bought him some cute robot key toppers for his birthday and hid them with the next clue 🙂
Any treasure hunt for nerds has to involve a Spock quote, I think:
Clue 2 solution: computer keyboard
Clue 3 solution: “Find your next clue under couch cushions.” To make it a little harder, I hid the clue (along with some mini chocolate bars! yum!) inside the couch cushion, since our cushion covers unzip and come off. Steve had no trouble finding them, though.
I got the idea to make one of the clues in morse code. To pull it off, I was able to find two free morse code fonts. One of the fonts didn’t work for me, but the other one did. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the font had an error where “F” and “L” are the same. But that just added another element of decoding to the clue and Steve was still able to figure it out 🙂
Clue 5 involved some word scrambles, which I love. I’m obsessed with the iPhone app “Word Warp.” I play it every night in bed to help fall asleep. This one turned out to be a little too easy. I’d make it harder next time.
Clue 6 solution: clock
While Steve was figuring out one of the earlier clues, I sent him an email with the subject line “Clue 8”. Steve and I both love Pink and I got us tickets to one of her concerts for Steve’s birthday two years ago. This could work for any artist of your choice. To make it even harder you could go with song lyrics instead of titles.
Note: Instead of attaching the image, I copied and pasted it right into the email. Something messed up in the transmission and Steve received the email with a bunch of garbledee-goop text in place of the image. But being the nerd that he is, he was able to take that garbledee-goop and somehow make it turn into the image. So actually the clue worked out even better than planned because it involved a nerdy unexpected step to figure out 🙂 If I had any idea how to recreate the garbledee-goop mistake, I would tell you, but I have no clue what happened.
Clue 8 solution: “Raise your glass” – I hid the next clue in a wine glass in our cupboard.
I wanted the last clues to be a little harder so I deliberately made this one pretty vague. Also I really needed an excuse to use this image!
Clue 9 solution: I hid the next clue in our oven, along with some tasty homemade apple cinnamon donuts (recipe here) – I would have made a pie if I knew how!
*Warning: the next clue is cheesy and may have TMI.
Steve calls me “silly-bum” and has since we first started dating. Actually he first started calling me “silly-toes” and it graduated to silly-bum later.
Unfortunately this clue totally backfired. I hid the clue in my pants at an opportune moment in the hunt a couple clues prior and Steve grabbed my butt while we climbed the stairs to find one of the clues and felt the paper there. The image is from the web-comic xkcd. If you’re nerdy and you haven’t read this comic, you must live under a rock. Come out from under your rock and go read that comic now. It’s brilliant and hilarious and you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life. Even if you’re not nerdy go read that comic. Maybe it’ll erase the TMI I just shared with you!
I needed the last clue to be the hardest one of all. It also needed to be super nerdy. So I turned the clue into binary using this website that has a binary to text converter.
“When you’re away from home, travelling the world
there’s a place where you keep all your clothes.
You’ll find your present waiting there
who knew it was right under your nose!”
Steve was even nerdier than I thought with this clue. Instead of typing out the binary into the converter like I thought he would do, he scanned the clue and used OCR software to turn the image into text. Then he copied the text into the above website with the binary to text converter. What a geek.
Finally Steve got his presents – the Planet Earth dvd series in Blu-ray, and a Tardis USB hub. The latter is seriously nerdy – it even lights up and makes the sound that the Dr. Who tardis makes when it’s taking off. Steve loves it 🙂
Happy treasure hunting!