Clues were left.
So on Sunday morning, I followed them.
Specifically, I received a message from Rubin which had been sent to an interesting
assortment of players
. The message lead to you to these additional clues
, plus this text:
"If you read in between the lines you'll find more information. Bring something to cut zipties with. Fucking document all of it. Hope all four are found before they're cleaned up/taken away by someone not part of the game. You've all got a week to find them all.
I immediately began trying to decipher the pictures. Since two different swingsets appeared in these photos, along with shots of city parks with Sutro tower in the background, I decided to hit the parks in my neighborhood that had swingsets, since I'm somewhat Sutro-adjacent.
The first location I hit was a complete failure. I scouted the area around Corona Heights and the Randall Museum, which was close to my house and close to Sutro. Two playgrounds with swingsets were found, but in spite of searching exhaustively, no evidence of similarity to our photographic clues was to be found.
I found zipties:
And this ad for a dog walking service on a bench:
And this San Francisco Bicycle Band sticker in a narrow alley:
And I even found a playground in a small school where the kids seem to have been painting tombstones for their pets on the surrounding wall:
Creepy. But no real
So I hit my second stop, Duboce Park. I thought that the second picture in this set was taken there, since the wall looked really familiar as part the N train tunnel:
When I arrived, I saw that there was a swingset, but it wasn't like those in the photo clues. I went to where I thought the photo of the wall was taken, and found this:
The clue was attached to a pole just to the left of where this tag appeared. (See below to find out what the actual clue was.)
I then left a calling card, hopped the N train, and returned home for some re-assessment of clues and a delicious lunch consisting of a warm BLT and buttery corn on the cob.
While at home, anna one joined the search (taking time out from studying for her final) by helping me gauge whence the photos were taken. I was still convinced that swingsets would be a common theme, so we looked for more parks with playgrounds. anna helped to triangulate from where the shot of the USF building was taken in the first shot of this next set:
We decided that, because of the elevation and horizontal angle from which the photo was taken relative to the USF building, it had to be Buena Vista Park. Was there a playground there? I'd never seen it. Google Maps seemed to suggest that there was. This clue was burning hot. I headed out.
Sure enough, there is a playground with a swingset
in Buena Vista Park, just where we thought it would be. And the swingset looks like this:
And the view of the USF building matched up, too. But try as I might, I couldn't find the clue. At this point, I didn't know how the photo clues fit together, so I didn't know if I should be searching brown benches (I did) or bushes and trees (did those too). Was it this sticker stuck to the back of this bench?:
I didn't think so. And the young couple who sat under a nearby tree making out were no help.
After several minutes of frustration, searching fences and jungle gyms, and wondering whether I was going insane, who should enter the scene, but...
Deputy Gumshoe Loki!
Who was also on the hunt for clues! Take it away, Deputy:
When I arrived at the Duboce Park clue, I was saddened to discover that someone had taken the clue and left no trace of it outside of a broken cable tie on the fence post. I attached a "Bagels for You" note, and then just as I was about to leave I realized the torn newspapers on the ground weren't strewn about randomly.
I considered calling Lank and proposing a collaboration, but decided against it on the grounds that he had at least one clue to offer while I so far had none. After a long and fruitless search through every park along Beaver street, I made my way up and over Buena Vista hill looking for an appropriate view of USF, only to run into Lank in the playground hunting for the same clue.
(Back to Lank)
The two of us decided to join forces. That was lucky for me, since Loki had actual printouts of the pictures and a map
. We decided that, based on how this was breaking down, the pictures were in groups of 2-3 for each location. So it made sense that the picture of the clue in foliage would be here, withing range of the spot where both the pic of the USF building and of the swingset were taken. We checked for leaf type, focused on one particular shrub, and JACKPOT!
Clue #2 (also displayed below) in the bag, we decided that we needed to find another playground near Sutro. By now the couple under the nearby tree were actively engaged in actual coitus, so Loki and I left them to it. We set out together to Grattan Playground, which was another dead end. Then we came back to anna one at central command to re-assess yet again.
The brilliant ms. one immediately recognized the area in the second photo of this next set as The Panhandle. "Have you checked the playground in The Panhandle?" AHA! (I had forgot about the playground in The Panhandle! Drat!):
And then she pulled some fancy sleuthing regarding the direction in which the camera was pointed in the first photo of the last set. Because of the direction of the sun at the time this pic was taken (about 3:45 according to the time stamp), this location had to be northeast of Sutro Tower. We all thought that it might be Alamo Square because of the grassy knoll, and that's northeast of Sutro. Anna further pointed out that this bench would be located in the northwest corner of the park because of the slope of the grass and the position of the building in the background:
So without a moment to lose, Loki and I headed out yet again.
We stopped in The Panhandle and found this bench, the hiding place of the third clue:
It was in front of this view:
And then we hit Alamo Square, and just as anna had suggested, the bench in the northwest corner had clue #4 attached:
If it weren't for the fog that had rolled in, you'd see Sutro Tower above that building.
Loki left his own calling cards at each spot, tied with zipties:
Success at last! All four clues were ours!
And here they are, for your perusal:
(found at Duboce Park)
(found at Buena Vista Park)
(found in The Panhandle)
(found in Alamo Square)
Now, what does it mean?
I think it's rather obvious, don't you?
(P.S. - Loki is a full-blown collaborator on this completion in everything but points, since he's already done a completion of this task. I think he deserves some love for his work here somehow. Also, if you've voted for this, you should vote for this too, since one begat the other.)
The final set of clues were these:
"You may only approach the Orange when it is sitting, it will not turn a blind eye if it's standing. If you are unfortunate enough to be facing the Orange when it is standing, you must shield your eyes or turn away and run, for you will turn to stone and never receive the sweetness that is at the end of the trail of clues. Keep the Orange in sight, but don't be in sight of the Orange.
The Orange will begin its journey at 12:30 PM sharp, on the 21st of May, 2008, in downtown SF. It will ponder its tangy life for a few minutes at Stevenson's 3rd Key Ring. After a bit of thinking, it may wander down and have a Chat With a Lovely Hippo, The Hippo talks about nothing but a Waterfall of Lies. The Orange may then Slide Away. Soon then it wants nothing but Reagan's Three Comforting Right Hands.
Follow you must, the Orange will continue. After its journey is over and it has finally found a conductive resting place to sit down for good, you may approach. Speak your name and the reasons for your travels, all roads will then lead to a final conclusion to the clues.
The Orange Awaits."
The photos below reveal the actual clues referenced here.