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Canlis Scavenger Hunt 2020

The fine folks at Canlis, the only restaurant in Seattle where you have to wear a tie, ran a scavenger hunt last week as part of their Canlis Community College project. Prize was a $5,000 gift certificate. This attracted the attention of some of my Ingress pals, since driving around the city trying to figure out someone else’s plan is basically our core competency. The first four challenges, we did relatively horribly. But the final challenge, the one for all the marbles, that went differently.

It kicked off Friday night with this image. Text:

Four menus found,
a week’s worth of hunting,
but tomorrow’s big prize
will truly be something.
$5,000 to the winner,
there can only be one!
High noon is the start time,
come ready for fun.
Care for a teaser?
Want to spend the night thinking?
Suspend movie watching,
hold back on the drinking:
It might serve you well
to brush up on your classes.
Gas up your car
and go load your bus passes.
This journey is not
for the lazy or weary.
Come 12:00pm sharp,
you’ll see clues much more clearly.

The bit about the bus passes was a lie; even if speed hadn’t been an issue, some of the clues would have required multiple bus transfers. Alas. The classes referred to the Canlis Community College classes. We didn’t review any of them. The bit about “lazy” proved important, though.

The hunt started at noon with this image.

The Final Hunt

A sharp mind will note
There were classes all Fall
With kids shows and cooking
Seattle history and all
But some things went missing,
some lessons left out
Like what about coffee or service or trout?
Or people of influence, or people without?
And what if our history
was told incomplete?
Could answers to past times
lay under your feet?
The final hunt starts
above the same spot
Of our city’s first business –
oh the dust that it wrought.
Busy all hours, no hemming or hawing,
Filling the Sag they took to their sawing.
There must be a symbol, a sign or a plaque?
Something to remind us to always look back.

We spent a couple of brief seconds discussing sex work (Seattle, frontier town!) before sending our mobile team over to the Yesler sawmill. Sawdust, plus there’s a plaque. The Canlis person on site handed over a slip of paper:

11-10: go take a peek
For where the bird and onion meet
Five miles North from where you stand
Some know this as rocket land
A bearded man waits; have no fear
He’ll trade you a poem for a rhyme of good cheer
(Or… if you don’t rhyme, just bring a good beer.)
Arrive not! without something to give in return
Or others will pass you; a hard lesson to learn.

At this point we were second in the race.

OK! Five miles north was obviously Fremont; there’s literally a rocket there. The bearded man sounded like the Lenin statue. I pulled the first four lines of A Night Before Christmas down and dropped it into our chat, and we were off. We had someone at the statue in nine minutes… but no luck. Tried the rocket, since it’s next to a model of Saturn, and Saturn has rings like an onion. Nope. A couple of other statues in the area? Maybe the troll, since he has a beard? Nope nope nope.

Fifteen minutes in someone says “wait, 11-10 — what was the class?” It was a class about Japanese drinking food sponsored by Kamonegi, whose logo is a bird holding a green onion. DOH. Three minutes later we have the third clue in hand; that was one of our two errors in retrospect.

Clinton, oh Clinton, wants only the best
When fitting you out with a puffy vest
Or maybe plaid is more your speed
Or leather goods, or bags of tweed
Dog bowls and boots, sharp knives galore
Outdoorsies and hunters could not ask for more.
Axes and wallets, waxes and jackets
Hats, socks and belts, the finest of braquettes
But are you confused… going north south or west?
Which way should you travel for said cozy vest?
Follow the water; (it’s not on your right)
A bad cat in glasses will show you the light.
But wait there is more! To get your next clue
You must show a photo (your phone’s screen will do)
Make leaves spell “Seattle” in park, street, or lawn
Why are you stalling? Get going, get gone!

Team one made all speed to the Ballard Filson store. The other Seattle Filson store is downtown; Ballard made sense because while there is water every damn where in Seattle, the canal is on your left if you’re going from Fremont to Ballard. I told team two to head downtown just in case, and zipped outside to find some leaves and spell out Seattle on the sidewalk. Fortunately the house next door is between tenants so nobody yelled at my wife and I for stealing all their leaves.

When I got back, I started checking on Street View and sure enough, right across from the Ballard Filson store there was Bad Albert’s. Their sign features a cat wearing glasses, so there’s that clue solved. I told our downtown team they could relax.

Who are Elle and Julie
And why do you care
For the two names of women
With high coils of hair?
You’re well on your way
To the 5,000 grand prize
Plié or jeté
Just don’t cover your eyes
Next to their stage
In grounds so grand
Round fountain of glory
Inside which you’ll stand
Open the cover
And take only one
You better move quickly
Or wet you will run

No way that was anything other than the International Fountain at the Seattle Center. It’s more or less next to the Pacific Northwest Ballet. There are a couple of other water features closer to the Ballet, but none of them were round fountains of glory. And, yep, that was it.

You urgently require training! Very immediate life lessons await great effort.

That was clearly a reference to Canlis itself. As per the Friday night clue, “This journey is not for the lazy or weary.” We also knew we were almost done (“well on our way”), and where else would this end? Off to Canlis!

Where we found out that we’d come in third by around fifteen minutes; the winner had someone stationed at Canlis, which was our other minor error. We came darned close and I am quite proud of our effort, since none of us have ever done this kind of scavenger hunt before. We do like puzzles though.

Next time… well, the next thing we kind of want to do is write our own. Stay tuned.

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