The “Here Be Dragons” mystery solved!

The sum total of the final task list is 15,003

Introduction: All the clues posted out had a QR code label attached which pointed to this website. This was the only connection between the physical clues and the blog running the game. The solution required knowledge of QR codes and the use of a QR code app on a smart phone. A very early post A “rabbithole” will appear here on Thanksgiving, 2011 … ended with these three important notes “Smart phones, not optional, but essential!”, “Check this blog frequently for news and updates.” and “Follow @Dagroian on Twitter for notifications.”

Clues were sent to twelve of Bo-Ashley’s friends — Bo did not get any information pushed out to her directly. Everything she learned about the game would have to come from others. The location of this blog and it’s posts would provide all the information she and others needed to play the game. The answers to the initial twelve questions answered a thirteenth question, the Midway Puzzle …

“A mad driver” translates into “poephol” — for reasons Bo knows best — which, when posted/tweeted, released this final Task List of things to do …

[A theme of thirteen was hinted at in the clue Brian F.: What anagram of “eleven plus two” = 13? and the post Tweleve Were Chosen]


1. This number confines play to the few who received a physical clue with a hidden “layer” of information: “P.S. There’s more than meets the eye?” What number does this refer to?”

Of the first clues posted out by mail, some included the cryptic “P.S. There’s more than meets the eye?” statement — hinting at a third level of information, hidden from sight under the “Here Be Dragons” label — the other two levels of information being the physical clue in the container and the QR code attached as a label. A postcard, in spite of the hint, did not hide more information under the label — bit of deceptions adds confusion, right?

The additional layer of information was the number #5164.


2. Of the two chain stores Sugar Dragons have escaped to, one stocks this product. At the branch nearest Huntington, NY, in which isle will you find this product?

This compound assignment was intended to be the most complex task, it required the gamer to figure out …

The solution required the use of maps.google.com to locate chain stores nearby the recently demolished Revere Sugar Refinery, a barcode scanner app to determine the product and making a phone call “Hello, is that Fairways in Plainview? In which isle number do you sell sugar? Isle number four? Thank you!”


3. Location #1 (binary decoded) = N 40.885502, W 73.490961 Rounded to the nearest 20 feet, what is length of the foot bridge leading to a beach on Cold Spring Harbor? Note: Sugar Dragon skeletons have been found amongst horseshoe crab shells scattered on this beach. It is thought a few dragons still roost under this foot bridge!

This location pinpoints a foot bridge from the Sagamore Hill property, over an inlet, to a Cold Spring Harbor beach. It was first hinted at in postcards mailed to the seven people wh solved their clues early and posted answers on Facebook — and then in the blog post 7 encrypted clues went to 7 early birds. The clue was originally encoded in binary and, if worked out early, gamers could knock this one off their task list early.

The solution required the use of maps.google.com or Google Earth to locate and measure the foot bridge (maps has a rough scale in 20′ increments and Google Earth has a more precise ruler tool which can measure the distance between two points. The foot bridge measures 326.97′ in Google Earth, so rounded to the nearest 20 feet that would be 320.


4. Location #2 (hexadecimal decoded) = How long is the boardwalk from N 40.92881, W 73.327198 to 40.928559, -73.324991, rounded to the nearest 20 feet? Note: Sugar Dragon skeletons have also been found on this beach. Dragons may still live under the floorboards of this boardwalk!

This location describes a line between the apexes of the two rooftops at extreme ends of the boardwalk at Crab Meadow Beach, the task is to figure out long that boardwalk is, rounded to the nearest 20 feet.

The clue was originally encoded in hexadecimal and gamers could knock this one off their task list early if the decoded the postcard and/or the blog post.

The solution required the use of maps.google.com or Google Earth to locate and measure the distance between the roof apexes (maps has a rough scale in 20′ increments and Google Earth has a more precise ruler tool which can measure the distance between two points. The foot bridge measures 615.08′ in Google Earth, so rounded to the nearest 20 feet that would be 620.


5. Location #3 (ROT 13 decoded) = The Pier at N 40.898046, W 73.436186, rounded to the nearest 20 feet, is how long? Note: Although live Sugar Dragon have been reported beneath the pier, no skeletons have been found in this area.

This location directs gamers to the pier off Condre Hall, just West of Gold Star beach. The task is to figure out long the pier is, excluding the boardwalk, rounded to the nearest 20 feet.

The clue was originally encoded in ROT 13 and gamers could knock this one off their task list early if they decoded the postcard and/or the blog post.

The solution required the use of maps.google.com or Google Earth to locate and measure the length of the pier. The pier measures 209.62′ in Google Earth. Rounding could be a problem here, depending on how accurately the pier is measured. When rounded 209.62 becomes 210, which then rounds up to 220 to the nearest 20 feet.


6. I was born on Jan 8th, 1725 in Huntington and died on Valentine’s Day. I served as Lt Colonel in the Huntington Militia, under Col Josiah Smith, 1st Regiment, Suffolk County, Minute Men in the Rev War. In what year was I buried in the Old Huntington Cemetery on Main St. (near the Liberty Flag Pole)?

The solution required a simple internet search. By lifting the phrase “born on Jan 8th, 1725 in Huntington and died on Valentine’s Day” from the clue and converting it to “born on Jan 8th, 1725 Huntington and died on Feb 14th” you can do a Google search and get the answer in the first hit.

One of the first results points to the PM’s personal blog entry on Gilbert Potter, originally written up for a geocache

The person is Gilbert Potter and the answer is 1786.


7. Travelling West on the Northern State Parkway, exiting at 37A, what recommended speed limit is posted for this ramp?

The solution requires looking at a street view of the ramp in maps.google.com to read the road sign. The answer is 35.


8. This other number confines play to the Lucky Seven who received an additional physical clue with a hidden “layer” of information. No hints were given. What number is this number?

Seven gamers who posted Facebook answers to their questions early each received one of three different encoded postcards (for tasks 3, 4 and 5) as articulated in the post 7 encrypted clues went to 7 early birds. These additional clues went to Alyssa, Brian C., Brian F., Grace E., Grace F., Harrison and Katie. Like many of the the original clues, each postcard had a “Here Be Dragons” sticker on the back. All but one had SOL hidden under the label.

The solution: Alyssa’s postcard had the required number #6854 hidden under it’s “Here Be Dragons” label.

Note: Lainie was scheduled to get the only other postcard with this hidden number — but she did not respond to her first clue early enough to have the postcard mailed out to her.

The Heroine comes home to play the game …

As our heroine flies home to Long Island on Tuesday morning, she’ll hopefully meet up with old friends and find a couple of hours to collaborate on solving the few remaining puzzles to rediscovering the Sugar Dragon.

Be warned … you’ll need all the house lights on (caffeine and sugar may help) and that dragons are dangerous!

Links: Buzzy Multimedia’s Meddle Not With Dragons t-shirt

Oh no! One of the given answers is wrong …

Eleven out of twelve clues have been answered, but even though one of those answers fits the pattern, it is wrong! It won’t fit the Midway Puzzle and it will not help to solve the 13th Question — for which the only clues are the answers to the original twelve questions.

It’s time to circle back and check your answers to each and every question again!

Post your revised answer as your public status on Facebook in the form of “The correct answer is _________”.

Note: This post was scheduled to be published on Sun Nov 20, 2011 at 8pm — which means you cannot tell from the timing which clue was answered incorrectly: An early answer or a very recent one.