I've been geocaching for a little over a year now and have found 89 caches. I've never done puzzle caches before, but I thought I ought to give them a try, or I'll be missing out on many caches that are not of the traditional type.
My question is: how the hell do you solve these puzzles without giving yourself a splitting headache?
I looked at the geocaching.com website for the puzzle caches that are closest to where I am (well, technically, the ones that are listed as being close before you solve the puzzle, I guess.) I downloaded a few geocaching puzzle-solving apps for my iPod. Then I tried to solve the puzzles.
The first one said, "What kind of cipher is this?" and posted a series of what appeared to be gobbledygook. It wasn't any kind of letter-number substitution because it was made up mostly of symbols. It didn't show up on any of the cipher pages I looked at either on the net or in the apps, and I Googled a lot of puzzle-solving/cipher-solving pages. The logs for the cache were no help; they just mainly said, "A-ha, got it!" and that was it. It looks kind of like this: MMMMMM.++++H02U2Q++....U+DA00Y%$%$%2QA$%%$+D%......... but goes on and on and on and on for an entire page. I got no results from Google when I fed it into the search.
I gave up on that one and moved to the next one. Well, that one looked easy enough; it was just a series of questions related to NASCAR, and once you got the answers (numbers) you did the math and got the coordinates. I started feeding the questions into Google, and soon found that some of the questions appeared to have more than one answer. For example, one said, "What position did Joe Blow start in at X race on X date in X year?" Some websites said he started in first, but others said he started in second. well, I think that the person who posted that puzzle should look up their answers before using that as a question, because I have no way of knowing which answer is correct.
Another one gave a question that I have absolutely no clue how to solve, as it requires you to actually find the cache in order to solve it, apparently: "Well, if you were at the cache site, you would find that the minutes of the longitude (i.e. 123 xx.xxx) were .417 less than the minutes of the latitude (48 xx.xxx)."
I'm beginning to wonder if there is some sort of secret code among local geocachers that enables them to solve puzzles like this, because I just can't wrap my brain around these or any of the other puzzles I've seen. I thought all I'd need would be a few geocaching cipher-solving apps and I'd be good to go.
I will add that I have a learning disability that makes it difficult and sometimes impossible for me to be able to solve some things, but when you give me a lot of gobbledygook I think that it must be some sort of joke that I'm not in on.