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This is part 3 of A Trivial Pursuit, a 25-part puzzle hunt. Each part is solvable on its own, with the exception of the meta-puzzle at the end.


This puzzle is designed to mimic a ‘Multi Cache’ scavenger hunt, as commonly found in geocaching. This usually involves visiting one or more physical locations in order to extract some numerical information from the surroundings (e.g. on information boards in the vicinity, or by counting specific architectural features on buildings) which can then be used to calculate GPS coordinates where the final geocache container can be found. In this case, all stages (which have a focus on fossil-hunting in the UK) can instead be solved using the Internet (or even books!) and your puzzle-solving abilities, and the final answer is a 6-letter location with a fossil connection.

Stage 1:

In an English town with a connection to the birthstone for the month in which the actor who played Captain Jack Sparrow was born, in the year that the country whose name literally means ‘Little European city famed for its canals’ gained independence from the country whose association football team won the ninth instalment of the women’s World Cup, a person who shared their first name and gender with a renowned gothic novelist (who died XL years later) discovered the first correctly identified skeleton of a particular Mesozoic Era reptile. What is the first numeric digit that appears in the postcode of the church where they are buried? This is ‘A’.

Stage 2:

Fossilised [The Killers, 2006] from another of these reptiles were discovered [311, 1996] with the jaw and several [5 Seconds of Summer, 2019] of a plesiosaur in [ABBA, 1974] Bay in [Prince, 1982]. Collectively, the [Bastille ft. Rag’n’Bone Man and Skunk Anansie, 2014] are commonly referred to as the ‘##### sea [Caravan Palace, 2008]’. [Soft Cell, 1982] is the [Blondie, 1980] number of the [Post Malone, 2023] [Kendrick Lamar, 2017] represented by the [Cold War Kids, 2015] two [Monica, 2023] of #####? This is ‘B’.

Stage 3:

Next, identify a coastal area famed for its fossils of ammonites, bivalves and marine reptiles, after which a stage in the late Jurassic era is named. Starting from the main car park area in this location, head in the direction of the nearest public conveniences. Pass them and continue following the path uphill until you reach a clifftop structure which bears the adopted surname of the man who built it. How many storeys does this structure have? This is ‘C’.

Stage 4:

Tocon tinue ...

FOOPT INRST FMORT EHORW ’DLOS ELNXY AELMP AAFFO ILMOY EFHRT DOOPS ABCEN AEENS AFSTT FIMNU EMOSU CHINW CHOST HIIST ADLNS ?AINN EGILN AHLNS AEGGU AEGMO ACFRS BBEHL CMOUW HLOUW DHIST ’DORW ELSTT BEERS HORTW ?HIST ‘’DIS .

Stage 5:

Toucan tin ewe...

PUB (3) SORCERESS (5) AYE (4) THRUMS (6) YOU (4) TEAR (3) TONGUE? (6) FRYPAN (7) SUFFICIENT (6) DUNK (3) ANY (6) RESTAURANT (5) ACHING (4) HARVEST (4) FRINGED (5) PURCHASER (5) EXPLODED (4) HOWL (4) UPCOUNTRY (6) FINISHED (4) GRAB (6) THY (4) EVERYTHING (3) SIZZLE (4) FLOOR (5/6) MIAOWS (4) PERCEIVE (3) DELICIOUS! (3)

ULRICH (4) ALSO (3) YIDAKI (5) CONSUMES (4)

DISSERTATION (6) ECSTASY (1)

Stage 6:

And finally...

36 flags with numbers beneath each

The final coordinates:

N (B-C)° (D-A).((E-F)*C*A+B)
W (A-C)° ((E+C)/A).(C*D-E+B*F)

Other relevant tags include , , , , and .

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wanted to add that this has been a blast to solve so far! Wonderful puzzle! $\endgroup$
    – JGibbers
    Sep 8, 2023 at 4:09

2 Answers 2

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Stage 1:

Venezuela comes from 'little Venice', which gained independence in 1811. Mary Shelley died in 1851. So we're looking for a Mary that made a massive fossil discovery in 1811.
That would be Mary Anning who discovered an 'Ichthyosaur' fossil! She was buried in St Michaels in Lyme Regis - postal code DT73DY.

So 'A' is:

7

OP note (for completeness):

Lyme Regis is the 'Pearl of Dorset'; pearl is the birthstone for June, the month in which the actor Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrow in the PotC franchise) was born. Venezuela ('Little Venice') gained independence from (2023 World Cup winners) Spain in 1811, 40 years prior to the death of gothic novelist Mary Shelley. The story of Mary Anning's fossil discoveries is worth reading - she was 12 when she found her first ichthyosaur.

Stage 2:

Replacing the brackets with the bands' respective singles gives us:
Fossilised 'Bones' from another of these reptiles were discovered 'All Mixed Up' with the jaw and several 'Teeth' of a plesiosaur in 'Waterloo' Bay in '1999'. Collectively, the 'Remains' are commonly referred to as the ‘##### sea 'Dragons'’. 'What' is the 'Atomic' number of the 'Chemical' 'Element' represented by the 'First' two 'Letters' of #####? This is ‘B’.
The ##### refers to the 'Larne' sea dragons. La = Lanthanum (atomic number 57).

So 'B' is:

57

Stage 3:

The stage referenced is the Kimmeridgian. Which is named after Kimmeridge on the Dorset Coast. If we look at Google Maps, we can find the Kimmeridge Bay Car Park right on the coast. Continuing from there, we find Clavell Tower built by John Richards Clavell in 1830. According to Wikipedia, the tower has 4 stories.

Map of walking route

So 'C' is:

4

Stage 4:

Notice that each block is alphabetically sorted. From the clue text 'Tocon tinue', we can assume the text was broken into 5 character chunks, then each block was sorted. Looking at the end of the text confirms this (because each stage ends in the same format).

Unscrambled text:
FOOTP RINTS FROMT HEWOR LD'SO NLYEX AMPLE OFAFA MILYO FTHER OPODS CANBE SEENA TSTAF FINMU SEUMO NWHIC HSCOT TISHI SLAND ?INAN ENGLI SHLAN GUAGE GAMEO FSCRA BBLEH OWMUC HWOUL DTHIS WORD' SLETT ERSBE WORTH ?THIS IS'D'.

Combined into proper words:
FOOTPRINTS FROM THE WORLD'S ONLY EXAMPLE OF A FAMILY OF THEROPODS CAN BE SEEN AT STAFFIN MUSEUM ON WHICH SCOTTISH ISLAND? IN AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE GAME OF SCRABBLE HOW MUCH WOULD THIS WORD'S LETTERS BE WORTH? THIS IS 'D'.

Staffin Museum is on the island Skye. Which would be worth 11 points in Scrabble (S=1, K=5, Y=4, E=1).

So 'D' is:

11

Stage 6:

Knowing we're looking for 'F' at the end makes me think we need to look at the letter specified by the number in the names of the countries specified by the flags.

The countries and numbers are:
NORTH MACEDONIA(4591112) ITALY(45) CAPE VERDE(167) THAILAND(1347) MONTENEGRO(158) EL SALVADOR(459)
SAUDI ARABIA(1237) AUSTRIA(235) GUATEMALA(567) BURKINA FASO(5610) SWITZERLAND(267) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO(22025)
BURUNDI(4567) NORWAY(14) SOUTH AFRICA(5910) CHILE(25) MONGOLIA(3467) SOUTH KOREA(15)
COLOMBIA(12) TURKMENISTAN(2710) SEYCHELLES(35) BOTSWANA(25) GERMANY(4567) LIECHTENSTEIN(1361011)
MARSHALL ISLANDS(34913) SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS(351012) SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE(26781218) BANGLADESH(259) COMOROS(256) OMAN(234)
VANUATU(34) CAMEROON(345) MALAYSIA(236) ETHIOPIA(234) SOLOMON ISLANDS(189) FRANCE(1)

Taking the indexed letters:
THEON LY CER TAIN MEG ALO
SAUR USR EMA INS WER EFO
UNDI NW HIC HE NGLI SH
CO UNT YH OW MANY LETTE
RSIN ITSN AMEARE ALS ORO MAN
NU MER ALS THI SIS F

Making it into our clue:
THE ONLY CERTAIN MEGALOSAURUS REMAINS WERE FOUND IN WHICH ENGLISH COUNTY? HOW MANY LETTERS IN ITS NAME ARE ALSO ROMAN NUMERALS? THIS IS F

The answer to this is Oxfordshire which has (X,D,I) that are also Roman numerals.

So 'F' is:

3

For completeness:

Stage 5 (thanks to @fljx):

"Toucan tin ewe..." hints that we are looking for homophones, but there's an extra step. First we need to find a synonym for each word of the required length:

 PUB (3) SORCERESS (5)                     Inn witch            In which
 AYE (4) THRUMS (6) YOU (4)                yeah whirrs thee     year was the
 TEAR (3) TONGUE? (6)                      rip licker           replica
 FRYPAN (7) SUFFICIENT (6)                 skillet enough       skeleton of
 DUNK (3) ANY (6)                          dip either           Dippy the
 RESTAURANT (5) ACHING (4)                 diner sore           dinosaur
 HARVEST (4) FRINGED (5)                   reap laced           replaced
 PURCHASER (5)                             buyer                by a
 EXPLODED (4) HOWL (4)                     blew wail            blue whale
 UPCOUNTRY (6) FINISHED (4)                inland done          in London('s)
 GRAB (6) THY (4) EVERYTHING (3)           snatch your all      's natural
 SIZZLE (4) FLOOR (5/6)                    hiss stor(e)y        history
 MIAOWS (4) PERCEIVE (3) DELICIOUS! (3)    mews see yum!        museum

 ULRICH (4) ALSO (3)                       Lars too             Last two
 YIDAKI (5) CONSUMES (4)                   didge eats           digits

 DISSERTATION (6) ECSTASY (1)              thesis E             This is E
 

Dippy the dinosaur was replaced in 2017, giving us 17 for E.

For the meta clue (again thanks to @fljx):

Putting it all together we have:
A = 7
B = 57
C = 4
D = 11
E = 17
F = 3
N (57-4)° (11-7).((17-3)*4*7+57)
W (7-4)° ((17+4)/7).(4*11-17+57*3)

Which works out to: N 53° 4.449 W 3° 3.198
Which is the location of the Brymbo Heritage Project, or Brymbo Fossil Forest.

So our final answer is:

Brymbo

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  • $\begingroup$ 'Partial answer' doesn't do you justice - you're 5/6 of the way there, almost complete! Great effort thus far, just one part to go... :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Sep 8, 2023 at 7:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Great answer. I was missing a couple of stages that you have, but I can fill in stage 5. It's too long for a comment, so feel free to edit my answer into yours to provide a complete solution in one place. $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Sep 8, 2023 at 7:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks for adding in the final pieces of puzzle to create this full solution :) I've just added a note to Stage 1 in your answer to provide explanations (and links) for the full paragraph, for readers' future reference. (I've also thrown in a map for Stage 3, since seeing it visually helps, I find.) Hope you don't feel I'm overstepping. Anyway, well done again - thanks for investing your time in this puzzle! The checkmark is yours... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Sep 8, 2023 at 22:33
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Stage 5, to fill in JGibbers' great answer, and find the final location:

"Toucan tin ewe..." hints that we are looking for homophones, but there's an extra step. First we need to find a synonym for each word of the required length:

 PUB (3) SORCERESS (5)                     Inn witch            In which
 AYE (4) THRUMS (6) YOU (4)                yeah whirrs thee     year was the
 TEAR (3) TONGUE? (6)                      rip licker           replica
 FRYPAN (7) SUFFICIENT (6)                 skillet enough       skeleton of
 DUNK (3) ANY (6)                          dip either           Dippy the
 RESTAURANT (5) ACHING (4)                 diner sore           dinosaur
 HARVEST (4) FRINGED (5)                   reap laced           replaced
 PURCHASER (5)                             buyer                by a
 EXPLODED (4) HOWL (4)                     blew wail            blue whale
 UPCOUNTRY (6) FINISHED (4)                inland done          in London('s)
 GRAB (6) THY (4) EVERYTHING (3)           snatch your all      's natural
 SIZZLE (4) FLOOR (5/6)                    hiss/fizz stor(e)y   history
 MIAOWS (4) PERCEIVE (3) DELICIOUS! (3)    mews see yum!        museum

 ULRICH (4) ALSO (3)                       Lars too             Last two
 YIDAKI (5) CONSUMES (4)                   didge eats           digits

 DISSERTATION (6) ECSTASY (1)              thesis E             This is E
 

Dippy the dinosaur was replaced in 2017, giving us 17 for E.

Putting it all together we have:
A = 7
B = 57
C = 4
D = 11
E = 17
F = 3
N (57-4)° (11-7).((17-3)*4*7+57)
W (7-4)° ((17+4)/7).(4*11-17+57*3)

Which works out to: N 53° 4.449 W 3° 3.198
Which is the location of the Brymbo Heritage Project, or Brymbo Fossil Forest.

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  • $\begingroup$ Perfectly done (yes, HISS rather than FIZZ is the intention) and that's the correct final answer - the '6-letter location' required for the meta at the end of the series is the word beginning with B. $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Sep 8, 2023 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, just spotted - one word in your solution could be improved upon: I intended rot13(GURR engure guna GUBH sbe LBH) which I think makes for a more natural fit. All others correct :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Sep 8, 2023 at 8:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Stiv That works better. I had more trouble with the second and third lines than the rest of it. (TONGUE? certainly made me groan when I finally found the fit for that part.) $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Sep 8, 2023 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ Hah! That particular word was a hard one to clue definitively, hence the question mark! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Sep 8, 2023 at 8:29
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(NYPBUBY=YVDHBE) ? $\endgroup$
    – Daniel S
    Sep 8, 2023 at 10:28

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