Last summer, during a pleasant June day—Flag Day, in fact—I was at Maple Street Park in Winnetka, just north of Chicago. The pleasant summer breeze was light, and I sat on the grass with a small, freshly-picked wild daisy in my hands. It was quiet, and I could barely hear the heavy Chicago-land traffic on Interstate 79 to my west. It was hard to believe that just eight days ago, on the last day in May, it had been such terrible weather that all 108 Illinois counties were in a state of emergency due to the tornadoes that had pored through the area. In fact, all five neighboring states had similar weather. Today, however, the weather was so perfect that rowers could be seen sweeping their shells on Lake Michigan. The boat in the lead was from Chicago and must have been part of the city's team, as evidenced by the six red stars between the blue stripes that make up the unique Chicago flag. As I picked off what ended up being fifty-nine petals, my wandering mind wondered if there were rowers on the other great lakes as well.

As I got up to walk the three miles via Tower Road to pick up my dog at the vet just on the other side of the Interstate, I could hear the coxswain yelling at her seven rowers to push for the last kilometer. I stood up for the short hike, smiling at how nice a day it was.

  • $\begingroup$ I added the enigmatic-puzzle tag since you need to figure that out, too. $\endgroup$
    – NetJohn
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ How about a comment, downvoter? $\endgroup$
    – NetJohn
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 2:22

1 Answer 1


So, the trick here is

some of the numbers mentioned in the story are incorrect. The difference between real and false numbers represent a letter. A correct number denotes a space.


Interstate 79 should be 94 -> diff of 15 -> O
Flag Day is 14 days after May (instead of 8) -> diff of 6 -> F
Illinois has 102 counties (not 108) -> diff of 6 -> F
5 neighboring states is correct -> diff of 0 -> space
Chicago flag has 4 stars (not 6) -> diff of 2 -> B
Daises (can) have 34 petals (not 59) -> diff of 25 -> Y
3 miles from the park to the interstate is correct -> diff of 0 -> space
8 rowers in a crew boat (not 7) -> diff of 1 -> A


OFF BY A...MILE? (instead of kilometer, because we're in the US)

  • $\begingroup$ Well, there was one last sentence I forgot to copy from Word that would have clued you in that the last part was just the number (1) not a letter, but you got it. Seems only one level of misdirection is too easy. Did you have to look it up or did you know some of the correct answers? $\endgroup$
    – NetJohn
    Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 2:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I’m from that area, so I knew the Interstate was off right away. Knew a couple, had to look most up. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 2:21

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