Partial Answers

IndexByKnotsPlusOne: Keep going; make sure to show your completed map to staff on site.

GC Notes:

GC to update day-of-game.


When the team arrives, they will see this forest:

Each tree will have between 0 and 4 colored ropes tied around it with 4-12 roughly 1.5" square wooden blocks spaced uniformly along the rope. Each of these blocks roughly matches the color of the rope, and has a letter on it written in black sharpie.

NOTE: One of the bike bridge paths will serve as a separator between two sets of courses so that I can run 8 instances by using 4 colors twice, but otherwise serves no purpose in the puzzle.

Once they approach a staff member, they will receive 4 identical copies of a mostly empty map as shown below.

Machine generated alternative text: mWt

The Rope (only given to teams once their map is complete)

Machine generated alternative text: 5 ft Sample Rope 5 ft

The rope has a special knot at one end along with a tag that reads "Start at this end but do not count this knot." The rest of the rope has knots spaced uniformly every 4-8 feet or so (each color has a different uniform spacing). Each knot along the rope also has a loop of roughly 2-4 inch uniform size, these simply make counting knots easier and [the loop sizes] do not matter to the solve.


NOTE: There are 8 different instances (courses) at this puzzle location. The steps below are the same for all of these courses, but the words and spacing between trees will vary.

Part I - making the map and hopefully getting the partial answer

  1. Arrive and talk to on-site staff

    1. On-site staff gives the team a highlight map like that shown above that includes a color name (Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple) and region (Upper, Lower). On-site staff will attempt to load-balance the 8 courses as teams arrive.
  1. Teams record all of the words of the team's assigned color from the highlighted trees onto their map. Note that the beginning of a word may not be obvious since the letters form a uniform loop around each tree. Most teams will split up to gather this data and that is fine and even enables them to make independent observations.

Part II - Getting the rope and final solve

  1. After completing the map, the team will show a single complete map to on-site staff.

    1. On-site staff will verify the map contains the correct data (color, region) and upper vs. lower case lettering.

    2. If incorrect, on-site staff will tell them to double-check their data or maybe possibly hint which part is incorrect.

    3. If correct, on-site staff will give the team a ~70ft colored knotted rope matching the color of their map highlights. Each team gets only 1 rope, and it comes pre-wound around a spool.

Eureka moments:

  1. As they're combining map data onto a single paper, or shortly after they do this, hopefully the team recognizes the following properties of each word:

    1. Each word has exactly one upper-case letter, the rest lower-case

    2. Each word starts with a unique letter (A-S)

    3. Sorting the words alphabetically and reading the upper-case letters gives the partial answer "Index By Knots Plus One"

  1. Stretching the rope between two sequential trees (ordered alphabetically) (closest edge to closest edge) should fall within 2 inches of an exact knot distance, which is close enough that slack/stretch could generally make it work and it's obviously not an accident.

  2. Machine generated alternative text: Example: tul±Ii-Ng) Measure from the closest edges Example : This measurement has3 knots So it would indextothe letterin the NOT here left tree NOT here

  3. From here, it isn't that hard to then measure the distances between each of the highlighted trees in alphabetical order (one RC team did this using a ruler on the map), and then indexing into the words already gathered to get "arborist is my answer". More experienced teams can short circuit with "arborist" as their final answer and go on to the next puzzle.

Summarized word list for data verification:



If dealing with data, make sure to figure out which instance they got - this is specified by color (purple, green, yellow, or blue) and "upper" vs. "lower" in the flavor text (and eventually should match the color of rope they get in part II)

See the Eureka moments listed above and steer toward those if you can figure out where they are without giving things away.

Part II challenges

  • The indexing is into the starting word of a pair. If avIary to bubbliNg has 3 knots [see example], then take the 3+1=4th letter of aviary to get 'a'.

Potential Red Herring Rat Holes:

  • Trying to use other colors or other regions. YOU ONLY NEED TO LOOK AT YOUR COLOR IN YOUR REGION!

    • Some teams will notice repetition or lack thereof when comparing to other colors. They shouldn't do this - it won't ruin the puzzle - but is TONS of extra generally useless data (unless back-solving which is harder than just solving the puzzle).
  • The spacing of the knots is not data in itself (only when used to measure something else).

  • The size of the loops on the rope are not data.

  • The words are meaningless other than containing the letters I needed in them as puzzle designer.

  • Hopefully they should know what they're using the rope for before they get it. Otherwise, trying to manually find a tree at a given knot's distance can take up a lot of time. "Don't search for a tree that matches a distance, you should already know which trees to run the rope between."


Look for sheets named based on color and region to see data in the chart and next to the chart. (e.g. Fisher Upper Purple Flavor (2) has a completed map for that team)

<<Measuring RTM with Flavor2.xlsm>>

Put links to files on the Sharepoint and any other raw data.