PracTeX Treasure Hunt

Date: Tuesday, July 20, 5-7:30PM

What is it?

Armed with clues, a street map, and keen problem solving ability, treasure hunt teams will look for eight solutions. The clues will lead hunters to landmarks, pubs, historic and notorious places. The solutions are a place name, a detail from a historic plaque, or some other minutiae. The winning teams will be the ones who arrive at the end of the hunt with the most correct answers in the least amount of time.

There are some sample clues below.

How does it work?

First, form a team of 3-6 people. You can assemble a team prior to the conference, or join a team the evening of the hunt. Some clues may require knowledge of American idioms, while other clues can be solved with keen observation and logic. All participants, whether from the US or abroad, can play a role in solving clues.

The hunt begins at the Holiday Inn. You will be given a set of clues, a map, and an answer sheet. You may solve the clues in any order; it's best to try to figure out the locations before setting out on foot, so that you don't do a lot of backtracking.

The clues will lead you to a location, and from there you look for the solution. In most all cases you will have to get to a location before the rest of the clue makes sense; see the samples below.

The hunt will take a maximum of two hours. You may not be able to solve all the clues, so if you cannot get the solution within a few minutes, move on to the next clue. Submit answer sheets at the banquet restaurant (Empress of China Restaurant) before the designated ending time (approx. 7:30).

Sample Clues

The first part of a clue guides you to the location. The other part of the clue can only be solved once you are at the location. The location part of these sample clues can be solved by referring to the map, along with some shrewd reasoning. Since the answer to the clue can be solved only when you are at the location, for now see if you can find the locations for these clues. Answers are below. (The Holiday Inn is at the corner of Columbus Ave. and North Point St.)

Map of Fisherman's Warf Area Sample Clue 1. Roman seamen will think of this landing place as XXXIX. To the west hundreds of sea creatures have made their home where sailboats once berthed. What are these creatures that have a name like the TeX mascot, but whose cry is like a dog's?

Sample Clue 2. At the corner where a 15th century sailor crosses a small body of water, this place's name includes circular items which have become smaller in size over the past 20 years, yet their price has not shrunk any.


The hunt is best when all team members can contribute. Teams must collaborate in solving the clues and must stay together at all times. Individuals may not split off from the team and solve clues on their own.

You must travel on foot. All team members must be willing to travel at the same pace, so consider this when you join a team.

All team members must be present when the answers are submitted at the end of the hunt.

The solutions to the clues will be distributed after the hunt. The top three teams will receive prizes (and bragging rights).


[Answer to Sample Clue 1: The place is Pier 39 (assuming Roman seamen think in roman numerals). Next to this pier are floating berths that have become a permanent home to sea lions.]

[Answer to Sample Clue 2: The corner is Columbus (15th century sailor) and Bay (small body of water), and the place is Tower Records (which once sold vinyl records but now sells CD's).]


The PracTeX Treasure Hunt is based on the popular Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt created by Jayson Wechter.

$Date: 2004/06/21 20:50:43 $;
TUG home page; webmaster; facebook; twitter;   (via DuckDuckGo)