Created by Richard Posner

Download a printable version

This is a hunt designed for those of any age who’d like some exercise in the fresh air with an intriguing puzzle to propel you! It is strictly for fun.

The hunt that can be done walking, biking or even in the car ! It takes you round a short circuit of Tamworth’s unspoiled and quiet roads, with lovely views on some stretches. It starts and finishes on the corner of Cleveland Hill Road and Bunker Hill Road, two miles from the center of Tamworth Village – so if you want to walk or bike the whole way to and from the village, add four miles.

You’ll need a notebook or paper, pen or pencil, and nothing else. You won’t have to step off the roadway or touch anything – the clues have been there in plain sight for a long time! The puzzle is designed to have several levels of difficulty, which will be explained.

Your clues are the numbers made of aluminum or some other metal nailed on electric utility poles that are strung along the sides of the roads. You are going to have to examine over 60 poles and record these numbers carefully . Just numbers, no letters. And you will ignore the new poles with orange and black strips that are replacing the old numbers. We hope that the old numbers stay there, at least for this summer’s puzzle-hunters! You will need to write down exactly what numbers you see – for example, the second pole on Bunker Hill Road has the numbers 7,3 and 2 on it. You will find some poles have more numbers than three. Write down each pole’s numbers separately. All the numbers can be seen from a safe distance, with no need to go close to the poles. There will be work to do when you have completed the whole circuit !

These identification numbers were made to be easily visible to the hard-working electric line workers who looked after them and could locate any one from its numbers and letters. After many years, some of the numbers have disappeared, and some are mutilated. You record just what you see.

Here is a guide to YOUR CIRCUIT:

Starting on the corner of Cleveland Hill Road and Bunker Hill Road, ignore the pole at the corner. You turn onto Bunker Hill Road (It’s the road to the Community School and 113A/Route 25)

Pole 2,3,4 on RHS – Pole 4 is by the bridge.

Pole 5 – past the bridge on the left

YOU’LL SKIP ONE POLE AND THEN HEAD, INTO THE WOODS AND UP THE HILL, WHERE THERE ARE NO POLES FOR A WHILE. Over the hill, look for one starting on the right hand side – it has the numbers 621,3 and 801,3 on it – so you’ll see that some poles have quite a few numbers to record.

Four more poles will take you to the one by an old graveyard, and then you’ll start down the hill, with poles on your right and left. Here you need to be careful – sometimes there are poles on both sides of the road, some are damaged, and ignore new orange-and-black strips. You will be up to the 28tth. Pole by the time you get all the way to the Community School corner. (Pole 21 is by Jackman Pond.) The last pole is right by the Community School sign, and reads 8364, 939.

TURN RIGHT ON 113A TOWARDS SANDWICH. YOU ARE NOT ASKED TO LOOK AT THE POLES ON THIS BUSIER ROAD – TAKE CARE !

AFTER ABOUT HALF A MILE TURN RIGHT ON PINE GROUND ROAD – THERE ARE TWO SIGNS HERE – ONE FOR WHITE GATES FARM AND ONE SAYING THAT THE ROAD IS NOT MAINTAINED IN WINTER.

The first pole here will on the right hand side just past the entry between some big rocks. There are four poles – ignore the orange and black strips – on the right and left sides before the line finishes and you can enjoy the lovely unspoiled road all the way up to the junction with Cleveland Hill Road.

On reaching Cleveland Hill Road, by the wonderful views, turn right. The first pole on the left is new with no old numbers. They start at the next pole, You will then follow the line, mainly on the left hand side – at the 13th. Pole in this stretch there are poles on both sides of the road – as before, if you encounter this, you need the numbers from both. At pole 21 on this stretch they change to the right hand side, and some are a little tricky to read because they are set back in foliage. (But you can read them as usual, from the roadside.) You keep going until you reach the corner of Brown Hill Road at the bottom of the hill with the Memorial Wall. Turn right, and there are four more old poles to read – ignore the new poles and orange and black strips. A little way past the horse barn, and the corner of Bunker Hill Road is on your right. You are done ! Phew !

PROCESSING YOUR DATA – THE PUZZLES

You will have sets of numbers from 65 poles! One or two of them have only one or two numbers, some up to 8 or 9. You will treat the data from each pole separately. Think how many there must be in the whole town, and what a job it has been to set up and maintain the lines.

For each pole, add up the digits that appear. If the numbers are , for example, 7,1,2,1,1,2,5, you add them up – you don’t look as them as numbers as units, tens, hundred, etc. So the numbers I have just given as an example add up to 19 – that is the data you will record and use for that pole.

The puzzles are designed to have levels of difficulty and complexity. I’d hope that there will be good challenges for everyone from my 2 ½ year-old granddaughter to old friends who will be sneaky and far too good at solving the puzzles !

LEVEL ONE: Small children can add up the digits on each of as many poles as they have stamina for – the answer for the pole by Jackman Pond should be 25, and by then they will have walked/biked for a whole mile !

LEVEL TWO: The total for all the poles on the whole circuit should be computed. Extra credit for expressing this in Scientific Notation. Accuracy is vital !

LEVEL THREE: Using the added numbers from each pole, translate them into letters, using the following code: Z:5, Y:6-8, X:9, W:10-11, V:14-15, U:16, T:19 S:21, R:22, Q: 41, P:23, O:24, N:25, M:26 L:27, K: 38, J: 36, I:28 and 13, H:29, G:12 and 30, F:31, E:17 OR 20, D: 32 C:33, B: 34, A: ANY OTHER NUMBER, AND YOU CAN ADD AN “A”AS YOU WISH TO ANY WORD.

NOW MAKE AS MANY WORDS AS YOU CAN WITH THESE LETTERS – USE EACH LETTER YOU HAVE MADE FROM THE POLE NUMBERS ONLY ONCE. THE AIM IS TO TRY TO USE AS MANY OF THE LETTERS AS POSSIBLE -AND THE FEWER WORDS THE BETTER -TRY TO MAKE LONG WORDS!

LEVEL FOUR: Using the letters as per Level Three, create a single coherent sentence using as many of them as possible. A second sentence is permitted. A story would be even better !

LEVEL FIVE: I’m working at it ! You will be sent a copy of Level Five if you have finished Level Four and contact me.

THE KUDOS!

Cool stickers swill be awarded to everyone completing any level. (Adults will get a sticker only if they progress to Levels four or five.) Your results can be emailed to Richard Posner – see the email on this announcement.

I hope that everyone who tries the puzzle has fun in the open air and great outdoors ! Keep your distance and stay safe !

Richard Posner