Pablo's Armchair Treasure Hunt

Armchair Treasure Hunt 2017

Title: Another Fine Mess
Setter: Bruce Hindsight
Themes: Mess, Messy, Messier

For the 2017 Hunt, click on this image. If you have difficulty printing the PDF, we recommend attempting to print it one page at a time.

The poster was published on 15 November 2017, and the Hunt on 15 December 2017. The closing date was 15 January 2018.

Messages from the setters

These messages were sent by the setters to hunting teams during the Hunt.

Date Message
2018-01-15 08:34 UTC

Hi—if you haven’t already done so, please send us your Armchair Treasure Hunt solutions before the deadline, which is at 12:00 GMT (i.e. in about three and a half hours).

If you’ve sent your solution and haven’t had an acknowledgement, please drop us another e-mail to check we’ve had it.

Finally if you are one of the teams who appear to have found the treasure and taken a ticket but not let us know, please identify yourselves! (If you’ve let us know and not had an acknowledgement then please try again.)

‘Bruce Hindsight’

2018-01-13 10:20 UTC

Hi, this is a reminder to send us your answers to the Armchair Treasure Hunt. Even if you only made a start on the puzzles, or gave up hunting in a New Year resolution, do send us what you have.

Send your solutions in PDF format to [email protected] by noon GMT on Monday, with everything you know. If you think you know where the treasure is, you also have till the closing date to find it (or, if you can’t do that, to submit a virtual claim).

For more information, check or drop us an e-mail.

Good luck!

‘Bruce Hindsight’

2018-01-07 20:39 UTC

Dear teams,

We hope you are still enjoying the Armchair Treasure Hunt. Below are details of how to submit your solution. Please do send us your solution, even if you don’t think you’ve got very far. We’d love to see it, and even if you are low in the rankings, it gives you a base to improve on next year. You’ve nothing to lose by submitting!

Please send us your solution by email, as a PDF document under 20 MB, by 12:00 noon on Monday 15 January. More details below.

Remember that the top-scoring solution (as well as first find) wins a team session in one of the brilliant escape rooms of Lockhouse Escape Games in Cambridge (thanks, Lockhouse!).

There will be a meetup and prizegiving in London on the evening of Tuesday 6 March. Besides the prizes, it will be an opportunity to discuss the puzzle with other solvers, throw rotten tomatoes at the setters, etc, so put the date in your diary.


Submissions must be in PDF format, and under 20MB in size. Your mark is based solely on your submitted solution, so make sure all the answers you have are included. Most documents are easy to convert to PDF; if you are not sure how to do this, please do e-mail [email protected] well in advance of the deadline and we will find a way round the problem.

If your work is in multiple files (for example, a text document and a spreadsheet), you can simply convert each file to PDF. You can then join these together into a single file, or it’s fine to submit multiple PDFs—please send them in a single e-mail and ensure the total size is under 20 MB.

We’re delighted that there is a huge field of nearly 70 registered teams this year; submissions from teams that haven’t registered are also welcome. To make this manageable, as stated on the website, teams will be asked to mark their own submissions. We will check some marks (and reserve the right to make adjustments). We do promise to read all the submissions: we are looking forward to seeing what teams have made of the Hunt, including Hunter’s Tales or photographs from any trips. So please include anything you’d like us to see (and please submit your solution even if you aren’t going to mark it!). Our solution, and instructions for marking, will be published after the hunt closes.

Yours in anticipation,

‘Bruce Hindsight’

2018-01-01 17:23 UTC

Dear teams,

Happy new year! There are two weeks left to complete your treasure hunting.

The weather has turned warmer, so perhaps those of you who think you know roughly where the treasure is hidden are planning a trip to the site. If you haven’t got all the details of the hiding place, then, as seasoned teams will know, it is worth going as a group and there is still a chance you will strike lucky if you have time to search around.

If you are still struggling to make sense of the hunt, it may help concentrate the mind to put some music on. Choose carefully; it is just a matter of finding a piece that matches your mood and will take your thoughts in the right direction.

Wishing you a successful conclusion to the hunt and all the best for 2018.

‘Bruce Hindsight’

2017-12-29 08:56 UTC

Dear teams,

We hope you enjoyed your Christmas break, ate lots of mince pies and sang a few carols, and are now getting back to the serious work of treasure hunting.

If you are stuck for what to work on next, here is some advice born of our own experience. Check your work. Look over what you have solved: perhaps a forgotten idea you had early on will suddenly make sense, perhaps some particularly wild decipherment will seem less secure in the cold light of day, or perhaps some minor but vital error or omission will come to light.

You have till 15 Jan, so persevere and the treasure could still be in your grasp! And whether you find it or not, don’t forget to send us your solutions by the deadline.

‘Bruce Hindsight’

2017-12-24 14:00 UTC

We hope solvers are enjoying the festivities, while not forgetting their hunting. As the poet said, ‘Presume not too much Christmas cake to measure: The proper study of mankind is treasure.’

‘Bruce Hindsight’

2017-12-21 22:03 UTC

Hello teams,

Christmas is coming, but we know you are focussed on the much more important matter of hunting for treasure.

Here’s a note for new teams (and old ones with short memories). A look through past hunts will show that, in many, a central feature was a list of quiz questions. Usually, taking the initial letters of the answers in sequence spelt out some kind of message. Of course, there are no quiz questions this year, so that technique can’t work, can it?

Hope you are all enjoying your festive preparations (and your hunting!).

‘Bruce Hindsight’

2017-12-18 13:38 UTC

Hello, ATH teams,

We hope you’ve had a fun weekend wrestling with the Armchair Treasure Hunt, whether you’re making progress fast or slowly. A special welcome to all new teams and those that have registered in the last week.

A note to newcomers: if the hunt looks utterly baffling, don’t be put off! Just plug away at what you can make sense of or identify, and ideas about other parts will come. Keep track of what you know so that you can submit it in your solution document.

If you’re stuck on identifying pictures and you haven’t already discovered it, try out Google’s ‘reverse image search’, You can upload an image and Google will guess what it is. If you haven’t seen it before it is a bit like magic, though be warned that while it will help a bit with the hunt, it is no substitute for thinking.

Finally, if you’re a Virgin team (all members are new to the ATH) and haven’t already let us know, please do.

Best of luck!

‘Bruce Hindsight’

2017-12-12 11:03 UTC

Dear teams,

We’re looking forward to releasing the 2017 Armchair Treasure Hunt on Friday. If you get this you’re signed up as a captain or extra contact for a team. If we need to send any extra information during the Hunt, it’ll be sent to this list and also posted on the website.

Before the Hunt goes live, a few notes:

1. Please have a look over <>. For seasoned hunters this will mostly be familiar, but it is still worth having a look.

2. As usual, one of the prizes will be for the best performance by a ‘virgin’ team, i.e. one whose members are all new to the ATH. If you are a virgin team, please let us know.

3. Newcomers should remember that, as well as finding the treasure, there are prizes for your solutions to the puzzles. Solutions must be submitted by noon on 15 January. Please do send yours in, even if you don’t think you’ve got very far.

3. If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to give us another contact for your team. We’ll add them to this list.

4. Finally, do you know anyone else who might like to enter their own team? Please tell them about can he Hunt! Hunting is all the more enjoyable if you are competing to get a better score than your friends/rivals/frenemies.

Best wishes, good luck, and a treasure-filled Christmas to all!

‘Bruce Hindsight’