Pablo's Armchair Treasure Hunt

Armchair Treasure Hunt 2022

Title: CATastrophe! The Story of the Godstow Witch
Setter: DaphneHQ
Themes: Witchcraft, Oxford, Borges' Library of Babel
ATH 2022 Puzzle

The 2022 hunt was written by DaphneHQ. It consisted of an online adventure game as well as a more traditional puzzle PDF (click image above to view in PDF format).

The teaser Teletext image was released on 27 November 2022, the poster was published on 3 December 2021, and the hunt was released on 15 December 2022. The closing date was 15 January 2023.

News Archive

These messages were posted in the news section of the website during the hunt.

27 November 2022
DaphneHQ is proud to announce that it has been featured on the No. 1 digital platform in the world - Teletext. Check out our page below. The official poster for this year's treasure hunt will be released next week!
Teletext Teaser
3 December 2022
The promotional poster for this year's treasure hunt "CATastrophe!" has now been released!

This year's hunt consists of two parts - an adventure game and a more traditional puzzle.

You don't have to solve (or even play) the game to solve the main hunt - however doing so will reveal hints, and earn you points based upon how well you do and the thematic links you identify. There is also a separate prize for the team that is first to complete the game! Newcomers to Pablo's ATH may want to start with the game, as it is more user-friendly than the main puzzle.

We recommend playing the game on a desktop/laptop, although it will also work on mobile devices.

We do ask that the more technically minded hunters DO NOT attempt to brute force or reverse engineer the game, as this may overload our server or break the game for everyone else. Thank you for understanding. Enjoy!

15 December 2022
We are very excited to announce that our CATastrophe game has been given a 5 STAR REVIEW in the latest issue of Computering Magazine, which will be hitting the news stands at 5pm (GMT) this evening.

To coincide with this, at the same time we will be releasing the full version of the game! Just refresh your browser to get the update (you can tell you are on the full version because it will mention the magazine being "out now").
15 December 2022 - 5pm GMT
Pablo's Armchair Treasure Hunt 2022 has now been released. Read all about it in this month's issue of Computering Magazine! Also be sure to play the latest game from DaphneHQ, CATastrophe! (full version now available!)
15 December 2022
ERRATA: DaphneHQ has been informed by Computering Magazine that the crossword puzzle we provided them with for this month’s issue has a number of errors in it (regular readers will know that we have been the world’s leading manufacturer of crosswords since 1862). Our Crossword Intern, Jeremy, has been put on squirrel cleaning duties in an attempt to focus his mind upon being more accurate in his future work. His first task will be to clean up the remains of the previous intern given such a duty. The corrections are:
  • Which king danced in front of a bonfire of cats? (5,3)
  • Which parasite do you probably share with cats? (10,6)
  • Where did a Russian Queen source her cats from? (5)
17 December 2022
DaphneHQ just wanted to send you a quick reminder to try and complete the final levels of the adventure game CATastrophe! - and for those who didn’t complete the demo there may be a few hints in the most recent issue of Computering Magazine to help you. Remember - it has its own real Game Prize to be found! The team here are off sledding (they can get up to some record-breaking speeds!) before the storms forecast for the weekend wash away all of the snow.

ERRATUM: We have discovered a small error in some of the data in the most recent issue of Computering Magazine. The magazine PDF has been updated and you can find the correct version here. The intern responsible, Carol, has been re-assigned to the squirrel trapping team and has already been sent to the wilds of the Isle of Wight. Her mission is partly to capture more squirrels, but is mostly to find out what happened to the previous trapping expedition. The last pager message we received from them simply read “The horror! The horror!“. Very strange - the Isle of Wight isn’t that bad…

Before we go we would like to share with you a poem from our poetry intern, Adrian. I am sure you will all agree it is a lovely piece, it’s called “The Sourpuss and the Raconteur”. We hope you like it.
20 December 2022
ERRATA: Rosa's Tech Solutions have telexed us to let us know the correct price for a BBC Model B is £18.69. We don't know how this happened, because the intern responsible, Mo, disappeared before we could conduct our customary root cause analysis. Our lawyers have instructed us to refund Rosa's the full 27p difference for the BBC Micro they sold since the magazine came out (always read the small print!)

Additionally, our two history interns, Alex and Hannah, had a massive argument about which battle had the highest single-day loss of life - they were totally livid! We asked out in-house AI to help out (the Squirreltron 2001) and it suggested asking them which was the bloodiest battle before the year 0. They could both agree on that, and peace was restored! We have sent them out into the squirrel park to test their survival, evasion, resistance and escape skills which should give them the opportunity to bond even more. Albeit possibly not for very long…
22 December 2022
SQUIRREL WARNING!! One of our interns, Scott, out on a routine patrol yesterday spotted a squirrel somewhere vaguely in the vicinity of the treasure location. They were able to take this picture, which our crack IT team were able to recover from the Polaroid camera found next to poor Scott's body. We would like to ensure that all treasure-hunters are aware of this threat, and for your safety have published below the full content of the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) manual (Squirrel Edition) that is issued to every new DaphneHQ intern:


We hope that this helps. Remember, you don't have to run faster than the squirrel (that would clearly be impossible) you simply have to run faster than the slowest member of your party. Or slowest two members of your party if there are two squirrels. Or slowest...oh, you'll figure it out. At DaphneHQ your safety is our priority. As one of our many mottos states "A dead customer is a lost revenue opportunity!"
25 December 2022
Happy Christmas! Sorry if the postal strikes mean this has arrived late.
26 December 2022
BE ALERT! Intern Alex went missing a few days ago. Today's squirrel patrol found this in the forest next to a small pile of acorns. It seems that Alex failed to see the tree for the wood, and that ended in catastrophe. We have now called off the hunt and added his name to the Intern Wall of Honour.

2 January 2023
Happy new year! January 2nd is Saint Daphne’s day - the patron saint of games and puzzles. Here is a carved wooden door depicting the glorious saint rowing a boat full of puzzles down the Thames to give out to impoverished villages during the great puzzle famine of 727 AD. Well done to Ellie, our History Intern, for tracking this down - no squirrel duty for you this week!

After our intern Franklin's recent hospital stay, new recruits Antoni and Betty will be helping out with game reviews in the new year.

Our thanks to Edith's Ethereal Peripherals who recently sent us a new product for this season, “Glass Inside” 16K RAM Pack (£20.23) for a review. Our resident art intern lost the instruction book, but luckily we worked out how to use it from the catalogue description, while they were undergoing corrective treatment.

ERRATUM: We would also like to apologise for the various stray lower case letters, typos and white text on white background in the PDF. Almost all of these are totally accidental. Henry, our Typesetting Intern, has since been fired. In a kiln.
15 January 2023
The 2022 Pablo's Armchair Treasure Hunt is now over. The team at DaphneHQ would like to say a massive "thank you!" to everyone who has taken part and engaged with our absurdity. We are starting to work our way through your wonderful solution documents for scoring, and will shortly be sharing solution documents for both the game and the main hunt. It came at the cost of 47 Interns who variously died, vanished, or in one case apparently turned out never to have existed at all [1], during its duration.

"They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old" [2].

In other news, it appears that a website that DaphneHQ hosts as part of its wildly generous social responsibility programme [3] has been hacked! Clement, our Sys Admin Intern, ran out of the server room shouting something about "a ghost in the machine". Very strange. Anyway, a quantity of new text has appeared on The Godstow Witch website. It looks like a load of stuff and nonsense to us!

Several players of our award-winning [4] game CATastrophe! have been struggling variously with herbs and woods. Hopefully the images below will help you a little.

[1] It is very odd. We can all remember Intern Katherine, but there is no trace of her whatsoever on our systems. We have spoken to her parents who insist they never had a daughter. And yet there is still that absurd coffee mug in the kitchen, the one with all of the cats on, that she brought into the office on her first day at work...
[2] Rigorous data analysis suggests that actually only Senior Executives at DaphneHQ survive long enough to "grow old".
[3] Our lawyers have instructed us to note that technically this programme is a community pay-back scheme that was part of the settlement in a class-action lawsuit relating to the wrongful deaths of a number, okay, lots, of interns.
[4] Best Game by DaphneHQ (not involving squirrels) 1987!