Puzzle #3 Solution

This is the solution to Puzzle #3 in the HOPR Hunt, which formed part of week 2’s puzzles. Congratulations to @Murmeel who solved it first.

These solutions will walk through the general approach, but will not give a complete step by step walkthrough to preserve some of the secrets of the treasure hunt.

Getting Started

First, we need to import some information from Puzzle #2. We’re told the map piece came from the Herringford collection, a name familiar from the Privatest Eye storyline. The solution to Puzzle #2 was Bletchley Park.

The threat was delivered to the President on the Resolute Desk, which is in the Oval Office in The White House.

The distance between Bletchley Park and The White House is 5856km.

We’re also told in the story that Blanter was enjoying the “crisp October air”.

This is enough information to start.

The Wrong Answer

Blanter has the wrong answer, but he helpfully explains how he reached it. He says the location is a church due south of the White House, where an important procession is about to begin. Agent Johnson tells us that Blanter’s solution is about 200km out. So we’re looking for a church roughly 5650km south of the White House.

A little investigation should reveal Iglesia Las Nazarenas in Lima, Peru, the site of one of the world’s largest processions: the procession of Señor de los Milagros, which indeed occurs in October.

The Right Answer

That’s the wrong answer, but what’s the right one? The threat suggests we’re looking for something more precise, that’s exactly the same distance from the White House as Bletchley Park. Various online tools will let you plot a radius around a geographic coordinate, but where on this line should we be looking?

You could just scour the line, looking for a prominent landmark, but the message itself gives a clue. The first letters of each line of the note are: Y N W R A O, two of which appear on the hexagon symbol to the right of the message. Reading round the hexagon and ordering by the numbers gives NORWAY.

Looking in Norway along the radius we drew earlier reveals the Svalbard Global Seed Bank, the name of which also matches several hints in the threatening note.