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The Trail Continues!

Here are a few (non-spoiler!) answers to questions we've received from a bunch of solvers

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Attention Smithsonian sleuths: the second web puzzle is being unlocked today!  I hope you are all sitting in front of your computers, wearing deerstalker hats, holding magnifying glasses, and pressing “Refresh” constantly.  None of that will actually help, of course.  It’s just how I like to imagine you.

I know we’ve already thrown a lot at you, but be warned: the tricks and traps have only begun.

Here are a few (non-spoiler!) answers to questions we’ve received from a bunch of solvers.

“Can we answer the puzzles in any order?  Or do you have to solve one before going on the next one?”

Apart from the first puzzle, the password hidden in the magazine, the Great American History Puzzle’s steps can be solved in any order–until you get to the last puzzle, that is, which can only be accessed and solved by finishing the previous nine.

“Is it okay to work in teams?”

We can’t really stop you!  This is a Smithsonian treasure hunt, but that doesn’t mean that we have Nicolas Cage hiding in your basement, going through your old stuff and spying on you.  I suspect that solvers working in teams will do very well in the contest…but, of course, if they win the grand prize (a free trip for four people to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, or cash equivalent up to $10,000), they’ll  have to fight over how they share it!

“How many people are working on the puzzle?”

The website officially opened only 48 hours ago, but  hundreds of people have already cracked the first password.  That number will probably go up considerably as word of the contest gets out over the course of October.  So don’t look back!  Someone might be gaining on you.

“Why isn’t my answer to Puzzle #1 working?  I’m sure it’s right!”

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