Thursday, July 10, 2014

Desconstructing the Devil's Advocate, Part IV: The Court's Decree is Poetry

Warning! Danger, Will Robinson! Spoilers ahead...

So, we've got some GPS coords to High Park.  If you were to go and search at them, you'd find nothing but dogs and their pet humans, gravel, and a little stream.  More info is needed!

I decided to make this clue from a cute US court decision which was short and in the form of a rhyming poem.  The lore around this court decision is that the owner of the damaged tree came to court and gave his story to the court in rhyme.  The court rendered its decision and it was appealed. So the appellate court responded in kind as follows:

We thought that we would never see
A suit to compensate a tree.
A suit whose claim in tort is prest
Upon a mangled tree's behest;
A tree whose battered trunk was prest
Against a Chevy's crumpled crest;
A tree that faces each new day
With bark and limb in disarray;
A tree that may forever bear
A lasting need for tender care.
Flora lovers though we three,
We must uphold the court's decree.

So, I had set out this decision out in the Court's Decree is Poetry clue, noting that he had been around Queen's Park, "among the giants".  There are some pretty massive trees there.  But this is not enough for finding this box.  Then there is a couple lines of ciphered text.

The couple people who logged finds on this particular box obviously didn't have any trouble with this cipher, but a couple other well-seasoned cipher solvers (whom I consider among the best of the Ontario boxers) had mentioned that this one had them stumped.  They tried everything they could think of.

I actually hated this.  It gave me angst.  Sometimes when you design a puzzle, it becomes more difficult than you intended.  I figured that based on how the clue page is set up it would be really clear, but it obviously wasn't. There's nothing worse than seeing one of your clues become so hard that the majority can't solve it.  Gah.  My apologies.

So here it is: The court decision that is quoted is used to decipher the cipher text.  Each character is paired and each offsets the other by the position in the alphabet to translate the ciphertext into plaintext.  In essence, the court decision is used like a one-time pad. 

And there are plenty of places to go online to decode it to get this: He followed his Hart, entered at one of the main entrances, under the first south-facing arch. Up the stairs, to the right and immediately up the stairs again and sat on the bench. It is hidden on the old metal radiator, at the bottom at the back closest to the corner.

Hart House is right beside Queen's Park, and the rest of the clue is straightforward. And the stamp you find is this:

Court's Decree is Poetry stamp

It's my beautiful hand drawing representation of the decision! A car which hit a tree! Gah.  So the clue then to the final box: there's writing on the back of this car... But what does it mean?  What does it mean???

Easy: Google knows.  Google: 1999 OJ No 1728 ¶2.  Huh, that's a recognizable name: Rene Joly - that's the guy in the last box! It must mean something... Hmm.. The letters on the stamp refer to paragraph 2 of something, one of the first results in Google is the court decision in that case with all the paragraphs numbered... Potentially useful, don'tchathink? ;)

This was the last box with a clue needed to find the Devil's Advocate letterbox.  The next post will break that one down.

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