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Happy New Year everyone!My apologies for the long delay between newsletters.  During the holidays, I moved from beautiful Albany, CA (next to Berkeley) up to even-more-beautiful Santa Rosa, CA (in the wine country).   For the first time in my life, I look out my office window and see deer strolling by, languidly, amongst the trees.  Quite a change!Also during my winter break, I took a splendid vacation with my girlfriend to balmy, exotic  Thailand.   That’s me in the Chiang Rai morning market, below, buying red curry paste for a cooking class (I was taking, not teaching).

Thailand_photos 116

Back home now, I’m very excited about the prospects for the new year.   Times are still tough out there, to be sure; time and budgets remain limited, although the pendulum seem to be swinging upwards again.   As Dr. Clue continues on into its 18th year, we remain committed to bringing you the most-elegant treasure hunt programs, the most-enriching community service events, and the most cost-effective DIY game kits.  And, of course, this FREE newsletter (with teambuilding tips, articles and puzzles).  Please do spread the word!

Our ongoing promise:  to keep delivering this newsletter until the economy flips firmly back to the positive.

Best wishes!
Dave Blum

Editor, Dr. Clue Newsletter


P.S. Please note our new office phone number:  707-566-7824


Dr. Clue News: 

Choose Your Hunt Level
Worried that your treasure hunt with us will be too difficult?  Or perhaps too easy?  Dr. Clue invites you to now CHOOSE YOUR HUNT LEVEL!   You can pick from 3 options:

  • Beginner:  for teams that are new to Dr. Clue (or treasure hunts) and desire a gentler introduction to the world of clue-solving (with lots of hints and assistance).
  • Intermediate:  for teams that have completed Dr. Clue’s Beginner Hunt, or who simply believe they’re ready to jump right up our level-2 challenge clues (limited hints, harder clues).
  • Master:   for teams that have completed a Dr. Clue Beginner or Intermediate Hunt and feel they’re ready for the ultimate challenge: our toughest clues, our most-challenging brain-benders (no hints, no assistance)!


Certificates of completion are awarded at each level, with a special prize for teams that complete the entire, 3-hunt circuit.  Start at the level you’re at and move on up to Master Treasure Hunters!


It’s never too early to plan your spring/summer offsite.   Book your program before January 31st for a 10% discount.

For more information, pricing or a brainstorm, call us at 707-566-7824, or email


In today’s issue of the Dr. Clue newsletter, we’ve got 3 more tricky puzzles to solve, an icebreaker that builds excitement, and an article that is a real shoe-in.  Enjoy!
Dave Blum
Editor, Dr. Clue Icebreaker Newsletter
Interested in joining Dr. Clue’s affiliate program and making some passive income from your website?  Click here!


Frame Games

Last issue, we gave you these six tricky puzzles to solve:todays rebus 1

Thanks to everyone who sent in a solution.  The correct answers were:1. Over my Dead Body
2. Right Under the Nose
3. See Eye to Eye
4. Looking Out for Number One
5. Bee-Line
6. Home is Where the Heart IsHonorable mentions go to:

  • Pauline Gehnrich
  • Tyson Thomas
  • Joanna Oliver
  • Janet Drew

However, our First to Solve was:  Kristy Achar

Congratulations Kristy!


This Week’s Puzzles:

This week you’ve got three more puzzles to unlock!  Let’s see who can get them all the fastest and be named this week’s “F2S” (first to solve).




Email me your answers at:

Good luck!

And don’t forget to check out our DIY Treasure Hunt Store: the low-cost way to transform ANY area into a team-building adventure


This Week’s Icebreaker:

House of CardsDescription: Each team works together to build a ‘house of cards’ within 15 minutes, using only the resources available in the room and/or provided by the facilitator. A competitive event, each team races against the other teams to be ‘first’ to finish successfully. All team projects are judged by the facilitator (whose ruling is final and cannot be contested). 

Project criteria include:

  • Efficient use of resources
  • Esthetic appeal
  • Height
  • Structural integrity
  • Presentation

Supplies (resources), one set per team:

  • 32 Index cards
  • 1 stack of Post-it notes (square)
  • 1 Box Paper clips
  • Tape
  • Colored markers


  1. Provide each team with their supplies.
  2. Each team has 15 minutes to build a house with the resources available within the room.
  3. Identify criteria for judging successful projects.
  4. As teams finish, chart their finish times on a flipchart.
  5. Once all teams have finished, have teams walk around with the judge (facilitator) to view the work of other teams. (No sabotage!!)
  6. At their own tables, have teams discuss the factors contributing/limiting to their success. Have them chart these factors on a flipchart. Each team must elect a spokesperson to present their findings to the rest of the class.
  7. Facilitator must award a rating for each project (use a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, for each criterion). Highest possible score: 25

Discussion questions:

  • How was team leadership determined – appointed or assumed?
  • What unique contributions did each member offer? How did those contributions affect the successful outcome of the project?
  • How did the competitive nature of the event affect the quality of the project

(with thanks to

Dr. Clue offers 120+ treasure hunt locations, all over the world. Check them all out at our guided hunt locations page.


Featured Article

Foot-loose in Thailand

By Dave BlumIt’s a long climb from central Thong Pha Phum, Thailand, to the hill-top temple towering high above town.  First you cross a rickety rope bridge, then you pass through a monastery, and finally there are these steps…countless steps…straight up for close to forever. The journey is worth it though:  a glass-encased seated Buddha, a small golden stupa, and a 360-degree view for miles and miles.That my girlfriend and I completed this trek at all during our December vacation was sheer serendipity.   Travelers to Thailand don’t often end up in Thong Pha Phum, a one-street town in the northwest corner of the country (3 hours north of Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai).  Why would they?  The city boasts no big attractions, no ruins, no museums, no beaches.  What it offers, however, is something far more rare:  pure Thai living, unsullied by the ubiquitous tourist industry octopus.  Thong Pha Phum has a street market, a police station, a number of shoe shops (more on this later), no signs or menus in English, and that fantastic temple, high on a hill.

So up we climbed on a warm, sultry Thai afternoon. At the top of the stairs, we stopped to catch our breaths and to take in the scenery, making sure to remove our shoes, as per usual, when treading softly around a Buddhist temple.  The views were simply splendid:  green rolling hills as far as the eye could see, seemingly all the way to nearby Myanmar.  Our only company at the temple was a French tour group that briefly snapped some quick photos and departed quickly, and a small local boy asking for a few-baht donation to a crocodile god statue.   Lingering there for almost an hour, enjoying the peace and quiet, we decided at last to begin our voyage back to town.   And that’s when realized:  my girlfriend’s shoes were missing!  Was the thief the local boy?  The French family?  Or someone else?  We never did find out.  Irregardless, we had a long walk before us, and my girlfriend was barefoot!  Talk about footloose!

Without much choice in the matter, she completed the trek back to town sans footwear, with nary a complaint. (That’s my girl!).   Only afterwards did she admit that she really liked those shoes and was having some trouble letting go of the anger and the frustration.  At the same time, she accepted that perhaps the culprit needed those shoes more than she did.   Nevertheless, we spent the rest of our time in Thong Pha Phum scouring the many USED shoe stores in town, hoping to discover some size 42 Asics running shoes from Santa Rosa, California.

How do you deal with theft, with unexpected loss?  Do you hold onto it (losing sight of the present moment), or can you quickly let go, make peace with it and move on?   We humans are all connected.  Our own loss is someone else’s gain — often someone else much needier than ourselves.  Think about it the next time a stapler goes missing at work, or a ream of paper.  Or even your shoes. 🙂

As always, thank you for being a part of the Dr. Clue Community!Dave Blum, Editor, The Dr. Clue Team building Newsletter & the Friday IcebreakerFeel free to contact us 707-566-7824
or email Dave personally at