Greetings to the Clue Community!

Hello again everyone!

After years of dreaming about it, it’s finally happening:  I’m off to Japan next month to create a treasure hunt!  From April 11-22, I will be touring “the Land of the Rising Sun” with my 21-year-old nephew, Amir.   Along the way, I plan to create treasure hunts in Tokyo and Kyoto — bringing to life both modern and traditional Japan — “the Dr. Clue Way”.   🙂   Do you have an office or division in Japan?  A sister company, perhaps?   An upcoming international meeting in Tokyo or Kyoto?    Dr. Clue will soon be ready to help your team tour the area, discovering weird and wonderful hidden treasures while ‘Solving the Puzzles of Teamwork”, Japanese style!   Questions, comments or special requests?; please call me at 707-566-7824, or email   I will be in contact by email throughout my journey.   Dave




Dr. Clue News:It’s been a busy few weeks here at Clue Central, primarily with a spate of “virtual clue writing”:   in Germany (for Avira) and in Ann Arbor (for the University of Michigan).  Although not widely advertised, Dr. Clue offers a nifty pay-per-clue service that you really ought to know about.  How does it work?   Let’s say you want a hunt created in your area and you’re okay doing both the scouting and the facilitation.  It’s the clue writing that has you stumped.  No problem!   Scout the area yourself, take digital photos, and send the whole shebang to us:  we’ll write all the clues for you! — often with as little as a one-week turnaround.   Clues start at $150/clue  — full color, in a variety of formats, tailored to your content and audience.   Where are YOU going for a meeting this year?   Here’s betting that your group would love a treasure hunt tour around that city, at a great DIY price!    For more info, call 707-566-7824, or email

In today’s issue of the Dr. Clue newsletter, we’ve got 5 tricky logic puzzles for you to solve, a “cutting edge” icebreaker, and an article that is particularly Oz-some   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 three tricky puzzles to solve:

Thanks to everyone who sent in a solution.  The correct answers were:

1) Three ball in the side (or corner) pocket
2) White Russian
3) Foreign Film

Honorable Mention goes out to our first ten solvers:

  • Alyssa Zeff
  • Lisa Breen Strickland
  • Kristen Wilson
  • Renee Howard
  • Lynda McDaniel
  • Heather Lubecki
  • Marian Bartlett
  • Donica Schlabach
  • Pauline Gehnrich
  • Kristin Demyan

However, our First to Solve this week was:  Paul Coates
Congratulations Paul!

This Week’s Puzzles:

For a change this week, I’m giving you five tricky logic riddles to solve.  As always, let’s see who can get them all the fastest and be named the “F2S” (first to solve).

1) A woman shoots her husband.
Then she holds him under water for over 5 minutes.
Finally, she hangs him.
But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together.
How can this be?

2) Jim decided to give his bike 3 coats of paint. Which coat would go on the first?

3) A bus driver was heading down a street. He went right past a stop sign without stopping, he turned left where there was a “no left turn” sign, and he went the wrong way on a one-way street. Then he went on the wrong side of the road past a cop car. Still, he didn’t break any traffic laws.  Why not?

4) A man is trapped in a room. The room has only two possible exits: two doors. Through the first door there is a room constructed from magnifying glass. The blazing hot sun instantly fries anything or anyone that enters. Through the second door there is a fire-breathing dragon. How does the man escape?

5)  What can travel around the world while staying in a corner?

Email your answers to me ASAP at:

Good luck!

Got an event coming up that needs a little pizzazz?  Check out our DIY Store: the low-cost way to transform ANY location (indoors or outdoors) into a Team-Building Adventure.

Dr. Clue offers a variety of quick, easy, team-building kits designed for organizations which don’t mind leading programs by themselves, without a facilitator.

Here are some Great Tools for you to consider:

DIY: Build-A-Treasure-Hunt Kit:  Create a site-specific hunt in your area (no fuss, no muss)
DIY: Build-A-Treasure-Hunt – Drive Around Town: Take a fun drive around your area, hunting for cool locations

DIY: Build-A-Treasure-Hunt – Pub Crawl Kit:  Hit the local taverns, solving clues along the way
DIY: Puzzling Networking Game: A great, puzzle-based networking game for all occasions (indoors)
DIY: “Find-Someone-Who” Bingo:  “Find Someone Who” bingo cards, ready to go
DIY: Table Rebus:  A piece of a rebus goes under every table–teams collect all the pieces, solve the puzzle, and perform a fun challenge.  Great icebreaker!


This Week’s Icebreaker


Kitchen Top Drawer

This exercise is a very simple, quick activity for ice-breakers and introductions, and for expressing and revealing feelings about personality and team roles. Great for groups of any size, it’s best to split large groups into teams of 6 or less, with appointed team-leaders to facilitate.

The task is simply for each team member to liken themselves to a utensil or piece of cutlery commonly found in a kitchen top drawer, and say why they think they are like the chosen item, ideally focusing on strengths and styles. Give people thirty seconds to think and decide before you ask them to reveal their choices and reasoning in turn.

For people with little experience in the kitchen, it may help to start the exercise with a quick brainstorm session (with a flipchart or wipeboard) of all the sorts of items that people have in their kitchen top drawers at home.  For very large groups, you can vary the exercise by asking people to think and decide and then circulate around the room finding other people who have chosen the same utensil to represent themselves, and to form into sub-groupings of the same types. For young people or for especially lively conferences, you can even ask people to identify themselves by shouting the name of their utensil, and/or by trying physically to look or act like the utensil.

Be prepared and on the look-out for potentially large sub-groups of ‘knives’; you may want to help divide them into different types of knives, so that no category sub-grouping amounts to more than 20% of the whole group.

Extend the activity by asking each group to develop a proposition as to why their particular utensil is the best in the drawer – or ‘top drawer’ – which they can present in turn to the whole group.  Further extend the activity by asking teams or individuals to vote (secret ballot on slips of paper given to the facilitator) as to the utensil with most and least value to the kitchen, thereby being able to decide the ‘winners’, should the activity warrant it.

This exercise can, of course, be adapted for other types of tools instead of those found in the top drawer of the kitchen — for example the garden shed, or the tools associated with a particular industry, perhaps the industry in which the delegates operate. If you stay with the kitchen drawer theme, it’s probably best to avoid any reference to the ‘sharpest knife in the drawer’ expression so as not to sway attitudes in this direction – rest assured you will see plenty of people aspiring to be ‘knives’ as it is without encouraging any more…

Discussion should definitely include meals or projects that would need ALL the items in the kitchen, and how this relates back to your teams and divisions.

(with thanks to )

———————————————————————-Featured Article

Off to See the Wizard
By Dave Blum

Kyoto, Japan circa 1986, and there I was — standing at the ancient gates of Tofukuji monastery — eagerly attempting to meet the wizard.

In truth, Fukushima Roshi is no sorcerer, nor is Tofukuji the Emerald City.    But the Abbot of Tofukuji temple is certainly “wizardly” in his sense of calm, equanimity, and spiritual development…or so I had heard.    My college classmate, Tim Armacost — a Zen Buddhist and old Japan hand — was the one who had initially insisted I drop in on the Roshi when touring Japan’s imperial city.   

“You have to go visit the Roshi.  He may not change your life, but then again, he just might.”

High praise indeed.  At age 23, full of spiritual ardor, here was an “experience” I needed to have!

Knocking on the heavy wooden front door of the monastery one chilly April morning, I felt like I had truly come to the end of the Yellow Brick Road…right down to the mysterious, diffident doorman barring my progress.  Bald and wizened, in brown monk’s garb, my greeter was a tall, thin and solemn man  – pretty much what you’d expect from the gatekeeper at a Zen monastery.

With broken Japanese, I asked to see the Roshi.  Silence.  I tried again, this time in English.  “May I see the Roshi?”   More silence, combined with puzzlement and a mounting sense of impatience.  At last I played my final trump card.

“I am a friend of Tim Armacost and Margaret Dornish (Tim’s Asian Studies professor at my alma mater, Pomona College).”

“Ah, Dornish San.  Wait one minute!”  said the gatekeeper, turning quickly on his heels and vanising quietly into the dark recesses of the temple on white-socked feet .

Ten minutes later he returned and, with a nod, and beckoned me inside.  I had passed the first hurdle!  It seemed I was really off to see the wizard.

Deeper and deeper into Tofukuji’s sanctum sanctorum I followed my solemn guide, thinking to myself:  “This is incredible!  I’ve made it!  And in a few minutes, I’m going to meet an actual enlightened person!”  Would my life be changed, as Tim suggested?  Would I experience a peak experience?  I was both nervous and excited to find out.

Eventually I was ushered into a traditional Japanese room, with tatami flooring and large windows overlooking a garden.  At one end of the office was a large desk — at the other, a plush leather couch.  On the walls were pictures of the Roshi with what I assumed were photos of his friends and admirers, including Prince Charles of England, of all people.  Thirty minutes of quiet waiting later, the Roshi, himself, came rushing into the room.  A small, round man with bald head and twinkling eyes, the temple abbot surprised me with his forthright nature, dispensing with a traditional bow and instead thrusting out his arm and grabbing my hand in a vigorous shake.   “Nice to meet you. Thank you for visiting my temple!” he declared, in perfect English.

Far from presenting himself as this deep and serene authority figure, Fukushima Roshi came across as congenial, welcoming…jolly even. When he spoke, his whole being seemed suffused with humor.  If Santa Claus had shaved his beard and traded in his red suit for Zen robes, that would be the Roshi.   As we talked, I learned  more about the abbot’s life — his tour of the U.S., his long-standing friendship with Prince Charles and other world leaders, his relationship with my college.  (As it turns out, he taught Zen Meditation to American students at the Claremont Colleges from 1973 to 1974).  We spoke about my friend, Tim, and his professor, Margaret Dornish.  In the end, the Roshi asked where I was staying in Kyoto and inquired how I was getting back to my hotel.  Before I knew it, a yellow cab had arrived in the temple compound

“It was nice to meet you, David-san” said the Roshi, vigorously pumping my arm as he showed me to the door.  Here are some postcards of Tofukuji.  I’ve paid for your taxi.  Have a safe trip back to your hotel, and please come again.”   The audience was over; I was off.


Reflecting on my visit with the “wizard”, I find myself dwelling on the nature of expectations.  Frequently, you go into a situation expecting something amazing to happen:  happiness, perhaps, or safety, security, a pay raise, excitement — in short, a peak experience.  And, counter to your expectations, so often what you find is something far more simple and mundane. If you’re really lucky, perhaps, you walk away with a nice pack of postcards. Whatever the situation, the trick, it seems, is to put aside your disappointment, your expectations, your hopes for enlightenment, and enjoy the simple pleasures of whatever happens.  Did the Abbot of Tofukuji change my life?  Not particularly.  I enjoyed speaking with him, appreciating his joyful energy and intelligence.  I did not, alas, walk away feeling especially “touched by divinity” afterwards.  I will, however, always remember the Roshi’s dancing eyes and his ceaseless joy for life.  And that, I believe, is enough.

As always, thank you for being a part of the Dr. Clue Community!

Dave Blum, Editor, The Dr. Clue Friday Icebreaker newsletter

Feel free to contact us at 707-566-7824 with your thoughts and comments,
or email Dave personally at