Greetings to the Clue Community!

Dr. Clue News: 
Hello again everyone!

This week, Dr. Clue’s path led us to Charlotte NC,  Winston-Salem NC, and Ventura, CA., with hunts for Kennam, Forsyth Academy and Sage Publications, respectively.   And so our crazy-busy summer comes to an end at last.  Fun, tiring, exhilarating… we say, bring on the fall teambuilding season!


In today’s issue of the Dr. Clue newsletter, we’ve got 3 more puzzles for you to solve, an icebreaker that will “get ya”, and an article about the Way to build trust.  Enjoy!

Dave Blum
Editor, Dr. Clue Icebreaker Newsletter

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Frame Games

Last issue, we gave you these 3 puzzles:

1) cloln

2)        c
111120 km

3)  M M
A  P


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

1) Lincoln ( “L” in “coln”)
2) 20,000 leagues under the sea
3) Up Day and Night
Our First-to-Solve was David Sals.  Congratulations David!

This Week’s Puzzles:

Here are 3 more frame puzzles (without the frames).  As always, let’s see who can get them all the fastest and be named the “F2S” (first to solve).

1)   I right I

2)   COTAXME  

3)  t  r  a
l  a  f
g  a  r

Email your answers ASAP at:
Good luck!

This Week’s Icebreaker


Gotchya! (Grab the Finger)

Materials:  None

STEP 1 – “Everyone take your left hand and place it up like this. Make sure nothing is in your hands – hand flat, hand open.” (see picture)

If you are facing a large group then raise your right hand when you say “left hand.” That way everyone will raise their left hand. If you are in a circle with everyone, then raise your left hand along with everyone else.

STEP 2 – “Take your right index finger and place it in the palm of the person next to you. Make sure everyone is connected to someone. If you need to reach around or move over, go ahead and do that. Make sure everyone is connected.”
Scan the audience for people by themselves or not participating. Gesture to them to connect with someone next to them. Sometimes I even say, “It’s okay to do this” or “Make sure no one is left out.”

STEP 3 – “When I count to three you’ll do two things. The first thing you’ll do is grab the finger that is in your palm… ”
(NOTE: Avoid saying “I WANT you to do two things”. This can create resistance. Some people might say, “I don’t care what you WANT me to do.”)

“…and the other thing you’ll do is to take your finger out of their palm before they grab it. It’ll look something like this.” Demonstrate the movement in the air.

“Got it? If you don’t get it, you’ll understand it soon enough. Here we go, one… two… three!”

Model high energy, big smiles, a loud count and do it with them. Give them an extra moment to laugh and talk to their neighbors. You don’t want to cut their enjoyment off early.

“We’re going to do this 3 more times!” It’s important to say that so their expectations match the length of the activity.
STEP 4 – “Set it up again, left hand flat, right index finger in the palm of the person next to you. I see that some of you are very ready…” Demonstrate with your left hand almost closed. Look around at people doing that and gesture to them as you say, “Palm flat, palm open, no head starts. Here we go, on three. One…two…three!” Again, pause to let them laugh and comment to their partner.

STEP 5 – “Okay, this time we are going to switch hands. Now place your right hand flat and open and place your left index finger into the palm of the person next to you. We’ll see how ambidextrous you are.” Give them time to switch hands. This really throws some people off. Sometimes I look at people struggling and say, “Your other right,” with a smile, of course.

“On three, but this time I’m going to trick you. Don’t go until I say three. Only go on three. Ready…one…two…two and a half!” Do this with a hard count to throw them off. Let them laugh a couple seconds… “THREE!” Again, pause for laughter and such.

STEP 6 – “Okay, last time! This is the big one. You can stretch out if you want to.” Demonstrate stretching your fingers and have fun with it.  “It’s like the gold medal round of gotcha. Okay, set it up one more time – just like you were. Right hand up and open, left finger in the palm of the person next to you. Know that I’m going to trick you one more time. Not until I say three and only when I way three. One…two…FOUR!” Again with a hard count. This will get about 30% of them and they will laugh. Sometimes you need to mention for them to set their hands back up. Do this quickly. “FIVE!” (Hard count again)…”Six, seven, eight” (count that fast)…”TWO” (hard count)…”THREE!”

The Point:  GOTCHA addresses so many different factors that help a group connect and function well, including;

  • It gets people laughing, giggling and having fun.
  • It doesn’t force people to do something uncomfortable. It’s a low gradient activity that most people don’t mind doing.
  • It breaks the touch barrier without making anyone uncomfortable. It’s as simple as shaking someone’s hand. Touch actually can help ease the situation and make people feel more comfortable and connected. It’s very subtle, yet powerful.
  • It gets the group synchronized. Everyone is doing and moving at the same time and that helps creates cohesion and alignment.
  • It gets people accustomed to following your directions. And since the first thing they did with you was enjoyable and they felt safe, they’re more likely to trust and listen to you.

(With thanks to


Featured Article

“The Way” to Build Team Trust
By Dave Blum

A few days back I watched a fascinating movie on dvd, called The Way.  Have you seen it?   One of my go-to online resources, the Internet Movie Database (, describes the film’s plot as follows:

     “A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El Camino de Santiago,” and
decides to take the pilgrimage himself.”

Although the description makes the the story sound dry and depressing, the movie is anything but.  Taken as a travel log alone, The Way is a wonderfully entertaining story.  While walking the 400-mile path to Spain’s famous pilgrimage center, Santiago de Compostela, the grieving father, Tom (Martin Sheen) encounters all manner of lovely scenery and awe-inspiring, historical, Iberian locales.  What interested me most about the movie, however, is not the just the father’s physical odyssey but his emotional journey as well.   At the beginning of his trek, Tom is self-contained in his bereavement, determined to scatter his son’s ashes along the trail while shunning as much contact with his fellow pilgrims as possible.  Nevertheless, as all travelers know, it’s mightily difficult to avoid all human contact when on the road.   By hook or by crook, Tom picks up a coterie of colorful companions along the way, including:

·         Yoost:  A Dutchman with hopes of losing weight before an upcoming wedding
·         Jack:  An Irish journalist endeavoring to overcome writer’s block
·         Sarah:  A Canadian woman trying to quit smoking

Like Tom, each traveler possesses a “professed” goal and a deeper, inner hurt motivating his/her actions.  Yoost, for example, binges on food and drugs as a way of forgetting that his wife has left him over his burgeoning size.   Similarly, Jack drinks to excess to push away thoughts of his stubborn writer’s block and floundering career.  Sarah the smoker walks more to forget a failed marriage and a terminated pregnancy than to give up cigarettes.  And of course there’s Tom, following the Camino both to honor his son as well as to overcome the suspicion that his coldness may have pushed his son away (and led to his death).  The beauty of The Way is the manner in which the four characters’ pilgrimage allows each one to work out their emotional issues within the unexpected embrace of an unlikely family of fellow travelers.

So, too, in business do unexpected families arise, in the most unlikely of situations.  By “going into the trenches” together, working as a team against difficult odds and the roughest deadlines, we often bond with other people in the most remarkable ways.  The key is always about developing trust.   Are you willing to open up to your teammates and let them in on your struggles under the surface?   Can you be there for your family – physically and emotionally — when they need you the most?    In The Way, for example, Tom finally lets down his guard when his companions — in spite of Tom’s coldness – bail him out of jail.   As a general rule, trust arises in direct proportion to the amount of vulnerability you’re willing to show with your teammates.

If you haven’t seen The Way, I recommend you give it a shot. It’s a good one!  Rest assured that  I’m not going to tell you if Tom and caravan reach the end of their pilgrimage.  You’ll have to find that out for yourself.  In the end, though, it doesn’t really matter:  destinations are rarely as interesting as the journey getting there.

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