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Happy Fall Everyone!  Hope you had a fabulous Labor Day Weekend!


Who would have thought any of us would become do-it-yourselfers when it comes to team building and corporate community service?  Such is the nature of today’s economy that Managers, HR professionals and Support Staff like us are being forced to work up our own teamwork and community service programs. .. on top of our other duties!   Pretty crazy, huh?    This newsletter is here to lend us all a hand:  with activities, icebreakers, team tools, and inspiration we can use immediately, with little to no cost.  Dr. Clue’s pledge: to keep on sending out this newsletter until the economy finally flips — at which point we can all once again start outsourcing our team building (to premium companies like Dr. Clue).    🙂


Dave Blum

Editor, Dr. Clue Newsletter


Dr. Clue News: 

Our Recent Treasure Hunt Highlights Include:

  • 13 professionals from the State Library of Ohio, within the fabulous CoSi science museum in Columbus, OH.
  • 120 high school girls from the National Charity League, on retreat in Downtown Los Gatos, CA


Dr. Clue is the world’s largest treasure hunt company. To explore all of our

120+ treasure hunt locations, nation and world-wide, click here.


“Community Service” Teambuilding:  Help Spread the Word

Do you have a “Director of Philanthropy/Community Service” in your organization?  Dr. Clue is asking you to pass this email along, letting your Officer of Giving know about our newest, puzzle-based Community Service programs, characterized by:

–Dr. Clue’s skilled, professional facilitation
–Our fantastic & provocative puzzles and codes
–Our 17-year track record for creating dynamic events that are
both fun AND meaningful!

Thanks for spreading the word!!!



A: Our engaging Puzzling Bike-Build Game (for disadvantaged children).  Click on the link for more details.
buildabikeB: Our innovative S.O.S “Support Our Students” Workshop (for teachers in need).  Click on the link for more details.

students with supplies

Dr. Clue says:  “It’s never been so fun to give back!”

For more information, check out the links above, drop us a line at, or give us a call at 510-528-0428.

Team building and community service this fall: are you ready for the challenge (and the fun!)?

In today’s issue, we’ve got 2 more tricky puzzles to solve, an icebreaker that’s bound to stimulate the synapses, and an article about moving beyond Muggle-hood.  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 two puzzles to solve:vaders


The correct answers were:

1. Space Invaders

2. Five pounds overweight.

Our puzzle solvers this week were (in order):

  • Howard Boles (F2S:  first-to-solve)
  • Bernie Newman
  • Pauline Gehnrich
  • Ruth Howard
  • Renee Howard
  • Travis Burr
  • Andy Mascsak
  • Stacie Whiting
  • Donica Schlabach
  • Corinna Barber

Congrats everyone!  Will anyone knock “the rebus puzzle king”, Howard Boles, off of his weekly throne? 🙂


This Week’s Puzzles:

Let’s see who will be the “F2S” (first to solve) these two tricky frame puzzles:



Email us your response to:

Good luck!

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:

Brainstorm Race

A brainstorm race is a great way to review topics you’ve already covered, and have some energizing fun in the process. Teams race to brainstorm and list as many items as they can in a certain amount of time—without speaking!

Ideal Size

Teams of four work best, so ideal group size is limited by the space you have available for teams of four.


Use For

Reviewing a topic. Energizing your classroom.


Time Needed

30 minutes is ideal.


Materials Needed

Flip charts are helpful because you can turn them so the groups can’t see each other’s work. If you don’t have flip charts, white boards will work just fine. If no board is available, large sheets of paper will suffice. A marker for each student.



Divide the group into teams of four. Explain that you will give them a topic. They will have 30 seconds (or however long works best for your group) to brainstorm and list as many ideas as they can come up with. Here’s the kicker—they cannot speak. Each student must write his or her ideas on the board or paper you’ve provided. The team with the most ideas after the prescribed time wins that round.


Ask the winning team to present their ideas. Ask remaining teams to add any ideas the winning team missed and to correct any mistakes the winning team may have made. Proceed with the next challenge. Keep a running score on the front board.



If you’re teaching speech, you might ask the groups to list non-verbals, fillers, and kinds of speeches. If you’re teaching nursing, you might ask for lists of muscles, bones, and shift-change check items. You get the idea.


Did working in teams help or hinder the process? Did having a deadline help or hinder? Were you surprised by how many ideas you all came up with, (or didn’t)? What role did the silence restriction play in this activity?   What are the best practices for brainstorming?  How does brainstorming usually proceed in your organization and what could you do to improve it?


The Point


Most of us would agree that brainstorming is an important stage in any project, and yet how many of us can resist the urge to EDIT the ideas as they’re being gathered?   True brainstorming starts with a blue-sky enthusiasm:  throwing out as many ideas as you can without shooting any of them down (no matter how far fetched).  The exercise above restricts talking and hence silences our habitual “critical thinking/analysis”.   All ideas are recorded, allowing an opportunity for everyone “shoot for the moon”: without critiques, without limits.
(Special thanks to , Guide)


Featured ArticleAre You a Wizard or a Muggle?
By Dave Blum

I was rereading the first book in the Harry Potter series the other day and got to pondering:  What makes J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world so compelling?   I think it’s the fact that the author has created this whole secret universe, furtively co-existing alongside our own mundane, non-magic “Muggle” reality.   By joining Harry, Hermione and Ron on their adventures at Hogwarts, we become privy to a wondrous, clandestine world, concealed to most and revealed to only a privileged few.This is the same feeling I get when I’m out on a treasure hunt.  mugglesAs I’m walking around town, sleuthing clues and visiting hidden locations (chosen for me by the mysterious hunt master), I think how cool it is be on this SECRET MISSION, with the whole “Muggle” world completely oblivious to my actions.  Geocaching and letterboxing work the same way.

It feels almost naughty, doesn’t it?   Are we really being allowed to do this?

Now consider the flushed, concentrated looks you see on the faces of high school girls on the bus, busily texting away to each other on their cell phones.  It’s the same phenomenon!  While the world goes by, doing its quotidian thing, here are these young people — communicating privately in plain sight —  sharing a secret, enhanced world full of intrigue, drama and emotion.

Now I ask you:  who would want to be a Muggle when you can be a Wizard, pursuing adventures and engaging in quests while the rest of humanity just trudges off to work?

So my question is, what can we all do to “power up” (as they say in the video game world)?  How can we create secret games and missions for ourselves that transform our ordinary reality?  In short, how can we tap into that wonderful feeling of being a man-or-woman of mystery, an international spy, a witch or a warlock amidst a “clueless,” hum-drum, oblivious society?

My recommendation:  start exercising some clandestine philanthropy!   Become a super hero of Samaritanism.   Your mission today:

  • Do three good deeds for complete strangers
  • Pay someone’s bridge tolls
  • Leave a flower and a card for a waitress
  • Drop off a bag of cookies for your hard-working flight attendant
  • Sneak a small present into a co-worker’s desk

Keep track of all your deeds and compete with your chosen “Wizard” posse to out-Samaritan each other.  Give higher points for more extravagant challenges and charitable missions.    Be creative!   And give prizes to the winner(s) at the end of the day/week/month.    You’ll be amazed how much fun and dramatic every day can become as you surprise and delight the Muggles all around you while out-wizarding your friends.

As always, thank you for being a part of the Dr. Clue Community!Dave Blum, Editor, The Dr. Clue Team building Newsletter & the Friday Icebreaker

Feel free to contact us 510-528-0428
or email Dave personally at