Greetings to the Clue Community!

Dr. Clue News: 

1) Recent Programs:  This week we delivered a terrific little treasure hunt program in Downtown Charlotte for Wells Fargo, and a super fun hunt for Autodesk in a brand new location:  San Rafael, CA .  Busy times.  🙂

2) New Locations:  Dr. Clue is excited to announce two new treasure hunt locations:

San Rafael, (Northern California)

Portions of American Graffiti were filmed in downtown San Rafael under George Lucas’s direction…  More.

Udvar-Hazy, Museum (Near Washington-Dulles Airport)

Serving as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM)’s annex at Washington Dulles International Airport, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is 760,000 square feet of aeronautic fun…   More.

3) We need your help!:

Our brand new Dr. Clue home page is online and ready for viewing at   We value your opinion so please send us your comments, ideas and suggestions asap!  Thanks.

In today’s issue of the Dr. Clue newsletter, we’ve got 3 more puzzles for you to solve, an icebreaker that is uncommonly good, and an article about the wisdom of crowds.  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 3 puzzles:

Click for answer

Click for answer

Click for answer

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

1) Easy as pie
2) Foreign Language
3) 100 meter backstroke

Our First-to-Solve was Bernie Newman.  Congratulations Bernie!

Honorable mention to our other top solvers:

  • Heather Lubecki
  • Randy Jacobs
  • Kristen Wilson
  • Carolyn Rohrer
  • Alyssa Zeff
  • Pauline Gehnrich
  • Jan Frizzell
  • Lisa Breen Strickland
  • Lillian Chesley
  • Jan Nicholas

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).

Click for answer

Click for answer

Click for answer

Email your answers ASAP at:
Good luck!


This Week’s Icebreaker


Five of Anything

While we generally recommend ice breakers that are related to the topic of the meeting, “five of anything” is a quick, fun team building activity that people really enjoy. No one is asked to leave their conversational comfort zone and we’ve never found a participant unwilling to share the answers to this type of question.

Start by dividing the meeting participants into groups of four or five people by having them number off. (You do this because people generally begin a meeting by sitting with the people they already know best.)   Then:

    1. Tell the newly formed groups that their assignment is to share their five favorite movies of all time, or their five favorite novels, or their five least-liked films, and so forth. The topic can be five of anything – most liked or disliked. This ice breaker helps the group explore shared interests more broadly and sparks lots of discussion about why each person likes or dislikes their selected five.


    1. Alternate:  You can also use this ice breaker for topical discussion. As an example, in a session on team building, you might ask, “What are five dysfunctional behaviors you have experienced when participating on an unsuccessful team?” Or, “Think about the best team you have ever been on. What are five key factors that made it your best or most successful team?”
    1. Tell the groups that one person must take notes and be ready to share the highlights of their group discussion with the whole group upon completion of the assignment.
    1. Asking a volunteer to read their list of five of anything. Or ask the volunteer to list any movies, for example, that more than one person had in common and shared as their favorite. Then, ask each group to share their whole list with the whole group.


  1. When the volunteer from each group is finished, ask the rest of the participants if they have anything they’d like to add to the discussion before moving on with the rest of the session.

This team building icebreaker takes 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the number of groups that need to report their discussion.

(With thanks to ———————————————————————-

Featured Article

A Face in the Crowd
By Dave Blum

The other day while looking up something on Wikipedia, I was greeted by a prominent note at the top of the page asking me for a mere $3.00 donation to fund the website’s ongoing efforts.    Wikipedia is an amazing, volunteer service, right  – the modern equivalent of the Oxford English Dictionary?  What’s $3.00 to me, really?   Without more thought, I clicked on the PayPal button and made my donation.

Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about crowd sourcing and its relationship to teambuilding.

The above-mentioned Wikipedia describes “Crowdsourcing” as follows:

“Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers…  It combines the efforts of numerous self-identified volunteers or part-time workers, where each contributor of their own initiative adds a small portion to the greater result. Crowdsourcing is distinguished from outsourcing in that the work comes from an undefined public rather than being commissioned from a specific, named group.”
By clicking on Wikipedia’s donation link, I essentially join the “undefined public” as a “self-identified contributor”, adding a small piece to a much larger puzzle.  As an individual, my piece ($3.00) is rather modest.  But when joined with others, that $3.00 soon becomes $300, then $3000, then $3 million.  Pretty cool, huh?  And crowdsourcing is not just about fundraising.  For instance, I once read about a scientific campaign that asked mass groups of video gamers to help figure out ways to fold proteins using an online modeling software.  The gamers jumped into the challenge with relish, applying their unique visual sense and manual dexterity to assist in a larger, more epic, philanthropic campaign.  Even Wikipedia, itself, is an example of crowdsourcing at work:  thousands of people providing small bits of content to a greater, collaborative body of work.

But is crowdsourcing the same as “teamwork”?  In a way yes, in a way no.

Teams, by general definition, are small groups of people, working together with mutual agreements and procedures, for a common goal.   Apart from the “small group” part, this is all sounds quite similar to crowdsourcing.   In both constructs, people must blend their special skills, knowledge and abilities (and even financial resources) to make the collective unit stronger and more varied.    Nevertheless, I see three significant differences between teams- at-work vs. crowds online.

1)      Accountability:  In crowdsourcing, the individual is relatively unimportant.   If you add a single tile to the collective mosaic, great.  But if you don’t, no one is going to get on your case.    There are just so many others out there to pick up the slack and move the freight train of progress forward.   Contrast this to a 5-person work team, where your individual contribution is vital to the team’s success.  Quite simply, you need to do what you say you’re going to do, or the whole group falls down.  There’s no hiding in numbers.

2)      Communication:  In crowd-sourced projects, people often send in their offerings anonymously via the internet, where a coordinator then assembles and sorts the disparate pieces into a final product.   Very little give and take is required between the various contributors.   Now consider a small team at work:  talking, negotiating, planning, strategizing, and resolving conflicts.  Language skills and communication are vital to the team’s success and ultimate profitability.   Once again, there’s nowhere to hide.

3)      Covering for each other’s weaknesses :   In crowd sourcing, you’re often being asked to donate whatever you do best, without much awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of others. You’re all anonymous.   Teams, on the other hand, function as more than just a compilation of individual strengths.   Frequently, your task, as a teammate, is both to add your specific subject-matter expertise AND to cover for other people’s weaknesses.   Everything is enmeshed  entwined and intermingled.  Perhaps, for example, your teammates are all introverts with subdued public speaking skills.   Then you had better be the one to pick up the slack when it comes to making your presentation to management.   You need to be strong where they are weak, and vice versa.

Looking back, I’m glad I was able to be a small cog in such a worthy organization as Wikipedia.    Point-click-done…donation made.   Crowdsourcing like this can be amazing, valuable and, in this case, dead easy — floating along, faceless, in the internet ether, acting locally but making an impact globally.    But thank goodness for small work “teams” as well, operating down there in the trenches, doing important work in close confines.   Four is company, five’s a team.