Greetings to the Clue Community!

Hello again, everyone.  What a strange couple of weeks it’s been for Dr. Clue, what with the government shutdown, the debt ceiling worries and some unseasonally damp weather on the East Coast!  All three phenomena come to a head last week in Washington D.C. when our client (Airbus) asks us to create a new hunt for them at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, out near Dulles Airport.  As per their request, we go out and scout the museum, write/playtest the clues, and assign one or our best trainers to facilitate. Everything is ready for a great day of treasure hunting…that is, until the Udvar-Hazy closes due to the government shutdown!  Yowza!  With the hunt only a week away, we shift to Plan B:  create a new hunt in nearby Leesburg.  Out again goes our location scout; we write more clues; and for the second time in less than a week, we find ourselves 100% ready to deliver an exciting, custom-made treasure hunt program for our client.   But wait — torrential rains have arrived in the DC area!   There is simply no way we can send people outside in that kind of downpour!   And so we scramble to concoct PLAN C:  a treasure hunt around Herndon, VA, by car.    The upshot of all this scrambling:  Success at last!   In spite of the  expected bad weather, our program goes off without a hitch, with all the treasure hunt groups enjoying their half-day of team building within the warm, dry, confines of their climate-controlled vehicles.  Crisis averted!   Whew.

Interestingly, during the hunt the groups did a most unusual thing.  To our surprise (and delight), all 8 teams decided spontaneously to work on the puzzle clues together, determining as a group where each clue leads to. Once all the clues were solved, the groups then split up again into there smaller teams and headed out their individual cars to visit the actual clue locations. I guess it just goes to show that there is no such thing as a good or bad training program.  In fact, “good” and “bad” are unnecessary judgments.   In treasure hunts, as in business (as, indeed, in life) there are only “opportunities“.    Would Dr. Clue have preferred to create only one hunt last week?  Of course.  But instead, we now have a new walking hunt in Leesburg and a new driving hunt in Herndon.   Our client knows that we’re flexible and will go the extra mile for them.  And the hunt participants, themselves, had the rare and exciting experience of working together across teams for mutual efficiency (and comfort).   It wound up being a win-win-win all around.

Will Congress (and Mother Nature) be receiving a thank you letter from me tomorrow morning?  I think not!.  🙂   But this cloud definitely had a silver living!

Dr. Clue News: 10% Discount 

There’s no time like the present to get your team outside together one more time before the onset of the chilly winter weather.  To encourage this, we’re making  this cool, limited-time offer:   Book your next Dr. Clue program between now and November 8th and receive a 10% discount.   Call us today at 707-566-7824 with the promo code “clue47”.


In today’s issue of the Dr. Clue newsletter, we’ve got 3 more puzzles for you to solve, an icebreaker that is “memorable” and an article we hope you “choose” to read.    Enjoy!

Dave Blum
Editor, Dr. Clue Icebreaker Newsletter

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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) Western Division Champions
2) Honorable intentions
3) Ol’ Ironsides

Our First-to-Solve was Paul Coates.  Congratulations Paul!

Honorable mention to our other top solvers:

  • Alyssa Zeff
  • Randy Jacobs
  • Bernie Newman
  • Jan Frizzell
  • Dena Hoffman
  • Pauline Gehnrich


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


Childhood Memories

While going through some old boxes this weekend, I came across some faded post cards I’d sent to my parents from summer camp when I was eight years old.   Here are a few choice ones:

“Dear Mother and Father,
Will you send me a pen and pencil because I am tired of borrowing pens.  I went fishing today.  Love David.”

“Dear Mother and Father,
I am going on an overnight.  I have rode two horses, Rawhide and Peg.    Love David”

“Dear Mother and Father,
I got your pen and pencil and that is how I am writing this letter. Today I got a peacock feather.  Love David

“Dear Mother and Father,
I lost the pen and pencil you sent me so will you please send me another.  Love David”

“Dear Mother and Father,
I have gotten five of your letters and I am glad you sent me a pen and pencil.  Last night, there was a treasure hunt.  I loved it.  Love David”

Beside my evident obsession with writing implements, what I learned from this childhood correspondence is that treasure hunts were a part of my life from way, way back.    Who knew?

In this exercise, “Childhood Memories” we ask participants to delve into their past in search of clues to their present.   Divide participants into groups of three or four and tell them that they’re going to take a trip down memory road.   Each person must make share within their groups  a list of their top five childhood hobbies and activities.   They must then attempt to determine patterns between what they enjoyed doing as kids vs. the work they do now.

If you have enough time in advance, have people go through their old boxes and photos at home and come to the training with a show and tell item:  their old stamp or coin collection, for example, or anything else they can think of.

Debrief Questions:  What were the most interesting things you learned about your teammates and yourself?   How did it feel sharing stories from your childhood?   How did your feelings towards your teammates shift upon hearing their stories and sharing your own?   What did you include, what did you hold back, and why?

The Point:   One big challenge in connecting with our co-workers is the separation that comes with job titles and hierarchy.   Activities like this allow us to see our colleagues as ordinary people — and not just “people”, but adults who were once children.   It reminds us that no one is unchanging, no one is fixed in stone.  Everyone is a process; everyone is a work in progress.


Featured Article

The Power of Choice
By Dave Blum

There once was a knight of the Round Table who met a beautiful woman — fair of skin with long, raven hair — and took her to court to marry her.   Little did the knight know that his bride-to-be was bewitched by a terrible spell, cast upon her by an evil sorcerer.   According to the spell, the woman could only remain beautiful for 12 hours a day.   For the other half of the day, she transformed into an ugly crone, with greenish skin, yellow boils and hooked claws for fingernails.   Interestingly, the spell had some significant flexibility.   The woman could stay beautiful by day and turn ugly by night — or she could do the opposite: be fair under the sun and homely under the moon. As one might imagine, this presented the knight with quite a dilemma.   Would he prefer to escort his lovely wife around court during the day, enjoying the social scene with a fair damsel on his arm?  If so, he would most certainly be bedding the ugliest witch in the realm when night fell.   Or instead, would he prefer to enjoy the pleasures of the boudoir with a gorgeous woman at his side, in return suffering the loss of status he’d undoubtedly experience upon escorting a hag in high society?

After much thought, the knight approached his bride and declared, “There is only one solution.  I give YOU the choice.”   Suddenly, with a crack of lightning and roll of thunder, a blue light descended upon the woman.  As golden sparks bounced and shimmered across her skin, the woman exclaimed, “You’ve done it! The spell is broken!  By giving me the choice, I am now free to be beautiful both day and night.”   And, as the saying go, they lived happily ever after.

Perhaps nothing in the world is as potent as the power of choice.   It can topple governments, transform relationships, and occasionally, turn a witch into a princess.   In the story above, the woman gains her freedom from enchantment when the knight offers her the ability to choose her own fate.   That’s what choice does for people; it liberates them from wherever they are currently stuck.   Sadly, choice isn’t always given to us, like magic, at the hand of knights and sorcerers. Nine times out of ten, we have to earn our choices.  And inevitably, it starts with increasing our awareness.

Who, for example, hasn’t come across a person in their career who seems to be stuck in a pattern of lethargy, powerlessness and apathy.   For folks locked in this mode, the world is a scary, overwhelming place, where the only choice is to survive and to endure.  More often than not, “victims” like this are not even aware that they’re victims.  They just don’t realize that they have the power to change their lot in life.

Conversely, we all know people who are mired in an equally negative pattern characterized by conflict, anger and apathy.  For them, the world is a place of eternal competition, a black and white universe of opponents and adversaries, where everyone is “out to get you”, so you better strike first.  Fighters like this are also unaware of the energy state at which they’re stuck.   They, too, cannot imagine a different attitude or approach to life.  And they, too, have a choice, if only they can somehow see it, somehow get un-stuck.

It seems to me that our job  — as trainers and facilitators, as supervisors and managers — is not about “teaching” or “instructing” people, but rather, to remind them, again and again, about their power of choice. Whether encountering a victim or a fighter, we need to guide folks towards an awareness of where they are now, and what they might be doing differently in order to get what they really want.   Because we all want the same things at work, really: sufficient training, intriguing work, positive interpersonal relationships, feedback, connectivity, and communication.

So how do we do this?  How do we make people aware of their power, their agency in the world?   We start by reminding them, again and again, that attitude starts with thoughts, which give rise to feelings, which engender actions.   We hold up a mirror to people, suggesting that In order to move from a lower energy state to higher one, they need to begin observing their thoughts and feelings as something apart from themselves, something to study and to learn from.   They have to get conscious!   And, as our trainees and colleagues become aware of their thoughts and feelings, they can come to realize that it’s possible to replace old thoughts with new ones.  People can choose a new way of looking at things. They can choose their actions.

To get started on this path, I offer you this simple script.  The next time you’re in front of a group of trainees, ask them:

“Why are you here today?
You could easily have found a way to get out of today’s training, but you didn’t.
You CHOSE to come today.
So, what do you CHOOSE to get out of this?”

Try it!

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

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