No Cigar

February 5, 2004
Raspberry Island Bandshell


Well damn! Looks like someone found the medallion….and it wasn’t me! Raven, and I were at Phalen from around 6PM yesterday ’til about 2:30AM! Well, we did have like an hour and a half warm-up/dinner break @ Perkins…but I still think we qualify as hardcore.

When the last clue came out @ ~11:15 last night, we were standing right at ground zero. In the space of 5 minutes we couldn’t move from the spot we were in. I guess its good to know that our instincts were correct, even if we didn’t go home with the prize.

We finally threw in the towel after going to warm up in the car around 2:15AM turned into going home and crawling into bed. We had walked around a good portion of the park and also were sore from extended periods of digging. In fact, I’m in what I lovingly refer to as a world of hurt right now…oh well…next year….

Meanwhile, here are all the clues, with “explanations” for each, along with my comments on what Raven & I had theorized them to mean…..

Clue #1
Say it ain’t so, Clueless Joe,
And all who prattle and bark.
Stop yer clue-bashin’, if treasure’s your passion,
Go you look in an area park.

Explanation: A playful counter-rip on people who ripped last year’s clues, who were ably led by a popular, winter carnival-connected columnist. This clue says the treasure is in an “area park.” This differs from the usual “city park” clue, because Phalen is both a city park and part of the county regional park system.

No big surprises here, we did make note of the use of “area park” as opposed to the usual “park in St. Paul”….

Clue #2
Jughead has spoken, look for the token
We’ll make it worth your while
Like Archie, you seek an object this week
As green as the Emerald Isle.

Explanation: In homage to the Archie & Friends comic (No. 78), which was based on the Pioneer Press Treasure hunt, we hid the medallion in an actual, real donut with gooey green icing. In the comic version, the searchers were supposed to find a plastic green donut. They found it among books in a library. Token suggests nearby Arcade Street, and isle refers to island in the park.

Well, we knew about the Archie comic with the donut hunt, and we figured Emerald Isle as one of the many Irish themed clues this year.

Clue #3
“Help me!” you say. “Any time. Any day.
It’s neither here nor there.”
A quite clever device, but beware false advice.
Prank? Perhaps. All is fair.

Explanation: Take the first word in each line, put them together, and it reads, “Help it’s a prank,” which refers to our prankish ploy of borrowing the green donut from the Archie & Friends comic book. More importantly, it’s an anagram – clever device – for “It’s Phalen Park.”

Wow. This one sucked! Someone on the Message Board on Pioneer Press said that they’d posted a false clue on the Internet, and then retracted it. So I assumed it to be nothing more than that.

Clue #4
East Side, West Side, take your honey for a ride
To a stony and sandy place
Come one, come all, ever following the bouncing ball
To the swift belongs the race.

Explanation: Stony and sandy place refers to all the Depression-era stonework and the beach on Phalen Lake and the sand traps at Phalen’s golf course. The medallion is on the West Side of Phalen Lake, and the park is in St. Paul’s East Side. Bouncing ball refers to the nearby green handball courts, and ride to the road and bike paths by the lake.

Raven thought this simply referred to the golf course. Riding carts chasing after golf balls.

Clue #5
Go to the place, it’s no disgrace,
Where the girls shall be happy to dance
Don’t look in the rough, but if you want the stuff
You may have to get dirt on your pants.

Explanation: The place is the Bible, which is quoted on the old stone monument dedicated to the conservation corps in Phalen. “The girls shall be happy to dance” refers to the beginning of Jeremiah 31:13, the later lines of which are inscribed on the monument. “Shall” hints the Bible reference. The rough line warns hunters away from nearby Phalen and Keller golf courses. Dirt on pants hints that the medallion is on the ground.

Again with the suckage! We had heard there used to be dances held often at Phalen, and accurately assumed the rough to refer to keeping our asses off of the golf course.

Clue #6
Take your bow, don’t aim low,
Be steady on your feet
Take a stand with your fiery band
And prepare for the coming defeat

Explanation: Street clues and topographical hints. “Don’t aim low” refers to medallion’s location just down from a ridge and “stand” to the trees where the medallion is hidden. Band, bow and stand suggests Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood and his merry band, which in turn leads you to Sherwood Avenue near the park. The park is one of few to have an archery range. Coming defeat suggests failin’ – the aural equivalent of Phalen.

Right. Well, we did figure that coming defeat was Phalen…

Clue #7
Still up a creek? Here’s where to peek,
Though be wary to avoid a wet drop
This is no foolin’ – monster fish are schoolin’
Not far from the wintry crop.

Explanation: Creek refers to nearby Phalen Creek. Wet drop warns hunters away from the recently open water on Lake Phalen where ice castle blocks – the wintry crop – were harvested. Monster fish are on the mural on the side of the lakeside center. Phalen allows fishing.

Hmm, we actually assumed this to say that it was NOT at Battle Creek or Hidden Falls (wet drop). At least we figured out the monster fish & wintry crop…

Clue #8
Tilt at a windmill, hunt till a standstill
A plump pitcher may hold you at bay
Look it’s quite likely not far from old lakely
“What a bunch of malarkey!” you say.

Explanation: All clues refer to names on the 1986 Ice Palace monument near the medallion site in Phalen Park. Tilt at a windmill is refers to “Don Quixote,” the book about an errant knight who fights windmills by Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes is a name on the monument as well as Plump, Pitcher, Likely, Lakely and Malarkey. “Old lakely” hints that we are talking about a name and suggests the lake.

Uh-huh….we had nothin’. I knew about tilting at windmills being a reference to Don Quixote….We thought plump pitcher might somehow be referring to the pumphouse….and malarkey is that irish theme again…

Clue #9
Go take a risk, we threw the disk
Where it seems you’re far from succeedin’
Unless you are blind, the treasure you’ll find
Among plants that are unfit for weedin’.

Explanation: Throwing the disk conjures “frisbee,” which leads to nearby Frisbie Street. Far from succeedin’ would be again be “failin.'” Blind refers Helen Keller, whose last name is part of Phalen-Keller Regional Park. Not fit for weedin’ puts you near the medallion hidden by a wildflower area.

I actually did notice Frisbie street near Phalen when looking in my map book. We made the Blind=Keller connection. But the biggest thing about this clue was the “plants unfit for weedin'” that made me realize that it had to be hidden near the wildflower sign referenced in the final clue…

Clue #10
What could be bolder than killing a soldier?
A crime both evil and grim.
Accused of the deed, but soon after freed
So we name a park after him!

Explanation: Old settler Edward Phelan was accused of killing a soldier, but later freed. The creek and the park were named after him, and his name apparently had more than one spelling.

Did I mention that both my mother & my wife know a lot of St. Paul history?

Clue #11
Who can measure the lust for the treasure
Between lakes is a donut to own.
Up and then down, not square but round,
Look for the windows of stone.

Explanation: The donut is located between Round Lake and Phalen Lake. It is in hilly terrain. A nearby pump house had its windows closed with stone.

I actually thought the windows of stone referred to the footbridge nearby which has cutouts that look like cathedral windows. This is the clue that lead me to the wildflower sign….

Clue #12
You will be nifty if you remember fifty
The number that leads to the zone
You should be in Phalen. Stop the regalin’.
And go to a bridge made of stone.
It’s down Phalen Drive, and should you arrive
Across the street from the golf clubhouse, observe:
The pastry you’ll find by leaving the old palace behind
Cross the bridge, on the path, make the curve.
All your hunting hours lead to a sign for wildflowers
Across the path from a picnic table.
Table and sign form a line, with which you must align
Head up the hill if you’re able.
Fifty large paces, you’re off to the races
From the path to some tumbledown woods.
If you stay on the line, on a side-hill you’ll find
Under fallen trees, a green donut, with the goods.
Inside this confection lies plastic perfection
But remember, to keep the hunt credible.
The hunt’s heart and soul is inside the donut’s hole
It’s valuable – but definitely not edible!

Explanation: Gives directions to a stone bridge across Phalen Drive from the golf course club house. Puts hunters on the path and to a wildflower sign. Asks hunters to align themselves with the sign and a picnic table across the path. Says to go up the hill 50 large paces, staying on this line. On a side hill, under fallen-down woods, the green donut, with the medallion slipped into the donut hole, will be found. A clarifying note that the donut, sitting in snow and dirt and leaves, should not be eaten.

I don’t know that this clue needs any further dissection. I can’t believe they honestly hid it in a real donut though…yuck! Raven & I were so close this year….oh well. Just 353 days ’til the next one…

Filed under: La Vie — GSeven330


  1. picklejuice says:

    In a million years, I’d never have gotten any of those clues.
    Guess I should travel outside of Anoka once in a while, huh?
    Sounds like you guys had fun, though. Too bad you didn’t win! Always next year.

  2. Susan says:

    I never get any of the clues, not being from Minnesota doesn’t help, but my hubby on the other hand always works them out, I just think it is too darn bad he is always away at work – last year I am positive we would have found the medallion at como…he kept saying this is where they need to dig…and darned if he wasn’t right.
    Maybe next year I should share my info with you and if he is correct and you find it…we could share the loot? Ha!

  3. GSeven says:

    In years past I’ve tried emailing people the clues in an effort to spur participation….maybe next year I’ll be ultra-prepared and we can all work on it!