London PCAG event

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The search for the Receda Cube on Earth


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  • On Saturday, Feb. 25, players gathered in London for the much-anticipated PCAG competition, the follow-up to the New York PCAG event
  • Starting at 10 AM, 25-35 people turned up for "Brunchfast", a pre-event social at JD Weatherspoon's pub (though no one brought a pink balloon, the pre-determined identification symbol)
  • Meanwhile, nine players and representatives crammed themselves into a phone booth at Trafalgar Square for publicity shots with a professional photographer (by the way, the world record is 14)
  • Doors opened at 12 PM for signing in 200 individuals, broken into groups of six (38 teams total)
  • After an introduction by Adrian, the games began at 1 PM
  • Goods including t-shirts, starter packs, mugs and posters were available for sale
  • Each team received one special, light blue PCAG bag, and every participant received a PCAG Leitmark
  • Throughout the day, people at base camp chatted and traded puzzle cards
  • The members of the winning team received clear cubes as prizes
  • After the games concluded, the top 8 teams were taken to the London Eye, where they intercepted a conversation (?) in morse code, flashed with torches on either side of the river; this has not yet been translated
  • Later, everyone retired to the Horse and Groom pub on Great Portland Street for social interaction lubricated by alcohol

The Games

  • Players received on Perplex City bag per team, containing a folder with challenge and information sheets
  • Teams had until 4:00 PM to complete as many challenges on the sheet as possible. This included:
    • Taking phone camera pictures of the task as evidence and sending them in via MMS
    • Having helpers visually verify tasks
    • And texting base camp if the challenge could be answered in words
  • Teams would also receive trivia texts throughout the day, with points for each correct answer
  • Other texts would be sent out if a new challenge was happening close by

Challenge sheets

  • 16 questions requiring observation from walking round an area of central London (a triangle between Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus) that we had to text back to HQ for varying amounts of points (10-40). With hindsight the questions were in a good walking order, although those that did it backwards didn't get waylaid by the anti terrorism march and demonstration. (340 points)

Photo evidence

  • Six photo questions that required you to MMS photos of your team in various locations (260 plus open-ended 5 points per letter photo)
  • These consisted of:
    • 1) Photos of the whole team at the following Tube stations:
      • Chancery Lane
      • Picadilly Circus
      • Charing Cross
      • Leicester Square
      • Each of these was worth 20 points with an extra bonus 20 if you got them all.
    • 2) Fit up to 6 people in a phone box. (5 Points per person)
    • 3) Sit up to 6 people on a Trafalgar Square Lion. (5 Points per person)
    • 4) Form a human chain between two diagonal Trafalgar Square Lions, with each end touching the Lion. (40 Points)
    • 5) Form a human chain on the ground around Nelson's Column. (60 Points)
    • 6) Spell out a real word using people, either standing up or lying down. (5 Points per letter)

SMS trivia questions

  • Eight trivia questions texted through the day (7x20 + 1x10 = 150)

13:22:11, "Trivia - What year is it in Perplex City? Code: 601 Points: 20"

Answer: 269 AC

14:53:47, "Trivia - What surname is shared by Sente, Violet and Scarlett? Code: 602 Points: 20"

Answer: Kiteway

14:54:14, "Trivia - What's the tallest building in Perplex City? Code: 603 Points: 20"

Answer: Ascendancy Point

14:54:31, "Trivia - Which river runs through Perplex City? Code: 604 Points: 20"

Answer: The Mazy River

15:06:15, "Trivia - What is the leading newspaper in Perplex City called? Code: 605 Points: 20"

Answer: The Perplex City Sentinel

15:17:20, "Trivia - What is Scarlett's blog called? Code: 606 Points: 20"

Answer: The Scarlett Kite

15:28:25, "Trivia - Which Perplex City artist released an album on Earth? Code: 607 Points: 20"

Answer: Viard

15:43:38, "Trivia .-- .... .- - / .. ... / .--. . .-. .--. .-.. . -..- / -.-. .. - -.-- ... / -.-. ..- .-. .-. . -. -.-. -.-- Code: 608 Points: 10"

Answer: "What is Perplex City's currency?" Lecks

National Gallery trail

  • A special National Gallery section that gave cryptic clues for a trail through the gallery with a bumper 250-point question at the end to tempt us. Also to be texted. (370 points)

Ranger verification

  • Two questions requiring you to be witnessed either singing as part of a 6 team choir for 90 seconds in Leicester Square or playing various video games against other teams at the Trocadero Arcade. For free, too! (100 Points per team for the choir, 80/50/30 Points at the arcade, depending on how well you did)

Base camp

  • Two questions that required you to compete against other teams building a biscuit tower or spelling backwords (60 plus open-ended 10 points per letter spelling).

Spot challenges

  • Three or four other tasks texted through the day:

A race is to take place starting from the steps of the National Gallery at 2.15pm and 3pm. It's worth 150 points.

Get down and Conga! Form the longest conga line in Trafalgar Square at 2.50pm. The longer it is the more points you get!

What is the largest item you can buy and bring back to base at the end of the games for a single pound? You must have the receipt!

  • The National Gallery: Players gathered in front of the National Gallery, only to be told that they needed to race over to Leicester Square, where they received a riddle instructing them to buy a piece of fruit. Then they had to run back to Trafalgar Square with the correct fruit (many people tried to substitute kiwis for peaches, and strawberries for apples). Then, as teams, they had to eat each piece in its entirety.

2:15 - Go find and eat three fruit for us: The first has skin with gentle fuzz; The second, pomme d'amour is branded; The third the shape of things cack-handed.

Answers: Peach, tomato, pear

3:00 - You must find fruit to beat your fellows: The first made Eric Wimp so yellow; The second says the future's bright; The third picked up the Beatles' might.

Answers: Banana, orange, apple

Final challenge

  • The final task was to purchase the largest object possible for £1, with receipt
    • The undisputed* winner of the biggest item for £1 was the toilet roll bought by the CRT (Cube ReCoventry Team). With two 2-ply rolls for the bargain price of £0.95, and weighing in at an amazing 119.04 metres long, or 13.09 square metres in area, it truly was value for money! Toilet roll runs from left to right through the far doors in the photo and then some way up the stairs.
      • (*may not have actually won!)


Rank Team name Points scored
1 The Puzzle Monkeys 1200
2 Perplex Monkeys 1072
3 Logic, Intelligence and excellance 1062
4 The Cube ReCoventry Team 1017
5 Team Jazz Hands 1002
6 Serpentine Road 962
7 Good Guys, Bad guys 'n' explosions 957
8 Reservoir Frogs 937
9 Chic Geeks 892
10 Random Genius 880
11 Anglo Irish Contingent 827
12 Simba's Waffles 772
13 NorfolkFour 762
14 The Klatchian Foreign Legion 752
15 The Red Folks 752
16 The Argonauts 745
17 Muddled to the power of 5 727
18 The Sharkheads 720
19 The Minkies 707
20 The Wildcards 702
21 The Roofers 672
22 Viridian 665
23 Team Cambridge 637
24 Exit, pursued by a bear 617
25 thekipsclubb 615
26 The Goodies 612
27 lippy yank 590
28 kalimotxo 527
29 Smarties 492
30 The IT Crowd 465
31 Hunters with attitude 455
32 Sigma Chi 450
33 Noumenon9 435
34 Violet-Harlow 425
35 Lill Baz 390
36 The Bells 305
37 The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad 300
38 And so it begins 290


  • Biggest event of its kind
  • 127 people in the conga line
  • 3830 texts sent out
  • 1153 texts recieved
  • 27276 points earned
  • 2 things going completely wrong
    • The first was that culture wardens in Trafalgar Square wouldn't allow any "professional" filming of the events around Nelson's Column, and objected to large groups that drew lots of attention for the purpose of promoting something
    • The second was the huge angry protest march which gathered in Trafalgar Square, *on* Nelson's Column...about 30 seconds before the Conga Challenge started right in front of them
  • 0 arrests
  • £1 challenge:
    • 5 people sold for £1
    • 3 countries
    • 3 newspapers
    • 1 toilet paper roll
  • pcaglondon and perplexcity were listed as hot tags on Flickr for several days


The London Eye and Morse Code

  • A "mysterious benefactor" arranged a trip to the London Eye for the top 8 teams
  • While at the top, teams witnessed two messages being flashed in morse code
  • The messages are turning out to be very difficult to translate, and thus the solve has not yet emerged
  • Videos can be seen here (slightly truncated)
  • One message has been translated as:

-. / --- / - / ... / .- / ..-. / . / .-.-.- / .-- / . /

N o t s a f e . w e

-- / .-- / ... / - -- / --- / ...- / . / - / --- / /.- /

m u s t m o v e t o a

... / .- / ..-. / . / -.. / .. / --- / - / .- / -. / -.-. / . / ,-,-,- /

s a f e d i s t a n c e .


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