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Are cryptic clues all they are cracked up to be ?

Show Profile  Greg T Posted: 20 December 2008, 12:02 AM  
This has more of a rogaine twist to it but I guess that's still a map sport.

When I've set my last two after-work rogaines In welly I have used cryptic clues. So that people don't take them too seriously I've tried to encourage the fancy dress theme, kinda like Twalk.

My logic behind using cryptic clues is that the awesome track system in Wellington is just a bit too easy for people to navigate along so the challenge is that they have to be in exactly the right spot to find the clue. Can't just see a ribbon from 50m away.

However I think I am defeating the purpose of these afterwork rogaines - to entice newbies into the sport. The tracks are a perfect place for them to learn and from the comments at the next rogaine in the series I believe they have outlived their worth. They were quite fun to do though.

There are a few disadvantages i.e. takes the organiser ages to set them up (they have to spend a lot more time out in the field, can't really just use google earth and have one trip, in reality it takes a couple); the organiser (me) seems to think on a different wavelength to the entrants.I was rather leniant on scoring as if I had been expecting exact answers then the scores would have been maybe 50% of those posted.
Having said that I did really enjoy the Boohai and it appears that the Xmas rogaine in Chch was really well received. Comments are appreciately before I decide whether or not to use them for the third installment of the Roadrunner rogaine series..Stay tuned...(excuse the puns in this post)

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 20 December 2008, 4:16 AM  
So Greg T has revealed himself as one of the biggest contributors to rogaines around Wellington - and prepared to try other branches of the sport right down to O-Max sprints in parks. In addition to his afterwork rogaines this year, I recall him offering to check a day rogaine that he wasn't going to be able to enter. He did ALL the controls by himself in a day - and I think it was raining.

Show Profile  Tane Cambridge Posted: 20 December 2008, 6:10 AM  
No, they are not. I think they are a waste of time...but I'm not the worlds greatest fan of score events either so that may be part of the reason why I dont like them.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 21 December 2008, 3:09 PM  
I think they are great, they test real navigation competency far more than your average rogaine. I don't know what you mean by "exact answers" because surely under the basic twalk/epic/taylors mistake/boohai system all answers are exact if people find them.

It is very much an art getting them at the right level though and you definitely have to think about who is racing.

Show Profile  Old Timer Posted: 22 December 2008, 2:43 AM  
I like cryptic controls Greg. I was immensely frustrated by them at the Boohai, but that was all part of the fun. Who would have thought a Cabbage Tree was a Lily? Long may they continue to test us.

Show Profile  Greg T Posted: 22 December 2008, 2:57 AM  
because the rogaine was urban I was using things like "cow" letter boxes and old tyres so there wasn't a control flag at every site. So because people weren't finding flags there were no exact answers. I actually did read the answers submitted and they were actually quite amusing at times. There seemed to be a lot of frustration out there though because w.t.f turned up a lot and though fortunately there weren't too many questioning which planet I was from...

Show Profile  nick Posted: 22 December 2008, 3:26 AM  
I'm dubious.

I will concede that they may add a spice, which may be appropriate or desireable in certain events. OTOH I think they must be treated with caution because they fundamentally move the event away from navigation and into pub-quiz/brain-teaser territory.

I wouldn't avoid a rogaine simply because it was going to use cryptic clues, but I would prefer to know in advance if it was; I don't enjoy being hijacked with some cryptic mumbo jumbo masquerading as accurate control description.

(Jamie, I'll ask you to explain how cryptic clues test real navigation competency, maybe when I see you at Oceania?!)

So yeah, horses for courses, eh.

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 22 December 2008, 3:30 AM  
I think they suck.

A Rogaine shouldn't be a crossword puzzle. The result of a roagaine shouldn't be dictated by who can figure out how a race orgainisers brain works (especially one overcome with their own cleverness).

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 22 December 2008, 8:32 AM  
Greg I think I've got it. ACCATACUTB. Sounds like Ak Attack, is "cracked up" the signal for an aural link? Then UTB could be ultra terrain bike. Cracking up, I bet you are...

Show Profile  addison Posted: 22 December 2008, 9:18 AM  
Cryptic Clues suck.

Jamie, reality is we shouldn't have clues at all. Centre of circle. A clue is only because you don't want to waste time as an organiser trying to be 100% perfect. It defines the feature and makes it so much fairer for all.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 22 December 2008, 9:50 AM  
Should probably clarify what I mean by cryptic clue...hopefully chris will come on here as well and back me up.

A cryptic clue shouldn't be "cryptic" as in crossword, and I'm certainly not a fan (and have never used) the old question and answer format which is more suitable for scout jamborees than sport.

A cryptic clue is just a slightly amusing way of defining a very precise centre of the circle without chucking in a big orange flag there (which needs to be collected straight afterwards). By enabling a checkpoint to be found this way you can place the checkpoint on a much wider variety of interesting features which may not necessarily be marked on the map.

Given the linear natures of most features on a topographical map this enables you to create much greater navigational challenge.

Not been able to find checkpoints unless you look hard in a very defined place advantages the best navigators, encouraging skill development (although 90% of people consider finding clues luck).

If instead of "cryptic clues" you want a description, like inside rocky cave, on the right hand side beside the skull, thats fine with me as long as the circle is centred as well as possible. I always try as an organsier to be 100% perfect with my circles. With my role models being Bruce McLeod and Chris Forne.

Brent, Simon ....not quite sure which basis you guys are commenting on as we have not experienced the same events...I suspect if you had grown up with TWALKS, EPIC's etc, then you might feel quite differently as you are both very good navigators.

(and Old Timer, must confess the lily was not my best placement, but I wonder if you found that typical of the event in terms of the need for "general knowledge". I agree general knowledge or trivia skills should not be needed...and I recommend staying away from botanical clues as they are the ones I and other organisers ahve generally screwed up.)

Show Profile  Tane Cambridge Posted: 22 December 2008, 10:45 AM  
Cryptic clues + Navigation = treasure hunt???

Show Profile  addison Posted: 22 December 2008, 11:17 AM  
To be honest Jamie you are right. You are right that Brent and I are glad we didn't grow up in the South Island, as we would be like you - satisfied with sub par placements of controls and crap maps.

(no offence intended to any south islanders, but man there have been some shockers I've been to)

Show Profile  Greig Posted: 22 December 2008, 11:45 AM  
Cryptic clues aren't bad as long as they are useful. On a topomap control placements would be pretty boring if all you had to go by was the circle. What do you use, stream junctions, hill tops etc. If cryptic clues are used well then it can mean you have to navigate to exactly the right place within a control circle and then the clue should make it obvious where to look.

An example, say there is a small cluster of trees partway down a hillside with the surrounding area being rough open ground. In this group of trees there is a single cabbage tree. A cryptic clue could be something like "All a poor student can afford for dinner" Hopefully this would be fairly obvious and if not then because it is a distinct feature within the cluster of trees then it would be a good place to look anyway.

Personally I don't have a problem with them as long as they are fairly obvious. Rogaines where the clues aren't helpful are the worst kind of rogaines so organisers should be very careful to make sure that the clue is useful and defines a unique feature.

People who make clues that are decrypted to be "pine tree" when you are in a pine tree plantation should be shot. (No one here but sadly I have done events like this.)

If people are writing down wtf then I think the clues need to be a bit more obvious.

Show Profile  Greig Posted: 22 December 2008, 11:49 AM  
All that being said I don't want the Nationals to have cryptic clues. However TWALK wouldn't be the same if it was just orienteering flags.

I personally think the cryptic clues work to an orienteers advantage since you have to know where you are and can't just randomly run around in the control circle area until you happen to find the flag.

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 22 December 2008, 11:53 AM  
I think I'm on the same page as Harris - fun event, and everyone knows beforehand that's what they're getting, no worries about cryptic clues

Serious competition on the other hand, no.

And probably also not for promotional events where you want to show off what the sport is, if we're talking clues cryptic enough to take more than navigation skills to find the control.

One of the most fun days I had with a map in hand was a fundraiser for Wellington members of a JWOC team put on by Steve Holden at the botanic gardens. No circles at all on the map (which was the city council map with all the features labeled), just cryptic crossword type clues to find which of the various spots around the gardens had the controls. A lot of fun, something different for all the old hands, but not if there'd been something "serious" at stake, and I would never use it as an example of what orienteering's about.

Oh, and cabbage tree = agavaceae not liliaceae. Sorry, I promise that will be my last act of biological pedantry for the year (oh no, wait, I still have to convince my father those aren't native frogs invading his swimming pool...)

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