How Did You Know, Kris & Ryan Kelly?!


First a little update: We're now over 760 fans over on the Hunt's Facebook page! Gamers are taking it upon themselves to trade answers through cryptic clues! Nice going Fans! Keep on using the page in new, and cool ways as the community grows.

More importantly, despite it being a holiday week, we still managed to get dozens of submissions with all the correct answers. And you all will be entered into the drawing to win this month's Vado HD cam, courtesy of our sponsors. Likewise, anyone who submitted any answer at all is eligible for the free premium subscription on

But enough chatter. On with the winners!

DSCN0889You'll recognize the team of Kris and Ryan Kelly from last month -- Yes, we have repeat first-place winners! Great work Kris and Ryan! I'm especially thrilled to learn that they live and work around my home town of Philadelphia (GO E-A-G-L-E-S!) We'll post all their work after the jump, but first a little bit more about them:
My wife Kris and I are excited and honored to have won HDYK again! This month's particular trivia hunt was in her wheelhouse, as she's the resident puzzle fan in our household. She solves puzzles every day in her job as an analyst and unofficial Excel guru for Bank of America "“ and luckily for her we live in Philadelphia, which has been home to the National Sudoku Championship since its inception in 2007. Kris has competed in the advanced category all three years and she's finished every puzzle in her allotted time; her passionate pursuit of the things she loves is one of many reasons I'm amazingly proud of her. Also, Will Shortz once said "hi" to me as we walked past each other (true story!).

I'm usually of more help with the quiz/pop culture stuff "“ especially sports, which I love and get to live daily as a producer at NFL Films. As a parent of an amazing 16-month old, I don't get to do much (or really any) bar trivia anymore ("quizzo" in Philly), but as students at Penn once upon a time, my friends and I had fun and even occasional success playing at the legendary "Pennstitution" Smokey Joe's.

Thanks again to Mental Floss for putting together HDYK and for giving us the opportunity to compete and have fun! Can't wait "˜till next month!

Final Answer

The one of the list that's not a familiar alias for Santa Claus is WunderKlaas.

Day 1


Based on John Steinbeck, the answer from D1L2 last month, the unscrambled titles are:

The Long Valley (leftover E)

Of Mice and Men (leftover T)

The Wayward bus (leftover E)

Cannery Row (leftover T)

Tortilla Flat (leftover R)

The Grapes of Wrath (leftover L)

Cup of Gold (leftover A)

East of Eden (leftover P)

Once there was a war (leftover H)

The leftover letters, ETETRLAPH can be unscrambled to get The Pearl, with the last leftover letter of T.

Thanks google and amazon for a list of john Steinbeck titles!


Using a process of elimination on what numbers can go where, the final puzzle reads like this:

Top row: 3 "“ 5

Middle row: 7 "“ 1 "“ 8 "“ 2

Bottom row: 4 "“ 6

The last name then decodes as follows:

Position1 "“ position 2 = 7 "“ 4 = 3 = the letter C

Position 5 x position 6 = 5 x 3 = 15 = the letter O

Position 3 x position 4 = 3 x 4 = 12 = the letter L

Position 1 + position 6 + position 8 = 7 + 3 + 8 = 18 = the letter R

Position 8 "“ position 1 = 8 "“ 7 = 1 = the letter A

Position 1 x position 4 = 7 x 2 = 14 = the letter N

Position 8 "“ position 6 = 8 "“ 3 = 5 = the letter E

Adding those to the given letter T we get


Day 2


Using the musical code, we decipher the Johns as:

1. Lennon

2. Williams

3. Bach

4. McLaughlin

5. Philip Sousa

Using those John's as well as Coltrane from D1L2, we line them up to read the word Teacup in the shaded boxes.


Cover 1 (Sousa) from the original on the left to the copy on the right you've changed:

a) removed the letters CD from under the number 2 in the top left corner

b) removed the letter S from the word marches in the title

c) removed the periods between the G A C in the name of the Lt Col

d) removed a piece of the building overhang from the bottom right, right under the word Col

Cover 2 (Bach) from the original on the right to the copy on the left you've changed:

a) Removed the letter S from the word Toccatas in the title

b) removed the belly button from the right-most angel-type creature at the bottom

c) removed two wire support things connecting the bottom left portion of the building to wingy thing above it

d) removed a wire support thing from the section right about the head of the right-most angely thing

Cover 3 (Lennon) from the original on the left to the copy on the right you've changed:

a) Removed John's necklace

b) removed the 2nd from the bottom button from his shirt

c) removed a button looking thing from the left side of her coat, just to the left of the white stripey things

d) removed something from under his hand at the very left of the cover "“ part of her coat maybe?

Cover 4 (Coltrane) from the original on the right to the copy on the left you've changed:

a) Removed the stem from the T in the word stereo at the top

b) removed the apostrophe from coltrane's in the title at the top

c) removed the signature from the left side about 2/3 down, just above a redish blue-ish line

d) removed a black blob from the right side about 1/3 down, just below the long blue vertical blob

Cover 5 (Williams) from the original on the right to the copy on the left you've changed:

a) removed the letter K from the word soundtrack at the top

b) added a roman number I to the title to make it Episode II instead of Episode I

c) removed the word "˜by' from the bottom "˜composed and conducted by'

d) removed 2 different trademark symbols after Star Wars and The Phantom Menace

Day 3

The first picture is Tom Lehrer's The Elements Song, set to the Major General's Song from Pirates of Penzance.

The second pictures is Gilda Radner on the Muppet Show where she sings the Major General Song with a giant carrot.

The third picture is of the musical "The Frogs", which was adapted from The frogs of Aristophanes. One line from the major general song is "I know the croaking chorus from The Frogs of Aristophanes".

Additionally, September 19 is talk like a pirate day!

So, the four word phrase is The Pirates of Penzance


The elements are:

Antimony ("¦better thAN TIM ON Yesterdays"¦)

Neon ("¦attending a oNE-ON-one tutoring"¦)

Radon ("¦Professor ElezRA. DON't you"¦)

Lead ("¦Sue pLEADed"¦)

Iron (TheIR ONly problem"¦)

Tin ("¦disappoinTINg.)

Gold ("¦my carinG OLD buddy"¦)

Cobalt ("¦JaCOB, ALTered his"¦)

Nickel ("¦the picNIC KELly"¦)

Day 4


The Christmas tree puzzle reads from the top


1669 "“ 1262

928 "“ 741 "“ 521

499 "“ 429 "“ 312 "“ 209

260 "“ 239 "“ 190 "“ 122 "“ 87

132 "“ 128 "“ 111 "“ 79 "“ 43 "“ 44

63 "“ 69 "“ 59 "“ 52 "“ 27 "“ 16 "“ 28

24 "“ 39 "“ 30 "“ 29 "“ 23 "“ 4 "“ 12 "“ 16

6 "“ 18 "“ 21 "“ 9 "“ 20 "“ 3 "“ 1 "“ 11 "“ 5

I solved this one with a little algebra, starting at the top, that gave me definite answers all the way down to the second to last row. The bottom row, I believe, has second solution, but that one spells Hpwgvacik. Since that doesn't make any sense, this is the correct solution and spells Fruitcake.


Thank goodness for the Facebook clues that gave us the answers, because I was getting nowhere without them!

Song 1: "In that old silk hat" comes from "Frosty the Snowman"

Song 2: "Charming as an eel" comes from The Grinch theme song

Song 3: "Be good for goodness sake" is from Santa Claus is coming to town

Song 4: "Two turtle doves" is from the 12 days of Christmas

Song 5: "City sidewalks" is from Silver Bells.

Day 5


Lat Deg: 38 "“ the long valley was first published in 1938

Lat Min: 7 "“ the red circle placed in the number 1 was 7

Lat Sec:8 "“ the leftmost number in the tree is 24, 2x4 = 8

Long Deg: -86 - the third element found in the story is radon, atomic number 86. Made that negative

Long Min : 55 john Coltrane played the saxophone, he married his first wife in 1955

Long Sec: 0

We find ourselves near Santa Claus Indiana, near E Christmas Blvd!


The one of the list that's not a familiar alias for Santa Claus is WunderKlaas

Final Answer: WunderKlaas!

This was another fun one, thanks!

Kris and Ryan Kelly

Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.


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