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SRCH – Final Round Recap

This was it. The ultimate challenge. The chance of a lifetime to meet Lady Gaga in person. But first you had to beat the last obstacle, a daunting and difficult SRCH by Starbucks final round. It took 1 hour and 46 minutes for the first correct answer to be entered.

Want to know how it was solved? The round’s first clue card contained a seemingly nonsensical message, but if you read every seventh word you got the hidden message “email SRCH at Starbucks dot com for your next clue”.

If you did that, you received a message with a link to an image of several random numbers and letters. The third line contained the letters SRCH so that was the line you were meant to pay attention to. If you were stuck, maybe a series of messages from SRCH about telephones gave you a hint – you were supposed to call 1-970-480-7724.

Doing that gave you a voice message from Lady Gaga herself with your next clue: “Twitter 6,956”. What to make of that? Well, a cryptic message about Herman Melville being an ornithologist was an early clue, but finally SRCH mentioned that the @Starbucks account had more than 7,000 tweets and that should have given it away: you had to find the 6,956th tweet from Starbucks.

Once you located that, you found a link to an Instagram photo with a comment from SRCH: “You’ve come far, but you still have a long way to go” and then a link to the epic final round.

To win here, you needed to crack a 16-character passcode using the picture clues provided. The final code was 5RCH-WA5H-3R36-0311 (or “SRCH WAS HERE 6-03-11” in leetspeak).*

Congratulations to our winners, and for everyone who played: we hope you enjoyed the puzzles SRCH created for you. This was a lot of fun.

*Still stumped? Okay, here’s how it breaks down:


5 = missing clock face number in the series of odd numbers 1, 3, 5, 7.
R = Morse code for “RESTING COMFORTABLY BETWEEN Q AND S”.
C = C chord on a guitar.
H = the letter can be seen in the negative space of the image.
W = letter substitution code translates as “double you”.
A = “A is for airplane” was tweeted by SRCH early in the game.
5 = “Tano” is Swahili for “five”.
H = Also provided in an earlier tweet from SRCH.
3 = Missing word is three from our Three Region Blend mentioned in this blog post from round 5.
R = This Spanish phrase translates as “The pirate’s favorite letter.”
3 = missing number from this Fibonacci sequence, 2 + 3 = 5, 3 + 5 = 8, 5+8 =13, referenced by SRCH on Facebook.
6 = “Enam” is Indonesian for “six”.
0 = “0” is also “)” on standard keyboards.
3 = Lithium is the third element in the Periodic Table of the Elements.
1 = Binary code for 1. Any online binary code translator like this one could have helped you here.
1 = The license plate on the car reads FCBKPIC. If you found the image in SRCH’s Facebook photo album, you saw that it was captioned with Morse code for “one”.

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