Watch Your Back (Solution)

by John Wiesemann with trivia by Reuben Aronson

Note: this page is primarily a description of the event, including details of each of the rounds. The answers to the questions in these rounds, as well as the overall solution to the puzzle, can be found here.

The Watch Your Back event was themed around Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, the 1990s TV show. "Watch Your Back" is the final lyric of the Rockapella song by the same name. The event followed the structure of the show, expanded so that more people could participate. Like the show, this event had rounds and a floor-sized map at the end; however, the map was a puzzle. As teams entered the room they were handed a piece of posterboard that was roughly in the shape of a US state for use when building the map.

In the first two rounds, teams answered geography questions. In the first round all teams got to answer and in the second round the first team to stand up got to answer. The third round was a memory game. The questions used in these rounds are given below, and the corresponding solutions can be found here.

Teams were given the following spiel at the beginning of the event:

Before Indiana Jones can help us break into this bank, we have to help him finish his current quest. He expected it would be done by now, but when he got to the temple all he found was a large red hat. Of course Carmen Sandiego didn't stop at the gold ingot -- we've learned that Miami's South Beach has also recently gone missing!

Gumshoes, it's up to you to solve today's case. Find Carmen and South Beach and maybe we can get her to tell us what happened to the ingot! To get us started, detectives on the scene in Miami found this calling card. Maybe it instructed her henchmen where to hide South Beach first, but it appears blank. Luckily our researchers here at ACME have discovered that the card can be read with the use of a blacklight.

(The card was then shown to teams. It contained the image displayed in question 1 of round 1, below.)

Round 1 Questions

  1. Identify this country by its shape.
  2. When translated, what city's full name means "The City of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels"?
  3. With what city did the mayor of Rome sign a peace treaty in 1985, ending a war that had technically lasted over 2,000 years?
  4. What new world city did General Wolfe capture from the Marquis de Montcalm in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham?
  5. What is the only US state with only one syllable?
  6. What country, in which over 841 distinct languages are spoken, became independent from Australia in 1975?
  7. What Italian peninsula is named after Aeneas's skilled helmsman in Virgil's classic poem?
  8. What mountain range is named for a watermelon, possibly due to its profile and reddish appearance at sunset?
  9. What is the newest country in the world (full member of the UN)?
  10. What Russian Principality, whose name meant "white lake", sounds like an English description of its climate?
  11. What series of waterfalls proved to be the downfall of a famous detective, whose exploits were published in The Strand?
  12. What "rose-red city half as old as time" is accessed through a one-mile gorge known as the Siq?
  13. What tributary of the Potomac lent its name to two major civil war battles?
  14. A 274 BCE victory against King Pyrrhus of Epirus, gave what new name to a city near the site of the victory?
  15. What is the highest navigable lake in the world?
  16. What American city celebrated its tricentennial in 2006 by installing commemorative manhole covers?
  17. What port was collected in ancient times to Athens by the Long Walls?
  18. What is the largest state or national park in the contiguous United States?
  19. The collapse of a bridge over what body of water is a classic example of the power of resonance?
  20. What country did the British Empire defeat in the world's shortest war, which lasted approximately 38 minutes?
  21. What longest tributary of the Amazon shares its name with a type of wine?

After round 1, we cut to the top 3 teams to continue playing in round 2. Round 2 is a lightning round, the first team to stand up gets to answer the question. If they are wrong it moves to the next team to stand up.

Round 2 Questions

  1. What city is the northernmost capital in the European Union?
  2. The Azores are an autonomous region of what country?
  3. During which month does the monsoon season in India begin?
  4. Which European country has a land border in Africa?
  5. What ancient Frankish capital city holds the remains of the "Father of Europe"?

Round 3 (Memory Game)

To play the memory game, print this Power Point Presentation as 6 slides per page double sided with long edge binding and cut them out. Try to have someone else do it, so you remain unspoiled. Ignore the state codes on these cards for now.

Map Puzzle

The physical puzzle cannot be replicated. Here is what it looked like when put together as a map of the United States. The right-hand side of the image corresponds to North.