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Solution to Royal Steeds

The Quest Coast

by Aaron Feldman and Jenny Gutbezahl

Solvers must identify the Blue Bike station in each photograph, as well as answering the associated trivia question. Taking the indicated letters from the trivia questions yields the instruction: COLUMN HEADERS TENS ROW HEADERS ONES.

Solvers must also assemble the pentominos using the colored edges as a guide, yielding this grid:

An 11 by 11 grid with numbers running across the top row and left column, and a mix of letters and numbers in the remaining squares

Blue Bike station locations and numbers can be found on the System Map at the Blue Bikes web page. Each Blue Bike station has a number, consisting of a single letter followed by 5 digits. The first three digits are always 320. Using the grid above taking the tens and ones digits of the station numbers, in clue order yields the clue phrase: CAFE JUST NORTH OF C32025.

The System Data page of the Blue Bikes site links to a spreadsheet that gives locations and station numbers for all stations. C32025 is Ink Block – Harrison Ave at Herald St. There is a Capital One Cafe just north of the station yielding the solution CAPITAL ONE.

Table of answers to each trivia question
QuestionStation LocationStation NumberTrivia AnswerExplanation to Trivia AnswerLetter(s) Extracted from TriviaLetter Extracted from Station #
A fearsome 37 foot tall monster convinced me I'd best be on my way. What incline once guarded his home?Boylston St at Jersey StB32034Duffy's CliffThe Red Sox play in Fenway Park, whose left field wall is a tall, bright green Boston landmark called the Green Monster. Until 1934, left field leading up to the Monster was a steep incline called Duffy's Cliff after the Red Sox left fielder who most skillfully navigated it.CC
I followed the path of a fiercely competitive racer, who rode hundreds of miles to fight for justice. What guild was she a notable member of?Ames St at BroadwayM32059League Of American WheelmenKittie Knox was the first African American member of the League of American Wheelmen, starting in 1893, and an advocate for cycling. The Kittie Knox Bike Path was named for her in 2019.OLA
The Crystal Ball has finally returned to its old home. O Crystal Ball, O Crystal Ball, visionary, seer of all. What celebration of failure recently occupied your lowest floor?Davis Square, SomervilleS32006Museum of Bad ArtThe Crystal Ballroom has recently been restored at the Somerville Theater (it had been coverted to movie theaters in the 1990s). The Museum of Bad Art was housed in the basement of the theater for many years.UMF
A skeletal creature once soared through the halls here, but it has been moved to a place I visited later. Next door was once the site where young technomancers were trained. What was that bygone structure called? Boylston and BerkeleyD32013Rogers BuildingThe Historic Museum of Natural History (now a Gallery for RH Boston, the exhibits have largely been moved to the Museum of Science) was next to the old Rogers Building at the original MIT campusNE
I explored a building named for both a wise councilor, and also for someone who refused to give up her seat. The councilor was a cunning tactician who stormed enemy strongholds. What conference of political leaders did she chair?Graham and Parks School • Linnaean St at Walker StM32068Massachusetts Black Legislative CaucusCambridge City Councilor Saundra Graham served as Chairwoman of the Caucus as well as being a member of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. The Graham and Parks school is named for her and Rosa Parks.HEAJ
I stood and looked west and watched the Paladin in the Tower. When the Tower was a "Palace", what were its windows made of?Stuart St at Berkeley StD32049PlywoodThe Hancock Tower houses Paladin Capital. In the 70s, a design flaw in its windows led to them being temporarily replaced with plywood and the whole building being derisively nicknamed the Plywood Palace.DU
I fled this area quickly, pursued by a spectral bird. What was its haunting call, which echoes after me?Park Plaza at Charles St S.D32042NevermoreOn the corner of Boylston & Charles St is a statue of Edgar Allan Poe, along with the titular Raven from his most famous poem. Throughout the poem, the Raven repeated cries "Nevermore."ERS
I stopped to admire a memorial to a great victory of the people's army.What was the last name of the man who crafted the memorial?Lower Cambridgeport at Magazine St / Riverside RdM32022Lacasse"Beat the Belt" mural by LaCasse commemorates the ordinary people who protested a four lane superhighway planned to run through Cambridge.ST
A river horse? Now we're talking about riding in style. Who's the newest member of the family?Franklin Park Zoo - Franklin Park Rd at Blue Hill AveC32030PtolemyCleopatra the pygmy hippopotamus gave birth to Ptolemy in October 2020 at the Franklin Park Zoo.TEN
A subtle bard onced lived here, who cast an eye on a stately oak. What is their only published book of verse?Harvard Square at Mass Ave/ DunsterM32018The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up In AmericaAnne Bradstreet, America's first great poet, lived for a time in what is now Harvard Square.NSO
While I was in the neighborhood I said hi to the gargoyles here. They said hi back. In what style was their home constructed?Copley Square - Dartmouth St at Boylston StD32005Richardsonian RomanesqueTrinity Episcopal Church was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson in a revival of the 11th century Romanesque style. Carved gargoyles adorn some of the towers.RR
I'm north of the path to a collection of historic lore, once a holy site where townspeople met to share in their faith. Who was the first cleric to lead it?Cambridge Street at Joy Street, BostonD32000Thomas PaulThe Museum of African American History was formerly the African Meeting House, a church whose first preacher was Thomas Paul in 1805.OT
I went down the path to freedom and found a colonel astride a noble horse, leading a glorious regiment to war. In what fight was he killed?Tremont St at Hamilton PlB32056Second Battle of Fort WagnerRobert Gould Shaw led the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first African American regiment in the Civil War. The memorial to Gould Shaw and his regiment in the Boston Common is not an official part of the Freedom Trail but it is along its path. ("glorious" is a hint, since the movie Glory is about the 54th regiment)WH
I think I was on the right track here. From 1837 to 1855, the finest horses in the realm, and their riders, competed in trotting tournaments here.What landmark building was constructed to overlook the track?Rindge Avenue - O'Neill Library, CambridgeM32036(Trotting) Park House HotelThe Cambridge Park Trotting Course was the major race course in the Boston area in the mid 19th century, and important horses to the heritage of champions like Vermont Black Hawk raced there. The Park House Hotel (also called the Trotting Park House Hotel) was built behind the grandstand- it is now an apartment building.HO
I found a master of numerical thaumaturgy. What institutional occasion brought him to the realm?MIT at Mass Ave / Amherst StM32006MIT'S SesquicentennialJaume Plensa's The Alchemist from 2010 was commissioned by an anonymous donor on the occasion of the Institute's 150th anniversary and given to MIT in honor of all the alumni who have helped support the Institute over the years.EAF
Dozens of riders on their own steeds passed me by as I stood by a building where you can see all the stars. For whom is the trail they follow, which starts here, named?Museum of ScienceW32045Paul Dudley WhitePortions of the Charles River Greenway, which runs along the Charles connecting Boston to its western suburbs, were named for cardiologist Paul Dudley White, an ardent advocate of exercise as preventive medicine. The path extends from the Museum of Science to Watertown Square.DC
Just follow the Wings to the emerald-colored dragon's lair. What nickname did historians give its subterranean depths?Clinton St at North StD32057Headquarters of the RevolutionThe Green Dragon Tavern's basement was a meeting ground for the Sons of Liberty and other Revolutionary groups, and thus called the Headquarters of the Revolution. It closed in 1832, but a new tavern a couple blocks away calls itself the successor. Follow Wings Lane from the nearest blue bike station to find it.ER3
I finally found a unicorn to ride, but the native predators were a little too dangerous to stick around long enough to try. Who designed the clock those noble beasts guard?Boston Dity Hall - 28 State StreetB32008Simon WillardA Lion and a Unicorn, symbols of England, stand atop the Old State House building, guarding the clock. They fell into disrepair after the Revolution for obvious reasons, but were restored later in the nineteenth century.SO2
I found five riders from a foreign nation, their heads bowed and bloodied. Perhaps they are fleeing the nearby sea monster. What is the riders' native land?Seaport Hotel - Congress St at Seaport LnB32014PolandThe Partisans is a memorial to Polish freedom fighters against the Nazis and the communists. It first lived in Boston Common but was relocated to its current location in the Seaport.N0
I thought I would find a store of arms to prepare for battle, but now the ancient stone structure has been turned to peaceful ends. Who converted the building to a place to age pickles?Powder House Circle - Nathan Tufts ParkS32008George W. EmersonThe Powder House, a windmill turned gunpowder storage facility during the revolutionary war, housed a pickle factory in the late 19th century.E2
The building I visited here was co-founded by a man who was both a healer and a Count. What logo guards its shore today?Geiger Gibson Community Health CenterC32090LighthouseThe Geiger Gibson Health Center was established in 1965 by Dr. Count Gibson and Dr. Jack Geiger as Columbia Point Health Center, the first community health center, designed to serve an underserved community in Dorchester. Today is is part of Harbor Health Services.S5

Author's Notes

Aaron: With the Hunt gone remote, I wanted to write a puzzle that had the feel of a runaround: the sense of wandering around the Boston area and finding the familiar made strange, nigh puzzly. Overlaying a fantasy theme over the Boston Blue Bike system proved to be a wonderful way to do that. I had so much fun researching for this puzzle to find places in Boston that could be tied to fantasy elements. I hope it gave you the remote solvers a taste of the greater Boston area in all its batshit glory.

I want to mention a few things that didn't make the final puzzle: A Dragon for Dorchester, The Fairy Shop in Back Bay, William Stoughton's tomb, and the Bewitched Statue in Salem. They were for various technical reasons unclueable, but they definitely contributed to my sense of Boston as a city full of wonder and mystery.

We want to thank Blue Bikes for their assistance with this puzzle, updating their website to make information needed to solve the puzzle more readily available. I also want to throw in a pitch for using the system. As a non-Bostonian who usually travels up for Hunt, Blue Bikes have in recent years become an essential part of my Hunt experience in getting me from my hotel to HQ faster than any other travel method. They don't cost a lot, they're fun to ride, and they get you around the city easily and quickly.