Doctor Jones! Jones? Calling Doctor Jones: a DASH 9 recap

Mötley Clüe team photo at DASH 9This blog posts in fits and starts; DASH always inspires a series of posts, and they’re always great fun to write. If you couldn’t attend this year, here’s what you missed; maybe it might make you interested in taking part in a future year. If you played DASH elsewhere and were keen to know how your location’s interpretation of the puzzles differed from that of London, you can get a sense of it here too.

Spoiler warning: now that DASH 9 is over, it’s time to enter spoiler territory. Every previous DASH has had its puzzles posted online reasonably soon afterwards. If you didn’t play DASH, it would still be a lot of fun to get a group of your friends together and try the puzzles for yourself once they’re made available. This post is going to be fairly generic, avoiding the Aha! moments for each puzzle, but the comments may be more specific, and there’s a deliberately spoiler-y picture as well, so if you want to avoid spoilers, I’d recommend skipping this post. Everybody else, dig in using the “Continue Reading” button below. Continue reading

The annual DASH participation statistics post, after DASH 9

Bar chart showing improving performance over timeIf it’s a few days after DASH, it’s time for the annual participation statistics post! Please find below an updated version of a table which details the number of teams on the scoreboard for each city in each edition of the DASH puzzle hunt to date.

Location DASH 1 DASH 2 DASH 3 DASH 4 DASH 5 DASH 6 DASH 7 DASH 8 DASH 9
Albuquerque, NM 6 6+1 3+2+0 4+0+0
Atlanta, GA 5+7 8+5
Austin, TX 2 11 12 13+4 10+4+0 17+6+0 20+4 18+4
Bay Area, CA Y(SF)
Y(PA)
7(SR)
59(LA)
16(SR)
74(SM)
73(SF) 34+7(SF)
32+3(HMB)
53+17+0(SF)
39+5+0(C)
46+15+0(SF)
37+7+0(SJ)
48+10(SF)
43+12(PA)
42+14(SF)
39+9(F)
Boston, MA Y 18 26 29 27+2 30+7+1 30+6+0 38+13 33+10
Chicago, IL 17 14 10+1 15+9+0 16+24+0 16+16 20+19
Davis, CA 16 15 16 13+7 8+7+1 13+7+0 12+8 15+5
Denver, CO 3+12+0 6+7
Enschede, NL 9+2
Houston, TX Y
London, UK 6+2 8+13+0 14+9+0 14+8 18+6
Los Angeles, CA Y 7 22 21 15+4 15+2+0
(Pasadena)
12+7+0
(Sta Monica)
19+17 16+6
Minneapolis, MN 8+7 7+4+0
(recast)
9+7+0 7+9 6+17
New York, NY 12 24 25 30+7 26+15+2 29+15+0 24+15 37+13
Portland, OR Y 6 17 19 19+2 11+7+0 10+10+0 12+5
Provo, UT 1+1
San Diego, CA 7
Seattle, WA Y 32 47 49 49+2 58+4+2 60+9+2 63+6 46+3
South Bend, IN 1
St. Louis, MO 2 2+3 7+8+1 8+10 7+11
Washington, DC Y 14 22 33 31+1 27+5+0 26+9+0 28+12 27+13
Number of locations 8 10 12 13 15 14 16 16 16

Here are some initial interpretations:

1) Errors and omissions excepted, with apologies in advance. The Minneapolis DASH 6 recast figures came from the organisers by private e-mail.

2) The numbers are drawn from the scoreboards and may not reflect teams that participate but do not make the scoreboard for whatever reason, or other infelicities. (On the other hand, it does include teams which do make the scoreboard even despite being listed as “not started”.) DASH 1 does not have a public scoreboard on the web site and thus “Y” represents the hunt having happened there with an unknown number of participants. When there are pluses, the number before the first plus reflects the number of teams on the experienced track, the number after the first plus reflects the number of teams on the “new players”/”novice” track (DASH 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9), and the number after the second plus reflects the number of teams on the junior track (DASH 6 and 7 only).

3) Interpret “Bay Area, CA” using the following key: SF = San Francisco (1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9), PA = Palo Alto (1 and 8), SR = Santa Rosa (2,3), LA = Los Altos (2), SM = San Mateo (3), HMB = Half Moon Bay (5), C = Cupertino (6), SJ = San Jose (7), F = Fremont (9).

4) I’ve been thinking for a while about knocking single-entry cities (Houston in DASH 1, San Diego in DASH 3 and South Bend in DASH 4) out of their own individual rows of the table and into a single combined row, a bit like the Bay Area, CA row. This might make the table easier to deal with. Fingers very firmly crossed that Provo, UT and Enschede don’t prove similar one-offs.

5) The line-up of 16 locations participating in DASH 9 was not too different from that for DASH 8; we lost Denver and previously ever-present Portland, each hopefully for only a year, and instead gained Enschede in the Netherlands and Provo in Utah. Fingers crossed for the return of Albuquerque at some point, too, so I can know where to turn left. (See also this comment from DASH about there having been some interest, that didn’t come to fruition, from Manchester, Mexico City and Vienna.)

6) It’s not a competition to see whose DASH can be the largest; all DASH organiser teams are glorious, generous paragons of virtue, whether their event had one team or 70+, and the community at large thanks them all for the time and effort that they put in. The two-track solution proved its worth again, with each location seeing at least one team on each track.

7) Numbers do appear to be slightly down in several of the larger locations. It’s tempting to wonder to what extent this is a result of demand being down and to what extent this is a result of a lack of availability of supply. Could some of the locations, if they had wanted to, have held bigger events if they had had more GC available? Could some of the locations, if they had wanted to, have held bigger events if they had larger sites for their individual puzzles? Were there many teams who wanted to get the chance to play but didn’t get to play in practice? (As ever, there’s no reason why bigger necessarily has to be better and there’s no sense in deliberately trying to emphasise quantity over quality.)

8) I’m about to do something quite unfair, for the barriers to entry are so vastly different, but here’s a table comparing the growth of DASH with the growth of Puzzled Pint over the last few years, courtesy in part of data from Puzzled Pint’s Matt Cleinman:

Year DASH
locations
DASH
teams
Month Puzzled Pint
locations
Puzzled Pint
players/GCs
2012 13 300 April 2012 1 50
2013 15 295 + 53 April 2013 2 (N/A)
2014 14 307 + 101 April 2014 5 255
2015 16 333 + 151 April 2015 17 922
2016 16 363 + 159 April 2016 32 1461
2017 16 342 + 138 April 2017 39 1956

Did DASH 9 leave you wanting more?

whatsnext

The sidebar says it all; Ex Exit Games is a web site about Puzzle hunts, puzzle games, escape rooms and more, and it works out to be roughly in that order. It’s all pretty seasonal; many of the hunts take place once a year at similar times, and so do many of the puzzle competitions, so that’s when the posts most naturally tend to happen. Happily these days there are many excellent blogs that will tell you all the latest news and reviews about escape rooms, so I don’t feel bad about downplaying that aspect of things.

Perhaps you’re coming here for your first time, or one of your first times, as a result of DASH, or perhaps you couldn’t go but thought it sounded great; you don’t have to wait another year for DASH 10 to get your fill of puzzle fun, for there are plenty of exciting-looking things coming up:

  • The most distinctive and unusual sort of game coming up is probably Defenders of the Triforce put on by SCRAP’s Real Escape Game brand in mid-July. “This is not an escape room, it is more than that. Solve puzzles together with other teams, in a huge area, all within a set time limit. Interact with classic items and characters seen in The Legend of Zelda series like the Goron, Zora and Kokiri tribes.” I get the impression that it’ll be somewhere between a puzzle hunt and a night at Puzzled Pint. The game is on a tour of North America and Europe, and North American reviews suggest this is as good a SCRAP game as there ahs yet been, though that’s not quite as ringing an endorsement as it might sound. My post on the game has links to these reviews. 
     
  • A Door In A Wall have just started their latest public murder mystery game, Horses for Corpses, on Friday and it will be running for (at least) just over a month. Turn up at your assigned time at a location in Camden Market, with at least one smartphone per team; you then “have 2 hours and 40 minutes to explore the area and gather evidence: solving puzzles, interacting with characters and collecting clues“, before returning to make your accusation as to who the killer was. In some ways, this is as close to another DASH as you’ll get, dialing the story strongly up and the puzzles slightly down, and it may be closer to the canonical puzzle hunt experience than DASH actually can be. Ken from The Logic Escapes Me swears by them, and sometimes at them. 
     
  • Fire Hazard‘s stock in trade is High-Energy Immersive Games; top of their list is the five games they are running in July of their new design, Evasion, which asks “Can you search a room without leaving a trace? Can you defuse an explosive situation? Can you impersonate an enemy agent without blowing your cover? ((…)) You’ll race against the clock completing special missions, cracking cryptic messages, and keeping your cool while the enemy is in hot pursuit” and promises “added escape-room style puzzle-solving tasks“. Take a look at this interview for further details. Other than that, they still offer the high-speed City Dash in various locations around London (and, this Saturday, in Odense), and the low-speed Raiders of the Lost Archive that walks all around the Victoria and Albert Museum. There’s also a pop-up second Raiders game, Raiders: the Sunken Tea Set, that takes place on other levels of the museum – so if you enjoyed the original then a rare second helping may be on offer! 
     
  • I don’t thiiiink our friends at Treasure Hunts In London have anything lined up, but checking the meetup groups, there’s plenty going on elsewhere. The Cultural Treasure Hunt Meetup group are hosting a hunt around the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge on May 20th, and another one around the National Maritime Museum and Historic Greenwich on July 29th. The latter of these might seem a little ironic considering that’s where we were for DASH, but I get the impression that there may be less crossover between the two than you might expect. 
     
  • ((Edited to add:)) Rich Bragg from ClueKeeper points out that there are self-guided hunts available using the ClueKeeper platform, and some of these are based in London! Treasure Hunts in London have hunts in Chingford, in Brixton and around Spitalfields, and Urban Hunts have hunts around the City of London and in the Museum of London. Perhaps the puzzles will be easier than DASH, but this is by far the most authentic way to get some of the DASH experience whenever you want some. 
     
  • Further North, all are welcome at The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club‘s Spring one-day hunt in Hebden Bridge, also on May 20th, and the Manchester Puzzle Hunts Meetup have a report from their first event, with the implication that there should be a second event in about a month’s time; follow the Meetup group to see more details of when it’s going to happen. 
     
  • Slightly more speculatively, the Cambridge University Computing and Technology Society have organised a 24-hour in-person puzzle hunt in Cambridge for each of the last five years, and while nothing appears to have been announced yet, I would bet small money that the next one will happen on Friday 16th June running into Saturday 17th June – i.e., the last day of Full Term – and that the site’s Facebook page would be the best place to look for an announcement. 
     
  • The Manorcon board games convention takes place at one of the halls of the University of Leicester, and for each of the last sixteen years, there has been a puzzly Treasure Hunt on each of the Sunday afternoons. 
     
  • Before all those, there’s dear old Puzzled Pint in London – and now also in Manchester! – on the second Tuesday of each month, also known as “tomorrow”. The puzzles here come from a rather more DASH-like background, but are deliberately accessible to all and designed to provide an hour or two’s fun for a team enjoying food, drink and good company. 
     
  • It’s not clear when the next big online puzzle hunt is going to be, for the Melbourne University Maths and Statistics Society‘s event that normally takes place around this time of year isn’t happening in 2017, and the Puzzle Hunt Calendar doesn’t really have much either. On the other hand, if you like logic puzzle contests then the calendar looks busy. The World Puzzle Federation’s Grand Prix season’s contests take place every four weeks, with the next starting on Friday 19th May. The next contest is set by the US authors, who ran an event with a loose escape room theme last year. That’s not all from US authors, though; the US Puzzle Championship will be on Saturday 17th June. Look out (perhaps at @ukpuzzles on Twitter?) for news of the UK Puzzle Championship as well, with the last two having been in late June; if DASH is my in-person highlight of the year, the UKPC is my online contest highlight, so I’m really looking forward to it!

The DASH data, after DASH 9

D.A.S.H. logoThere’s no editorial here, and definitely no intent to suggest there is such a thing as an optimal set of values, but this might still be of interest to set some context for comparison purposes. The times refer to puzzles offered in the most popular (i.e. expert/experienced) track from DASH 5 onwards.

Edition Par time Fast* time Usual* time Teams Structure
2 5:00 1:51 4:32 173 8+M
3 6:00 2:57 6:42 298 8+M
4 6:00 1:53 4:48 300 8+M
5 4:30 2:14 5:32 295+N IB+7+M
6 5:50 2:33 5:10 307+N IB+8+M
7 5:45 3:38 6:55 333+N IB+8+M
8 6:40 2:33 4:35 363+N IB+7+M
9 6:05 1:55 3:54 341+N 9
* median,
top-11
* median,
middle-8/9
N = normal track M = metapuzzle,
IB = icebreaker

Data remains available for DASH 2, DASH 3, DASH 4, DASH 5, DASH 6, DASH 7, DASH 8 and DASH 9. Note that the usual time was calculated from the median time quoted for either the middle-scoring 8 or 9 teams, depending on whether the overall number of teams was even or odd, and may not represent every puzzle being solved without a hint or even every puzzle being solved at all. The times quoted do not include the par or solving times for the unscored co-operative icebreaker puzzle from DASH 5, 6, 7 and 8.

DASH 9 was very, very fine

Shake Shack signAfter DASH 9 finished, we went to Shake Shack for dinner, and found this native Iotan extract on one of the walls. I don’t think it translates to M, though; I think it translates to WC.

DASH 9 was a joy today. Every puzzle worked, the story was fun, the hunt was well-matched to its route and there were a couple of breathtaking surprises along the way. The administration of the Expert track was spotless; everything flowed really well. Our Expert-track team were really pleased with how we did; we finished fourth out of 18 in London and probably in the top 15% globally.

Congratulations to Misremembered Apple for once again being clear winners of the Expert track in London, and to Team Rebellion for being clear winners of the Normal track in London. After the hunt finished, it was fun to watch the live ClueKeeper scoreboard; one of my team members compared it to watching the voting coming in at the Eurovision Song Contest. Subject to ratification, it looks like the Burninators, who played in Fremont on the east side of the Bay Area in California, have got the best global score, two points ahead of a team named )((), which I choose to pronounce “fish”. Congratulations to them as well!

Thank you to all the staff, volunteers and people behind the scenes in the organisation; you’ve made a lot of people around the world very, very happy. The pub at the end of the London route was extremely well-chosen; people were happy to stick around and it worked well as a social event too, with quite a few interesting connections being made. What a day; it’s going to be no fun to have to wait for the next one!

Tomorrow is DASH 9 day

DASH 9 logoTonight is DASHmas Eve! It’s the night of the year where a good night’s sleep is most valuable and yet simultaneously most unlikely, for tomorrow sees the DASH 9 puzzle hunt take place in London, in the Netherlands and across the United States.

I very much hope to see you there – and, if you are there, do say “Hi”! My team is the same as the one in the photo last year; I’m the guy with spectacles at back right, indicating that somebody’s hit a six. Every year, I threaten to announce my arrival at the start location with a rebel yell and a round of high-fives as if I were a pro basketballer arriving on court, and every year so far sense and good taste have prevailed. We’ll see if this is the year.

Tomorrow’s weather forecast is for a dry, cloudy day. For at least three of the last four years, the forecast on DASH day has been for a risk of rain which has manifested as the lightest of sprinklings at the very worst, so a dry forecast really has me worried. In comparison with the trends I drew from previous installments of DASH, the feeling I get in my water is for there to be an icebreaker, eight scored puzzles (mostly on the shortish side) and a metapuzzle, with a combined par time of six hours, a median solving time of five hours, a worldwide total of 385 teams on the expert track and 165 teams on the novice track.

I’ll predict that London will be narrowly overrepresented in the top third of the Expert standings, though that wasn’t actually true last year. Misremembered Apple and The Magpie have been showing their chops in puzzle hunts through the year, both being world class teams on their day, and I understand that Moore and Lesk have at least one strong addition this year. The joy of this is that there could well be an amazing team that comes from nowhere and storms the event, much like Misremembered Apple did. (There are some usual suspects here, who I’d love to see in a team some day.) I’m on a team that’s plenty strong, too, though my contribution will be the enthusiasm, the comic relief and maybe, just maybe, having seen something before years ago that the other team members haven’t.

Lastly, set your expectations for a come-down at the end of the day, once the final meta is over and you have to end your day-trip to Planet Puzzle. That said, why not stay around for a drink and a chat with your fellow solvers at the end, if you can? (Especially you brilliantly quick front-running teams, though I know you’re busy people who might not be able to hang around to let us catch up!)

Many thanks to all the people who have put together the hunt: the global co-ordinators, all those who helped playtest and test-solve and the London volunteers on the day. Really looking forward to what’s very likely to be a fantastic event!

How would we get puzzles at the Olympic Games… or something like it?

International Mind Sports Association logo (presumably their copyright)This is a post I’ve been working on in the background, on and off, for a while; every time we discuss competitions, especially international championships, it comes back to mind.

The direct answer to the question is that it would seem vanishingly unlikely to ever get puzzles at the Olympic Games before other mind sports: games like chess, bridge, go and so on. It’s a subject that has been raised in the past by these mind sports’ governing bodies, but there has never been substantial progress on this front. (The highest-profile examples of mind sports at a festival of otherwise physical sports that I can find is that chess has had a couple of appearances at the Asian Games and the Universiade.) So let’s focus on the “…or something like it” instead, where there may be more to consider than you think.

(This is a long old piece; not far off three thousand words, hence the cut.) Continue reading

Coming to London in July: Defenders of the Triforce

Real Escape Game's Defenders of the TriforceIt’s a cute coincidence that this is the second consecutive post about a fantasy-themed live action team puzzle game, but no more than coincidence; I only found out about this earlier today, with a tip of the hat to Thomas from London Escapists.

The very first post I ever made to dear old Exit Games UK touched briefly on the history of the genre, pointing to Japanese Wikipedia’s suggestion that the first known game, as a commercial enterprise, was run by a company known as SCRAP in Kyoto in July 2007. (Happily, a tenth anniversary celebration is planned.) SCRAP use the English-language brand name “Real Escape Game” for the games they have run, and licensed to be run, around the world, with games notably played in the US, in France and in Spain. They run Real Escape Rooms, which the rest of the world have followed somewhat closely in their format, but they also run Real Escape Games, where many teams participate at once, in a larger location, in parallel. Today the world discovered that one such game is coming to London for three days in July.

Real Escape Game are bringing their latest such game, Defenders of the Triforce, to London on July 14th, 15th and 16th! “This is not an escape room, it is more than that. Solve puzzles together with other teams, in a huge area, all within a set time limit. Interact with classic items and characters seen in The Legend of Zelda series like the Goron, Zora and Kokiri tribes.

Another page on the site says more: “There will be multiple teams during each game, all trying to escape. Players are encouraged to communicate frequently and divide tasks efficiently in order to solve all the puzzles before time runs out. If you are a person who likes answering riddles, solving complex puzzles, or are just looking for a good mental challenge, this event is for you! This is NOT a maze or traditional escape room! It is a fully hosted, story-based escape event designed for puzzle fans and fans of the Zelda franchise.

The game has been running in North America already, and it is suggested that the game does not particularly vary from location to location, so without wishing to prejudge the game, the reviews seem reasonably likely to be representative. You can find non-specialist perspectives from teams who played from many sources including Engadget and The Verge, or you may prefer more specialist perspectives from Room Escape Artist or Escape Room Tips. SCRAP’s games have tended to really split the audience, critically, but this is about as well-received as I can remember any of them being.

If you’re a fan of Zelda, all indications are for a recommendation to book without delay. If you’re not, don’t be put off, but set your expectations to something that’s somewhere between a room escape game and Puzzled Pint; take a look at the reviews and see whether it’s worth the money to you. Either way, many thanks to SCRAP for taking a chance on the UK and I dearly hope that there are many more events like this in the country in the months and years to come.

Introducing Legend Quests

Legend Quests logoLegend Quests describes itself like so: “Legend Quests is a storytelling family theatre game where you get to meet and interact with some fantastical characters and experience a thrilling adventure. Using moving sets, actors, puppets & magic, the audience of around twenty will have to work out how to complete the quest together by solving puzzles, gathering treasure, talking to characters and outwitting monsters.

It takes place in a studio in Rye in east Sussex, so far east that it’s practically in Kent, that has a long history of photo shoots with a particular specialism in fantasy portraits. If you ever wanted to see yourself as a wizard, knight, mermaid or fairy, or something esoteric and multiclass, they have the costumes and sets to do so, and the samples on the site are gorgeous, illustrating why they have such good TripAdvisor reviews. (Which do seem to be for the photo services, not for Legend Quests as such, but are still a very promising start.)

Being honest, I have a half a suspicion this feels near-topic rather than on-topic, but I’ve certainly covered things in the past which turned out to have less puzzle content than this. It’s very interesting in that it takes a stab at asking a number of occasionally-asked questions: could there be something escape-room-like for kids, could there be something escape-room-like for a group of more than a dozen or so and could there be something that attempts to cross the gap between an escape room and a role-playing game. If this were outdoors and wandered all over London, we’d be all over it, so it’s definitely close enough for jazz for me. It’s not at all beyond the realms of possibility to consider the alternate universe where this has taken off like trampoline parks and there is a single escape room somewhere in the UK as a curio.

Legend Quests really intrigues because of what it was intended to be… and, implicitly, what it might yet be at some point in the future. The original Kickstarter appeal was for a “theatrical fantasy dungeon crawl adventure game“, and attracted a lot of impressive names who had agreed to work on a fully-funded project. The game here would have had a series of acted scenes, with the action frozen in time by a narrator, and members of the audience determining what the protagonists did next. (An alternative would have had more in common with conventional role-playing, with players adopting their own characters, but the default game was deliberately a step abstracted from that for greater accessibility.) The Kickstarter didn’t get too far in the end; the subsequent GoFundMe appeal made some progress.

The most recent attempt to bring at least something of the principle of the project to the people was another very interesting try where the crowdfunding campaign didn’t get a great deal of traction. This would have seen the production of physical kits for people to attempt to approximate the experience at home, through the use of evocative soundtracks and players at home acting out the roles using elaborate masks within candlelight, as opposed to full costumes. (Ingenious!)

There’s definitely something there. The designer put out a number of episodes of a fantasy-themed interview podcast, which are well worth listening to, even if they have dried up recently, and comes across very well in his interviews. Fingers crossed that Legend Quests really catches people’s attention somehow before long

A big week coming up

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All sorts of things going on this week (and a bit). Narrowly on the US side of the border with Canada at Niagara Falls, Transworld’s Room Escape Conference and Tour runs from today until Wednesday, with the Room Escape Divas starting things off with a live recording of their podcast that starts very shortly after this post goes live. In Europe, we have to wait a whole week and a day for a counterpart conference of our own at Up The Game in the Netherlands. Both events have sensational-looking lineups of speakers; fingers firmly crossed that people share whatever parts of the content from each one that they can before too long.

If that’s too long to wait, there’s a recording of a webinar from Thursday held by luminary Professor Scott Nicholson, Gábor Papp from clueQuest and Bob Melkus from Fox In A Box. They discuss possible futures for the escape room industry using a scenario-building tool; this is a smart approach for dealing with unknown futures that I’ve seen used elsewhere, such as the UK National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios. (The escape room webinar models a matrix with axes fad/ongoing and luxury/everyday; the National Grid models a matrix with axes of strong/weak economic development and strong/weak priority placed on a low-carbon future.)

On Saturday, the DASH 9 puzzle hunt takes place in London, as well as in the Netherlands and across the United States. Going to the DASH 9 web site, it’s interesting to compare the descriptions of the event from location to location. London players should arrive before 10:45am in preparation for an event starting at 11am, which is a blessed relief in comparison to other locations starting at 9am or 10am. Different locations set slightly different expectations as to how long teams will take to complete the day; some locations say “We expect that most teams will solve all puzzles in ~6 hours”, others quoted “6-7 hours” and London says “~7 hours”, though the London route appears to cover slightly more ground than most. (The London route also includes a DLR ride; I understand that 23 teams are booked for DASH here and predict that 22 will show on the day, of which 21 will want to sit in the front seats and “drive” the train when they get on the DLR.)

One interesting thing to note – and I don’t know whether I’m reading too much into things here – is that the Boston location says that there “DASH 9 will start at 10 AM on May 6th, and last until 6 PM.” DASH events have a reasonable time limit, including travel time as well as solving time, for practicality’s sake for the organisers putting the event on. Last year’s limit was ten hours, and our dawdly team used 9½ of them. (We weren’t outliers in this; out of the 13 other London teams on the tougher tier last year, six of them took even longer than us. It was a long route, and we’re all pretty leisurely.) I wonder whether the Boston location comment suggests that the overall time limit has been cut from ten hours last year to eight this year? If so, then we’ll all need to get our skates on…

Weather forecasts for London for Saturday are quite benign at this point. That’s the really worrying part!