Wrapping Up The Lowell Riddler for 2022

In February 2021 The Lowell Riddler appeared in Lowell. The identity of this person remains unknown, however, he or she set out to give community residents something fun to do and promote area businesses during a time of uncertainty. From February into September 20 riddles were revealed and solved. After an inaugural year, The Riddler decided to come back again in 2022, hiding another 11 medallions throughout the City of Lowell.

Eight different people or groups found the medallions this year. In the end, The Riddler’s prediction for who would win the biggest prize pack of the year was spot on. Mark Weaver prevailed and found the medallion in a clever hiding spot, although Paul Mundt was not far behind in cracking the clues. Both had the advantage of getting two extra clues for the final riddle.

The Riddler of the Year

While there wasn’t a Riddler of the Year contest last year, Weaver did solve the last riddle in 2021 which had a bigger prize pack compared to the previous riddles. After wrapping up two seasons of The Lowell Riddler hiding medallions, we asked Weaver why he started trying to solve the riddles.

“I love a good puzzle, whether it’s crosswords, Wordle, Curious, or the New York Times Spelling Bee,” he replied. “The Riddler seemed like a good way to bring the puzzles home. I’m not a Lowell native, so it got me out exploring with a purpose.” He also notes retirement, perseverance, obsessiveness, and a tolerant wife as other reasons he has been able to solve multiple riddles.

Weaver has been stiff competition for others looking to solve the riddles. He has learned how to look at lines in the clues literally and figuratively. Further deconstruction has him speaking the lines using different phrasing and even mispronouncing words in search of a double meaning. He refers to the final riddle of this year as an example, saying “It’s a mall” quickly and came up with “It’s small,” which was an important component for him finding the medallion.

Searching for a medallion each week was a great way for Weaver to get out and enjoy seeing new things or seeing familiar things from a new perspective. He told Lowell’s First Look that he once biked halfway to Belding on the Fred Meijer Bike Trail because he was out looking for a medallion. He knew he was too far away from where it might be hidden but kept going because he was enjoying the ride.

Paul Mundt has also been asked how he has been able to solve the riddles and offers, “My advice to them is to just go out and look. Some of the clues are more obvious, but some are more obscure. Hone in on one part of the clue that you can line up to a location in town and go and look. If you don’t find it, think of other places that might match up with the clues.”

Friendly Competition

Weaver calls the friendly competition among some regular riddlers “the best fun”. From time to time he’d run into others and would share interpretations of clues. He says everyone he has met has been polite and respectful about searching.

“Trying to figure out which one holds the best prospects is half the fun,” comments Weaver. “The other half is the detailed search. Where would a medallion be planted, and where wouldn’t it be? This last time I searched all around the Gee Street Little Free Library but didn’t look through the books since it wasn’t logical it would be hidden there. And of course, there it was, inside a book.”

It has been previously noted that Weaver has found a medallion but put it back so that someone else would be able to discover it and claim the prize pack. He explains that he enjoys the thrill of the hunt and that everyone should get the chance to find a medallion at least once. He’s all about spreading the joy of the experience. 

Mundt came close to finding the final medallion of the year. He too has enjoyed the competition and running into fellow riddlers. “ I think it’s great to see other people involved in the hunt and everyone has been very friendly,” he comments. “When the medallion was at Burch Field, there were about 10 people there at 9:00 on Saturday looking two weeks in a row. We were all joking around and bouncing ideas off each other. I’ve run into Mark Weaver 3 or 4 times when looking, and when I do, I know I must be on the right track!

Weaver agrees that the search at Burch Field was a fun experience. He and Peggy Brown, a fellow riddler, were both searching a stone pile. After finding nothing, Weaver left the area to check out another spot when he heard Brown exclaim, “I found it!” He’d love for more teams of people or community organizations to get involved in competing to solve the riddles.

Words from The Riddler

The Riddler is always on the lookout for ideas for locations to hide medallions while keeping within the limits of being on public property and away from cemeteries and schools. Coming up with accessible hiding spots and clues of varying difficulty is both fun and challenging.

When asked about a favorite medallion hiding location The Riddler replied, “Most of the locations were thought to be unique, but when it comes to favorites, I would choose the ‘in your face’ hiding spots.  Those locations that come to mind are dangling from the bridge by the Riverwalk, on the back of the antique turbine on Main Street by the dam; in the flowerpot by the front door to the Chamber of Commerce building; the No Parking sign by Lowell Light & Power; and behind the bench in front of Sneakers. Of course, inside of a “Principles of Grammar” book in a tiny library on Gee Drive is hard to beat for uniqueness.”

When placing medallions for others to find, The Riddler must remain hidden while walking around in public. Hiding medallions along Main Street and the Riverwalk have been the most challenging to place without being caught. One of the trickiest locations was the bridge on East Fulton near FROM. The Riddler walked back and forth across the bridge trying to look like a pedestrian 6-8 times and finally just laid down on the bridge until the traffic cleared for a moment. Those trying to catch The Riddler in action must be out early on Saturday mornings.

The Riddler has gone out a handful of times to try and observe a medallion being found. On one occasion The Riddler was watching a location and catching up on emails. During the process of looking down at a phone, the medallion was found without being witnessed. However, that was not the case with the last riddle for this year. The Riddlermoblie drove by several times and in the end, The Riddler was able to watch and capture Weaver finding the medallion without being noticed. 

As the year’s challenges come to an end, The Riddler has enjoyed seeing the friendly competition and community support. This sentiment is shared by several regular riddlers.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.