This article is from the Puzzles FAQ, by Chris Cole email@example.com and Matthew Daly firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
What is the solution to _Treasure_ by Dr. Crypton?
"Treasure" was a puzzle by Dr. Crypton (Paul Hoffman) released
simultaneously in 1984 as a book, a videotape and a laserdisk. The book
and video versions include a number of mysterious pictures and images
connected by a loose plot involving the theft of a golden horse. The
1-kilo golden horse itself was buried, and the mysterious images were
supposed to give instructions on how to find it. The lucky winners would
get the golden horse and $500,000. The clues were interesting and
obscure; it was impossible to tell which of the puzzles were relevant to
the solution and which weren't. Enough of them were sort of solvable to
give people hope that they were on the right track. For example, some
clues written on an umbrella gave the birth and death years of Mary, Queen
of Scots; and a chess game turned out to be identifiable as Anderssen vs.
Kieseritzky, the "Shower of Gold" game. Evidently neither of these
observations was relevant to the solution in the end.
It was alleged that during the production of the video enough people
were let in on the secret that the location had to be changed... but
that very little of the puzzle was changed to reflect the new location.
Nobody solved the puzzle in time -- i.e. by midnight of 26 May 1989.
The horse was dug up by the promoters and the prize donated to a charity:
Big Brothers and Sisters of America. However, the promoters and Dr.
Crypton refused to make the solution public. Seven months later two
men, Nick Boone and Anthony Castaneda, went to Tennessee Pass in Colorado
and dug up a vial with congratulations inside. They wrote a description
of their thought processes that left other frustrated treasure-seekers
suspicious and annoyed: their "solution" appeared to be motivated very
little by anything in the puzzle itself, so that it seemed apparent to
many that they were virtually guided to that location by the promoters.
This suspicion has not been confirmed or denied.
--Jim Gillogly <uunet!rand.org!James_Gillogly>