cartoon of a fish, jumping out of a river

Puzzle 10 Great Lakes 

repeating pattern of small keyholes with a larger keyhole in the center

“So, what?” Clarissa asks, clearly not wanting you to ever understand something she doesn’t. “He took the last puzzle and ran off? Why?”

The two of you are trudging up the stairs of the Lake Erie Bicentennial Tower in pursuit of the final silver envelope. Behind you, a collection of boats gently bump into each other as they struggle to find a fair ordering on the dock.

“He’s not Quizzical League, you know,” she says. “I looked him up. He’s legitimately in the Department of Treasure Hunts, just in an incredibly junior position for how long he’s been there. The guy can’t even match pairs of letters to each other! The shadiest thing he’s done there was begging for a last-minute assignment to this case.”

“Though,” she thinks out loud, tapping her chin. “Could he be a double agent? Some kind of Genius of Subterfuge?!”

“No,” you say. Then you point at the flight of stairs ahead of you, where the so-called Genius of Subterfuge is plopped on some steps, looking incredibly confused and put-out.

“Hello, Teddy,” you say once you’re within arm’s length of him. He startles at the sound of your voice, looking harried, and makes a move to get away.

You start to lunge after him, but the mists from the nearby water have made the steps dangerously slick. You feel yourself slipping and one thought arrives crystal clear in your mind: There is no way that Clarissa DeBrie is going to rescue me.

Yet the cartoonish string of pratfalls doesn’t come. You blink and realize that you’ve been kept from falling by Teddy Rocket, who’s holding you from tumbling down the stairs by the collar of your shirt. There’s a beat of silence.

“So you’re not the bad guy?!” Clarissa grouses.

The minute you’re no longer in wet-stair-free-fall and safely seated alongside Teddy on the steps of the Tower, he hands you a silver envelope.

“You’re going to have to solve this one too,” he says, defeated.

Behind you, Clarissa continues to grumble. “What’s going on?”

You ignore her and pop the envelope open.

In the 1920s, the Great Lakes were filled with cargo ships bringing goods from the Atlantic to the heart of the Rust Belt. Ships had to be very careful moving through the packed harbors, otherwise they might cross a route and collide in the deep waters. A canny observer might figure out how to put all the ships in order and make heads or tails of the mess.

twelve boats on a lake, each with its name clearly printed on top and some letters highlighted in blue. the boat 'magneton' with NE highlighted is docked. the other boats are named: 'faculty' with CU highlighted, 'denounce' with OU highlighted, 'remnant' with M highlighted, 'scandium' with ND highlighted, 'virtuoso' with R highlighted, 'replaces' with LA highlighted, 'drawing' with AW highlighted, 'expander' with ND highlighted, 'narrowing' with W highlighted, 'xanadu' with AD highlighted, and 'grafted' with F highlighted
decorative golden divider false

What destination was a favorite stop for these ships?

Need a Hint?

Puzzle hunts like this are meant to be challenging and solved with a group of puzzlers. Before you take a hint below, we encourage you to reach out to friends. See if the extra brain power can help unlock some of the mysteries.

But if you simply can’t take it anymore, no judgment. Hint away!