The Painter has escaped a maximum security mental hospital after the great Sherlock Holmes caught him. Now the Painter, who once tortured and killed art gallery owners, is threatening to return to his old habits unless Sherlock can catch him again. While Sherlock is off trying to find the Painter, we amateur sleuths have been charged with figuring out the mocking riddles the madman has left around the city.
On Saturday, CBS and Watson Adventures put together a Scavenger Hunt to celebrate the debut of Elementary on Thursday, September 27. In the modernization of the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Jonny Lee Miller plays Sherlock Holmes, a recovering drug addict who has relocated to New York City. Another big difference? Watson is Sherlock’s sober coach . . . oh, yeah, and she’s played by Lucy Liu.
The Scavenger Hunt took me and about 14 other teams across Lower Manhattan—to a tattoo shop, the High Line (raised railroad tracks that have been turned into a garden and nature trail), and various shops in Greenwich Village. The grand prize? A set visit to the show.
Julie Jacobs, chief development officer of Watson Adventures, said this adventure was different from the typical scavenger hunts and murder mystery theme events her company runs in New York and other cities. Most of those are confined to one location, such as a museum. Jacobs said the adventures are like a walking tour set up in a game environment.
Jacobs, along with Stacy King, general manger of Watson Adventures, and other members of the Watson Adventures staff, were stationed throughout the city to encourage the hunters. The added bonus was that anytime you saw someone wearing the “No Shirt, Sherlock” T-shirts, you knew you were close.
“Everyone is so enthusiastic,” said Jacobs.
The teams, which were limited to just three players per group, were a diverse mix of college students, puzzle-minded couples, and hardcore scavenger hunters. Most hunters were from the New York area, but some made the lengthy car ride from Westchester County to participate in the event. Even Sherlock NYC made an appearance. In the end, the day (and the set visit) went to Team Answer Key.
When I spoke with two veteran scavenger hunters, two sisters from New York, they said this will make their fifth scavenger hunt with Watson Adventures and as long as Watson keeps offering up more adventures, they’ll keep going. They’ve done four adventures in New York and even went to Boston for one hunt.
For the Elementary event, the Watson Adventures team worked with the CBS marketing team to develop a series of clever clues that were a mixture of New York knowledge, Holmes-worthy riddles, and hints to the new themes of the show.
Here’s a sample clue from a typical Watson Adventure:
Find Soho House, a private club for such members as Nicole Kidman and Adam Sandler. Sex and the City’s Carrie and friends relaxed beside the rooftop pool. Within your view outside, what’s one thing they probably weren’t talking about? (It’s also the name of a John Cusack movie.)
Answer: High fidelity, mentioned in an old ad painted on a nearby wall.
“[The scavenger hunt] is smart, fun, and takes advantage of the setting,” said Colleen Kenny, VP of CBS Marketing.
Are you going to tune in to Elementary on September 27?
Jennifer Proffitt is a Midwestern transplant to New York City. She spends most of her time watching crime shows and reading romance novels. Follow her other adventures on Twitter.