Congratulations to Tony & Deb Anderson for finding the hidden object and winning the inaugural 2023 Men in Black Birthday Bash (MIBBB) “Summer Saucer Search”! If you recognize Tony, that’s because he used to be a City of SeaTac Mayor and Councilmember, as well as Port of Seattle Police officer and more. The husband-and-wife team decoded 10 clues published over five days on South King Media’s local websites, and were able to finally find the mysterious object placed “in plain sight” at the Robert Morris Earthwork installation in SeaTac. And it took them less than 15 minutes of the clue being published. The object was an original metal sign (“aged” with genuine rust) affixed to a fence, made to look somewhat ordinary, yet with a message and phone number on the back:
At first look – especially from a distance – this sign might not catch your eye.

Clue Creator Jeff McCord Shares His Thoughts

Jeff McCord, the mastermind behind this contest and founder of Playmasons, shared his thoughts on creating the 10 clues – here’s a look back at each of the clues, along with his explanations:

CLUE #1 – WED., JUNE 14, 12:00 P.M.

“From the sky, fiery ‘slag’ struck my boat with might, Six large flying objects — a mesmerizing sight. Over Maury Island, they roamed the air, Unleashing mysteries and intrigue beyond compare.”

Harold Dahl’s account revealed a remarkable tale, His son and dog aboard a boat under the UFOs’ trail. The first recorded sighting in history was made, “The Summer of the Saucers” had begun to cascade.

Welcome to your “Summer Saucer Search” quest, Embarking on a journey, putting rumors to the test. Just as in ’47 when the first ‘man in black’ arrived, Questioning Dahl’s sighting, the truth to be derived.

Your mission is set to investigate this claim, In Des Moines, SeaTac, Tukwila, the prize is your aim! Nine clues to follow, leading you the right way, In mad, mad a race to find it — only one team wins the day!

McCord said:
“This clue is largely designed to introduce our Summer Saucer Searchers to the ‘Maury Island Incident’ story in brief, as well as setting the scene for which Seattle SouthSide Cities are involved in the Search!”

CLUE #2 – WED., JUNE 14, 5:00 P.M.

With a guiding light and a stunning Olympic view, This Des Moines landmark beckons, a perfect starting point for you. About as far to the west as a person can be, The 600-foot structure reaches out to the sea.

Maury Island, a character itself in this UFO story, From here seems within hand’s reach in all its glory The next stop on your quest is northward, dear friend, Through history’s pages, and to places you’ve never been.

Explore the unseen, venture into the unknown, “Men in Black” lore is within your journey to be shown. So set forth on this path where secrets align, With Des Moines as your start, where wonders intertwine.

In search of the prize, beyond what’s first seen, Let your steps take you toward the enigma’s sheen. Travel safe on your journey, never straying from public spaces, Your treasure is hidden “in plain sight;” Now it’s off to the races!

McCord said:
“With a stunning view of Maury Island at the end of a 600-foot pier in Des Moines, WA, this clue launches us on the Search, and gives us a clue that we will next travel North (to a place named in the next clue).”

CLUE #3 – THURS., JUNE 15, 12:00 P.M.

The Museum of Flight, Tukwila’s pride, The Aviation Pavilion with planes staged outside. You can visit in-person if you pay a fee, But there’s a map online where it’s ‘plane’ to see.

Amidst the vast expanse of blue, one particular plane took flight, Its metal wings slicing through day and night. The Stratojet soared high, nearly reaching a celestial realm, Unaware of the mysteries brewing under its wings’ helm.

Harold Dahl, gripped by the fear of what he had seen, Whispered tales of saucers and encounters inbetween. In 1947 he witnessed the objects dance with grace and might, Beneath the canopy of stars, a captivating sight.

Flash forward to The Aviation Pavilion of today, Where these historic planes seem frozen that way. On Henry’s mural in the Pavilion’s parking lot, What creature, in a space helmet, holds a frog in thought?

McCord said:
“In this clue we learn a little more about the scene that would have taken place as Harold Dahl would have experienced while sighting the six flying saucers in 1947 — a time that had marked the end of WWII and the beginning of the Cold War, when suspicions and fears were rampant.” “The operative part of the clue is simple: “On the mural (at the Museum of Flight Aviation Pavilion) is an illustration of animals in space, all wearing space helmets. Which one were we looking for? A ‘dog’ holding a frog. The dog is a future hint to the Grandview Dog Park, which comes into play later in the Search!”

CLUE #4 – THURS., JUNE 15, 5:00 P.M.

Looking for a thrill? Why not stop by, Heed the track’s motto: “It’s time to fly!” With camps, clinics, and BMX bike races galore, After watching a few sprints you’ll leave wanting more.

This super-fun racetrack is open 10 am ’til dark, In support of the community, this place provides a spark. BMX racing’s mission, their purpose clear, To inspire youth, engage families, and foster growth sincere.

So step into the realm of speed and grace, Feel the rush, the wind against your face. SeaTac’s BMX track awaits, a vibrant core, Where the thrill of riding calls forevermore.

While you are there, contemplate your next move, And, very soon, you’ll be finding your groove! In service of your quest, if 26 laps is too far to pedal, Perhaps it’s better to drive, so put it to the metal!

McCord said:
“This clue contains an invitation to visit a little-known amenity in SeaTac: A BMX bike-racing track! In the last stanza there is a reference to ’26 laps’ on this track. If our Searchers were to look at a satellite view of the track on a map — with one circuit on the track being approximately 1,000 feet, the ultimate destination for the Search is very close to 4.9 miles away from the track at the crow flies! The only thing you won’t know is, ‘which direction!’” “Want to know the math?1,000 feet x 26 = 26,000 feet / 5,280 (feet/mile) = 4.9 miles!

CLUE #5 – FRI., JUNE 16, 12:00 P.M.

Every search deserves a treat, From 10 to 5 you can expect to eat. (Except for Sunday when you’re out of luck) Cacao! Cacao! Do I hear a duck??

A Whale, Octopus, Cactus, and a Butterfly,  Two hearts and a Battleship, oh my! An Apple, Sand dollar, Umbrella, and a Fish, DECODE THIS PHRASE (to receive your wish): 3-9-4 / 1-7-8-5 / 10-2-6

Over Andover, where you’ll Park your cars, Is a chorus line of chocolate bars. Give the attendant this CODE for something tasty, Only the first letters, mind. No time to wasty!

Now you’ve had your little break, Resume your search, and don’t be fake. Another day, and another clue, Or should we say, “Another two?”

NOTE: The resulting secret code for Seattle Chocolate is “CUB WASH FOB

McCord said:
“Like it suggests, this clue is intended as a mid-Search break that also gives the Searchers a tasty treat. If you were to travel to Tukwila (to Andover Park W.) you will have found the chocolate factory and retail showroom of Seattle Chocolate. “There is a colorful mural in the parking lot which contains the clues (the tattoos on the legs of the chorus line ladies). “Using the first letters of each tattoo named in the clue reveals a silly code phrase. If you were to go inside the showroom, the attendants will have donned MIB-style sunglasses and handed you a special chocolate treat just for stopping by!”

CLUE #6 – FRI., JUNE 16, 5:00 P.M.

Oscar and November, a whimsical pair, Dance through the meadow without a care. To a magical waltz, enchanting and sweet, They twirl in step to the uplifting beat.

A tango at the hotel is on grand display, Echoes of music guide the couple that way. Guests spin and dip, their spirits high, Lost in the moment beneath a starry sky.

A foxtrot echoes on November’s night, Friend Charlie joins in, his eyes shining bright. Dancing with laughter in the moonlight’s soft glow, Echoes fade as the curtain of night falls low.

In the meadow’s embrace a brisk rhythm rises, As they salsa their way through countless surprises. The three joyous dancers sway in delight, Their steps intertwined in harmonious flight.

McCord said:
“This is one of my favorite clues! Many people would have noted the odd names for the two main characters in this clue — two dancers having an adventurous night out. ‘Oscar’ and ‘November’ are two of the phonetic words contained within the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. “Here is the full alphabet for anyone who is curious to know it:
“Scanning the poem, players will have found the following words:
    • Stanza #1: ON
    • Stanza #2: THE
    • Stanza #3: FENCE
“This is an *important* clue for finding the hidden object in the end!”

CLUE #7 – SAT., JUNE 17, 12:00 P.M.

In Elda’s Paradise Garden, a horticulturalist’s realm, Is Elda Behm’s legacy at nature’s graceful helm. Husband Ray, a Boeing wartime worker, devoted and true, Their lives intertwined, creating beauty anew.

Between two ferns is the entrance so serene, “Paradise Lost” transformed into a tranquil scene. Beside North SeaTac’s center is a Victory Garden so grand, Where solace is found in nature’s gentle hand.

“Rosie the Riveter’s” rose garden, a tribute in bloom, Is a symbol of strength, defying life’s gloom. Twelve columns stand tall, strong, and upright, A space for reflection where worries take flight.

On a commemorative tile proclaiming an Irish phrase of cheer, Is an anagram puzzle, the next clue drawn near. “Hey, [BLANK] Arising,” is the answer whispered in the air, Leading you on your way on your clue-seeking affair.

CURIOUS? What was typically grown in a Victory Garden? Traditional victory gardens included foods high in nutrition, such as beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, kale, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, turnips, squash, and Swiss chard.

McCord said:
“For our Searchers who traveled to ‘Elda’s Paradise Garden,’ you will have discovered that this clue contains more references to the post-war military era, with husband Ray working for Boeing, and the garden containing a tribute to “Rosie the Riveter.” If you had located the commemorative tile in the center of the garden, the ‘Irish phrase of cheer,’ which is ‘Irish Eyes a Smiling.’ “Using an Anagram Search Engine online, one could decode this message as: ‘HEY, MISSILE ARISING,’ with ‘MISSILE’ being the operative word. “If our Searchers had also gotten the reference to a ‘DOG’ earlier in the game, then you might have thought about SeaTac’s ‘Grandview Dog Park’ a few miles away. This historically-unusual place — a former Nike missile site right in our region — not only relates to some of the themes floating around in the Search clues, but also gets our players physically closer to their final destination to come! (and yes, in part the dog park is a bit of a red herring).”

CLUE #8 – SAT., JUNE 17, 5:00 P.M.

Nike S-43 IFC was a guardian of might, Goddess Nike personifying Victory, guiding us right. Her minions Ajax, Hercules, and Zeus, gods heralded in song, In defense they stood, steadfast and strong.

Once vigilantly watched over, the National Guard’s pride, Under 37 acres of parkland these defenders could once hide. Now it’s a grand dog haven where tails wag with glee, A canine retreat where furry friends run wild and free.

Our civil defense system now a chapter of the past, In the arms race these missiles could have been cast. The Cuban missile crisis was once a moment of fear, This Cold War relic reminds us that danger was near.

While Nike-Ajax missiles had a 25 mile bite, Your own target in meters is just 3% of that flight! Now let’s play “fetch” at SeaTac’s Grandview park, Where dogs now romp freely and enjoy a good bark.

McCord said:
“Yes, now we are at the Grandview Dog Park, and the third-to-last clue of the Search! “Here there is a bit of fascinating history being told, but also there is another distance-related clue in the last stanza: If you calculate 3% of 25 miles you will come up with .75 miles, 3,960 feet, or about 1,207 meters, whichever your flavor (or should I say ‘flavour’). “Triangulating that distance could now *easily* lead you to your final destination, revealed in the second-to-last clue to come!”

CLUE #9 – SUN., JUNE 18, 12:00 P.M.

In the fields, the farmer toils and strives, Working the earth with passion in his eyes. With careful precision, he treads his path, Creating crop circles for a celestial craft.

Rings surrounding rings, a mesmerizing sight, Four acres adorned with patterns and light. A canvas of mystery etched on the ground, Where secrets and wonders can truly be found.

A perfect landing site for beings unknown, Like “Catcher in the Rye,” a tale yet unsown. Alien crafts may descend with grace, Exploring this haven, another world’s embrace.

Gouged deep into the soil, the marks must persist, Mankind’s labors are destined to forever exist. How green was this valley? We’ve only to look, To our own valley of Kent, not to Wales as in this book.

McCord said:
“This clue contains a lot of visceral references to what our final destination looks and feels like. As you will learn in the final ‘giveaway’ clue which comes next, this magical place does in fact remind you of an alien landing site! “Hopefully this description will have helped Searchers to recognize (or discover) the “Earthwork” park nearby the Grandview Dog Park. “The references to ‘Rye’ have to do with the rye grass planted in the park, and “How Green Was My Valley” not only is another literary reference, but allows your Cluemeister to refer to the view (over the “Earthwork”) to our own Kent Valley.”

FINAL CLUE #10 – SUN., JUNE 18, 5:00 P.M.

At a park in SeaTac, serene and grand, Overlooking the Kent Valley’s expanse of land. A harmonious blend of nature and design, An invitation to ponder, to seek and to find.

The Robert Morris Earthwork, a sight to behold, At Johnson Pit #30, a story untold. Land sculpted with precision and artistic grace, A symbol of human creativity in this space.

Amidst this marvel, a sign from the past, A mysterious warning, a message to last. Inscribed in 1947, its message elusive, “Look to the fence, your quest is conclusive.”

Step closer and observe with curiosity’s gleam, For within lies the answer as if from a dream. The park, the sculpture, the sign all entwined, A place where wonders unfold and secrets unwind.

McCord said:
“This final clue hardly needs an explanation, but we are now happy to reveal what the hidden ‘object’ truly is: A vintage-looking sign which could have easily been on the fence of a secret government facility guarding an alien landing site. “It reads: ‘NOTICE: FORMER SLAG MINING SITE MONITORED BY MIBBB’ (referring to our upcoming MIBBB Fest). “THANK YOU ALL!! Who played the first-annual ‘2023 Summer Saucer Search.’ Congratulations to all of you who played, and especially ‘THANK YOU’ to the lucky winners, Tony & Deb for their success!!”

Video of Winners

Here’s a video interview of winners Tony & Deb, as shot/edited by McCord, the mastermind behind the clues who organized the entire gaming aspect of this great contest.