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St Helens couple win Street Hunt!

12th Aug 2022

Street Hunt took place in St Helens during July 2022, with a cash prize on offer to anyone who could solve the puzzle, created by artist Joshua Sofaer. Check your answers.

We’re delighted to reveal that the winners of Street Hunt St Helens are Moss Bank residents Kristian Ryder and Melissa French.

Completing the puzzle in just 16 days, the couple have won the total prize fund of £1,560 (based on 260 books sold). Although they got all the answers the fastest, it certainly wasn’t an easy task.

Kristian began the hunt whilst Melissa was out of town, collecting their copy of the book at 4pm on Street Hunt’s launch day, Saturday 9th July. The couple had been eager to play Street Hunt since it was announced in 2020, and had pre-ordered a book two years ago.

In the first few of days, they managed around 30 street names thanks to existing knowledge of the area, and a week in they were feeling confident. Next, they began driving home using different routes around Haydock and Sutton, to spot as many street names as possible during the daily commute.

“I’d get home, ask how long I had until tea, and if he said 20 minutes, I’d say ‘okay - see you in 15’” laughs Melissa, who would go for a quick walk in the hope of solving another blank. “Sometimes we even skipped dinner!”

After getting out and about on the streets, the couple changed tactics and decided to find a list of street names in the area online. Knowing that the project was intended for 2020 and that artist Joshua Sofaer would have taken photographs around that time, they opted for the version published that year, and used this information to whittle down the options remaining in the book.

“I'd like to say ‘no worries’ but there were many… A lot of sweat, some swearing, many late nights and several times the book got flung on the floor with the words ‘stupid Street Hunt/that street doesn't even exist/wait until I see that Joshua Sofaer…’” says Kristian.

It was around this time that they bought a second Street Hunt book - the pages had started to fall out with so much use. With 20 street names left to go, there was talk of giving up, until Kristian worked out that the size of each blank space in the Street Hunt poem correlated with the number of letters in the missing words. “We got the ruler out and measured the gaps” he laughs. The former pub quiz host noted some alliteration and other patterns in the poem “which I actually thought was a load of rubbish” but it helped them decipher the final few pieces of the puzzle.

For the final street name, Kristian spent five hours on Google Street View, systematically trawling the roads until he confirmed Freda Avenue (image 97 in the book).

“I'm really surprised we did it in just 16 days, although it did feel like we had been doing it for months,” adds Melissa, who was always determined to solve Street Hunt from day one.

The artist behind Street Hunt Joshua Sofaer says: “I thought I’d made Street Hunt St Helens super hard. I was worried that nobody would ever get it. It’s amazing to me that Kristian and Melissa got there in just over a fortnight. They say they were working at it night and day and I can imagine they were. Huge congratulations to them. Their persistence is inspiring!”

The couple added that completing the puzzle has given them both a new lease of life. Both have rejoined the gym and started learning languages again (Melissa is studying Chinese whilst Kristian is learning German).

And how will they spend their winnings? Kristian and Melissa have booked some time off work and are currently discussing holiday options. Congratulations on a well deserved win!