Whoomp
November 19, 2013 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Slate's Ben Blatt "sat in a Barnes & Noble for three hours flipping through all seven Where’s Waldo books with a tape measure" and emerged with a method for finding Waldo with speed more than 50% of the time.

Give Blatt's method a test! Where's Waldo...

...amongst the Gobbling Gluttons?
...in the thronged department store?
...amidst the Gold Rush?
...around the roundabout?
...at the siege of Jerusalem?
...near the towers of Ilium?
...at the safari park?
...on a Saturday morning in 1388?
...in the hedge maze?
...on the floor of the Colosseum?
...à la gare?
...in endless forms most beautiful?
...in GIF form?
...on hard mode?

(Previously: surprising images in the Where's Waldo books.)
posted by Iridic (43 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
(UK readers may mentally substitute "Wally" for "Waldo.")
posted by Iridic at 9:54 AM on November 19, 2013


I found Waldo, he's right here amid all these beans on this plate.
posted by chavenet at 9:57 AM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


En Francais: Ou est Charlie?
posted by Riton at 9:59 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


What, is it Suck the Fun Out of Everything Month on Slate?
posted by Rangeboy at 10:00 AM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


That and twenty five cents....
posted by IndigoJones at 10:02 AM on November 19, 2013


I had "The Land of Waldos" as a jigsaw puzzle when I was a kid. It gave me a real sense of satisfaction when I solved it, and I wouldn't let my parents take it off of the dining room table for a good long time thereafter.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:02 AM on November 19, 2013


Looks like it works... about half the time.

Does anyone remember the one where Waldo is at the beach, and there's a kid who's dropping his ice cream onto a lady's back, and she's kind of jumping up, and because she had her bikini untied you can see her chest? That is actually a thing. They had to correct it in later editions.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:11 AM on November 19, 2013


Want to know the best kept secret in children's book publishing?
If you go back and re-read a Where's Waldo book, he's always in a different place.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:12 AM on November 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


If there is a way to wring the simple, childlike pleasure from a thing, a geek will find it.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:13 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ben Blatt: Never invited to parties ever.
posted by Kitteh at 10:14 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like it works... about half the time
But to get Waldo half the time you do not have to scan a full half of the page - that's why this is a winning tip.
posted by Wulfhere at 10:16 AM on November 19, 2013


Finally! Now we can move onto Satre's massive two volumes Why Is Waldo? and What Is Waldo's Purpose?!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:18 AM on November 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


Buy the books, for fuck'ssakes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:19 AM on November 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Maybe in losing Waldo we find life's true meaning. #slatepitch
posted by octobersurprise at 10:19 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ben Blatt: Never invited to parties ever.

Oh, he's invited. He just stands outside the areas where slightly more than 50 percent of the people stand, so you can't find him.
posted by Etrigan at 10:21 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why not just make a stencil of Blatt's map and put it over the page? According to Blatt it's a certainty Waldo will be in one of the 68 little circles. Label each circle as Blatt did and you can find Waldo even faster.
posted by ubiquity at 10:28 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I admit the article would have been better had the scatterplot of Waldo's locations formed words of horrific import.

Or if Barnes & Noble had ejected him for loitering in the children's section for three hours and ruining the spines of the Waldo books.
posted by Iridic at 10:33 AM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I admit the article would have been better had the scatterplot of Waldo's locations formed words of horrific import.

If you connect the dots just so, you create the Third Sigil of the Occluded One, although trying to use it with even one line wrong leads to... well, inconvenient results.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:41 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Guess Slate couldn't spring the cash for a few Where's Waldo books?

Hell... the least he could have don't was hang out at the library to do this ground breaking research.

Might have to rub elbows with some undesirable then I suppose though.
posted by edgeways at 10:48 AM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


When I was in grad school I was sitting in the children's section of the education section of the library and I was exhausted and stressed out and my eyes happened to settle on the Where's Waldo? books and I was like "Yes. I will find Waldo. This is exactly what I need right now." Then I realized it wasn't Where's Waldo Now? it was ¿Dónde Está Wally Ahora? and I almost cried because I was like "WTF I barely speak Spanish WHY IS THE WORLD LIKE THIS?" and I was stressed and tired and DID NOT WANT TO DEAL but I opened the book anyway because I was like "well, it's a kid's book, and my Spanish is okay..." and then I actually looked at it and was like...oh. Right.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:54 AM on November 19, 2013 [20 favorites]


There is no simple, harmless pastime that can't be ruined by some guy with a tape measure.
posted by emjaybee at 11:00 AM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


gobbling gluttons linked is borked
posted by lazaruslong at 11:02 AM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Your titles are always a joy.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:10 AM on November 19, 2013


Everyone knows the best use of Waldo books is to serve as big flat hard bases for legos when your room is carpeted.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:18 AM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


tl;dfw
posted by aught at 11:28 AM on November 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I hope he purchased the books...
posted by Going To Maine at 11:45 AM on November 19, 2013


Kinda seems like if you're willing to use *an annotated list of every single hiding place* as a guide, your success rate ought to be a bit better than 50%.
posted by rollick at 11:54 AM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also I was disappointed that this wasn't some neat brute-force algorithm I hadn't realised, like keeping your hand on the right wall to solve a maze.
posted by rollick at 11:56 AM on November 19, 2013


Does it work on the Nook?
posted by tafetta, darling! at 11:57 AM on November 19, 2013


Is it just me, or has there been a sudden surge in Waldo popularity since around Halloween? Maybe it's just confirmation bias, but it seems like I'm seeing more of him lately. I'm not even searching for the guy!
posted by orme at 12:13 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


...it seems like I'm seeing more of him lately. I'm not even searching for the guy!

Waldo is pretty much a classic stalker/serial killer type. He only allows you to see him when it's already too late. And then you can't not see him.

Where's Waldo?
Why is Waldo Still Here?
Honey, Why Won't Waldo Leave?
Where's Fluffy? My god, what has he done to Fluffy?
posted by logicpunk at 12:59 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems we have also found the cognitive surplus.
posted by bicyclefish at 1:16 PM on November 19, 2013


Why?
posted by hypersloth at 1:20 PM on November 19, 2013


That's not a system!
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 1:57 PM on November 19, 2013


Of course, this article completely misses the significant works in the Waldo oeuvre from Oolon Colluphid:
  • Where Waldo Went Wrong
  • Some More of Waldo's Greatest Mistakes
  • Who is this Waldo Person Anyway?
  • Well, That About Wraps It Up For Waldo
  • Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Waldo But Were Too Ashamed To Ask
  • Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Waldo But Have Been Forced to Find Out

  • posted by gern at 1:58 PM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


    If this guy's so smart, why does he say "is comprised of," huh? Heh.

    Is it just me, or has there been a sudden surge in Waldo popularity since around Halloween? Maybe it's just confirmation bias, but it seems like I'm seeing more of him lately. I'm not even searching for the guy!

    I've noticed it, too. I think people who grew up with Waldo are starting to have kids and getting reintroduced to the kid-lit classics through them...
    posted by limeonaire at 4:25 PM on November 19, 2013


    The whole thing could be speeded up enormouslyif they were printed with large, clear arrows pointing at him. As it is, it's just unnecessary obscurity. Pretentious. Good to see someone stripping away the facade.
    posted by Wolfdog at 4:49 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


    I work in a very small library where I need to shelve my department's books. (Instead of having a page or a clerk). Since I am new to this library it's a good way to get to know the collection and see what's circulating. Well, I'll tell you, when it comes to the non-fiction section, these kids like rocks, planets and Waldo. Where's Waldo? In the 793s, baby!
    posted by Biblio at 4:58 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


    Atom Eyes: "Want to know the best kept secret in children's book publishing?
    If you go back and re-read a Where's Waldo book, he's always in a different place.
    "

    Ah, another creepypasta thread.
    posted by Chrysostom at 9:51 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


    I found Waldo!

    Would you like me to share the news about Him?
    posted by Joe in Australia at 2:48 AM on November 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


    I found Waldo!

    Would you like me to share the news about Him?


    *filing away for later writing the story of a cargo cult whose sacred texts are the first three, half of the fifth, and the entirety of the seventh, Waldo books, and their rivals on the other side of the island who accept all seven books as canon.*
    posted by gauche at 6:22 AM on November 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


    Also, the title of this post is a right joy, as Steely-Eyed-Missile-Man has pointed out.
    posted by gauche at 6:24 AM on November 20, 2013


    Chrysostom: Ah, another creepypasta thread.

    You spend an hour searching for a stripey-shirted man in his newest book. He's nowhere to be found. Not on the first page, not on the second, nowhere. You are beginning to think that your book was misprinted, or perhaps a prank. Exasperated, you stand up and turn around. Waldo was behind you the whole time, waiting.
    posted by Rock Steady at 7:17 AM on November 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


    « Older In this teaching video, Suzanne Stensaas, Ph.D., d...  |  "We are reminded that everythi... Newer »


    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments