There are Three Certificate of Achievement Categories, listed in no particular order. Other than the winning entry, the guesses are listed within each category as they were received. In addition to the Certificate winning guesses, @icecolbeveridge gets a Certificate for entering the First Guess this round. Thank you all!
@pigstubs: Alternately, it could be a Chewbacca mask. Though I don't know why you would want to give that away. I mean come on!
- WINNER: I freely admit that were I to come into possession of a Chewbacca mask I would be unlikely to part with it. This guess takes this category because there's an element of the item in the box that requires putting something on your face and seeing things differently. As we all know, one becomes the mask one shows to the world, and wearing a Chewbacca mask would inevitably result in seeing the Universe in a more Wookiee-like way.
@icecolbeveridge: It's a big girl's blouse (or collection of).
- FIRST GUESS. And If I am correct in understanding that “big girl’s blouse” is a mildly teasing term for something along the lines of “lightweight” or “coward,” I cannot make an argument for this guess having any connection to the item in the box. The item in the box has a connection to youthful humans who might engage in mutual taunting along those lines, but that is not enough. If the guess was in fact intended to be a blouse belonging to a large-ish young woman, the item in the box is oversized, but in a complimentary way, not as an implied assertion of excess.
@snoozingdog: A yellowed, tatted-edged linen handkerchief, weighted with the hope & despair of a woman who waved it to her dog as he sailed to sea.
- A poignant guess. The item in the box is something for home, for passing one’s free summer days in the neighborhood, near the house, and – most importantly – near the dog. Do not despair!
@icecolbeveridge: A nice fluffy towel wrapped around a grooming kit.
- The item in the box is a kit of sorts, but not a grooming kit. A towel might be needed at some point after interacting with the item in the box (I am only speculating here) but I cannot draw a solid line from this guess to the item in the box.
@BrianPike: A teeny-tiny canary feather, dyed green. The weight is due to needlessly voluminous & heavy packaging materials.
- I have questioned myself repeatedly over the correct categorization of this guess, but (as you see) finally settled on “clothing or accessories.” What teeny-tiny dyed canary feathers really make me think of are the feathered earrings that were popular for a while when I was a teenager. There is some artificial coloring associated with the item in the box, but not enough.
@hippophagy: It's something to remind me of highschool on Long Island in the 80s
- It is partly because of @BrianPike’s guess reminding me of feathered earrings that I ended up categorizing this guess as pertaining to “clothing or accessories.” Much of what I think of as highschool in the 80s is clothing and accessories. There are other things, but self-presentation seemed awfully important at the time. While the item in the box is for youthful humans, it is aimed at kids, and there is no particular historical decade I would associate it with.
@jonathaneunice: Something to which a craftsman of olden times (e.g. a cartwright, cobbler, cooper, farrier, or sauntere) could relate.
- WINNER: I had to look it up: a sauntere is a salt-maker. It was fun to have to look something up. The item in the box is predominantly composed of a substance known to and used by humans well into the distant past. Craftsmen, scholars, and farmers of olden times would all certainly be able to relate to it. The other qualities of the item in the box beyond its substance are not addressed by this guess, which therefore takes the certificate in this category.
@AndrewLoeb: A beautiful reliquary containing a bit of hair from The King, Elvis Presley. (Not that he's dead, he just went home.)
- The strength of this guess is mainly in its mentions of “reliquary” and Elvis. However, my enjoyment of those things is not sufficient to judge it winner in this category against the strength of the winning guess. @AndrewLoeb and I had an exchange on Twitter acknowledging the movie references, but again, with a strong winning guess, that was not enough.
@atomicfez: The complete recordings of SIMON & GARFUNKLE on LP, possibly including the Central Park Concert and the soundtrack to THE GRADUATE
- I have a complicated train of thought regarding childhood on the streets of New York City (as presented in songs and movies) as forming some kind of connection between the item in the box and the oeuvre of Simon & Garfunkle, but it is really far too tenuous.
@MariAdkins: @atomicfez oh man! i [heart] simon and garfunkle!
- This was an unintended guess, but @MariAdkins agreed to let it stand. On reflection, I can’t find any stronger argument for this guess than I could for @atomicfez’s original guess to which she was responding.
@fleur325: A boxed set of paperback books featuring classic children/young adult stories by Judy Blume.
- The item in the box is for children, which makes this a strong contender in this category, but the demographics alone cannot supplant the winning guess in this category, which most accurately gets at the substance of the item in the box.
@BrianPike: A river-worn sandstone pebble with the neatly painted legend: 'Property of Sonoma County Sheriff's Department'.
- Another strong contender. A sandstone pebble with the suggestion of artistry connected to it gets at much of the essential nature of the item in the box. However, the inclusion of law enforcement in the guess counteracts, as the item in the box is intended for free expression in public areas, and could thus come into conflict with ordered society.
@AndrewLoeb: A lucite bust of President Woodrow Wilson. Overhandling leaves one dripping with thoughts of idealism and American exceptionalism.
- The item in the box has artistry in potential only, not already accomplished. The results it seems to promise, however, might be a uniquely American childhood pleasure, to be treasured.
@jnobianchi: I'm guessing its a receptacle, perhaps a chalice that carries our future hopes within it, or maybe just a coffee mug.
- The item in the box is not a physical receptacle of any kind. Symbolically, as something for children to use to express themselves, there is an argument for it being something that carries hopes for the future (not quite the same thing as “future hopes”). A strong guess, but the item in the box is more of a key than a chalice, in symbolic terms.
@suelyn: A bowl with sayings on it popcorn, peanuts or maybe fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency & an almost fanatical devotion to the pope.
- An intriguing guess. The different options listed as to what might be the sayings on the bowl astound me in their diversity. The item in the box is not a bowl, except symbolically as discussed above, and none of the options for labeling the bowl can draw a closer connection.
@myracles: Something that I can place cheese on, but that shouldn't have cheese placed on it.
- Well, I admit that you could place cheese on the item in the box. Without knowledge of specific circumstances, I would stop short of saying absolutely that it shouldn’t have cheese placed on it. Cheese is to do with cooking and eating, the item in the box is not to do with cooking and eating, so it is a situation of non-connection rather than of advised-against-connection.
@TheStepster: A purdy ornament representing something from its country.
- While there might be something uniquely American in the item in the Box, as discussed above, it is not an ornament. It is neither pretty nor ugly, being itself something in potential for the use of making visual things.
@carterbob2: it has strong metallic surfaces, that look like they could be used for cooking, but this would be a fatal mistake.
- Strong surfaces aside, there is not much connection between this guess and the item in the box. As in @myracles guess above, I believe that involving the item in the box with cooking would probably be inadvisable, but (more likely) would never occur to anyone.
@snoozingdog: zzz k-9 3rd guess -- a dog watch for a watch dog.
- I find this guess so charming, it is a shame there is no argument I can think of, however tenuous, to draw it closer to the item in the box.
@AndrewLoeb: The difficult, yet nonetheless undying, blind gratitude for this and every single day. Big day, people! Big day today!
- WINNER: An example of a guess being the winner mainly because I say it is. As is my custom, I pored over all the guesses and made mental arguments for each as to how it could win the Grand Prize. Those with the best claims for the Grand Prize were set aside and then I slowly determined how the remaining guesses fell into clusters of general concepts/categories. It pleases and surprises me every round, how so many different people end up guessing into these clusters. So, given that there is a category for guesses evoking memorable human accomplishments, I hereby recognize what I consider the greatest accomplishment of all for any human.
@icecolbeveridge: It's the Olympic flame
- The Olympic flame and the Olympic games it represents are themselves tremendously memorable human accomplishments. Beyond that, however, I can find no connection between this guess and the item in the box except the speculative assumption that the item in the box could conceiveably be used by onlookers waiting for the Olympic flame to come by.
@BrianPike: A mid C19th Bavarian cast-iron 'Schwerthaler', the 2nd heaviest coin (1.2kg) ever minted. Badly rusted.
- I accept @BrianPike’s assertion that the ‘Schwerthaler’ exists and is the 2nd heaviest coin ever minted, and if he knows that, I consider its having been minted a memorable human accomplishment. It would probably weigh less by now if it were allowed to become badly rusted.
@AndrewLoeb: 61 more participants for the camp I serve at each summer to bring us up to the magic number? No? I mean, that'd be awesome.
- This guess pertains more to “would be” a memorable human accomplishment, and I can only wish @AndrewLoeb the best of luck in this venture. There is a connection between youth and summer and the item in the box, but not enough to really nail it down.
@KT30003k: It is the third-best kitten toy ever!! (FYI, best: another kitten; second-best: live prey)
- I would sincerely applaud the creation of a third-best kitten toy ever, given the potential draw-backs of the first- and second-bests listed. Unfortunately for kittens, there is nothing at all kitten-fun about the item in the box.
@BrooklynBridge_: The Brooklyn Bridge in miniature, giving all who come to see it unobstructed views of it from the street, and keeping history alive.
- I recognize that the Brooklyn Bridge, along with any product that magnifies its status as a memorable human accomplishment, is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, a combination of the item in the box in the hands of youthful humans and the Brooklyn Bridge itself would probably be a very bad thing.
@KT30003k: 2nd guess! PR types lobby to get this kind of product on a space shuttle flight, ostensibly for "research" purposes.
- Like the Olympic Games, Space Shuttle Flights are inherently memorable human accomplishments. I am tickled to imagine what proposed “research” would be undertaken with the item in the box, because it seems unlikely there ever would be any.
@d_g_: The fossilized remains of a conversation with a loved one.
- This guess was difficult to categorize. I concluded that 1) the substance of the item in the box was a geological substance, and 2) having a firm and tangible remnant of conversation with a (presumably lost) loved one was a memorable accomplishment.
@snoozingdog: zzz k-9 2nd guess--A well-aged chew-toy that has my name on it engraved by a prescient human in years gone by.
- Similar to @KT30003k’s guess about the third best kitten toy, I would applaud such historical significance and personalization in a chew-toy. It would be a memorable human accomplishment and a good chew-toy for a dog to have.