The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. XII, No. 5

Several seasons ago, we told you about some of the lesser-known clues that racers might encounter while on The Amazing Race. (You should realize that when we say "told you about" we actually mean, "made up and put in our column".) Don't remember those clues? Here's an example:

This is the "Stop" clue. It's given to racers in the middle of a leg and will lead to a "to be continued" at the end of the episode. You will never actually see it on camera, since it doesn't come in a clue envelope but is instead handed to each team of racers by their camera crew. It's a sneaky way for the producers to get the racers to stop for a bit so that they can break a long leg into two parts.

Anyhow, this season has brought another new clue - the "U-Turn". On the advice of our lawyers, we really can't talk about the U-Turn too much. Let's just say that we would gladly have agreed to let the TAR producers use the clue that we invented and hold the copyright on, assuming they had asked politely. And kicked in a healthy fee. But this is now something for the courts to decide. Or, perhaps an "agreement" can be reached, if you catch what we are saying.

But that's not what we wanted to tell you about this issue. What we wanted to tell you about are some other clues that you might see sometime soon. (Assuming that the capitalist dogs running TAR are planning on stealing more of our ideas...)

Here are a couple of new clues that shouldn't be too difficult to figure out:

These are the "No Left Turn" and "No Right Turn" clues. When teams receive one of these clues, they cannot make left/right turns until the point specified within. Naturally, a team may stay on a road if it turns towards the left (or right), but they cannot execute a left/right turn from the road. Look at the map below:

You are at "A" and just got your "No Left Turn" clue. You have to get to the checkpoint at "B". Hurry, the last team to check in may be...ohhhh, we're sorry. Too late. You've been eliminated. While you were spending time navigating one-way streets, the really smart teams turned around and drove along the outside edge of the map to get to "B". We bet you didn't think of that one, did you?

OK, so the "No Left Turn" and "No Right Turn" might need some work, but here's one that will be a sure-fire hit:

It's the "Speed Limit" clue. Upon receiving this clue, racers will not be allowed to travel at a speed greater than a walk. Not one of those fast walks like you see in the Olympics either. This would be a nice, leisurely, Steve & Dave stroll. It's our opinion that TAR could have done well with a clue like this long ago. Say, starting with Season 4 or so.

Another clue that racers may be seeing soon will be:

The "Clearance Limit" clue. When racers receive this clue, they are required to remain hunched over or on all fours (as needed), so that they do not exceed the maximum height listed on the card. Camera crews will perform spot checks throughout the duration of the clue. The best part about this clue is that the height can be set to anything the Producers desire. Thus, a three or four foot maximum height might be sufficient for most races, but could be lowered for a race featuring Charla.

The following clue will probably need some explaining:

A semi-well-known rule on TAR is that both teammates must remain within 30 feet of each other at all times. Fans of the show know that this rule is broken so often and with such gusto that it might as well not be a rule at all. That's where this clue comes in. It forces the members of a team to split up and perform both choices of a detour. The producers can decide if the events would favor one teammate (by weight, height, fears etc.) over another purely for entertainment value.


Here's the last of the new clues we want to tell you about this issue:

Obviously, it is the "No U-Turn" clue. Actually, this isn't a clue so much as it is a reward. At a team's discretion, they may elect to perform both tasks at any Detour. If they successfully complete both tasks, then they are awarded this clue. Once in your possession, it allows your team to bypass a U-Turn should one happen to be played upon you later. Teams should probably only consider attempting to obtain this clue if they have a lead over successive teams, don't feel that the ‘2-Detour' delay will cause them to be eliminated, and worry that the general prickishness of their team could possibly lead to getting a U-Turn slapped on them later. Of course, the "No U-Turn" can come in pretty handy should you happen to be said prickish team. (Say, for instance, if your last name happens to be "Weaver".)

Watch for a later column on other new clues that you might see this year, including the "One Way" and the "Construction Ahead" clues.



Right, this is the special "bonus" section of this column, only for you readers at! Here's one last sign that you probably won't be seeing anytime soon, but we think you ought to.

We're pretty sure that it's self-explanatory.