The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. XIII, No. 4

We could (and should probably) write about this week's episode, but we're still bummed about the exit of Mark & Bill last week. We admit that we were pretty much rooting for them, and seeing them eliminated due to faulty clue reading pretty much ruined the week for us. Not that we're willing to take any of the blame, but we wonder what might have happened if we had run this column at some point in time prior to the filming of TAR13. This week, we've decided to write about ‘definitions' that the racers encounter.

One of the most important things that any future racer needs to remember is that the clues can sometimes be a little tricky to interpret. Here's an example of what we mean:

Let's assume you just got the above Route Info. Most racers would instantly put their shoe rubber to the pavement and head for the checkpoint - except for Mark & Bill, who would hop in the first available cab. Of course, those who decided that the clue meant to hoof it to the next checkpoint wouldn't be wrong, but there are certain circumstances when Mark & Bill could have been right. If the blurred portion of the clue said, "...which can be found at the top of the Eiffel Tower", then a case can be made that the only way to get from the base of the tower to the top is by foot - thus taking a taxi from wherever the teams got the clue to the base of the tower might actually be acceptable. See what we mean about the clues being somewhat tricky?

Here's another example of a clue that seems straightforward, but actually isn't:

The average racer would head to the nearest bus terminal and attempt to book passage on the earliest bus to Berlin, and they wouldn't be wrong in doing so. But the racer who is using his/her brain would instead head to the nearest airport and attempt to secure an airline ticket to Berlin. We know that you're wondering exactly how a team could do that and avoid a lengthy time penalty. Here's how:

In case you are STILL having trouble figuring it out, look at the name of the airline - that's right, it's SkyBUS. Once again, the intelligent racer has used brainpower to gain a definite time advantage. They can also use the same logic for any clue that says, "Travel by boat to..."

...And also for a clue that instructs them to, "Travel by train to..."

The above is (of course) the Fairchild C-119, commonly known as the ‘Flying Boxcar'. What do trains carry cargo in? Boxcars, naturally. As you can plainly see, a little ingenuity can go a long way in gaining you time on your fellow racers.

By now you are probably wondering how it was that two brainiacs such as us managed to avoid winning The Amazing Race 4. For that, we can only come up with a one-word answer: Poo.