2019 MIT Mystery Hunt

(this post is sketchily backdated from February 2020)

Fourth year with ✈✈✈ Galactic Trendsetters ✈✈✈. Past: 2018, 2017, 2016, writing with Random in 2015). Evidently I was unable to find the time or motivation to blog about this, and I can’t remember any particularly good stories, so let me just slip this backdated list post in the archives.

The theme in a few sentences: The hunt organizers declare a new Molasses Awareness Day, but because they didn’t follow the proper procedure, throwing the world of Holidays into chaos, where “chaos” means molasses. This resulted in lots of puzzle-to-meta matching, since puzzles were in Holiday towns but metas were at lampposts between two towns.

Highlights of puzzles I solved:

  • A Good Walk Spoiled (Holi): Happens to be about a topic I know well and find interesting. Fun steps. Justified use of substitution ciphers; the pasting into quipqiup was worth it.
  • State Machine (President’s): A one-aha! one-step puzzle. Maybe more unfortunate because apparently this was not the only puzzle to use a specific aspect of a specific source material, but I didn’t know about that other puzzle so it’s fine.
  • Clued Connections (Pi): I went to sleep near the end of this puzzle, so I didn’t see it through, but Floorpi was collectively called out by it.
  • I Can’t Deal with These Endless Numbers (Patriot’s): Incredible.
  • Loaded (Arbor): Simple and self-contained enough.

Puzzles I’ve heard good reviews of:

  • Deep Blue (Valentine’s): Hilarious.
  • Send Yourself Swanlumps (Halloween): A good puzzle made even better by the production quality of being an actual paperback choose-your-own-adventure book.
  • Things (Holi): I love alternate representations of things like this.
  • Bubbly (New Year’s): Combinatorial game theory.

Puzzles I noticed for other reasons:

  • Drop and Give Me Ten (Patriot’s): A DropMix puzzle?? We didn’t solve it.
  • Playing a Round (Pi): It’s a concept I’ve thought about before to make a puzzle consisting solely of a credible, original piece of music. It seems hard to pull off and this puzzle seemed to the it. We did not solve this puzzle but I’m interested in how it worked and whether it also worked.
  • iPod Submarine (TODO): Is this the 50/50 of black box puzzles?? I think we figured out all the rules but missed the first-words message.

Meta contributions:

  • Halloween/Valentine’s Meta: I contributed nothing except error-correcting and screaming the pun.
  • Holi/New Year’s Meta: I also knew nothing of how this puzzle worked except that some people had extracted some letters but did not guess the answer. One of the first things I did after waking up on Sunday was guessing the pun, which I’m pretty happy about.

(note: the commenting setup here is experimental and I may not check my comments often; if you want to tell me something instead of the world, email me!)