Well, it’s been over a week, which is a long time for blog posts to be delayed after the event they’re documenting in probably all of the world except my blog. So.
I guess this post should start with a bit of background. I’ve been puzzlehunting for… wow, three and a half years now. I was introduced to puzzlehunts from AoPS, when some fellow members got together a team for CiSRA 2011, and I think I’ve participated to some degree in every known internet Australian puzzlehunt since.
But as for my experience with the MIT Mystery Hunt in particular, I sort of hunted with a decidedly uncompetitive AoPS team in 2012 (I think we solved one puzzle exactly), but my serious hunting career began when dzaefn recruited me into the Random team (then Random Thymes) for the 2013 hunt (and I did blog obliquely about it). We didn’t win (and I actually didn’t participate that much because I was traveling with family) but the next year (as One Fish Two Fish Random Fish Blue Fish (1f-2f-17f-255f (I am evidently in a parentheses mood today because as you’ve probably noticed, the amount and depth of parentheses in this sentence are positively alarming (lol)))) we won.
And I do have a half-written post about that which will never get posted (and I also didn’t participate that much, because my family was moving that weekend) but okay, let’s just drop any semblance of chronological coherence on this blog and dump a short version of the list of puzzles and parts towards which I contributed solving, as I wrote them down one year ago:
Unfortunately I don’t have time for anything more complex, so here’s a low-effort illogical puzzle for the occasion. (It has been testsolved, at least. Thanks, Yoshiap.) It also features a brand new category, so as not to distract the people on LMI.
If you don’t already know what occasion it is, it’s easy to find out by looking through my archives or possibly anywhere else I’ve left a trail online. Or you could solve the puzzle! (Or you could ) If this puzzle had an answer, it would be a nine-letter word, although like most of mathematics, it’s less about the answer than about the path you take to get there…
Logic puzzles are easy to construct if one doesn’t have some specific pattern or theme in mind. It’s just that, given the increasing number of constructors and puzzles with amazing themes, I don’t think it’s very meaningful for me to just construct more puzzles of the same genres by putting down clues randomly. That’s why, for my seventeenth birthday, I took the puzzlehunt route and made something without instructions that is not completely solved by logical deduction. Still, I’ve provided all the information needed to do this puzzle initially, so I hope my not getting the inductive bits test-solved can be excused.
This is nowhere near the top, but compared to the usual results of whatever AoPS team I form, it’s amazing. By far the best result of AoPS was on CiSRA in 2010 (46th with 58 points), before I discovered puzzle hunts in AoPS; unfortunately due to people getting older and the influx of younger and younger people to the fora, there are less possible teammates each year and they have less time, so here I am by myself. (Also I could have accepted an invitation from a guy in the some-form-of-Elephant team, but I figure if you can win two MUMS hunts in a row you don’t need any more people.)
So winter vacation started and parents had planned a trip to southern Taiwan, to get closer to nature and walk around and stuff.
Also, the MIT Mystery Hunt, the absolute granddaddy of all the other puzzlehunts in terms of age, structure, and size, happened this weekend. Originally, I didn’t have a team and just planned to look at the puzzles after they got archived and try solving some puzzles read the solutions while constantly thinking, “How could anybody ever solve that?” Because of that, I wasn’t planning to even bring my laptop at first; then I could force myself to study some long-overdue ring theory during the nights. I was taken aback by a private message on Saturday morning from somebody with many different names inviting me to remote-solve for Random Thymes.