MIT Mystery Hunt 2014 Recap – Part 2

In my last recap post, I had spent most of my Mystery Hunt so far running around campus investigating strange images, verifying data, and solving location-based clues. As Friday night became Saturday morning, my work got a bit more puzzle-centric.

It’s hard to remember exactly what happened when during those long hours of the night. We tackled a lot of different puzzles, and I’m mostly just referencing our Team Log to see what was released and when we solved it.

Solving Common Bonds opened up a few new puzzles, including one called Monster Potatoes. We figured out the first a-ha and started collecting data, but that was about as far as we got. (Little did we know that this would end up being the last puzzle our team would solve in the entire Hunt!)

Another puzzle had to be picked up from GC, which is always fun. Phil invited a few of us to go with him, but by the time that ended up happening, most of us had gotten caught up in something else, so I think it just ended up being Phil and maybe one other person who went to pick it up and ended up solving it in the other room. (This one was hilarious, though — it was just a paper puzzle, but apparently the reason you had to go get it from GC was so they could run it through the paper shredder in front of you.  Aptly titled “Obsessive-Compulsive Dickishness.”)

Shelly took up the task of a scavenger hunt puzzle, running around and gathering lots of stuff and people. (I remember hearing her say “I’m torn, because I love events, but I also LOVE scavenger hunts!” when trying to decide how to spend her next few hours.) One of the items on the list was two people who shared the same birthday, a condition which Summer and I happened to meet (and had talked about at the hotel on Thursday). So when the time came to go “turn in” the scavenger hunt (in exchange for playing cards to build a card tower), we went with Shelly and Mike on the long, long, LONG journey to some far-away room on campus. I’m not sure where it was, but it definitely felt like the farthest I had ever strayed from our classroom.  I was also impressed that Mike seemed to know exactly how to get there! It was fun to watch them bring out all the items for the hunt and try to convince the staff member that a photo of a telegraph key was technically a telegraph key, or that the kid we grabbed from Up All Night really did speak four languages. Our same birthday item was at the very end of the list, so it felt like we had to stay there kind of a long time.

Back in the room, at about 12:40am, a Tetris + crossword puzzle called Falling into Place was released, and suddenly everyone became totally distracted. The puzzle actually required you to play Tetris! That was a fun break. I wasn’t really getting anywhere with it, so I dropped out after a few minutes, followed by Todd and Phil, then Matt, leaving just Chris. The game was pretty tough and unforgiving, and Chris basically had no choice but to keep playing until he reached the end, for fear of losing his progress.

I had some fun with A Puzzle with the Answer ‘LOVE ME DO’ (this was the puzzle title format of the backwards White Queen round) which required figuring out the song being played on an instrument without the accompanying audio. I hesitantly asked the room if I could try to play the piano song on an online keyboard through my laptop speakers and see if anyone recognized it. I was super surprised when about 5 notes in, Chris T. correctly identified the song! That first song was a huge key in unlocking the a-ha of the rest of the puzzle. Neat! Some other teammates jumped on board, and we quickly got enough data that West was able to solve it (isn’t that always the way it goes?).

That puzzle was wrapped up at around 2am, maybe about the time Todd and Chris would usually be heading out and I would be starting the night shift. But Chris was still tied up in the Tetris puzzle, and it didn’t look like the end was in sight, so Todd stuck around and kept puzzling.

Todd, Summer, and I think Phil did a lot of work on a funny puzzle called The Most Dangerous Night. I spent a lot of time staring at the clues and data, but unfortunately wasn’t able to contribute much. A couple of wrong answers delayed our solve here for a long time, but eventually it was defeated!

Shelly had been out collecting some data around campus needed for a puzzle called Indie Audio Productions and successfully convinced the rest of us in the room that it would be fun to work on, and she was right! We quickly found some patterns and then got stuck for a bit until Ben and Shelly made a huge a-ha using their local area knowledge. Ben suggested the next step, which I thought was a little unlikely, but it turned out to be correct and awesome. This was a fun puzzle for me because I got to show off my Googling prowess. I wouldn’t have thought I would be any better at Googling than anyone else on Left Out, but my teammates seemed to think otherwise. (My skills are 100% the result of my time playing The Stone.)  The last step of this puzzle required leaving campus to obtain something. At about this time, Mike arrived on his bike, so Ben went on out for an early morning ride to get the last piece.

My memories aren’t matching up with our Team Log here, but Chris was eventually released from his Tetris prison and Todd managed to work out how to use the data he had collected, so they went back to the hotel at some point. (This might have been much later thought.)

We had an event coming up at 8am, but I think Mike, Ben, and I were the only ones left in the room. We decided it would be more fun for two people than one, so Mike held down the fort while Ben and I went to play Cards Against Wonderland, a variation on Cards Against Humanity where all of the cards referenced either Alice in Wonderland, the Mystery Hunt, or MIT. This event said to send your least offendable players, and as we walked to the room, I thought “I bet I know who will be at this event.” Sure enough, Tyler was there! It was nice to see a familiar face.

After we signed in, GC told us to form groups and play the game. We went with Tyler’s team and what seemed to be a young and local team. We immediately started sorting through the cards, trying to find the “puzzle,” but GC came over and insisted that we actually play and “have fun.” So we did! And it was fairly fun. I was having a good time laughing at my own submissions. There were a few too many MIT references for our team though. At one point, Ben had about three incomprehensible acronyms in his hand. Then he seemed to keep drawing more of them, and we had some good sleep-deprived giggles over that. After a while, GC handed us a slip of paper for us to enter as an answer, and we were done.

When we got back to the room, Corey had arrived. There was also a Duck Konundrum open. As much as I’d like to solve one of those someday, I knew I was planning to go to bed in the next few hours and didn’t think it would be wise to leave in the middle of such a complicated puzzle. Corey ended up starting that one on his own, poring over the several pages of instructions and chuckling to himself every few minutes at the funny parts.

Ben and I started working on a puzzle called Please Remain Seated, which involved identifying photos of roller coasters. Again, a chance to use my Google skills! A bit of work had been done on this puzzle already, but some of the data was incorrect. We managed to finalize basically all of the data, and as a few more teammates trickled in and started helping out with the solving mechanic, I decided to head out and get some sleep. Technically, I was supposed to be on Puzzle Czar duty, but we hadn’t exactly been faithful to the roles schedule, and the job seemed to be safe in Mike’s hands, so I didn’t feel too bad about leaving early.

I think I ended up in bed by noon, and planned on getting a nice chunk of sleep since I intended to stay up on Sunday night until time to leave for my flight in the afternoon.

Next time on the recap, a clever Japanese puzzle, and some Running Around!