The 1995 MIT Mystery Hunt can be found here, and it is a
bit of a mess to wade through, with answers filled in for some
puzzles by the team whose packet was provided for the archive,
henceforth called the solving team. It is based on the board game
Clue. As we did with other old Mystery Hunts, we have solved most
of this Hunt.
In some puzzles, we are missing components that accompanied the
puzzle. This occurred for puzzle 1 (cereal samples), puzzle 2
(videotape), puzzle 10 (web site), puzzle 12 (videotape), puzzle
27 (entire puzzle), puzzle 31 (videotape), puzzle 32 (shapes used
to form letters for initial string). Except for puzzle 10, the
answers to these puzzles are available; it is just the path to
those answers that is missing.
Puzzle 0 appears to refer to multiple Boston newspapers published
on the day the Hunt began. It seems unlikely that any of these
besides the Globe is still available.
Puzzle 8 suffers from poor quality due to the archive copy being
a scan of a fax of the puzzle, and in addition the fax cut off
part of the puzzle, making it unsolvable.
Puzzle 11 was a scavenger hunt.
Puzzle 14 has been worked through, but the given extraction
instructions don't seem to give a good answer.
Puzzle 21 is a runaround that has not been performed. If the
starting point can be identified (either by a better
reconstruction of puzzle 20 or by guessing where the nexus of four
paths is), and if the campus has not changed too much, it may
still be possible to do this one.
Puzzle 22 is solved except that a couple trivia answers are unknown,
and the final answer needs to be found in the 1994-95 MIT course
Puzzle 23 consists of several lists of words, potentially
solvable, but we don't know how it works. The answer is available.
Puzzle 38 is not solved. It appears to consist of a picture plus
a transcript, though I do not know how the information in the
transcript was provided to the teams nor if we have all of what
the puzzle is meant to include.
For puzzle 40, we are to find clue suspects, weapons, and rooms
hidden in other puzzles. The correct answer is known but five of
the other items have not been found. It is possible some of these
are in the information we don't have and may not be findable.
The runaround described in the metapuzzle cannot be performed
because it probably depended on signs posted around campus for the
purpose of the hunt. One of the locations was in a building which
no longer exists.
Before the puzzles start, there is a page of introductory
information. There was a Clue tournament Saturday morning, and it
was supposed to be important to attend. I don't know what
information came out of it. There is also a checkoff sheet with
the names of the suspects, weapons, and rooms, removing any
possible ambiguity on those over different versions of the game.
For puzzle 40 we are supposed to find all of these names except
the Clue game solution hidden in other puzzles.
The second page of the posted packet is a summary of answers
found by the solving team. It includes some other information
related to meta solving.
The third page of the posted packet seems to be scratch work for
some of the other puzzles. The upper right portion of this page
lists several of the answers which are locations within the United
States. This is part of the work on the meta. The bottom portion
of this page looks like work on puzzle 22.
The fourth page of the posted packet contains errata and hints.
After this we finally get to the puzzles. Each puzzle has a location, which is not always the name of a Clue room. These are used later.
This puzzle appears to require searching multiple newspapers from
Friday of the Hunt (all the ones published in Boston?). I have not
been inspired to try to dig these up. The flavor text here refers
to the Globe, but the Globe does not normally have page numbers
like 82, mentioned in the puzzle text. That would be one of the
tabloid papers like the Herald or Phoenix.
The solving team has written in SUITE for this puzzle on the answer sheet.
This puzzle was based on samples of cereal provided to the teams,
which, naturally, we do not have. The bags were labeled with
ordering numbers and indexes for letters to extract.
The solving team has written several versions of the string of
letters clued by the cereal, but the version written on the errata
sheet (presumably after confirming answers, as was offered at that
time) is the closest. The correct phrase is FLAME OR DEMIT. Demit
is an archaic word meaning to dismiss or resign an office. These
two words both clue the word FIRE (written next to this puzzle on
the solving team's meta worksheet).
A variant letter links puzzle. The links are provided erratically
and not strictly from one name to the next. This puzzle had an
accompanying video tape with Disney movie characters to identify,
which we do not have. Based on the marked letters, and the solving
team's answer SPARTA, TN, the first answer is probably HAPPY. Then
they have DORMOUSE, RAJAH, TIMOTHY, LAMPWICK, PERDITA, ?O?NO, and
PHILIPPE. Perhaps RONNO from Bambi is the last unknown one.
Unless the black squares were shaded so lightly that they did not
come through, this is a diagramless Jigsaw Quote. The solving team
has written in the "quote" solution: PART ONE OF THIS ANSWER
CONSISTS OF THE FOURTH SONG ON THE ALBUM THAT HAS THE TRACK BASKET
CASE. IN ORDER TO DISCOVER THE COMPLETE SOLUTION, FIND MY HIDDEN
COPY OF THAT GEORGE SOMEBODY COUNTRY ALBUM ABOUT HIS BEACH HOUSE
AND TAKE THE SIXTH WORD OF THE OPENER.
The first album mentioned is Dookie by Green Day (released November 1994!) and the song is Longview. The second album is 1987's Ocean Front Property by George Strait. The opening track is All My Ex's Live in Texas, so Texas is the 6th word, and the answer is LONGVIEW, TEXAS.
PART ONE OF THIS
OF THE FOURTH S
ONG ON THE ALBUM
THAT HAS THE TR
ACK BASKET CASE
IN ORDER TO DISC
OVER THE COMPLET
E SOLUTION FIND
MY HIDDEN COPY O
F THAT GEORGE SO
MEBODY COUNTRY A
LBUM ABOUT HIS B
EACH HOUSE AND T
AKE THE SIXTH WO
RD OF THE OPENER
The hidden clue weapon LEAD PIPE appears in a column of this
The flavor text talks about reading a book or two, and we are in
a library. Rearrange the trigrams to spell book titles. Each title
has a multiple of 3 letters and ends on a trigram break.
In order to spell all these titles, we need one more THE trigram
than is given. I am not sure which book title they thought didn't
have an initial "The." In addition, The House of Seven Gables
should really be The House of the Seven Gables.
The leftover trigrams spell the answer, EITHER.
This is a standard puzzle type, but the only example of it I have on hand is from P&A Magazine (Sep/Oct 2008) where it is called Back and Forth. Words read in opposite directions, each starting with the last three letters (reversed) of the previous answer.
C D R E G E S A R S D N G P
A E E V N L I L E E A E N A
L I B E O E R U G S R T A L
L M E R M G D D I T N H W
E O L T E I A E O E E E E
R S S S S T R L N T L R D
The letters that go in the numbered boxes, in numerical order,
spell the answer, WITTICISM.
This is a standard logic-elimination puzzle with 5 variables with
10 values each: batting order, names, positions, cities, and
teams. Note that the flavor text is part of the puzzle, and
clarifies that in this league both the pitcher and designated
hitter bat, so the lineup is 10 slots long. It is also necessary
to assume each name corresponds to a person of the most common
gender for that name (so for example, Charlie is male), and to
pay attention to pronouns throughout the clues.
||Talk Show Hosts
||Salary cap Sally
||Short Order Cooks
The initials of the suspiciously alliterative player names spell
our suspect COL. MUSTARD. To get the answer, you have to read on
the diagonal in the suspiciously long team names to get
This is a maze with warps indicated by letters. The copy in the
archive, a scan of a fax of the original puzzle, does not possess
enough resolution to identify all the warp letters, and also one
end of the maze is cut off, so it is not solvable. The solving
team found the answer MT. VERNON, KY (probably from the letters of
the warps used) and the hidden weapon CANDLESTICK (somehow - maybe
on a false path; "DLES" can be found that way).
Each clue has a punny answer (e.g. DISPERSAL, "This purse'll" for
the first one) which can be found on winding paths (orthogonal
steps only, using every letter exactly once) in the grid. Use the
numbers in the second grid to associate a value with each letter
and transfer these to the blanks, then perform the arithmetic to
get a value for each answer, and add up those values.
There is an erratum to remove the words "is on" from clue 9. They
are supposed to be part of the pun, and it doesn't work if they
are printed in the clue.
The total is the answer, 36264.
As hard as it is to imagine, this hunt contained a puzzle
presented on a web site, yes, in January 1995! It was at
but, unsurprisingly, is not there now. I have no idea what was in
it; the solving team did not solve it.
This was a scavenger hunt for various articles of clothing. For
each four items brought in, you would get one part of the five
part answer, which was made of 5 digits. The solving team appears
to have only managed to get 3 of these, making an answer starting
with 357. It looks like in the meta solving, the solving team
determined this was 35758, the zip code for Madison, AL.
The puzzle was also on the video tape we do not have. Teams had
to find the missing item from a list on the tape, ignoring the
duplicates, which were unintended. The solving team reported the
answer LUAP TNIAS, which is Saint Paul spelled backward, so I
expect that the list of U.S. state capitals either pronounced as
if they were spelled backward, or actually recorded backward.
This is a metapuzzle, so I have placed its solution at the end of
Music to identify. The puzzle explains to use the number next to
each song as an index into the title of that song, and then shift
the resulting letter back that number of letters in the alphabet.
The solving team did not appear to solve it, but they left a big
hint in their meta notes.
The sheet music is not real music. Instead, the notes are a
cryptogram. Each rest length and note/chord value represents a
different letter consistently throughout the puzzle. Ignore the
key signatures (maybe the real keys of the songs?) and the note
lengths are chosen to make each word fit into a whole measure.
Then the notes decode according to the following key to produce
|1. Hello darkness my old friend I've come to
talk with you again
||The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
[a.k.a. The Sounds of Silence]
||I [or S]
||W [or G]
|2. Hey hey mama say the way you move gonna
make you sweat gonna make you groove
||Black Dog by Led Zeppelin
|3. At home drawing piktures [sic] of mountain
||Jeremy by Pearl Jam
|4. We don't need no education we don't need
no thought control
||Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 by Pink
|5. Oh life it's bigger it's bigger than you
and you are not me
||Losing My Religion by REM
|6. Look at them yoyos that's the way ya do it
||Money for Nothing by Dire Straits
|7. Ten [sic] soldiers and Nixon's coming
we're finally on our own
||Ohio by Neil Young
|8. Goodbye Norma Jean though I never knew you
||Candle in the Wind by Elton John
Unfortunately, these letters (WHIQIANG) don't seem to spell
anything, not even if they are rearranged. Some theories about
what the answer to this puzzle is supposed to be:
The namystics in this puzzle spell names of Shakespeare's plays.
Follow the given directions to find the position of the last L in
each play, and subtract this from the given number (28 was missing
from the first one, and 9 is cut off of the second one on the fax
copy. Rearrange these letters in alphabetical order of the plays
to spell FAVORITE.
The sample namystic does not spell RESTING as the instructions
state. It actually spells MISTER GREEN, one of our hidden Clue
Solve the three division problems normally. The first two are of
the type where most of the digits are missing; the last one is a
2143009 51602 2132 0123456789
213 456460917 = a 17 877234 = k 4110 8766109 ECDAWFRHIN
426 = b 85 = l 8220
304 = c 27 = m 5461
213 = d 17 = n 4110
916 = e 102 = p 13510
852 = f 102 = q 12330
640 = g 34 = r 11809
639 = h 34 = s 8220
1917 = i 0 3589
1917 = j
Hidden Clue part: 460917 from row a translates to WRENCH using
the code from the last division.
Answer: Apply the formula from the errata. (k*l)/n + (g-d)*e
(n+r)(d-r) - h + r + n + l - b = 4785502, which translates to the
answer WHIFFED using the code from the last division.
This is almost a standard diagramless, without symmetry. There is
no clue 31; the errata page tells us to ignore it, skip numbering
from 30 to 32 when we get there. It's also a rebus crossword; each
* below represents the letters MIT both across and down. The last
part of the down clues is printed below the diagram on the first
page of this puzzle, and the clue for 75D is cut off in the copy
in the archives.
A*Y FLY ICE
CEO RIO *ES EVOKES
ERG VO*S AGE MOVEIT
IMPASSE EAT *TERRANDS
VEGE*E *TENS TER*E IOUS
*IGATES EASTERS *TER
TOO HER*AGE# ZETA
SUB*TER BAR YETIS
NORITE ADAGES UPS
OGLE TICKS DESIGNERS
In the diagram above, the numbered spaces are marked with red
letters, except the #, which is a numbered space that gets blacked
in. Putting these letters in numerical order, using the black
space as a space, spells MACK TRUCK.
The big shape of black squares in the middle of this puzzle that
is so awkward to work around while solving is a picture of the
KNIFE, one of the hidden Clue items.
This is a cryptolist on Magic: The Gathering cards. The answers
are specifically all creatures. Read their power/toughness numbers
as a fraction, and plug these into the given formula.
NIVBYALGQDMCKXHF EROZJUWP cipher
FDLJRPHOBVMGKATYIS WCXNEU plain
Answers G through K form an acrostic of STUDY, one of the hidden
Applying the formula gives the answer 53140.
First solve the synonym/anagram/rhyme puzzles to get the word
Answers 4 through 11 have an acrostic of MRS. WHITE, one of our
hidden Clue suspects.
Then solve the criss-cross puzzle.
B A H N E
PALLID E R B S C
E G MALICE A U
EARNED E B R N R
C R VACATE E
BREATH M L T
A E HANDLE
M A H L
BIASED A L
L E S E
E BRAIDS T
If the word list is correct, the solution is ambiguous because
EARNED and MALLET can be swapped. But the meta confirms that this
is the intended answer, with the marked letters in numerical order
spelling the answer DEMON SOUND (as oppoed to DEMON SOUL'D for the
other solution). In addition to this, the word ANIMAL is not used
at all. There are only 23 spaces in the grid for the 24 words.
There are two parts to this puzzle. First assemble the jigsaw
(which is quite difficult from the fax copy in the archive). Then
solve the balance puzzle (20b). This provides the coloring key:
This is a runaround of MIT. I did not attempt to follow it. The flavor text says to start in the obvious location given by puzzle 20A; that is presumably with the image in this orientation:
I am not sure where this is, or it it still looks anything like this, but I am guessing that the X represents the nexus of four paths mentioned at the start of the text.
The solving team got the answer ROBOCOP. This means that the sign
at the end contains the letters B* OP?R* C?????O?
Each of the clues leads to an answer which is or prominently
features a letter, number, or punctuation mark.
The little grid in the puzzle represents the arrangement of keys
on a QWERTY keyboard for the letters, numbers, period, and comma.
If those keys represent the ciphertext, then the answers to the
corresponding clues give the plaintext.
From analysis of the cipher, it appears cipher M = plain N (clue
22 about SIPB). It also seems that cipher L = plain O, even though
clue 6, corresponding to cipher P, is quite clearly O (dash dash
dash in Morse code). From the last bit of the message, we get the
cipher P = 5, so cipher G = 2. The clue for A = 6 is solid, but it
doesn't make any sense in the line "yields 6 uniquely mischievous
solution". Probably this is an error and that letter was not encoded.
In any case, this leads to the key:
And the message (in which punctuation is part of the code and
spacing is to be ignored):
THIS SUBLIMELY QUIXOTIC CONUNDRUM, NUMBER 26, YIELDS 6 UNIQUELY
MISCHIEVOUS SOLUTION. YOU ATTEMPT TO FIGURE EXACTLY WHAT IT COULD
BE. EXCAVATE NO FURTHER, FOR QUITE UNEXPECTEDLY, IT JUMPS OUT AT
YOU. WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING TO FIND IS THE 3RD WORD OF THE 28TH
LINE, 2ND COLUMN ON PAGE 178 OF OUR MIT COURSE BULLETIN FOR SCHOOL
YEAR 1994 AND 95. I FEEL BAD N
Unfortunately, the solving team did not solve this one, and I do
not have the ancient course bulletin (is it possible this is
preserved in an MIT library somwehere?) so the final answer is
unknown. Since it seems to end in the middle of a word, it is
possible a whole row of ciphertext is cut off our archive copy of
the puzzle, but it seems like we have the important part.
I do not know how this puzzle works. The solving team found the
Identify the map shapes. The three names for each number have a
single letter common to all three.
The common letters spell the answer, ALEXANDER. The first countries in items 5 through 8 form an acrostic of ROPE, one of the hidden Clue weapons.
These sequences of words are Anguished English versions of the
initial lyrics from Christmas carols. The next word in each one is
The words in the blanks form a question, "What did you receive on
the last day of Christmas?" There are some variations in the
sequence in that Christmas carol, but the most popular version has
DRUMMERS which is confirmed by the meta.
This is a cryptic double-crostic, only with no acrostic in the
answers. Clue answers:
The quotation part spells this nonsensical phrase:
Moo, lost elk. O wonders awed! Was it organic, in ecstasy tied.
Deity sat scenic in a grot? I saw dew as red -- now dim as
brooklet - so loom.
This is almost a palindrome. To make it actually be a palindrome,
the words ORBS AMID would need to be inserted before the word
"wonders," so those words are the answer.
This puzzle is missing from the packet in the archive. The
solving team found the answer JOEL for it, though.
Find a transdeletion for each word which contains a silent letter.
The deleted letters don't spell anything, but the silent letters
spell THE BIG PULL. This is the final phrase that should be
transdeleted into another phrase, BLUE LIGHT (which also has
silent letters, but BLUE LIGHT is the answer).
The names of the artists (ignoring the windows and such
interspersed with them) spell READ FULL WORDS ONLY. In order to
solve this puzzle, overlay the diagram of the dining room on top
of the note, as shown by the highlighting in the archive copy of
this puzzle. The full words inside the piano, serving table,
dining table, china cabinet, and bar spell THE ANSWER OFFICERS IS
CORRECT, so the answer is OFFICERS.
The many unused letters spell out a long message which references
Mr. Mousebender from the Cheese Shop sketch. It reads, in full:
The esteemed gourmand Mister Mousebender provided an airtight
alibi for the delightful yet philandering Missus Peacock.
Unfortunately, the burly and thoroughly unpleasant Mister Peacock
provided Mister Mousebender with a punch in the nose after hearing
From this text we get the hidden Clue suspect MRS. PEACOCK.
The spaces which were blank in the original grid are filled in by
cheese names to spell the answer, LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA.
Another puzzle on the video tape we do not have. The errata page
says this one was screwed up, so even if we had it we might not be
able to see the answer. The solving team did get the answer
HOOKER, OK (a city in Oklahoma).
This is a following directions puzzle, but the initial state is
formed from a set of pieces that needed to be cut out, which are
missing from the archive. There are many steps which are not
uniquely reversible, so it does not seem possible to work
backwards from the solution to reach the starting point. The
solving team found the answer IT'S A HOAX.
The solutions for the Scrabble part of this puzzle are as
This gives the total score of 256. Now transfer these words into
the region of the 4 Battleships puzzles which is marked off as the
Scrabble board, and solve those puzzles.
The letters that lie on ships anagram to form the word REGULATION
(not UROGENITAL since the puzzle says the answer begins with a
The answers to the cartoon rebuses are:
Put these into the grid in the spaces of appropriate lengths:
And ESCAROLE is spelled down the third column.
The clues are Ambrose Bierce (The Devil's Dictionary)
definitions of words. Answers (starting boxes):
Chain 1: Numerically Ascending
Chain 2: Numerically Descending
Chain 3: Numerically Ascending (Odd Numbers Only)
Chain 4: Numerically Descending (Even Numbers Only)
The grid is a variation on the Quote Square puzzle, where you
mark off letters in a row of boxes, one letter per box, but
instead of each word stretching across a row or column, the words
run around the loop in the directions and spacing indicated. When
you are done marking off all the letters, some boxes have one
letter remaining. These boxes must be read in the order the boxes
are arranged, row by row, left to right within each row, to spell
the answer, EFFINGHAM, ILLINOIS.
In addition, the initial grid contains the hidden Clue room
CONSERVATORY in the middle column of letters reading downward in
boxes 40 to 36.
This is a normal crossword, except the clues are written as a
cryptolist, and the three theme entries (all with the clue
OVERLAP) are portmanteaus with the word BALL shared between two
TIMS TECS SCAT
GNAW OVATE COLE
ITSA PILOT ETAL
HEN CAM IRATE
AMI GOODIE IRON
ASTI ORIOLE ASS
STILT ARS TET
BAMA AROMA ANTE
AGER UNION TATA
TONS ELSE ALOT
One of the theme entries contains the hidden Clue room BALL ROOM.
The letters in the starred boxes (red above) are CTLTOLRPORG.
Translated back through the cipher key, they are HNINFITYFTE (the
implication is that we were supposed to fill in the entire
crossword enciphered). The instructions say to rearrange these to
spell the answer; that answer is NINETY-FIFTH.
This crossword variant has sort of reverse-hidden-word clues.
Each clue has a piece missing which usually spans multiple words,
which is to be filled in with the letters of the answer. In
addition, part of each clue defines the answer. Answers all 6 or 7
letters long and are written into the grid around the
corresponding number, clockwise or counterclockwise and starting
at a point for you to determine.
Answers (removed letter)
The numbered letters spell IT IS A NOUN. The instructions say to
eliminate all the duplicates among the removed letters and
rearrange to spell a word. The "noun" hint eliminates IRATELY and
TEARILY, leaving only REALITY as the answer.
The answer to clue 13 is the hidden Clue room LOUNGE.
I believe that the picture (labeled 38a) in the packet goes with
the "Butler transcript" which appears shortly after puzzle 40 in
the packet. The end of that transcript gives us instructions, that
each suspect lied about something, that we can assume any alibi
which cannot be invalidated is true, and assume people who are
friends with Hopkins did not kill him. Each person provides an
alibi for some place they were supposed to be, claims Hopkins is a
friend and that they loaned him something, and told about some
place they went, besides to see Hopkins, after dinner. Each person
is also allergic to a different allergen.
However, I don't see the solution here.
It's also not clear how this puzzle fits into the rest of the
hunt. It is the only puzzle that does not have a place in the
As stated in the instructions, the path can only go straight or
make 90 degree turns. What's missing are further instructions. The
path you need is marked below.
This path is broken up into one and two digit numbers which
correspond to the blanks in puzzle 40. Translating via the letters
that go on those blanks gives:
I believe 4949717 was a phone number teams had to call (it is in
Cambridge, anyway). I believe this is part of the metapuzzle, and
teams were supposed to get the digits for the path from the
metapuzzle. See the metapuzzle writeup, below.
This puzzle is based on the hidden Clue items throughout the rest
of the hunt. The locations of those items are:
||Initials of player names in batting order
||Message in unused word search letters
||Answers to clues 4-11
||Shape in middle of diagramless solution
||Possibly a stray path in maze - DLES is
there, at least
||Initials of first countries in clues 5-8
||Column 13 of solved grid
||Line a of first division problem, using final
||Answer to 54 across
||Vertically in boxes 40 to 36
||Initials of answers G-K
The items not hidden in puzzles make up the solution to this
puzzle, as in the Clue board game. These are to be written on the
blanks, one letter per blank, not leaving gaps for spaces between
words. There also appears to be an erratum to add an extra blank
to the first set and renumber the others.
The first part of the metapuzzle is puzzle 13.
Each of the double-crostic clues is an anagram of the first word
of the flavor text of one of the other puzzles in this hunt. (Note
the erratum that makes clue C "exclaims" and reorders the numbers
for clue Q.) The puzzle answers are the clue answers. The space in
MACK TRUCK, which is explicitly encoded in puzzle 17, gets put on
a blank and becomes a space in the quotation answer. There is no
acrostic in the clue answers, or if there is, we do not have the
key to decipher it.
The quotation then spells the message:
To advance, you must overlay US and MIT maps. Match east vertex of 34 with Pulaski, TN; SE corner of 2 with Rock Rapids, IA; and Point 66 to Bad Axe, MI. Read the MIT Gemini Public LEGIBLY for further instructions.
Some of the pages at the end of the packet contain email messages
that appear to be printed from GEMINI@MIT.EDU. Apparently there
was some public mechanism to access these messages. There are
several of these, with names that differ by only a few characters,
and there may well have been even more but the solving team had
narrowed it to these.
The Gemini files are encoded using a simple code in which the
sums of each pair of consecutive numbers within a word are
alphabet indexes of the letters in the message. Punctuation is
provided. The files other than LEGIBLY encode various pieces of
literature, though they break off at some point into encoded text
of some sort. But the LEGIBLY file contains instructions (and no
additional encoded text):
Greetings from beyond the grave. It is I, Phillip Boddy, with some final words for you. The remaining puzzles form a chain that you must follow. Each node of this chain contains two puzzles: One whose answer is a location and one whose answer is a word or name (this is the keyword). Puzzle zero points to the first node in this chain. To follow the chain, go to the MIT location that corresponds with the location given by part one of the node. Look on the wall for the keyword given by part two of the node. When you find it, do two things: Write down the word that immediately follows the keyword because it is the pointer to the next node. Also write down all of the room numbers on the flat stretch of wall on which the keyword appears. Write down all of the digits (building and room). Do not count any room numbers that are across the hall from the keyword. Do not go around any corners or into any alcoves deeper than a door jamb. Do not go through any doors. After you get all of the numbers, go up one floor and proceed to the next node. First node is located on the zeroth floor, node two is on the first floor, and so forth.
Cleverly, this file does not contain the correspondence between
MIT locations and US map locations, so if somebody stumbled upon
this early, it would not be enough to get started on this
runaround. Puzzle 13's answer is needed (and that points here, so
if they have that, they will get this).
Note that this message says that the remaining puzzles form a chain. 20 of the 41 puzzles were used in puzzle 13's solution, and puzzle 13 got us here, leaving 20 other puzzles. Of these, puzzle 0 is explicitly mentioned, and 18 of the other puzzles form pairs based on the location given in the puzzle's heading, and furthermore these locations are the 9 rooms in the Clue game. Puzzle 38, Butler's Quarters, is left over. It is not clear how that puzzle fits into the hunt.
Since this requires finding words that were posted on walls in
1995 and are almost certainly not there today (and for that
matter, the room numbers and even the buildings might no longer be
there), it would appear we cannot proceed farther. However, the
solving team left some information about this part of the
metapuzzle on page 3 of the packet that appears in the archive.
The information they provided appears to include Madison, the name
of the city in Alabama in a 357xx zip code (35758, specifically)
to complete the scavenger hunt answer that they did not complete
earlier, and the buildings which the map overlay provides are
listed as well.
The solving team also wrote in CONSTRUCTION here as the answer to
puzzle 22, but then crossed it out heavily.
||Mt. Vernon, KY
||Lake Charles, LA
||53140 (Kenosha, WI)
||35758 (Madison, AL)
||Prof. Plum, revolver, Dining Room
The solving team has written two words at the far left of each
puzzle. I've labeled one of them, the highlighted one, as
"pointer" since one of these is the word they have written as the
answer to puzzle 0. I don't know what the other word is. I also
don't know how these pointer words (even "suite") clue which pair
of puzzles constitutes the next node.
Here is a map of the US
with the relevant locations marked, and here
is the MIT map with the overlay. Note that the US map needs to be
flipped over to make the associations given in the double-crostic
answer work. (For this purpose, we have reconstructed an MIT map
to show Building 20 in its correct location, where the Stata
Center is today. There may be other differences, but they are not
relevant for the locations found so far.
All of the locations in this overlay agree with the buildings the solving team identified (the ones they highlighted; there also appears to be another attempt with different locations such as Johnson AC which are simply wrong), except one. The Hall answer seems to fall near the junction of buildings 34 and 36, but the solving team has written 33 here (and crossed it out, and did not highlight it). I'm not sure how they decided on Madison, but even if that is wrong, it is going to be somewhere in Alabama, somewhere near these buildings.
How this wraps up, with the Ballroom puzzles, is not clear. But
this is my best guess:
The path in puzzle 39 supposed to be given by the room numbers
written down during this runaround. That makes sense, since we
backsolved it now using the number the solving team wrote on
puzzle 39 after the start of the incorrect path they had marked
led to spelling FOUR NINE and it would have been too ambiguous to
get it any other way. This path can be broken into 4- and 5-digit
building/room numbers that look believable, though I don't think
they are all real rooms, and they definitely aren't in or near the
buildings on the trail. It is possible they were written on other
signs posted on the same walls as the signs with the keywords
during this hunt.
The reason for having puzzle 39 at all, instead of jumping
straight from the room numbers to the puzzle 40 code, is that the
trail helps you put the numbers found at the same location into
the right order.
The files other than LEGIBLY at the end of the packet are
probably all red herrings. They include:
Strangely, though, each one of these turns into gibberish part
way through. Here is an example:
PERMIT ME TO REPEAT, EMPHATICALLY, THAT MARLEY WAS AS DEAD AS A
DOORNADRJ ROWEVM ASREJFJED SKTPSKCF. QDJKGLK DKLR WSE SPGJSGE SJ E
SKEFOAS FDKJROAAA SEKJFIW DLKVNMF DFS, RJLJ RO S FKG RKJTP REJ
GJRIPE DRFJKSDSD SDK WE AWRS. DDFGKJASKL CK ROGJSDF SLWEKOV KD
REOKP RFGKDS SDL GREOGOI REJIG VE. FERK SD EO A TREIOJ SDKIP
ONHGKW ZJD GEOKV, EWRGJ QAWOI FJEIC D RIF TIJ GSIMU DIFMS PROKF
ERG. WFJ ASID JER H ERIOJPJXL RIJ RIASFD EDJZ FSA.
The frequency analysis on the gibberish shows a very weird
distribution, with the vast majority of the letters being those on
the home row of a QWERTY keyboard, so I think it is safe to say
that the gibberish is really meaningless, and was just typed by
banging on the keyboard.
The mechanism by which these files are encoded includes a degree
of freedom in each word, since each letter is the sum of two
consecutive numbers and there is one more number than there are
letters in the word. This degree of freedom is embodied by the
first number in each word's encoding, which is always between -25
and 25 (though later numbers, depending on the letters in the
word, do not necessarily maintain this pattern), and it is the
same sequence in each of the files:
19, -10, 11, -3, -13, -11, -24, -11, -6, 16, 25, 10, -6, -18, 12,
-15, 2, 25, 10, 13, -16, 3, -10, -14, 12, -21, 3, -22, -25, 13,
-17, 9, -8, -16, 13, -23, -4, 2, 21, -8, -15, 8, -4, 7, -15, 15,
-8, 1, -18, 17, -3, 7, -2, 23, 19, 4, -1, -17, 11, 8, -21, -5,
-11, -12, -1, -21, -12, -6, -1, 13, -17, -11, -23, 18, 9, 16, -3,
23, -3, 11, -20, 4, -4, 9, 5, -4, 4, 6, -1, -18, -11, 19, -10,
-17, 11, -10, -23, -1, 16, -2, -9, 10, -24, 15, 17, -5, -8, 24,
-8, -19, -17, 22, 1, 4, -15, -15, -22, 6, 21, 7, 17, 2, -16, -10,
-1, -19, 6, 1, -10, 16, 20, 2, -19, 23, 18, -25, 16, -14, -5, 3,
8, -15, 12, 25, 19, 22, 1, 9, 14, 3, -14, -7, -14, 8, 24, 25, -13,
17, -25, -19, 13, -17, -8, 6, -12, 19, -12, -12, 4, -5, 20, 16,
-15, 13, -10, -25, 16, -2, 15, 10, 5, 4, -15, -19, -19, -14, -21,
-17, -3, -6, -11, -10, -18, 14, 1
Does this encode a message? If so, I do not know what it is.
Finally, there are two other files at the end which are not in
the same format as the others. One of them is an X11 bitmap which
leads to this small icon of what I think represents somebody
losing their brain (original file here):
Maybe this icon appeared on the signs the teams were looking for
in the runaround?
The last bit is what appears to be an earlier version of the
runaround from puzzle 21. It includes some odd formatting commands
which seem to be the Andrew file format described here.
The runaround instructions are identical, except that the number
which is the difference between two room numbers where there is a
warp in the runaround path is just asterisks in this version. The
flavor text is different in several ways. And the instructions on
how to extract an answer at the end are missing.
It doesn't make any sense why this file is here.