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5 days until Mystery Hunt by Matt McGann '00

One of IAP‘s most exciting activities is the annual Mystery Hunt. In short, Mystery Hunt is a weekend long competition at MIT where students and others team up to solve lots of puzzles, with the ultimate goal of finding a coin hidden somewhere on campus. For a more in-depth description, you should definitely check out these longer articles from Technology Review and Games Magazine. This year’s Mystery Hunt begins this coming Friday, January 14, at 12 noon in Lobby 7 (the “main entrance” to MIT). It will last until the coin is found, probably sometime Sunday.

Many teams will have “warm-up” activities prior to the beginning of the Hunt, and at least three teams had pre-Hunt practices today, including “Forgive me, Father, it has been two years since our last mystery hunt” (the Hunt winning team in 2003, which includes fellow Ducksberrian Erin and Mitra-stand-in blogger Harvey), Mayhem (the team of fellow Ducksberrian Lisa and Lex from Malkovich, still trying to win their first Hunt), and my team, “Lost in Space Waffle” (based out of the Simmons Hall dormitory, which looks like a space waffle). Our practice Hunt involved 11 puzzles from the 2002 Mystery Hunt, a new metapuzzle, and a coin hidden somewhere in Simmons Hall. Twenty or so people participated in the mini-Hunt, divided into three teams.

Here, one team is working on “Drawing Conclusions I” (try it yourself at home!).

Still trying to solve Drawing Conclusions I

Working on “Restistance is Fuschia“…

Getting close to solving another puzzle (maybe “X-Ray Vision“?)…

Some good teamwork trying to figure out which cute boy is which on “Call of the Wild“…

The coin is found!

Everyone listens closely as Jeff, Keith and Liz explain how to solve some of the unsolved puzzles, including “Buried Treasure,” “Bottom Rib,” “Share and Share Alike,” and “Sampler.”

We weren’t able to put some of my favorite puzzles from 2002 into our mini-Hunt; those included “Variations on a Theme” and “D2: The Mighty Duck Konundrum.” Seriously, you might want to try those at home. In my next few entries leading up to the Mystery Hunt, I’ll link to a few more of my favorite puzzles of yore.

But now, I must get back to reading applications!

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