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MIT student blogger Snively '11

How Many Liveblogs Can We Get Onto One Page?! by Snively '11

Mystery Hunt Part 3.5


As a favor to everybody who worked on the puzzle remotely, Death from Above is doing a live webcast of the wrap-up events that happen today at Noon EST. Hope you can watch!



Hey guys, thanks a ton for helping. It was an intense push there towards the end. I’m not sure if you could sense it from where you were, but it came right down to the wire. We were frantically solving puzzles as fast as we could and checking the blogs for “answers from the prefrosh ether” every 20 seconds. We tested almost every answer you guys suggested.

I’ll post answers to the puzzles you guys worked on and some to puzzles I wasn’t able to show you. I hope you all had a good time, I know I did (even though I’ve only gotten 3 hours of sleep since 9 AM on Friday (that’s being awake 57 of the last 60 hours). For those of you who come here next year, you should definitely experience this hunt first hand, it’s a completely new kind of experience!

Thanks again, more to come later!


Alien Species

A little bird told us that the suspect was seen attending a sci-fi convention. Perhaps one of these other attendees knows something. Geez, what kind of elaborate get-ups are those?

What Species Are These Star Trek Characters?!

















BENTO NATION and JAPAN were excellent guesses and we called both in. Unfortunately, both were wrong, and we are still working. KEEP GOING! Focus all of your efforts on Chimera. You’re officially our guerilla prefrosh army, show the other teams what you’re made of!



Yee-haw! Time to round up those islands!

We need as many ways to solve this thing as possible. Thanks!

Matt, Laura, and Bryan have all blogged about Mystery Hunt, I want to blog too!

I’m going on 42 hours with 1.5 hours of sleep, a lot of caffeine, and mind-splitting puzzles. Honestly, these are the most ridiculous things you’ve ever seen! I’ll post some afterwards because we’re still competing, but they’re devious.

The main reason for ANOTHER Mystery Hunt blog is this: It’s all coming down to something, but what? Last night there was very little activity, but tonight there have been a ton of developments, communication with the coordinators, and a general feeling of getting kind of close. From what I’ve heard from my secluded area off the infinite, a lot of teams have dropped out due to the sheer insanity of this hunt, and I don’t blame them. My team (Death from Above) is still chugging along with help from alums, remote solvers, and dozens of current students. It’s a battle, a hunt to find the mystery!


Aditi, here are the pictures you asked for:

Death From Above at the beginning of the Hunt

Here we are pondering our massive, wall-covering puzzle. It’s like a command center here.

I’m trying my hardest to force this puzzle into submission.

My workstation as of now, rocking the dual monitors.

More to come as I have time. . .

96 responses to “How Many Liveblogs Can We Get Onto One Page?!”

  1. Nihar says:

    OMG! It looks like you are trying to crack the location of a hidden nuclear explosive in the MIT campus…but certainly NOT a coin smile

    Btw Michael…what does the winning team receive?(other than…Im guessing they get to keep the coin?)

  2. Anon says:

    Yeah, enough blogs about the Mystery Hunt. Give the other bloggers their space.

  3. Chris T says:

    Snively – Thanks for blogging and keeping us cyber observers up to date!

    Byran and Laura – Awesome jobs also!

  4. Isshak says:

    So you’re leaving Odd one out and Wargame ?

  5. sharon says:

    ummm this is probably completely unhelpful, but the only thing that I’m seeing is “birdyam” on the second row (which i suppose could be a chimeric-ish creature – bird body and potato head?!), of which both elements seem to have a connection to Easter Island (apparently there is some sort of indigenous legend involving a bird with a long beak cultivating the soil, holding a red yam, as the potato was an important part of land cultivation).

    these puzzles absolutely befuddle me. in an exhilarating sort of way. thanks for all of the blogs on mystery hunt!

  6. Matti says:

    I have found ‘neatly’, ‘terribli’, ‘May’, ‘Abdul’, ‘did’, and, assuming that the ‘3’ means you have to insert 3 letters (I have no idea whether that is right) ‘simpl[…]’ in the upper left corner.
    Maybe someone can make something useful of it. wink

  7. Matti says:

    Oh, and I forgot ‘fit’, ‘oil’ and ‘key’ (last two backwards).

  8. Isshak says:

    This is all the words that I found.
    Is this of any use ?

  9. Isshak says:

    Oh I forgot “tin” diagonally the 4th letter starting from the back, in the first column.

  10. Harish says:

    I noticed that there’s a path you can trace. From the top left corner you can go (3 SPOTS) to arrive at 2, from there you can go two spots two ways, though the one going down is a dead-end, and the one going right has an e, convincing me its right. Will this help?

  11. Harish says:

    Additionally, you’ve got 2 4s, 4 3s, and 6 2s, all even counts, and if you add the count with the number together, you get 6, 7, and 8. You may also notice 4*3=6*2.

    I don’t know, how much help this is either, but this one seems useful with the 6,7,8 deal. I guess I’m just digging out random patterns smile

    Hope I’m useful!

  12. sharon says:

    Interesting, on the 5th row, “oil” and “birr” are found backwards. “Birr” is a town in Ireland, which is another island. not quite sure how oil ties in, but according to wiki, 98% of Ireland’s final energy demand comes from fossil fuels.

  13. Harish says:

    Here’s another one: wiki on chimera (genetics) “An analogy is two jigsaw puzzles cut using an identical cutter, but with different pictures. A single puzzle can be made out of the mis-matched parts, but the completed puzzle will show parts of both pictures.”

    I hope I’m not just spamming your blog raspberry.

  14. Isshak says:

    Hm, Harish, you are making me rethink how to solve this…

  15. Julie says:

    I think the answer is ten.

  16. Piper says:

    Is it legit to blog asking for help on a clue?

  17. nick says:

    If you figure that islands=numbers and round up=add then you add the numbers so the answer would be 32.

    I know it seems way to easy but it is elegant(and most likely wrong).

  18. Harish says:

    I feel like the pathways would make sense in the ’round up those islands’ clue. Pretending the length of rope from an ‘island’ (number) is the number itself, then you would throw the rope to the next ‘island’. Maybe I’m overcomplicating things.

  19. Isshak says:

    Yeah but following that, where does it lead to ? Is the answer a letter ?

  20. Aditi says:

    Heyyy! my comment went missing :S

    anyway! thankyou for the pictures! it looks pretty intense.

    work station , eh? =)

    i wish, i wish, i wish i was there!

    good luck!

    PS.i’d try to help with the puzzle except i can barely keep my eyes open and i need sleep now!

  21. Sam says:

    It’s one of the Nikoli puzzle types.

    Good luck.

  22. Harish says:

    So is the answer 42? Haha.

  23. Isshak says:

    Hey Sam great link ! I’m exploring this path.

  24. Judy says:

    wow, looks fun

  25. Andrew says:

    Actauly, I want to take that back, I think it may be this kind because it says that the continouos white parts are called an island.

  26. Andrew says:

    So if you follow the rules of this puzzle maybe the white parts left will make a word?

  27. Isshak says:

    Snively do you agree ? Or have you gone on another path.

  28. Matti says:

    Look here.

    I think I did solve it correctly. Now we have ‘lammbentonationalise’ and ‘pedaydribredidfiquerribletywriteaccorkab’.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Snively always has cool things to say.

  30. Snively says:

    Right Track.

    Chimera. Two halves.

  31. Anonymous says:

    please stop blogging

  32. aprl says:

    ha ha, i solved it and i got the same:
    i see:
    aka- japan

  33. april says:

    call it in, call it in!
    it has to be right! its about islands!
    bento are the little lunches you get in japan!

  34. Valerie says:

    One more Mystery Hunt blog, and all the “most recent ones will be on the mystery hunt! Surely someone can do at least one more, right?

  35. Deusse says:

    These mystery hunt blogs are awesome!keep the updates coming in.
    I presume you are taking Course VI Intro classes;sure do blog about it someday.
    Best of luck with your hunt!!

  36. Aditi says:

    get some sleep snively!
    and good luck

    and honestly , it doesnt matter what you blog about , we’re all going to read it anyway smile

    please put up mystery hunt related pictures of frantic-mystery-solving-sleep-deprived-excited-happy-people! i want to see! =)

  37. Snively says:


    Awesome guess. Called it in, incorrect, but it looks very pretty. Keep going!

  38. Anonymous says:

    I think on Matti’s guess you can change it a little bit by changing the 3 on the top left corner to make and “L” instead of a line and change the four on the bottom left corner to be a line with the four at the bottom of the line. It may spell out something different.

  39. Andrew says:

    Just did it and it spells out “lammabnftonationalie” dont think it spells anything elso out.

  40. Isshak says:

    Just wanted to say that this is an anagram solver. Maybe it could help you.

  41. april says:

    You can’t change the 3 in the top left to make an L because it will leave the square with a p solo, which doesn’t follow the rules of a continuous black stream in nurikabe puzzles.

    not to shoot you down or anything….

  42. Andrew says:

    I totally forgot about that, good eye. smile

  43. Edgar says:

    @Isshak-If Death from Above finds the coin first, I tihnk you will deserve at least a recognition award! wink

  44. Isshak says:

    LOL why ? I think everyone that helped should get recognition, and I did not actually find answers. More like I tried a lot.

  45. Anonymous says:

    ok, ok, here’s my new trail:
    Outside japanese shrines are shishi, which combine elements of both the Korean “Koma-inu” (Korean dog) and Chinese “Kara-shishi” (Chinese lion). Could they be considered a kind of chimera?
    Or maybe it is just the lion part “kara-shishi”, as chimera traditionally in greek mythology have a lion’s head.

    Uh, i’ll keep thinking. This still doesn’t explain “yee-haw”

  46. Anonymous says:

    ok, ok, here’s my new trail:
    Outside japanese shrines are shishi, which combine elements of both the Korean “Koma-inu” (Korean dog) and Chinese “Kara-shishi” (Chinese lion). Could they be considered a kind of chimera?
    Or maybe it is just the lion part “kara-shishi”, as chimera traditionally in greek mythology have a lion’s head.

    Uh, i’ll keep thinking. This still doesn’t explain “yee-haw”

  47. april says:

    ok, better idea than above:

    “A nue (鵺) is a legendary creature found in Japanese folklore. It has the head of a monkey, the body of a raccoon dog, the legs of a tiger, and a snake instead of a tail. It is sometimes referred to as a Japanese chimera.”

    thank you Wikipedia!

  48. Anonymous says:

    Try calling in the Bermuda Triangle

  49. Isshak says:

    Hm, lammbbentonationalise we have to find names of islands, or maybe the name of a chimera that was suppose to be on this island (like in a myth).
    Still searching !

  50. Isshak says:

    Oh too bad I don’t watch that tv show, but wikipedia should help ! (going on it).

  51. Edgar says:

    Hehe, that is true. I just threw that one out because you seem to be most enthusiastic non-MIT student working on the puzzles, but I agree with you, everyone deserves an award. Of course, the experience of working on the puzzles with amazing people is an award itself!

  52. Andrew says:

    Any ideas for the Yee-haw in the clue. it is giving me the run around, it doesnt fit in.

  53. Isshak says:

    Edgar, I completely agree with your last sentence !
    Found this link for the star trek puzzle, but it will be a long search…

  54. Isshak says:

    Yeah I found this link too, but it doesn’t have pictures.

  55. Andrew says:

    You have to look for the links in the descriptions of each creature. Most have pictures

  56. Nihar says:

    1. Algolian(looks like)

    OK this will take a while..

    Hey Michael!! Check out this awesome link!


    Just get a few members of DFA on it and youl crack this puzzle in no time…or just some time.

  57. Nihar says:


  58. Isshak says:

    Okay, I think my browser has a problem, because I see no pictures, that’s why I did not share the link. So I guess I’ll have to continue with various galleries.
    Snively, which one are you working on ?

  59. Anonymous says:

    #1 is a Kobheerian

  60. Snively says:

    I’m not really able to say which I’m working on due to other teams reading the blogs. We are working though, and you guys are helpful. Keep going . . .

  61. Isshak says:

    Could number 3 be a yridian ? (picture of one here )
    I am not sure.

  62. Matti says:

    #9 could be Bynar. Not sure, though.

    I have had some more ideas for our islands, but none of them seemed to be leading to something.

  63. Andrew says:

    It is times like these that i wish i was a Star Trek Buff. Anyone know one by chance?

  64. Sam says:

    Hey, I sent you an email.

  65. Paul says:

    Anon2 – That’s not very nice.

    Valerie – Actually, I was indeed planning on doing an entry to round-up the various photos, quotes, and other random pieces of insight I’ve accumulated over the weekend. So you may just get your wish!

  66. Snively says:

    I responded, go!

  67. Isshak says:

    Snively, did you try saying Arezzo as an answer ? I know it’s easy, but we never know.
    Well good luck people ! I’m stopping for now, it’s late here. ^^ Good search !

  68. Isshak says:

    The wargame is crazy ! I’m looking at all the different game strategies to find one that matches the description given. I’m still looking. I found this page :
    By the way, maybe the last confrontation he did was death, since he died in 1988. You might want to try that : “death” as an answer.
    I’m still on it !

  69. Snively says:

    just called in “arezzo” and it wasn’t right, sorry, keep going

  70. Agneta says:

    this is intense.

  71. desmond says:

    Phew!! You guys really have an exciting life. Good luck in the puzzles. Perhaps you could feature one of them so we could puzzle our minds.

  72. dan says:

    hm… the boxes (gray lines and black dots) are the same ones used for the common optical illusion

  73. Harrison says:

    Haha we got both those puzzles already. Keep trying…

  74. Andrew says:

    So now that it is all over, what are the answers? It is really bugging me. smile

  75. Aditi says:

    tanmay , yes i’ll do that smile

    where are you from?

  76. Tanmay says:

    India. Dehradun to be presise. 31E 78N to be even more presise!

  77. Tanmay says:

    oops! it’s the second time I made a spelling mistake at MIT Blogs. “precise”. Please excuse me on that. :O

  78. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Aditi and Tanmay! That is impressive… I wish I could take part in some of those competitions… sigh!!! stuck out here in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do… (larger sigh!!!)

  79. Tanmay says:

    There’s nothing to be sad about! If you’re “stuck out here in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do”, I am sure they will recognize it and judge you over a different aspect…

    (that is one of the reasons why I love MIT)

  80. Aw man…you mean to tell me I missed a Star Trek puzzle yesterday? (Well, drum corps rehearsals are fun too…) It’s too late, of course, but I’d venture to bet that most, if not all, of those pictures were taken from Memory Alpha, the largest Star Trek wiki.

    Anyway, I love the ‘command center’ set-up your team was using. That’s exactly the way I’d do it. Banks of computers, tons of wall space, and lots of people adding their input.

    And I’m decided now–I am definitely coming up to Cambridge for next year’s hunt. I’ve got a year to plan, so there’s no reason not to.

  81. Matti says:

    Hm, the stream is not working for me. :/
    Something about no framerate in the header. But even specifying one manually only makes the player quit. Dunno what’s wrong.
    Thanks anyway. smile

  82. Nihar says:

    (1) is surely a Dopterian

  83. Nihar says:

    (9) I thinks its Ktarian

  84. Nihar says:

    Hey Michael…do post the answers soon. N has the coin been found? Where was it??

  85. Tanmay says:

    I’ve started working seriously on the Star Trek puzzle. Watch out for answers in some time… smile

  86. Tanmay says:

    Here’s my strategy so that you guys can try it too:

    1) Go to the list of Star Trek races on Wikipedia
    2) Copy-paste the names on Google image search.

    The process is long(30 mins or so), but you’ll get the answers for sure!

  87. Aditi says:

    hey! i wish death from above had won the mystery hunt =(

    anyway…i have a question…
    i made it to the second round of the national science olympiad and I’m organizing a huuuuge Model United Nations conference with the Rotary. These are both relatively new (but important) developments that didnt show up on my application. Should i mail the admissions office? Can i send them an email about this stuff (or am i being just plain paranoid?) ?

  88. Alison says:

    #9 is a vidiian (although that particular one is technically a hologram)

  89. Alison says:

    #2 is an Ankari

  90. Tanmay says:

    @ Aditi:

    Qualifying for the second round is a good national distinction.Congrats! You must send it if they allow this, as it’s only going to help you. (I too happen to have written that on my application, but last year’s olympiads)

  91. Tanmay says:

    Added to that, I know someone at MIT who represented India at the astro internationals, the decision of which comes very late but I guess MIT admissions did consider it.

  92. MattZ says:

    Hi, I’m the author of the Star Trek puzzle (Alien Species), as well as several others. I’m glad you all are enjoying it!

    And yes, most (but not all) of the pictures are from Memory Alpha. After this was noticed by the test-solvers, the revisions I made (which were for other reasons) avoided pictures from that site.

    Your link to the species with pictures is nice! I almost wish I’d known about it when I was writing the puzzle — though it probably would’ve made me try to avoid species that were listed there.