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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Mystery Hunt 2006 announced by Matt McGann '00

Earlier this evening, I received the official email announcing Mystery Hunt 2006. What is Mystery Hunt?

Mystery Hunt is one of IAP‘s most exciting activities. In short, the 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 check out these longer articles from the Boston Globe and Games Magazine.

Anyway, here’s the email:

Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 18:07:33 -0500
From: 2006 MIT Mystery Hunt To: [email protected]
Subject: 2006 MIT Mystery Hunt

Hi everyone,

It's almost IAP -- time to start thinking about Mystery Hunt. The 2006
MIT Mystery Hunt will begin at 12:17 pm on Friday, January 13, 2006.

Team registration is now open. Like in the last two years, we are
handling the job of assigning rooms for team headquarters. Accordingly,
Schedules will not entertain requests for rooms for Hunt; teams that
want classroom space will need to reserve rooms through us.

If your team wants to reserve a room (or more) through the official
registration system, you MUST REGISTER BY DECEMBER 15. If you do not
want a room, we strongly encourage you to register by then anyway, but
will accept reservations up until Hunt itself, or later. THE EARLIER
YOU REGISTER, THE BETTER. If your team has already registered, we
still need your room preferences (if you want a room).

To see the list of available rooms, go to

To read about the registration system, go to

To register, go to

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected].

Thanks very much.

Roger Ford
for [email protected]

Let me show you some pictures from my team in last year’s Mystery Hunt

The Hunt kicks off in MIT’s Lobby 7 at 12 noon, the Friday before Martin Luther King Day, every IAP. A bit before noon, a large crowd began to gather…

This year, we gathered not only for a kickoff speech (announcing the theme: “Normalville”), but also for a giant kickoff puzzle! Construction paper “meteorites” rained down from above, containing a message…

Back at team “Lost in Space Waffle” headquarters…

…we came together to start solving the puzzles…

…because had a wall full of unsolved puzzles to work through.

Of course, we also solved many puzzles (my quickest solve: Take Me Out).

Our “map” of Normalville kept the team up-to-date on our progress.

This year’s winning team comes from the Random Hall dormitory. And what do they receive for their victory? The honor and privilege of writing Mystery Hunt 2006, of course =)

59 days and counting until Mystery Hunt!

11 responses to “Mystery Hunt 2006 announced”

  1. Shikhar says:


    Please tell me one thing as I Have given quite a few tests and meet more than MIT’s testing requirements. Basically I will have 4 SAT II’s,SAT I and TOEFL. Now when my scores reach you will MIT look at my TOEFL and 2 SAT II requirement combination or my SAT I and 3 SATII combination.

    Also I have given both Math Ic and IIC so which test will MIT take into consideration as my MATH SATII. The Best out of them or Level2 only?

  2. Mike says:


    I was just filling out the application and had some questions. First, it says that we should list our five most important activities but can attach a resume anyway? How do we do that? And also, how do we submit additional essays?

  3. Laura says:

    Yes! Mystery Hunt! I’ve been waiting to hear about that. Thanks Matt.


  4. Bryan says:

    I am so excited for mystery hunt!

  5. errhode says:

    I did the Microsoft College Puzzle Challenge this weekend and there was a puzzle that we initially thought might be Befunge and I was reminded of Josh’s puzzle. Man, that was a thing of beauty from start to finish. If anyone wants to look at it, it’s here:

    Of course, my favorite puzzle from that hunt is one of mine ( ), just because the movies still crack me up.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That looks like alot of fun, definetly something I would want to participate in…on an interesting note regarding Mystery Hunt

    Matt wrote along time ago (August 12th, 2004

    “Second, the obscured telecaster’s name is “O’Reilly,” which is also the name of the publisher of every good nerd’s favorite programming books. The other day, I was thinking back fondly to the days when O’Reilly’s Programming Perl was one of my best friends. You may or may not know that the O’Reilly books are noted for their friendly animal mascots; for example, my Perl book’s mascot was a camel, and Java’s mascot is a tiger. This got me thinking that the various O’Reilly animals would make a great component to a Mystery Hunt puzzle. I brought this up to one of my housemates, Josh, who was on the winning 2003 Mystery Hunt team, and thus got to write Mystery Hunt 2004. His reply was, “We did have an O’Reilly puzzle, dude.” I was suddenly reminded that yes, in fact, there was an O’Reilly puzzle of sorts, and it was one of the coolest aspects of this past year’s Hunt. Josh, through connections still unknown to me, had been able to slip a cluephrase into the Perl Cookbook, Second Edition before it went to press. The penultimate step of the puzzle gave you an ISBN (for the Perl Cookbook) and page number, which sent my teammates scouring the libraries for a copy of this new book. We were all in awe of Josh’s ability to slip in the clue months beforehand.”

  7. Robb Carr says:

    Oops, the above was posted by me.

  8. Saad Zaheer says:

    I am going to participate in this year’s hunt. I, with a group of friends are going to register….it should be fun.

  9. Mushal says:

    This seems so interesting… I don’t know why, but the idea of me laughing through all of it keeps popping into my head smile…although it seems like no laughing matter:)

  10. Prashant says:

    I’ll be there for Mystery Hunt!!! :-D

  11. Dear Matt

    This is admission’s related. I have given my english and maths teacher their respective evaluation sheets, but I also want to send in my Physics teacher’s eval, because I think he can also write a holistic review of me. Can I give him a science teacher evaluation sheet as well, and get the evaluation sent like any other normal evaluation?

    Thanks and happy reading wink