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[joint post] we can’t hear you, you’re on mute by Alan Z. '23

another mystery hunt post

Shuli: MLK weekend 202101 OK, it’s been a while. Life be like that sometimes ok 02 Alan: oops. was the 41st annual MIT Mystery Hunt and my third time participating. The Mystery Hunt is an enormous puzzling event, held every year03 except this one lmfao on MIT’s campus, that attracts not only hundreds of MIT students but also thousands of dedicated puzzlers from all over the world. It starts Friday at noon, and then we puzzle nonstop04 literally, I got about eight hours of sleep total that weekend until someone finishes the hunt and ~ finds the hidden coin ~.

Alan: This year was my first hunt! I was dragged into the hunt by Shuli, and so I hunted on the team “We Can’t Hear You, You’re On Mute”, a team traditionally associated with tetaputz,05 tetazoo and putz, two floors of east campus; shuli is from putz but which has taken on a different name for each year of its existence.06 such as my favorite: <a href="https://web.mit.edu/lroyden/Public/team-name.txt">PART I NON-CONTRADICTION CHAPTER I THE THEME “Who is John Galt?”…</a> which was the entire text of <em>Atlas Shrugged</em> and the winning team in 2013 As someone fairly attached to the Next community, I was initially kind of worried about glomming myself onto a team which has a very distinct EC history, but it quickly became obvious to me this was not a problem. There was something about the combination of meaningless chaos, seriousness when necessary, and genuine care that really stood out to me—but there’ll be more about that later as well.

Shuli: I, of course, joined this team when someone emailed [email protected] and said “Hey putzen, join the putz team!” But like Alan, I went 😍😍😍 really fast. A lot of the people on the team graduated around 200007 Alan: notably, this is multiple years before i was born. or a little later, so they’ve known each other for a long time. But instead of feeling excluded, the opposite happened, and I felt pulled into their circle, like suddenly I too had known these people since 2000.08 Shuli: notably, this is the year I was born. We like to remind each other of this, often. (And honestly, I’m not usually a great maker of instant friends, so this says a lot more about them than me.)

These alumni have taught me how to puzzle, laughed hysterically with me at 3am, and offered me help and support at every turn. When we undergrads were being kicked out in March, our hunt Slack09 which we use all year round for general chatting/puzzling/bitching exploded with offers from older team members to store our stuff, give us a place to stay, and literally even just give us money if we needed it.

Alan: Also, they are Very Cool.

Shuli: Yes. They are extremely cool and they know a lot of very awesome stories about the history of East Campus. I count this team among One Of My MIT Communities: one of the groups I know will help me if I need it, teach me if I want to learn, and always have my back. Hunting with them feels the same way as walking onto Putz–10 a thing which I haven’t done in a year, but let’s not talk about that like I’m home, with my people. I feel so lucky that at MIT we have this Mystery Hunt, and that we have a culture in general, which fosters these long-standing, wide-ranging communities of students and alumni and gives us these unparalleled support networks and homes that we would not be able to find otherwise. It’s one of my very favorite, perhaps most favorite, things about this school. /endrant

Alan: I definitely agree with Shuli. The fact that I was able to get this vibe, even though this year’s mystery hunt was completely virtual, really says a lot about the team and MIT culture as a whole. Speaking of this year’s Mystery Hunt—

The information below this sentence will contain spoilers for the general structure and theme of the 2021 Hunt. It will not contain any spoilers for specific puzzles — we’ll add another note when we get to that part.

Shuli: The team that wins the Mystery Hunt runs the Mystery Hunt. This year’s running team was ✈️✈️✈️ Galactic Trendsetters ✈️✈️✈️, CJ’s team.11 Alan: you can read about CJ’s experience writing in this <a href="https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/two-hundred-puzzles-2/">absolutely ridiculous blog post</a> Galactic really lucked the heck out with the theme they picked for the hunt long before the pandemic even began. Our hunt was set in ⊥IW, the perpendicular universe version of MIT, and conducted through what was essentially an MMO version of MIT, where every hunt participant had a little avatar that they could use to walk around ⊥IW. You can see the hunt website and puzzles here: perpendicular.institute.

Alan: We started kickoff at a “scientific conference” where “Professor Yew” of “Yew Labs” was going to give a keynote address about her most recent discoveries. However, as we quickly found out, Professor Yew had accidentally trapped herself in a perpendicular universe, and we needed to power up something called the “Projection Device” to try and get her out. And how do you power up such a device?

Shuli: By solving puzzles, of course! Duh! Mystery Hunt puzzles are always divided into rounds; each round has a “metapuzzle” that uses the answers from each of the round’s regular puzzles. The opening round is often a little easier than the others and it’s common for it to “unlock” the rest of the story of the hunt.

Alan: Kickoff happened at noon, and the puzzles released at 1 PM. I helped out with a few puzzles in the first round, and then I headed to Kendall/MIT to catch a Red Line train. As I got off the train, we had just solved the Yew Labs meta, which allowed us to use the Projection Device, and I got a very excited text from Shuli that “it’s the Second Life hunt!” to which I responded, “what?”

Shuli: You don’t know what Second Life is?? You make me feel old.

Alan: What if I told you you are old?

Shuli: DDD:

Shuli: But anyway, it’s an online game where every character has a little avatar and can act out a whole life. Imagine Sims if every Sim was controlled by a real person. Once we had unlocked this Projection Device, we could access the world of ⊥IW through our little Sim avatars. Each round represented an area of MIT/⊥IW, and they all had something wrong with them — a disturbance caused by the presence of matter from our universe. As we solved puzzles and fixed problems in earlier rounds, we would unlock more of the campus in the Projection Device and correspondingly more rounds of puzzles. It was very cool to have such an MIT-based hunt, like a whole round “in” the Stata Center.

Alan: We’ll talk more specifically about rounds, metas, and puzzles we liked later, in the spoilers section. But we’ll provide a general, chronological overview of how the hunt went first, starting on Friday. On Friday night, we felt like we were making good progress on the puzzles and the rounds we had open at that time. The number of puzzles was already kind of overwhelming, but we were still feeling good by the time we went to bed.12 1 AM

Shuli: We kicked off Saturday morning13 Alan: at 5 AM by solving our first big (in fact, Huge)14 Alan: but not Infinite! meta, the Infinite Corridor. As a result, we also got our first interaction with HQ!15 Headquarters, AKA the members of Galactic The interactions came steadily for a few hours and we felt great. But the puzzles also came steadily, at a rate much greater than our solving rate, and by evening we were kind of overwhelmed, and also kind of stuck. We kept discovering new rounds, which was very cool! But also, oh god, there were so many rounds.

Alan: Saturday night, we started to discover more and more metas. The metas started coming and they didn’t stop coming, as did the puzzles and rounds, and the high of Saturday morning was starting to wear off. The sleep deprivation didn’t help, of course, but it hadn’t gotten quite so bad yet.

Shuli: Alan and I grabbed a few hours of sleep16 Alan: from 2 AM to 6 AM in the wee hours of the morning and came back to help throw ourselves against an enormous pile of metas. We made excellent progress on a good number of them, in fact, before becoming stuck (sense a theme here?) on the rest. Sunday felt like a continuation of Saturday — more puzzles, more rounds, more stuckness, more everything. But then at just about 8 pm…

Alan: Palindrome17 Like my team, a longstanding Mystery Hunt team. They pick a different palindromic name every year. found the coin! This meant, of course, that we had not won the hunt. This, however, was not our goal. Our goal was to finish the hunt, and we still had a good amount of time left to do so. Furthermore, with Palindrome’s win, HQ unlocked hints on all puzzles. This meant that we could ask away about all the puzzles we were stuck on, which, as you may recall, was a lot of them.

Shuli: We had a team meeting! We agreed to go for it! Go all night! Finish the hunt! And then a couple hours later we unlocked the last round. We had thought we’d already unlocked the last round. Oops. Suddenly we were staring down the barrel of 10+ new, totally unsolved puzzles. At that point, we realized finishing was prooooobably too lofty of a goal. But nevertheless, we had come to puzzle, and puzzle we did until Monday morning.18 Alan: Shuli stayed up until 3 AM. I stayed up until 7 AM. Pain.

Alan: Puzzle and hint submissions officially closed at 10 AM. At 10 AM, we had solved all but one, elusive meta, which unfortunately meant that we did not get to go on the final runaround.19 Shuli: the runaround is traditionally the last part of the hunt, where the participants have to literally go around campus, or around ⊥IW in this case, and use their knowledge of all the puzzles they’ve solved so far to solve the ultimate puzzle and find the coin. We were the team that completed the most puzzles without making it to the runaround this year, a bittersweet accomplishment. A little disappointed, but not totally defeated, we attended wrap-up at noon, and then it was done! Everybody went and had a nap,20 I am presuming that this is true because I certainly did and we hosted a celebratory Discord party and post-mortem later that evening.

Spoilers for individual puzzles are present below this note. Specifically, we spoil most of the metas and: Lime Sand Season, An American in Paris, It’s Tricky (sort of), Squee Squee (sort of).

team members joking about one of our systems being down

visual break for spoilers

Individual Puzzles

Lime Sand Season

Alan: This was one of the Students puzzles, which were designed to be fairly approachable, and I found this one really enjoyable. I really like poetry, even though I’m not as well-read as I would like to be, and one of my favorite poems (if not my favorite) is “anyone lived in a pretty how town” by eecummings.21 one of my prized possessions is a very old collection of 100 eecummings poems which is one of the first books i bought on my own. The sheer glee, then, of reading the opening phrase of “many-won sieved tin the kitty chow down,” and knowing exactly what was going on, was pretty exceptional.

To be more specific, the main concept of the puzzle was that all of the words in a stanza of these relatively famous poems were replaced by rhymes or near-rhymes. For example, in “One Art”, “to travel. None of these will bring disaster” becomes “blue gavel. Done love frees quill sing pilaster.” Each of these stanzas was also missing a word that you could fill in with another (unique!) near-rhyme of a certain length, and from each of those we ended up extracting a phrase that, with one additional rhyme transformation, gave us the word we needed.

An American In Paris

Alan: First of all, I love this title, because it’s a reference to a Gerswhin piece (which was later also incorporated into a musical). Second of all, the concept of the puzzle was hilarious, and also pretty immediately evident: someone absolutely butchering foreign languages by reading their transliterations in an extremely flat American accent. I got the Spanish and Chinese ones pretty quickly, since I had actual knowledge on those fronts,22 although, upon reading the solution, it seems that i actually got the Spanish translation wrong and then got to work typing exactly what I heard into Google Translate, looping the audio at 0.75x speed and trying different letters until I got something meaningful. This was fairly successful, although it should be noted that I should never be allowed to guess what language something is—I mistook Tagalog23 once I knew it was Tagalog though, I immediately thought ‘CJ did this’, and I was right. for Korean and Tamil for a Romance language. Thank goodness that Google Translate has an excellent “Detect Language” feature.

Squee Squee

Shuli: During a typical Hunt, HQ is holed up in MIT’s Bush Room (10-105), right off Lobby 10 in the center of campus. Every so often, you’ll unlock a puzzle whose instructions are just “Come to HQ and give us the phrase __.” When you go, you’ll be rewarded with a jigsaw puzzle, or a board game, or a set of projector transparencies. Despite the fact that we were very much not able to walk on down to the Bush Room this year, Galactic tried their best to recreate the physical puzzle experience. Before the hunt started, each team was able to purchase (paying for shipping costs only) four different physical puzzles, and have them shipped to team members. (During the hunt, a virtual version also unlocked a little later for teams who weren’t able to use this option.) Bigger teams were allowed to buy multiple copies of three of the four puzzles. I ended up with the unique copy of number four: a small piggy bank.

Alan: Ah yes, the piggy bank. Squee Squee consisted of multiple subpuzzles that we had to solve, but it was pretty obvious that the contents of the piggy bank would eventually be important. We proceeded in parallel, cutting out the pigsaw puzzle pieces, while also working to non-destructively remove the contents of the piggy bank. When I say “non-destructively remove the contents of the piggy bank”, I mean “manually removing the glue which had been added to the bottom of the bank to prevent us from opening the piggy bank without destroying it.” This was quite a difficult process, but eventually the glue came off and we were able to extract the coins and a note from the inside.

Shuli: Unfortunately, even after all of Alan’s hard work, we weren’t able to make a lot of progress on the subpuzzles and when we took a break to work on something else, Squee Squee got backsolved. Oh well :( Side note: even two weeks later, I am still finding little pieces of glue all over my floor. But I also still have our pig, who the puzzle named Lulu, and she is safe and sound with me :)

It’s Tricky

Shuli: In the days leading up the hunt, one tends to find bits and pieces of hunt puzzles lying around. The one you can really count on is that there’s always something in the Tech; this year we also noticed references to Professor Yew in 538 and Bloomberg. But Julia, my intrepid co-captain, went further and did a search for Yew Labs all over the internet, and on Thursday night she found the first inaugural official Mystery Hunt TikTok account. I’ll pause to let you take that in.

The TikTok was clearly a puzzle,24 something about this phrase truly delights me 25 Alan: I promised CJ that I would link the TikTok that he was in; you can perceive him <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@yewlabs/video/6914160441379917061">here.</a> of course, we had to solve it. And so we did, finishing probably about 14 hours before the hunt even started, to be greeted with the information that we should MAKE ONE ABOUT PUZZLES.

Alan: Based on this answer, we made a TikTok Friday morning,26 and by we, i mean shuli made the tiktok and i provided ‘creative guidance’ a few hours before Hunt began. And then we waited for the TikTok puzzle to release so we could send ours in. And we waited, and waited…

Shuli: It took until Sunday morning but when we woke up bright and early27 well, early, at least at 6 am, I saw a message tagging me in the Discord, from just a few minutes before, to say that the TikTok puzzle had finally been found! We raced to submit our video, along with of course a snarky email, only to find that without access to the hunt’s puzzle page, we had been missing a small part of the instructions. Our TikTok wasn’t specific enough! So we had to make another one. And after I put Alan through several takes of this,28 Alan: i can’t believe that <strong>mystery hunt</strong> was what it took to finally put me in a TikTok. finally, our submission was accepted and we were able to “solve” the puzzle (i.e. submit the answer they gave us in a reply to our email with the video link). And I could finally delete the TikTok app off my phone!

Metapuzzles (and interactions)

Infinite Corridor

Alan: The Infinite Corridor was one of the first rounds that was unlocked, and it was immediately obvious that it was going to be a wild time. The site showed a notification every time someone found a puzzle, and we just kept. finding. puzzles. Each room in the Infinite corresponded to a puzzle, and it felt like there were literally infinite rooms.29 fortunately, there were actually only finitely many rooms. unfortunately, the finite cap was 100,000

Shuli: Pretty quickly we amassed a good number of people working on the puzzles, and realized that there were several (it turned out to be five) different types of puzzle. For some types, it clicked really early that there was one main solution method, and we could apply it to all the puzzles of that type. For some… well, uh, we solved the entire round without figuring them out. And that’s saying a lot, because this solve took a good section of our team a good portion of Friday night. But nevertheless it was our first big meta solve, which was super exciting! And that meant it was also our first interaction.

Hunt HQ always runs “interactions”, which is where members of the running team dress up like characters from the hunt’s storyline and come to your team’s room on campus join your team’s zoom room to act out an event moving the plot forward. Galactic chose to, in addition to major storyline-update interactions, run an interaction after every meta, usually revolving around the hilarious pun that made up the meta’s answer. They also sometimes contained puzzles, and I thought the IC’s was one of the best. The answer to our infinitely-long problem was to HIRE A CONTRACTOR (contract-or, get it? Get it?). So, we had to flip through a phone book to find a contractor’s number… but the phone book was ordered under ⊥IW rules! This turned out to mean “reverse alphabetically by last letter, then first letter, then second-last letter…”. We checked 7% of the phone book before figuring this out. I’m not proud. But it was hella fun.

Alan: Flashforward a bit to Sunday night, when Palindrome found the coin. I still kind of wanted us to be the team that ended up solving “the most puzzles,” and one of the puzzles gave out the answers to literally every other puzzle in the Infinite Corridor. I wrote a bot to take the answers from that puzzle and plug them into the appropriate rooms, solving a puzzle every two or three seconds. Unfortunately, this resulted in the solve notification going off continuously for around 10 minutes or so, which was kind of annoying. Paolo’s team, NES, also had the same idea,30 notably, however, they did not use a bot. someone just went through and did it and since they had more rooms unlocked, they ended up with more Infinite Corridor solves than us. Oh well.

Green Building

Shuli: The Green Building meta was based around a FAMOUS MIT HACK, specifically the Green Building Tetris hack.

Alan: Correspondingly, the interaction was also Tetris-based! This was one of my favorite interactions, mostly because it was very team-based,31 also because CJ was there and also because it was early in the hunt, and all of us still had a lot of energy. Our goal was to clear the Green Building of its vines, so we had to shape ourselves into the pieces we wanted and then yell and turn to rotate and move the piece, which was extremely chaotic but very fun. This sounds like it would be absolutely horrible over Zoom, and in a way it was, but that was what made it really fun, and I think this interaction really made me feel like part of the team. As someone who is very bad at Tetris, I was very glad that everybody else was good at Tetris, and we cleared it without much issue.

Stata Center

Shuli: The first half of the Stata meta (two words which are very fun to say together) went swimmingly. We were instructed to look at the crossword in the Tech (which we had already identified would be somehow relevant to Hunt, as mentioned above, because it was titled “Mystery Hunt” and was by “Barbara Yew”. Very subtle.) We matched it up to our answers and were instructed to CHANGE FEEDERS AND PAPER ALIKE TO GET LOST LETTER. Oh, sure, we’ll just… uh… what?

Thus prompted a lively hour or more of discussion on what exactly we should change. Feeders and paper sounds like a printer! We had a list of feeder answers from the earlier puzzles, maybe we should just start brainstorming synonyms! And finally, finally, someone showed up and said… “hey, Stata is all crumpled up. Let’s fold the crossword and the answers!” and omg everything made sense, because we had amino acids (–> proteins), and a computer (–> laptop), and and and… it was solved. It was one of those puzzles that really reminds you why the “a-ha” is named what it is — and this one felt especially good because it was so deliciously MIT-related (as some of the other metas this year were, too). I still sometimes just think to myself, “just fold them! Fold the answers!” and laugh like I’m losing my mind a little bit.

Random Hall

Alan: There is a somewhat notorious and absolutely ridiculous puzzle called 50/50 from 2013’s MIT Mystery Hunt, which, although no longer running, has its solution here, and which has its construction explained here by MIT’s very own Tanya Khovanova. The gist of it is that it involved generating a ton of seemingly random coin flips, and then attempting to extract meaningful information from it. Well, when we saw that we could ask for 10,000 rows of 17 different random numbers in this puzzle, we were very, very scared.

I dropped some observations in a spreadsheet—there were some numbers that were duplicated, and others that were only integers, so, along with some basic Google Sheets statistics, I teased out that each column of numbers was likely being sampled from a different distribution. I then asked if anybody in the Discord server had statistics experience, and managed to attract two professional statisticians. Assuming that they would be much better than I would be, I headed to work on another puzzle, but it was very cool to me that we had such expertise on our team. A few hours later, we ended up solving the meta; in fact, this was the first Students submeta that we solved.

Dorm Row

Alan: Dorm Row had a lot of submetas, one for each dorm, and they were generally easier than some of the larger metas. I didn’t get to see all of them, especially since someone solved the Maseeh meta in twenty minutes. However, there were two that were particularly notable to me—the MacGregor meta and the Next House meta, the former because it was absolutely incredible:

screenshot of alan and CJ joking about the MacGregor meta puzzle

and the latter, because, as a Nextie, I felt obligated to solve it. Furthermore, the Next House meta consisted entirely of just one six-song playlist, and there was a song from Rent on it. I had identified that one of the Students solutions, ‘ENTROPY’, was in the next song, “La Vie Bohème”.32 notably, this is also my favorite song from <em>Rent</em>. Unfortunately, I didn’t look hard enough for the solution before I went to bed, because it turns out this was the right step! I got up in the morning and put this into practice: each of the next songs had a lyric that was also a Students answer, and by looking at the next word in the lyrics and sorting them by song title, we got ‘DANCER’. This, unfortunately, was not correct—but who comes next after Dancer? Well, PRANCER, of course.

Shuli: Once we’d finished each individual dorm on dorm row, we unlocked the overall Dorm Row meta (or metameta, if you will). This was one of the best medium-difficulty metas I’ve done, or at least it hit me in my perfect sweet spot of meta skill. The puzzle itself was just an 83-second long mp3; it contained very brief clips of different songs. We identified each song33 Alan: I <em>had</em> a lot of fun with this, managing to get most of the songs in one sweep. Whoever made this puzzle had excellent music taste. and then screwed around a little bit, until someone had the idea of applying a similar mechanism to the Next meta and writing down the word that came right after the end of each clip. We quickly found that there were pairs of identical next-words, which was a sure sign we were on the right track.

Once we’d paired them all up, one of my teammates (Hi Lisa!) had the crucial a-ha pretty much immediately: they were references to Game of Thrones houses! (Dorm Row… West Campus… Westeros… West Rows? :0) AND, then we quickly realized that each House matched a dorm meta answer (for example, House Tully’s animal is the TROUT, and we had the answer RAINBOW). We matched em all up and used clip length (a pretty typical metric for audio puzzles) to index into dorm meta answers. And boom! I loved the way this meta had multiple levels and steps, some of which required a little ingenuity or creativity, but we never got stuck for long and were able to do the whole thing in one shot. It’s good for there to be both harder and easier metas, of course — but I was very glad we had this one at this difficulty level. It was just a hecking fun time.

East Campus

Alan: Finally, the most satisfying solve of this hunt. We spent a lot of time looking at the East Campus Meta and getting absolutely nowhere. By early Sunday afternoon, we had solved all of the other Students submetas, and we were getting quite antsy. Someone did notice that the submetas referred to each other: the answer to the Simmons meta was AROWBLOW, the answer to the Dorm Row meta was CALLECSDRAGONS (also a pun on its Game of Thrones theme), and the answer to the Random meta was DISTRIBUTESPONGES.34 Simmons is often known as ‘the sponge’ So we knew that the East Campus meta included the word ‘Random’ in it somehow, and, given the general trend of the previous metas, we knew that it would be a punny answer to the question “What does EC need to help keep its fire burning?” We had some ideas about the mechanism—the title of the puzzle was “EAsT camPUS”, a common stylization of East Campus, and each of the EC answers could be split up into two words in the same way—but we were totally stuck otherwise.

One of the big problems with this puzzle was that viewing the tree was hard by design, which was really frustrating to work with. I decided to try and fraud the answer, so I pulled out all the letters in the answers and in the tree as a kind of “letter bank”, and then got to guessing phrases with random. On a whim, I decided to Google idioms including the word random, and found this. Random number…RANDOMLUMBER? I tried it and it didn’t work. It felt right though, and Shuli agreed that “whatever answer they have must be worse than that.” I bashed at a few other things after that, but kept coming back to this. Random number…random number what? Then, it hit me: random number generator—or, for fire, a RANDOMLUMBERGENERATOR. I called it in. The site played the EC fire alarm remix. I half-yelled into the Discord voice channel that I had solved the puzzle. The adrenaline rush from guessing the answer to a puzzle we had burned many hours on, and a meta no less, was incomparable. It took me 30-40 minutes to climb down from that high.

Conclusion

Alan: So yeah! That is the very long35 and very delayed saga of our MIT Mystery Hunt experience. It was an incredible experience, and I can’t wait to do it again next year, whatever form the hunt takes. In the meantime, there are plenty of other hunts to do, and even more puzzles to solve. How very exciting!

Shuli: As always, Mystery Hunt was the highlight of my January and maybe the highlight of my year.36 I realize this is a higher bar in other years, but still Our team Discord is certainly less active now that we’re not solving 24/7, but we’ve kept up some chatter, from puzzle-writing tips to lore from MIT history,37 Alan: there is so much good MIT history content and are hoping to do puzzlehunts together during the offseason. Puzzles and a wonderful community — what more could some undergrads need?

  1. OK, it’s been a while. Life be like that sometimes ok back to text
  2. Alan: oops. back to text
  3. except this one lmfao back to text
  4. literally, I got about eight hours of sleep total that weekend back to text
  5. tetazoo and putz, two floors of east campus; shuli is from putz back to text
  6. such as my favorite: PART I NON-CONTRADICTION CHAPTER I THE THEME “Who is John Galt?”… which was the entire text of Atlas Shrugged and the winning team in 2013 back to text
  7. Alan: notably, this is multiple years before i was born. back to text
  8. Shuli: notably, this is the year I was born. We like to remind each other of this, often. back to text
  9. which we use all year round for general chatting/puzzling/bitching back to text
  10. a thing which I haven’t done in a year, but let’s not talk about that back to text
  11. Alan: you can read about CJ’s experience writing in this absolutely ridiculous blog post back to text
  12. 1 AM back to text
  13. Alan: at 5 AM back to text
  14. Alan: but not Infinite! back to text
  15. Headquarters, AKA the members of Galactic back to text
  16. Alan: from 2 AM to 6 AM back to text
  17. Like my team, a longstanding Mystery Hunt team. They pick a different palindromic name every year. back to text
  18. Alan: Shuli stayed up until 3 AM. I stayed up until 7 AM. Pain. back to text
  19. Shuli: the runaround is traditionally the last part of the hunt, where the participants have to literally go around campus, or around ⊥IW in this case, and use their knowledge of all the puzzles they’ve solved so far to solve the ultimate puzzle and find the coin. We were the team that completed the most puzzles without making it to the runaround this year, a bittersweet accomplishment. back to text
  20. I am presuming that this is true because I certainly did back to text
  21. one of my prized possessions is a very old collection of 100 eecummings poems which is one of the first books i bought on my own. back to text
  22. although, upon reading the solution, it seems that i actually got the Spanish translation wrong back to text
  23. once I knew it was Tagalog though, I immediately thought ‘CJ did this’, and I was right. back to text
  24. something about this phrase truly delights me back to text
  25. Alan: I promised CJ that I would link the TikTok that he was in; you can perceive him here. back to text
  26. and by we, i mean shuli made the tiktok and i provided ‘creative guidance’ back to text
  27. well, early, at least back to text
  28. Alan: i can’t believe that mystery hunt was what it took to finally put me in a TikTok. back to text
  29. fortunately, there were actually only finitely many rooms. unfortunately, the finite cap was 100,000 back to text
  30. notably, however, they did not use a bot. someone just went through and did it back to text
  31. also because CJ was there back to text
  32. notably, this is also my favorite song from Rent. back to text
  33. Alan: I had a lot of fun with this, managing to get most of the songs in one sweep. Whoever made this puzzle had excellent music taste. back to text
  34. Simmons is often known as ‘the sponge’ back to text
  35. and very delayed back to text
  36. I realize this is a higher bar in other years, but still back to text
  37. Alan: there is so much good MIT history content back to text