sniffnoy: (Chu-Chu Zig)
[personal profile] sniffnoy
So, I didn't get to participate much in Mystery Hunt this year, unfortunately, due to my computer suddenly crapping out on Saturday. (Website with solutions for this year's hunt: http://solutions.monsters-et-manus.com/hunt/index.html )

So, yeah, I was on Donner Party again this year, at least until my computer failed. Seems I don't know anyone else in Madison who does Mystery Hunt so I was just doing it alone from my apartment.

This one didn't go very well for Donner Party. So -- we were a remote-only team this year; we had literally nobody in Cambridge. Turns out, this hunt was structured in such a way as to make that a real problem -- there were, as originally planned, no time-releases; you had to unlock puzzles by solving previous ones... and it was arranged in such a way that a remote-only team would inevitably get stuck. (Thankfully we did at least eventually get time-releases.) This (and other similar problems, see below) caused quite a bit of (justified, IMO) grumbling on the internal team chat. Basically it went:
A: This is so unfair, that they don't accomodate remote-only teams at all!
B: Well, we could have sent someone to Cambridge.
A: Sure, but we explicitly asked them if it was OK that we were a remote-only team, and they said yes. If it was going to cause a problem they should have warned us when we asked.

I'm in agreement with A. Although ultimately it became irreelvant to me when computer problems forced me to withdraw.

(I'm also writing this late because getting my computer fixed, uh, took a while.)

Also, is it just me, or did this year's metas make backsolving especially difficult? Or maybe that's only true of the rounds I actually saw.

So, this will be shorter than usual, but:


Puzzling is my Middle Name: I didn't work on this one, I just thought it was neat and wanted to point it out.

Net Work: Another one I wanted to point out.

The Sacred and the Mundane: I did most of this by myself (surprised this one didn't draw more people!); I think the only clue I didn't get was the bird that's not a rodent. Then when it came time for extraction I forgot my basics and didn't think to index and had to put out a call for help. D'oh. We also then got stuck here for a bit due to a typo; I'd mistranscribed the indexing number on "Human ancestor" leading us to the clue "HAROLD ROMO MUSICAL" isntead of "HAROLD ROME MUSICAL". Fortunately someone noticed the error and then it was easy.

False Prophets: Just another one I wanted to point out.

The Gods Must Be Crazy: I remember helping out with this. I don't think we got very far.

Asymmetry: This one took us a while. For a while we thought the fact that the clues were phonetically ambiguous was itself a clue, that we had to write down both interpretations and use that somehow. Nope. That was just to make it more confusing.

The Most Interesting Puzzle in the World: I did a lot of this one. Someone else had started this one but hadn't noticed the "XX" theme below. It took us a while (the top halves are not so easy!), but eventually we got it. Except... once we got "YOUR JOB: BRING ME ROOT BEER AT ONCE", well, we couldn't, because nobody in Cambridge. Any accommodation for being a remote-only team? Nope! So despite having solved this one, we got no credit for it. Hoo-fucking-ray.

On Numbers and Games: Immediately on seeing the title, I made a note in the spreadsheet that this would likely involve nim-sums. Indeed it did! (And, good thing it wasn't nim-products!) I did most of this -- actually despite putting out a call for help I ended up solving every clue myself. Only problem was that after taking the nim sum of the IDs, I had little idea what to do with it. Someone else had to suggest the obvious step of treating it as an ID. Duh! I was really forgetting my basics this time around.

Substitutes: On this one, other people had already done most of the work, and I was the one who suggested the extraction -- namely, that you should try indexing into each player's name by the other player's number.

Repeated Punishment: I got pretty quickly that these were Simpsons chalkboard gags and found the appropriate episodes just by looking at word lengths. But I had no idea what to do from there. It wasn't a cryptogram, that was clear, but what was it then? A Vignere cipher honestly just didn't even occur to me. Someone else later got that part, and the clued characters, but I don't know if anyone ever got the rest.

Digital Display: Just another one I wanted to point out.

Crackpot or Snackpot?: I didn't work at all on this puzzle but I laughed out loud as soon as I saw it -- yes, obviously the world truly needs a "viXra or sniXra?" website.

Great Tits!: Dear lord... I seem to recall a few years ago there was a puzzle based on the representation theory of A10, obviously this is quite a bit... larger...

Mr. Y Hunt: This is what I was working on when my computer broke down. Because, hey, I have a copy of Scotland Yard! Not like I actually play it anymore, but for this of course I pulled it out. And then didn't get very far for obvious reasons. Also, I didn't pick up on what was going on with the detectives' capitalized letters, without which it's essentially impossible. I may have also messed up somewhere; I don't recall offhand.

Schoolhouse Rock: Hey, another sentence diagramming puzzle! :)

The Maniacal Merchants: Ah, so this is what the items were for! I never got to see this during the Hunt...


And, that's all I have to say for this year. Hopefully things go better for me next year!

-Harry
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