Mystery Hunt 2022 Team Statistics

2022 February 02

With MIT Mystery Hunt 2022 (wrap up video, stats summary) having come to a close, the second year that Mystery Hunt was completely virtual, I am also winding down the second year that I helped out with a portion of the behind-the-scenes tech stack for team I’m not a planet either… and sometimes less “behind the scenes” when things go awry! It is a unique position to be in, with goals driven by a mixture of what automated tools I would like to make use of, what support the team needs so that people can puzzle together uninterrupted, and what surprises the hunt organizers throw our way.

Being in this position also lets me piece together some statistics on the team’s progress on the hunt, which I also did last year. First, how many puzzles were available to our team, and how many of them had been solved at any time:

Like all images here, click to zoom. Note that this year events were not considered “puzzles” and are not in the statistics. We see that for a period of about 4 hours on Saturday afternoon we were reduced to just three open puzzles, and briefly only two. The story behind this is apparent when separately track puzzles by round:

The Investigation was the first round of hunt, and solving its meta unlocked the second round. Two puzzles from this round went untouched for a very long time until they were backsolved near the end of the hunt, using the solution of the meta to work backwards to determine their answers. They were also the first and third most popular puzzles for other teams to request the solution to.

The Ministry was the second round of hunt, containing 25 puzzles, 5 metapuzzles, 1 metametapuzzle, and a run-around. Completing The Ministry was intended by the hunt organizers to serve as an intermediate goal that would be feasible for non-competitive teams to accomplish, so was structured like the ending of hunt. 60 teams successfully finished The Ministry.

As a result, progress was bottle-necked on completing The Ministry: unlocking the third round required completing the run-around, which was unlocked 15 minutes after completing the metametapuzzle, which itself was unlocked by completing all 5 metas. The only other puzzles available at the time were the two from The Investigation.

The third and far the largest round was Bookspace, containing many “subrounds”. We were steadily working our way through it when time was called. One puzzle from this round was recorded as being unlocked long before it actually was, because we were given information about it at the beginning of The Ministry.

Below is the list of every puzzle solved by the team. Some of the solution times of early puzzles were inaccurate as we had to manually record puzzle solutions in the beginning of the hunt. In total we gained access to 84 puzzles, of which we solved 65.

Puzzle Round Solve time
Kid Start-up The Ministry 22m 54s
The Boy with Two Heads The Ministry 37m 15s
Something Command The Quest Coast 44m 51s
Does Any Kid Still Do This Anymore New You City 51m 7s
Crewel The Ministry 52m 21s
Ada Twist Scientist The Investigation 58m 24s
My First ABC The Investigation 1h 0m
The Day You Begin The Ministry 1h 1m
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz The Investigation 1h 4m
Fruit Around The Ministry 1h 4m
The Hobbit The Ministry 1h 9m
Make Way for Ducklings The Ministry 1h 13m
Dinotopia The Ministry 1h 18m
Harold and the Purple Crayon The Ministry 1h 23m
The Talking Tree The Ministry 1h 43m
Tikki Tikki Tembo The Ministry 1h 47m
Cemetery Boys The Ministry 1h 50m
Pippi Långstrump/Pippi Longstocking The Ministry 1h 53m
The Missing Piece The Investigation 1h 56m
Your Name is a Song The Ministry 2h 9m
Watership Down The Ministry 2h 13m
Kiki’s Delivery Service The Ministry 2h 15m
Teach Us Amelia Bedelia The Investigation 2h 17m
Just a Dream The Ministry 2h 18m
Potions The Quest Coast 2h 21m
The Ministry The Ministry 2h 26m
Where The Wild Things Are The Investigation 2h 29m
Peter Pan The Investigation 2h 32m
The Last Olympian The Ministry 2h 58m
A Wizard of Earthsea The Ministry 2h 59m
Magically Delicious The Quest Coast 3h 16m
The Investigation The Investigation 4h 56m
A Wrinkle in Time The Ministry 5h 9m
Too Many Toys The Investigation 5h 20m
Go The F*** To Sleep The Ministry 5h 30m
Oxford Children’s Dictionary The Ministry 5h 34m
Sometime After Midnight The Ministry 5h 43m
Frankenstein’s Music Lake Eerie 5h 53m
I Don’t Have a Clue! Noirleans 5h 54m
The Colour Out of Space Lake Eerie 6h 23m
Mysterious Mechanics Noirleans 6h 27m
The Adventures of Pinocchio The Ministry 7h 33m
The Mad Scientist’s Assistant Lake Eerie 8h 1m
The Hound of the Vast-Cur Villes Noirleans 8h 10m
Sorcery for Dummies The Quest Coast 8h 19m
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland The Ministry 8h 57m
Dancing Triangles Noirleans 9h 31m
The Thin Pan Noirleans 9h 50m
Albumistanumerophobia Lake Eerie 10h 10m
Charlotte’s Web The Ministry 10h 51m
A Number of Games The Quest Coast 14h 2m
Curious Customs The Quest Coast 14h 24m
The Enchanted Garden The Quest Coast 15h 8m
Curious and Determined Noirleans 16h 20m
Billie Barker The Ministry 18h 18m
Randy and Riley Rotch The Ministry 19h 2m
Everybody Must Get Rosetta Stoned New You City 19h 55m
Danni Dewey The Ministry 20h 11m
Trickster Tales Noirleans 20h 34m
Herschel Hayden The Ministry 20h 35m
Alexei Lewis The Ministry 20h 45m
Book Reports New You City 30h 37m
My Dinner With Big Boi New You City 30h 38m
The Messy Room The Investigation 51h 13m
The Neverending Story The Investigation 51h 35m

The longest two puzzle solves were backsolves; we received the solution to My Dinner With Big Boi as a bonus; and Book Reports was recorded in our system as available long before it actually was unlocked. The five longest puzzles from The Ministry were all metas, so the longest standard puzzle solution was Trickster Tales.

Compared to last year, we solved a much higher fraction of the puzzles accessible to us, and the slowest ordinary solutions were much faster; although conversely there were no 3 minute puzzle solutions this year. Many fewer puzzles were open at any time, possibly due to some combination of each individual puzzle being “bigger” and the hunt being much more linear.

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