## Mystery Hunt 2023 Team Statistics

2023 January 24

With MIT Mystery Hunt 2023 (list of puzzles, kickoff video, wrap up video, global stats) coming to close yesterday – apparently the second-longest MIT mystery hunt – I wanted to look back at the puzzle solving on my team I’m not a planet either. While mystery hunt was back to being in person after having been online for two years, about half of the team was remote, and we retained the fully remote tech stack for team communication and coordination.

As I did last year and the year before, I was on the tech team and so recorded our puzzle solving statistics. Mercifully, the tech worked quite smoothly this year: automated puzzle scraping was up within 40 minutes of hunt start, and there were no significant hiccups1the worst was a few minutes delay in making slack channels when some puzzles with no latin characters in their title tripped the automated system.

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 includes event puzzles. The diurnal cycle in puzzle solving is evident, as is the several big timed unlocks of puzzles

Below is the list of every puzzle solved by the team. In total we gained access to 93 puzzles, of which we solved 35.

Click a heading to sort by that column:

• Time unlocked is how long after hunt start each puzzle became available.
• Time to solve is how much later we solved the puzzle after it became available.
• Time spent solving is the total amount of time people spent in the puzzle’s comingle room before it was solved. Note that any time spent before 2.30pm on Friday is undercounted by a factor of 32because at first Ceres was checking for updates every 3 minutes, which was later increased to every minute; in practice this means only the first 3 Atrium puzzles.
• Solved by is the number of teams to solve this puzzle
• Median solve time is the median time to solve among teams that solved it
• Skipped by is the number of teams that opened the solution without having solved it
Puzzle Round Time unlocked Time to solve Time spent solving Solved by Median solve time Skipped by
H2No Science 4h 32m 37m 2s 6h 42m 130 2h 25m 11
Natural Transformation Science 5h 9m 47m 3s 8h 44m 120 1h 51m 14
People Watching Atrium 2h 10m 1h 8m 7h 53m 149 5h 17m 22
One of the Puzzles of All Time Science 3h 19m 1h 12m 10h 37m 116 5h 9m 21
You’re Telling Me Atrium 0s 1h 13m 2h 22m 208 3h 18m 3
Scicabulary Science 25h 25m 1h 17m 5h 10m 131 3h 25m 18
Museum Rules Atrium 0s 2h 10m 6h 8m 189 5h 26m 6
Inscription Atrium 0s 2h 13m 4h 7m 190 5h 28m 15
This Puzzle is Just Another … Basement 49h 42m 3h 49m 10h 38m 67 3h 15m 7
Interpretive Art Art 31h 2m 4h 2m 13h 24m 84 7h 36m 31
Extrasensory Science 25h 25m 6h 5m 4h 5m 101 6h 13m 27
The Cafe Atrium 29h 52m 6h 33m 38h 22m 107 2h 53m 0
A Twisted Theory Natural History 25h 25m 6h 59m 5h 46m 92 23h 31m 46
Collage Art 31h 2m 7h 39m 9h 19m 126 5h 0m 20
Quandle Office 49h 42m 8h 6m 3h 3m 80 3h 16m 5
Hall of Archaeology Natural History 25h 25m 8h 21m 4h 33m 146 6h 23m 6
Some Assembly Required The Factory Floor 6h 50m 8h 39m 16h 49m 77 28h 23m 59
Nuclear Words Science 39h 11m 9h 59m 31h 8m 72 5h 0m 0
World’s Smallest Logic Puzzles Science 2h 42m 11h 6m 24h 56m 113 9h 1m 33
Subterranean Secrets Basement 49h 42m 11h 8m 15h 50m 55 12h 56m 32
🐍 Basement 43h 29m 11h 52m 14h 49m 52 7h 35m 10
Brain Freeze Science 25h 25m 13h 45m 16h 58m 108 10h 8m 28
Dropypasta Atrium 13h 48m 14h 3m 30h 51m 142 5h 25m 29
Reflective Screen Office 49h 42m 15h 39m 6h 46m 33 10h 11m 21
Diagramless Office 49h 42m 18h 35m 1h 16m 61 4h 25m 9
Bridge Building Science 25h 25m 18h 38m 18h 52m 104 14h 32m 37
Kubernetes World History 31h 2m 21h 52m 6h 24m 90 8h 36m 25
Street Smarts Atrium 2h 13m 22h 9m 47h 12m 147 19h 12m 98
Quality Assurance The Factory Floor 6h 48m 23h 40m 62h 13m 96 28h 29m 22
Baking Bread The Factory Floor 6h 48m 25h 33m 40h 38m 81 18h 19m 25
Friends Event Events 0s 26h 18m 3m 0s 0 0s 0
Art Event Events 0s 26h 30m 8m 0s 0 0s 0
Cafe Event Events 0s 26h 30m 0s 0 0s 0
Dance Event Events 0s 29h 48m 3m 0s 0 0s 0
Apples Plus Bananas Atrium 1h 13m 30h 21m 16h 6m 159 18h 22m 17

Note that later puzzles were solved by fewer, better teams, and thus the median solve times go down relative to their difficulty.

Quality Assurance had by far the most person-time invested, at 62h, with the two metas The Cafe and Nuclear Words also being quite high. A list of all unsolved puzzles in which we invested at least 3 hours of time:

• Solve for Ewe (39h 27m)
• Shortcuts (33h 8m)
• Formula Deluxe (28h 11m)
• Catenaverbozoa (27h 1m)
• Direct Translation (17h 10m)
• Showcase (15h 9m)
• Gears (15h 1m)
• Think Fast (13h 34m)
• Exhibit of Colors (12h 45m)
• Bundles (9h 11m)
• G|R|E|A|T W|H|A|L|E S|O|N|G (8h 54m)
• A Trip to the Museum (7h 44m)
• Fine Dining (7h 30m)
• Tissues (6h 36m)
• Cute Cats (6h 11m)
• Alloy of Words (5h 2m)
• Draw Wings (4h 14m)
• Too Many Secrets (3h 27m)
• Art of the game.such.fame! (3h 19m)

Though note that much of time spent on Much Ado About Nothing was actually finding the entrance to the Puzzle Factory, including a collaborative jigsaw puzzle; I didn’t notice people spending much time on the puzzle itself.

Unlike in previous years which had quite a few easier puzzles that we solved quickly, this year the distribution of solve times was somewhat flat:

Conversely, though, the slowest puzzle took us only 30 hours, whereas in the past there were puzzles that took the whole weekend to complete (cough Voltage Controlled).

1. the worst was a few minutes delay in making slack channels when some puzzles with no latin characters in their title tripped the automated system↩︎

2. because at first Ceres was checking for updates every 3 minutes, which was later increased to every minute↩︎