All posts from 2023.
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:
|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:
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).
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↩︎
because at first Ceres was checking for updates every 3 minutes, which was later increased to every minute↩︎
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