An annual event during one weekend in the Independent Activity Period in January at MIT.

The Mystery Hunt is a series of puzzles, done in "treasure hunt" style -- that is, generally without complete instructions. In some cases the instructions are obvious, but more often not. However, in general, the puzzles are such that once you figure out how they work and get the answer, it will be obvious that you have the answer.

The Hunt is run by the team which won the previous year's hunt, so the specific rules vary, but eventually the solutions lead to a location on the MIT campus where a (trophy-like) prize is hidden.

The Mystery Hunt has a web page at http://web.mit.edu/puzzle/www/ where you can view all of the puzzles and solutions from the 2000 Hunt, and selected puzzles from earlier hunts.

As an example of a typical puzzle, the first puzzle in the 2000 hunt was as follows:

Alternatives

"Gosh, Lion, the course offerings at MIT really do run the gamut, don't they?" {This hunt had a Wizard of Oz theme.}

"Darn right they do. So many choices," fretted the Lion. "How will I ever decide?"

Following this were a series of 26 clues, like crossword clues, such as "Horse outfitter" (answer was SHOER).

The key was that the answers could could be grouped into triplets as follows: Two of the words in the triplet share one or more like letters at the beginning on the word and one or more like letters at the end, but have different letters in the middle. The third word contains the two middle segments, connected by OR. Example: SHOER, SAYER, HOORAY.

The answers made 8 triplets with two left over that shared beginning and ending letters; the word that combined the middles of these words with OR was the answer to the puzzle.

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