This is an archival copy of the hunt; links and emails may not function.
Hunt announcements (including any errata) will be placed on this page as soon as they are issued. If you would like to be automatically notified of announcements, please join the mailing list.
12:00PM, Dec 17: The hunt is over!
Solutions are now available for all of the puzzles in the Caltech Puzzle Hunt. We hope you enjoyed solving it as much as we enjoyed running it! We are in the process of collating some information and will post a wrapup and credits when that is done. In the meantime, if you have any feedback, we would greatly appreciate your letting us know by filling out the short survey. We will include some information from the feedback in our wrapup if it is received in the next couple of days.
12:00PM, Dec 16
We have released the final round, which as some of you might have suspect involves all of those Conclusions puzzles, for everybody. Teams would normally only unlock the full round after having obtained the help of four characters in the Kingdom of Wisdom, plus solving a puzzle associated with the World Map (also unlocked). These items would be used in the endgame in order to save the Princesses.
Well, the Princesses are running out of time, so they have convinced us to release the Conclusions round to everybody in the hopes that you might still be able to save them. It is a standalone round, with easier individual puzzles, and solving it will let you complete the hunt (although you would probably not be able to make it through the on-campus endgame without having solved the Wisdom metas). We will keep taking answers until Monday, noon PST, and will post solutions and a survey after that.
10:35AM, Dec 8: Hunt Status Update
All three prizes have been claimed. Congratulations to Teams Test Solution Bees Ignore, Just-Us League and clAM TEch!
Teams are now allowed to use a token to ask for hints on metapuzzles if they have had all but one individual puzzle for that meta solved for the past 12 hours. Please include what you have done so far on the meta so that we can give an appropriate hint.
Furthermore, even for teams who are out of hint tokens, Hunt HQ is now going to start being more generous with hints that are requested. As announced, we will leave the hunt open until the 17th, at which point we will make solutions available.
After consideration, we've found that several teams have reacted to the lower timeout by spamming the answer queue with increasingly obscure dictionary strings. As this does not seem like a particularly fun method of solving puzzles, we are putting the timeout back to 3 minutes and would encourage teams to use hint tokens on puzzles rather than dictionary attacks. Besides, our leading teams have found that dictionary attacks aren't particularly successful...
9:36PM, Dec 7:
Team clAM TEch successfully rescued the Princesses Rhyme and Reason at 7:54PM. They have finished the 2018 Caltech Puzzle Hunt, and claimed the $100 prize. Congratulations to Team clAM TEch!
We have reduced the Kingdom of Wisdom round "Jump to Conclusions" timer to 1 minute.
We have opened up all Kingdom of Wisdom round puzzles to all teams.
10:00PM, Dec 6:
We have released the puzzle Cheese Grater to all teams.
A hint for Windows to the Past:
These people wrote about and lived through a lot of exciting events, didn't they? Actually, I’m pretty sure that Shakespeare wasn’t around for the English Civil War.
A hint for Plot Points:
Pair up words from both sides to create plot points from well-known movies. For example, a "Silence Cipher" (referring to Silence Dogood) features prominently in National Treasure. Don't forget those titles!
As a reminder, the $100 prize is still available.
11:00PM, Dec 5:
Team Cardinality went to look for the Princesses Rhyme and Reason at 10:11PM, but found out that they are in a different castle. They have finished the 2018 Caltech Puzzle Hunt. Congratulations to Team Cardinality!
8:40PM, Dec 5:
Team Just-Us League successfully rescued the Princesses Rhyme and Reason at 7:58PM. They have finished the 2018 Caltech Puzzle Hunt, and claimed the $200 prize. Congratulations to Team Just-Us League!
11:00AM, Dec 5:
A hint for Choose Your Own Adventure:
When I was young, I thought there were nearly infinite ways to complete a Choose Your Own Adventure. Turns out there are 50, and most of them can be had for a song.
9:15PM, Dec 4:
We have released the puzzles Choose Your Own Adventure and Zig Zag to everyone.
A hint for Black and White and Red All Over:
News travels in many directions these days. Specific Algonquins are SHAWNEES.
8:45PM, Dec 3:
A hint for A Match Made in Heaven:
A Split Ends puzzle? BIFF! ZAP! POW! The clue for 255 Across is "Oblong Boston cream analogue" (133+122) and for 255 down is "Artist who was an early user of autotune" (123+132).
A hint for Heartache on an Oxeye:
The first step to this puzzle is solving the crushword/Petal Puzzle. To get you started, the first clockwise clue has the answer HE/L/OV/ESM/E. Another difficult clue is “Really crushing on, perhaps”, which has the answer BO/Y/CR/AZ/Y.
A hint for Star Search:
These are celebrities, but there are much bigger stars in this puzzle. Celebrities can be grouped by the movies they're in together and maybe it would help to think about constellations, as well as stars much much closer to earth.
11:00AM, Dec 3:
We have reduced the Kingdom of Wisdom round "Jump to Conclusions" timer to 2 minutes.
We have released the puzzles Heartache on an Oxeye and Of Friends Grey and Quirks Typographical to everyone.
1:32AM, Dec 3:
Team Test Solution Bees Ignore successfully rescued the Princesses Rhyme and Reason at 1:24AM. They have finished the 2018 Caltech Puzzle Hunt, and claimed the $300 prize. Congratulations to Team Test Solution Bees Ignore!
11:30PM, Dec 2:
We will be slowing down responses to hint requests as the Hunt HQ is winding down for the day. We will resume responding to hint requests tomorrow.
10:47PM, Dec 2:
Team ✈️✈️✈️ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ✈️✈️✈️ went to look for the Princesses Rhyme and Reason at 10:40PM, but found out that they are in another castle. They have finished the 2018 Caltech Puzzle Hunt. However, the Princesses have not yet been rescued, and all prizes are still available.
Congratulations to Team ✈️✈️✈️ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ✈️✈️✈️!
5:26PM, Dec 2:
Erratum published for Ancient Riddles.
4:00PM, Dec 2:
A hint on The Perplexing Trumpet:
This is a cryptic crossword without a grid but with lengths given, so try to re-construct the grid. Who are those two people in the recording?
A hint on O, the Anguish!:
You're going to need some smallish entries not to leave the grid MT. "PAPER RED ASSESSOR" is actually a reference to the Hebrew Alphabet. Normal dominoes rules apply for entering answers.
12:34PM, Dec 2:
We accidentally released an earlier, in-house testing version of Numberlink from our testing server (every puzzle was tested multiple times before release) rather than our intended production copy. The puzzle has now been updated, which consists of several clue changes and one minor bug fix.
12:00PM, Dec 2:
We have realphabetized the clues in Plot Points. This does not affect solvability.
A hint for Rainbow Connection:
The title says rainbow and yet I see no colors in my answers. Could you find some that connect with an answer?
2:30AM, Dec 2:
A hint for Hidden Verbiage:
Type "find key". Then type "look" (or "l" for short). See how the room description changes? This is inspired by a type of puzzle called "Printer's Devilry."
12:00AM, Dec 2:
The entirety of Lazy Afternoon is now unlocked for all teams! In addition, we have opened Kingdom of Wisdom to all teams, and additional Wisdom puzzles for teams that have not yet reached them. However, teams may still wish to solve the Lazy Afternoon meta.
10:00PM, Dec 1:
A hint for True Grit:
Many of the clue answers are punny. That artist of Master of Polenta and Enter Sandman? GRITALLICA. (If this doesn't make sense to you, Google is your friend.)
6:00PM, Dec 1:
For several picture-heavy puzzles, we will be adding links where the images can be downloaded.
A hint for Quartets:
Here are some hints to some of the trickier connections:
i) Only the good die young?
ii) Unusual time signature
iii) sdrawkcab knihT
iv) Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton
v) I couldn't find songs about Bruins or Texans
A hint for Word Logic:
As might be expected, this is both a word and logic puzzle. Start with the word part, but don't be surprised if there's a twist toward entering everything in the grid. The pieces are given in alphabetical order.
3:00PM, Dec 1:
We have updated scoring rules for Obsolescence to make it easier to complete for large teams.
A hint for A Cardigan Jacket is Such a Turn-On:
The extra offshoots of each pipe are not just there to make the logic puzzle difficult. Maybe count how many you encounter along each step of your journey. Then try to , ahem, "turn" that into some sort of message.
A hint for Graph Theory:
The first picture is a graph representation of a monopoly board, with Boardwalk indicated. Other diagrams include a glucose molecule and a map of South America.
12:00PM, Dec 1:
A hint for Too Little to Do:
I wonder what .info you were looking for in that .museum in the .us. The answer.......
In addition, if you are stuck on previous puzzles in this round, please feel free to email HQ for help.
For teams who have reached the next round, you will now find that you encounter an opportunity to get some additional assistance on puzzles and one additional puzzle.
4:00AM, Dec 1:
A hint for Lakeside Dining:
I'm in the mood for some local fare. But something seems a little off.
A hint for Just Because It's Correct Doesn't Mean It's Right
Looks like the name of each anime was identified correctly. Though I’m not sure the episodes are right.
3:23AM, Dec 1: Erratum for Reverse Shikaku posted.
12:40AM, Dec 1:
The Hamburglar event is now over, and we have uploaded information to the puzzle.
12:00AM, Dec 1:
A hint for Alphabet Soup:
Have you solved the clues? You should have (at least) enough ingredients to make soup.
A hint for Lossy Compression:
Hopefully you aren’t at a loss to identify this meme. When you reach the final one, select one word from each line to make ten seven-word clues.
8:30PM, Nov 30:
A hint for Breaking News:
CNN is trying to attract millennials, it seems, but I'm skeptical. I think most of those headlines are decades old, if not centuries. And I'm not sure the Dow is going to win them over, either.
6:00PM, Nov 30:
A hint for Profiles:
Each animal behavior is indicated in multiple ways. Tiistai’s boorish behavior and wanting to keep you to himself are indications of a HOG. Meanwhile, Tiistai is Finnish. Wonder what his name could mean?
3:00PM, Nov 30:
We will occasionally post some information that might be useful to solvers stuck on a particular puzzle. (There will be other ways to get hints later on as well.)
A hint for Birds With Arms: (Updated 6:00PM)
Several teams have seen that the birds appear to be, literally, pointing out a message. If the flock were a little larger, they might have said the word "LETTERS" at the end of that message as well.
If you get a message with a Roman numeral, do the same thing again -- take the corresponding letter.
12:45PM, Nov 30: Erratum for puzzle Breaking News on the errata page.
12:00PM, Nov 30:
Welcome to the 2018 Caltech Puzzle Hunt! Whether you are an experienced solver or a puzzle hunt novice, we appreciate that you are spending this weekend playing our Hunt, instead of all of the many things you could be doing or not doing.
For your information, one of the puzzles is an event on Caltech campus. It will be hosted by Tom Mannion at 7 PM. For people not on campus, the information from the event will be posted online, but there will be a delay of a few hours between the end of the event and the posting.
For teams local to Caltech, we will be particularly friendly to you about hints if you are having trouble - provided you're not winning! Don't be shy about letting us know where you are! We'd love to drop by too (if you're OK with that).
And if you're having trouble, check out these links for potentially helpful things to try:
This event is brought to you by TTFKATTTBNL, which competes in the MIT Mystery Hunt in January and several other contests year round. We are open to new members (both who will be at MIT and who will participate remotely), especially inexperienced solvers looking to join a competitive team! If you are interested in joining us, please email and we can provide more information.