Saturday Waffling (January 18th, 2014)


I'm out of town for the weekend for my annual bit of intellectual masochism at MIT Mystery Hunt, and so am writing this several days in advance. For those who are unaware of this bizarre practice, it's something in the range of 48-72 hours of tricky puzzles solved in pursuit of finding "the coin" and winning the spectacularly awful booby prize of your team having to write the next year's Hunt. 

The puzzles generally do not bother with things like "instructions" or "any meaningful sign of what you're supposed to do," and instead you have to simply figure it out by discerning a pattern of some sort in whatever the puzzle is.

Here's an example from two years ago that ought be in the wheelhouse of some of you. The answer to a given puzzle is always a word or phrase. I'd offer a prize to anyone getting it right, but given that the solution is linked in the upper right-hand corner, I can only offer my congratulations for your extreme skill at tasks with functionally no utility whatsoever.

Back Monday with some actual Doctor Who writing. Scandalous.


Anton B 7 years ago

Crikey that's difficult! I was convinced the answer was simply Doctor Who. Then I read the solution. Good luck!

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Daibhid C 7 years ago

Good Lord, it's like Round Britain Quiz and Kit Williams' Masquerade fell in love and had an evil baby!

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David Anderson 7 years ago

An article in the Guardian from a year ago that I've been meaning to link to. (Sadly, by all accounts the BBCs Father Brown series is little more than a daytime tv Midsummer Murders.)
Obviously wrong to say only McCoy's performance fits the description (or that McCoy was the nemesis of the series). Troughton's performance does. Actually, I'd say only Pertwee, the Bakers, and Tennant have no leanings in that direction. I'd say it's the sort of critical remark observation that gets right to the heart of the matter, despite one wanting to disagree with it completely.

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jane 7 years ago

Well don't I feel stupid. (I noticed some Doctor Whoey resonances, but attributed it to my own apophenia.)

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Elizabeth Sandifer 7 years ago

Your apophenia is never in error at Mystery Hunt.

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peeeeeeet 7 years ago

Come back Only Connect, all is forgiven... :)

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Chris 7 years ago

For anyone who still hasn't picked up a beautiful mug from the Eruditorum Merchandise link to Zazzle (I like to call it the TARDIS Erudimporium) here's a coupon code for 50% off mugs, good until noon Pacific time today (Sunday): SUNDAYDEAL15

Now I'll get back to my breakfast, and rocking it with my wonderful Jellybaby mug.

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Unknown 7 years ago

Which team are you on? I was hunting with Team Unseen, and felt pretty pleased that I solved two meta puzzles this year. Oh, and I solved the Doctor Who/Simpsons cross-over puzzle single-handedly.

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Elizabeth Sandifer 7 years ago

Oh! Simpsons! Fantastic! /goes to solve.

Oh, and I'm still in the room for Left as an Exercise for the Reader.

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Unknown 7 years ago

Alas, I am sitting on the other side of the Atlantic - otherwise I would indeed have dropped by. I only get to Hunt remotely, and although I miss all the onsite shenanigans, it's still good fun and one of the highlights of my year. One day I am going to come over for it, but probably not soon.

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