There are spoilers within. Random asked us to refrain from them since the hunt is going to stay online and be playable for a year, plus they are going to publish a book with the puzzle from one of the rounds. I can't spoil that round, since I saw very little of it, but the overall hunt... let's just say, if you are thinking of playing the hunt on your own, PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS ENTRY IF YOU DO NOT WANT SPOILERS.
Also on that note, a warning: This entry is EXTREMELY LONG. I started writing it on the flight home and continued braindumping for a few days. I enjoy reading people's long hunt stories so I hope you enjoy mine.
TLDR: My team finished for the first time ever! Also going to hunt with my boyfriend but not being on the same team was weird! And the weather wasn't nearly as bad as I thought, and Random did a great job of making hunt super fun for everybody.
So, some background here is that Chris asked me out the week after Mystery Hunt last year, because he didn't either of us to be distracted during the hunt itself. And after a few weeks of deliberating over it, I essentially said "yes" by writing him a puzzle that I gave to him on Valentine's Day that solved to "will you be my Valentine?" And we've had an epic year together since.
Chris went to MIT for undergrad and lived in Random, and he’s on Metaphysical Plant, the team that wrote the 2006 and 2011 hunts. So a few months before Hunt when we were making travel plans, he got his own plane tickets and a hotel room and said that I'd be welcome to split the hotel room with him (obviously I was going to do this) and to join his team if I wanted (obviously I... wait, what?). I mean, he wasn't switching teams, having been on Plant for the last 15 years. But for me, I wasn't sure I wanted to switch teams either.
I’ve been on Up Late since 2012, when they gained the Microsoft Puzzlehunt core community as a satellite. Before that I think they were mostly a team of MIT alumni and friends who had been hunting together for years, but not really a big power team or anything. Even after the MS contingent joined, mostly remotely, it was a 50-60 person team. I come to Boston with an attitude of "I didn't fly across the country to sit in a classroom, I want to GO PLACES and DO STUFF!!!" and fortunately, Up Late has always been willing to accomodate me :) So I’m really glad I joined them. And in the four years I've been with the team we've accumulated a lot of really good people. This year, shockingly enough, we had 110 people or so registered on our server and mailing list. I would still say that we had a core of 50-60 actually hunting, but... over 100 people? That's nuts!
Also, due to the weirdness of the Boston half of the team not really knowing the Seattle half of the team, I've tried to get to know as many people as possible. I go on runarounds, tag along for food, friend people on Facebook, etc. When I came to Boston to help with Wartron in 2013 I mailed the Up Late team and a whole bunch of people came to dinner with me one night, and I went to a Red Sox game with one of my teammates (Ryan), and got another (Ian) to help me staff Wartron for an afternoon. They are good people. So even though I’m not part of their core friends circle, I still feel connected to the team. They sort of remind me of how Liboncatipu was when we were on our rise as well.
So rather than telling Chris "I'm not sure I want to butt in on a close-knit team and possibly ruin your reunion with your friends," I just joked that "I've only been dating you for a year... I don't think I can commit to your Mystery Hunt team. That's a big step."
I flew in on the redeye Thursday morning, worked from the Google Cambridge office which is conveniently across the street from MIT, and then Chris showed up in Boston that evening around 7pm since he hates redeyes. His flight was a little bit late but eventually he got in and we went to join Metaphysical Plant for dinner at a restaurant out in Porter Square. I guess I talked to the few people sitting around us at the table, and it was fine (I mean, I'm a geek, they're geeks, I'm outgoing, this usually works out). I mean, the thing is, I barely know anyone on his team to begin with, which is funny given that I probably know a couple hundred people who go to Mystery Hunt *not* including my team. Plus he always says half the fun of Hunt is hanging out with his friends again, so I was curious to meet them.
After dinner we found a group of other puzzle people hanging out in the Kendall lobby - Corey, Melinda, Dan, Nick, Todd, some others I don't know by name. So I stayed there for another few hours talking to everyone about random puzzle stuff. Left Out are traditionally across the hall from us - Up Late is in 1-134 and Left Out is in 1-136. So I have all of these other friends across the hallway to run into sometimes, which is nice. It's sort of tradition at this point that Dan and I compare notes in the wee hours of Saturday morning of how we think our teams are doing... and that I come out to wish them congratulations when they go off to the final runaround sometime early Sunday morning :)
Chris and I set the alarm to get up at 9:30 Friday morning and go downstairs to have Kendall complimentary breakfast. Naturally we get downstairs and end up sitting at a table of people from Plant, most of whom I hadn't met the night before. I manage to nerdsnipe one of them who had been telling me about Plant setting up the current Hunt website, like "have you seen it?" and I'm like "Yeah. Can you tell me why the 1988 hunt was canceled?" and he's like "What?" and I'm like "check your site, that's what it says, and I've never been able to get a story of what happened then," and he's like "WHOA WTF IT DOES OMG I MUST FIND OUT".
(As an aside, if anyone reading this knows what happened to the 1988 hunt, I'd love to know. So would a few other people, apparently.)
A little while later we headed to campus, or more like, we walked a block, and Chris went off to join his team and I went across campus to join my team. I was a little bit too late to help people unload cars, but apparently it wasn't too hard. I set up my laptop at a table with Kenny and Rena and I honestly forget who else. People kept showing up and it was a lot of greetings and introductions and stuff. Alisa, one of our team captains, asked me whether my boyfriend was joining us, and I explained that he was with Plant, etc, and it turns out they know each other since she used to virtually live in Random. Go figure. Alisa told me that we had a few other members of the team whose significant others were on other teams and not to worry too much about it.
Oh, something else cool - Jeff and Jessica Wallace came to Boston for the first time. In years past Jeff was usually the hunt manager for the Seattle side of things and people would often be asking me in the middle of the night like "do you know Jeff? or Jay? or Jett? or whoever the hell that is that is saying crazy stuff in the chat?" so I was joking that this year I would leave it to Jeff.
We went over to kickoff! I spent the time beforehand going and saying hi to a bazillion people and I think I managed to find most of the people I was hoping to find (aside from Danielle on Codex; I was wearing my Darmok&Jalad@Tanagra t-shirt that day that she designed). Notably, I did find Sarah and Ross and the rest of their team, and Sarah gave me a pack of stroopwafels that had been sent to me from Ivo (I gave them both a tour of Google last February, and this was a thanks gesture). Since I didn't really have anywhere to put them - no pockets in the cardigan I was wearing - I ended up carrying them around.
You would, or maybe you wouldn't, be surprised how many people will come up to you at MIT Mystery Hunt like "...are those STROOPWAFELS?!!?! Like the real thing?!?! Where did you get them?!?!"
Kickoff itself was pretty good. We had been wondering who Dr. N was for the last few weeks since getting the invitation in the mail, with its steampunk theme, but unlike a few other recent hunts, the invitation was not a red herring at all (pun intended): it really WAS just Dr. Nautilus and the puzzle hunt of 20,000 Puzzles Under The Sea (give or take 20,000 puzzles). We were supposed to be taking our submarines to the bottom of the ocean to find the Concentrated Ore of Indestructible Nautilodestones.
(At wrapup they pointed out that 20,000 in base 3 is 162 in base 10, so they really did have 20000 puzzles.)
There was a big ceremony of flipping "Is It Hunt Yet?" to YES, and an announcement of the selling of Hunt t-shirts outside, though they were giving one free shirt to each team as part of a swag bag. I bought a shirt since they were $10, noted that it had a nautical theme and some puzzle pieces and stuff on it and then put it in my bag and promptly forgot about it once we got back to our headquarters.
Most of us ate lunch for the time between kickoff and hunt starting (at 12:17 and 1:17 respectively). We spent a little bit of time debating what to call our submarine (rejected names included “USS Insomniac” and “Yellow January”). It turned out we didn’t need a name though, so it was a moot point. And then hunt started!
The beginning of hunt is often a little bit frustrating, as we have like 30 people in a room plus a few on the west coast, and we have... like 3 puzzles to work on. I think the first 3 open were Erraticism (a crossword), Loony Playhouse Actors (a series of videos) and Takeout Menu (a bunch of text encodings; mostly I was like "these are NOT valid Chinese", but everyone pretty much got to work on that and it went pretty fast. I helped out with the crossword a little bit and the first thing I really remember digging into people with was called Montages.
Montages probably was my favorite puzzle of the entire hunt. It was, at first glance, a "wall of text" puzzle, but as you look at the paragraphs describing a series of events, you can figure out that they are all the things that happen during the scenes with songs during some Disney musicals. (For example, with the sequence that went something like "a man pushes a cart of pumpkins around; a girl moves a ladder; birds fly in a formation" etc, you could figure out that it was Belle from Beauty and the Beast.) Repeat this for 20 songs, some of which were more obscure than others. As we're figuring them out, we're also noticing that each series of events has one event that doesn't actually happen in the video, so we start isolating those too. As we start getting THAT list together, of the incorrect events, we're like "...a girl looks through a keyhole... a girl plays with dolls... a girl rides a bike down a staircase... a girl puts her feet up... a girl hugs her parents goodbye... lighting strikes... a royal painting is covered… wait, these are all in Do You Want to Build a Snowman!"
Sure enough, they are. When you order the incorrect events by their order in Snowman and index them into the original songs by which number in the list they were from the original lists, you get the string "YESYOUDOCALLWHENDONE". We didn't quite have all of the stuff correct so our string wasn't quite that clear but I pieced it together and suddenly got really excited like "GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS OMG OMG OMG OMG WE HAVE TO BUILD A SNOWMAN!!!!!" and they're kinda like "WTF?" and I'm like "The answer says Yes You Do, right? Well the question is obviously... Do You Want To Build A Snowman?"
After explaining this to the rest of the room, which got some pretty good laughs, we set about to make a snowman. Now, while I have to admit it is pretty brilliant of Random to give this as an instruction, given that Boston is generally dead freezing this time of year, and it DID snow on Thursday, and it was going down to 10 degrees F that night, somehow the snow didn't really STICK. So we made a snowman out of Oreos just in case, and Marissa and Noah ran outside to make a REAL if tiny snowman on our windowsill:
I called the Sealab HQ (have I mentioned that they were calling the hosting team Sealab for this?) and told them about our snowman and they came over to check it out and give us the actual answer to the puzzle.
After that I worked on a TMBG-themed puzzle with Rena and Kenny where they had backwards clips of TMBG songs and you had to reverse and identify them, which didn't take too long once Kenny loaded up 3pm. Then I helped out with a puzzle called This Puzzle Has No Errata which had some time-travel things going on, and I also helped out with Wordsearches Are A Piece Of Cake (which actually was pretty easy), and then somewhere around then we unlocked a runaround style puzzle called Back On The Move.
I love runarounds since I like getting out and going around campus, so I joined Alisa and Dave and Noah on this one. But this turned out to be one I was pretty useless on. There was a Twitter stream up where four Sealab people were posting pictures around campus. I suppose the first thing to figure out was that it was four people (but if you went back to the very first post you could see a group of the four of them reflected in a doorway, standing outside a room in Building 10). The thing is that all four of them were posting to the same stream, despite that they were all over the place. We weren't sure if the point was to figure out their path (were they making a 3D message out of their paths?) or just to find them, so we tried to find some sequence of things that we at least could narrow down to being one place, and at one point we did isolate one path to go all the way down to the opposite end of the infinite corridor, up to the third floor, through Lobby 7, into 5... we traced it for a while and then lost it at a staircase. Personally, I could only identify some of the photos - of distinct landmarks - a lot of the time there'd just be a random window or a view or whatever. Noah was pretty good, he'd be pointing out views and saying where they were from, but after a while I gave up and returned to our HQ because I wasn't being of much use.
I helped work on a few more puzzles, notably one that involved identifying some obscure people and places as being on different countries' banknotes, and maybe an hour, hour and a half later, the Back on the Move team comes back like "Yeah, we just had to find the people posting. We got lucky on one and had to chase down some others. They were each wearing a hat with a number on one side and a letter on the other, so the answer is just those four letters in order." Amusingly, however, one of the people they chased down took a photo of THEM as his intermittent feed photo:
(As an aside, a few hours later I was wandering through building 7 lobby on the way to get food, and saw one of the guys with hats there, and I was like "oo! it's one of the back on the move guys!!" and he started running away until I was like "NO DUDE WE'VE ALREADY SOLVED IT! I JUST WANT TO SEE YOUR HAT!!" at which point he stopped and let me see his hat and asked me where he should go next.)
Anyway, more puzzles. There was a puzzle called "The Misspelled Insects" which turned out to be a Beatles puzzle; you had to take a weird phrase like "Syllables spray like springtime showers into a disposable chalice" and turn that into "Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup" and identify the song it came from (in this case, Across the Universe). Between a bunch of us and eventually an alphabetical list of Beatles songs we did that, and then we weren't quite sure what to do with it. There was an underlined letter in every line though, so eventually we figured out that the underlining indicated where to index into the CORRECT lyric, and... upon doing that, we got a phrase like "SEE T-SHIRT FOR SECOND HALF OF PUZZLE" and we're like... "t-shirt?" and then someone's like "wait, you mean the t-shirt they gave us?" and we're like "NO WAY" except, of course... remember I mentioned the t-shirt had some drawings and puzzle pieces on it? One of the drawings is clearly an Octopus's Garden and another is a Yellow Submarine and there are words, and bubbles, and puzzle pieces.
So Ian and I set to figuring out a way to assemble this part of the puzzle without cutting up the t-shirt (as it seems like a waste of a perfectly good shirt. For the record, as far as I can tell from talking to several teams, nobody else cut it either). Ian took a photo of it and printed it to the printer, but this lost the white writing (so he drew that in). After we cut out the pieces and started trying to assemble it was very hard to read a message, so I went back and did something I hadn't done since the 2012 hunt and the Yo Dawg puzzle: I got out GIMP and cut out and reassembled the puzzle virtually in there. After about 20-30 mins on both of our ends of effort we managed to read the message (they were able to get the first half originally but the last few pieces were really unclear without having the real contrast), which told us to read some of the letters on the shirt based where there were bubbles, sort by depth, and then that told us to go back to the Beatles songs and we got a message out of them for the final solution.
(this was my half an hour of work in GIMP)
I worked on a little bit of other stuff after that. I'd signed up to go to an event at 11:17 so I didn't want to get too involved with anything. I helped solve one of the first puzzles in the School of Fish round, involving fish puns, and from then on I never saw anything else in that round because I was busy for the rest of the evening and they solved it all.
Jeff Wallace and I went over for the event called "Blub Blub Pub Trivia and Ocean Pong", which was exactly what you would expect it to be. We had to form teams of 5 or 6, teaming up with 2 other teams. I recognized two guys from Left Out and we paired up with them, and were joined by two people from Central Services. (One of the guys from Left Out turned out to be the guy who played President Snow in the Famine Game, but I completely didn't recognize him!) As such we named our team Left Up Center, as all of our names had directions in them. Trivia was not entirely unlike a normal pub trivia, with one picture round and two rounds of people at the front reading out questions that we had to write answers to on a team sheet. However, of course there was a pirate theme to everything, so the first sheet of photos was mostly of pirate-themed people, like Captain Jack Sparrow, or Captain Morrigan, or Jennifer Lopez on the cover of "Booty", and there was even Andrew McCutchen, who I immediately identified as a Pittsburgh Pirate. The second round was more pirate trivia, a bit more obscure, like the sub name for Pirates of Penzance, or the actual given name of Blackbeard, etc. Then the third round was BATSHIT CRAZY NUMBERS by which I mean, they were asking for ridiculous things "within an order of magnitude", like the amount of water in the ocean measured in cubic feet, or the depth of the Marianas trench, or the speed of a killer whale, or... yeah.
The second part of the event was, as advertised, Ocean Pong. They had two adjacent tables push together and set up so you'd have a long table with the two teams of 6 on either side. How many cups you had to set up was based on how you did on trivia. Our side got 9 and our opponents got 7. They were filled with "ocean water" which we assume was just water, being as none of us ever drank it. We took turns in pairs of 2 to both throw and also to defend. Believe it or not, I actually got my very first throw in a cup, but after that I totally sucked it up and started losing focus and not really caring. This event really did start to drag on since beverage pong is kinda hard. Matt from Left Out got a bunch of hits, I eventually wandered off to chat with Ankur for a while when his team finished. I came back after he left and we only had one cup left to sink and... somehow I managed to sink it! It was very very lucky I suppose. For winning, we got "booty", which turned out to be pirate props. Jeff got a pirate headdress and I got a very uncomfortable eyepatch that I ended up throwing out before we even left Lobdell. Personally, I thought it was pretty funny that Jeff got a pirate prop since his usual team that I see him playing with is Briny Deep, and they're all pirates and that's the group costume. Of course, pretty much nobody on our team got why that was funny except Jessica, but that's okay.
Oh yeah, and there were root beer floats. Though eating ice cream and then heading out into sub-freezing weather was mildly unpleasant, to say the least.
We got back to HQ around 1am, and Ryan's like "Hey, Miss Queen of Runarounds, we're about to do a runaround for the Workshop Meta Meta, do you want to come?"
Well, of COURSE I wanted to come on a runaround. Despite that Chris had sent me a message during trivia saying he was heading back to the hotel to sleep, I wasn't going to miss a runaround just to be on the same sleep schedule as my boyfriend, how silly would that be?
The runaround was pretty complex and took us around three hours to do. There were 9 sections of it and each one only had a few instructions in it, but the instructions would generally get you a series of numbers that would translate into a room number on campus where you would find an envelope with "pieces of the Magnetonomic Adjacency Detector", which turned out to be cardboard tangram pieces.
We got screwed up for a while just on the first section alone, which involved counting a bunch of stairs and following a pipe and getting to a particular location with a vending machine, where we were instructed to buy the item of highest caloric value. We did find a drinks machine about where we thought we should, and the highest drink was Dr. Pepper, weighing in at 150 calories. We were told to take the carb fat in mg and percent daily value to get the next place, but we got 13 and 40, and weren't sure what to do with that - so we went to look for room 13-040, except if you go into the basements of building 13 you end up in this distinctly somewhat scary area that smelled like a gas leak and had flickering lights and was shadowy and weird. We retraced our steps again, measured the pipe to make sure, and then said, "well, what if it's actually 1-340 instead?" and, whew, it was.
One of the following instructions told us to dispose of what we'd bought in section 1 at a specific place and take down whether we put it in the left (trash) or right (recycling) receptacle, and had to turn in that direction later. There were a bunch of dependencies like this.
The next step or two weren't too bad (at one point we knew we were in building 8 and that the room number was a permutation of 194, and we found it being in 419 without too much trouble). Then we ran into one that was pretty bad, and even the puzzle author later told me there had been a few hitches in play testing (and I heard various similar stories from people after wrap-up as well). We had to find an installation with all these ropes hanging, and note the color of the leftmost one. We did. It was red. Pretty obviously red. I wish I had a better picture, but I don't. Then we were instructed to go up the "nearby" stairs - the nearest stairs to there were in building 16 - to the floor with "the same color scheme". Well - the 6th floor has a purple color scheme and the 7th floor has a red color scheme. We were supposed to look for a mislabeled door number. We walked all the way down 16 and 56 and found absolutely nothing. We retraced our steps, back to the rope, looked for another staircase it could be, looked at the string again, and then decided to check out the 6th floor, specifically because the instruction for finding our next building was "take the full room number and square the middle number". Well, there is no building 49, even I know that. And 64 is a dorm. So we figured it had to be 36. At the end of the 6th floor wing of 56 we found a room labelled E56-695 so our next room was 36-569.... and boy were we happy when we got there and found the next piece!
Understand that at the end of every section it would end with "you'll find the next piece at ____". The thing is that often the room you were directed to would be a 10-minute walk from where you had been doing instructions, so if you were wrong you'd have to walk back 10 minutes to figure out what had gone wrong.
There were another few things that we did wrong that were our fault - like at one point we were supposed to spot some black gloves and we just missed the first place they were, and thought we had to go in circles to "go straight" in an area of building 13. Another time we weren't positive on a thing because it said "note the number of squares on the floor" but with the door shut it looked like it could be 3 or 4, so I wrote down 3.4 (the answer was 4). But mostly the rest of everything went seamlessly (including another vending machine logic puzzle), and eventually we found ourselves in Stata with 8 tangram pieces and a map of "Mechanistic Illumination of Technocraft". We had been noting our locations on the map every time we found pieces in the first 8 sections of the puzzles. The instructions to find the final assembly of the pieces said that exactly one tangram would fit between three vertices on the map, and finding the center of THAT would be the final location.
Except, uh, none of them fit.
Two pieces were pretty close, but one of them had a center that was over a vertex we'd already visited. I found the center of the other one and determined that it'd be somewhere in building 4, possibly outside, which we figured would make sense given that there was no floor given, huh? We were sort of frustrated so we made the decision that we would head back to HQ, *BUT* we would first check that area in Building 4.
Not knowing which floor, we tried the top, and made our way all the way down to the basement floor by floor. I asked Ryan if there was a way to get outside from there since it might be in the little courtyard square, and he was like "yeah, over here," and walked into an alcove, "but it's really dark out and I'm not sure this door is actually open, and..." and as he was standing there I saw an envelope taped to the wall behind him and I'm like "OMG OMG OMG RYAN THERE'S A THING! A *THING*!" and I pointed it out and he and David were like "Oh! There's the envelope", and then "whew", and then we headed back :)
(Our first vending machine of the runaround)
(Finding one of the packets of pieces)
(That rope installation where the leftmost rope was supposedly purple but was really red)
(Our map which did not quite fit any of the triangles)
We got back, and a few minutes later two people from Random came by with a treasure chest for us.
A TREASURE CHEST.
Wait, what? A treasure chest? Nick Baxter had actually mentioned a treasure chest when we ran into him at the top of the runaround but nobody on the team had any idea what this was about. The Randomites though, they were like "Your team requested a treasure chest, so here we are with a treasure chest for you," and everyone's like "DAMMIT REDMOND". (Except, it turned out, Jeff Wallace, being actually-in-Boston-this-year, upon reaching his hotel room, had reopened the hunt page, saw a thing saying "Click here to request a treasure chest", and being Jeff, he clicked there and then went to sleep without telling anyone. We found this out the next day.)
Anyway, a treasure chest! It looked neat! With lots of locks on it and codes on the top! They said we were free to open it in any method we deemed acceptable, so Jeff Simpson was like "Are you sure?" and then got out a screwdriver and simply removed the hinges.
There were all kinds of things in there - as we found out, there was an entire round of the hunt called Treasure Chest. Lots of custom-printed chocolate coins, a weird maze-looking Rubik's cube, a pouch with some game cards and weird dice, a whole bunch of wooden 3-D puzzle pieces, a few treasure maps (yes, multiple), a small piece of something knitted... many things.
(a treasure chest!)
(Jeff just happened to have a screwdriver so he took off the hinges)
(the inside of the chest)
It also turned out that one of the people who brought us the chest helped write the runaround we'd just done, so he asked if I had any feedback and I showed him my notes and told him about the purple/red discrepancy and such. And I also told him how none of our tangrams fit and we got lucky with our guess on the closest, and he was like "Wait what?" and I showed him our map, and the pieces, and he was like "Oh! Oh crap, you printed at 95%! No wonder they didn't fit properly!"
I don't know if they fixed that later on in any way to tell people to print at 100% if possible, but well, there you have it.
I started looking through the treasure chest with everyone, but by this point it was 5 in the morning. I had a plan this year to go to sleep at a "more reasonable" time than I normally do, given that I didn't have to sleep in shifts with 5 people in a hotel room this time; usually I'd take a bed at 8 or 9am when someone woke up, but hey, one benefit to splitting a hotel room with your boyfriend is that you get an entire half of a bed all to yourself for the entire weekend. Oh, and sometimes it has your boyfriend in it too.
So I walked back to the Kendall. It was freezing cold out and my brain forgot how to get all the way to the hotel indoors, but it worked out okay.
I woke up around noon, and got Chipotle for lunch and went back to HQ, and of course the treasure chest had almost entirely been solved. Also, I had volunteered to go to the aquarium since there was a puzzle there (Sealab gave us tickets) but two people already were on their way. (I later asked Chris if he went to the aquarium since he likes aquariums, and he was like "haha no. We didn't bother going, backsolved it, and then took the free tickets anyway.")
I spent a big chunk of the afternoon doing two things: 1) working on logic puzzles with garzahd and 2) meeting various "aquatic acquaintances". Matt and I spent a REALLY LONG TIME on one called "Let's Get Submersible!" which was a variant on standard Battleship puzzles where there was a 3-size submarine in each of 5 grids... the submarine, being underwater, broke all of the normal rules of adjacency. The first 4 grids didn't take us too long but the 5th was HARD. I went with Jeff, Kenny, and Matt to meet Dory around 4pm; Dory was a girl dressed up in a Dory outfit and we had to help her "find Nemo" by looking around the room for paper fishes that were hidden in a few places. I went back to Battleships; no luck. Around 5:30, I went with Amy to meet Cthulhu, who was in a conference room with a few assistants. We were told to feed Cthulhu, so first we looked around the room and found various plastic bags filled with swedish fish and Goldfish, in varying numbers. We had to try different configurations of how to place the fish on several dishes in front of Cthulhu and his "assistant" was translating his displeasure with our configurations in various ways like "Cthulhu likes ordinal sets" or "Cthulhu likes faces" or whatever, until we got it right.
(Looking for Nemo at the Coral Corral with Dory.)
(Cthulhu's assistant hands us a tentacle.)
(One of our configurations. I was like, “One fish two fish... why are there no blue fish? I get that the 17 are the Random fish…”)
Also, while going to meet Dory, we were walking down the infinite corridor and we passed by Randall Munroe. I met him a few months ago when he did a book talk at Google and talked to him about puzzles and gave him the XKCD puzzle I'd co-written for MSPH several years back, so I mean, I actually recognized him, but I didn't say hi because I could not remember why he looked familiar until AFTER we passed him. Probably for the best, really.
Anyway, Matt and I, along with Chris Lamie, and someone else whose name I never caught, wracked our brains on Battleships some more until I used an Oracle question to just ask yes/no, "is the 4-ship in the 5th board horizontal?" This sounds ridiculous, but getting the "no" answer there made it immediately narrowed down to like 2 locations, PLUS by then some people in Redmond had noticed that if you saw the letter grid under the first 4 submarines they spelled out "REA DOD DFR IGA" so they were like "I bet it's READ ODD FRIGATES, does that help you with board 5?" so sure enough, placing the submarine and the 4-boat and the entire thing fell in 2 minutes. Well, that is, the logic part fell. Then when we got the frigates (the 1-size ships) from each board and plotted them out, they were mostly awful letters like Q and V, and we weren't sure if odd meant read the ones from 1/3/5 boards, or what, and someone typed out all of the possible configurations. Then, even worse, we stared at it for like 5 minutes not realizing that SMSPOMMERN was actually the name of a real battleship, until Matt googled it. Oops.
After that I asked Matt if he had anything else I could look at. He showed me their progress in a puzzle called Polyglot, where he's like "We're so stuck. We have this grid, with these black squares spelling out ‘Heteromino', but that doesn't seem to be a thing."
I Google "Heteromino" and find a few puzzle pages about this puzzle type. "What?" I show him the pages. (http://puzzle.gr.jp/kahua/kahua-web/hi
"WHAT THE HELL," says someone else, "I swear to god Google didn't show us ANYTHING useful for that earlier."
So, Matt and I learn how to do Heteromino puzzles and do that with the grid. Except then we weren't sure what to do next. (People figured it out while we went to grab dinner, fortunately.)
Speaking of dinner, my god, I ate crap all weekend. My lunch Friday was Subway, my dinner Friday was some kind of bacon sandwich from Laverdes because everything else was closed, Saturday lunch was Chipotle, and Saturday dinner ended up being a tuna sub from Laverdes. I guess that's not entirely crap but combine with a lot of cookies and chocolate and I was feeling pretty awful by the end of the weekend. The real problem was that we kept misjudging the hours somehow and everything closed by 8. Oops.
Matt and I decided to tackle a puzzle called Blue Bomber after dinner. We knew it involved Mega Man, pentomino box-building, and crossword clues. We cut out pieces and started filling in words, and then realized building just any 5x5 and 6x6 boxes won’t do - we have to make valid Mega Man passcodes. Like, a 5x5 grid with 9 red dots, 1 dot in the top row, for Mega Man 2. The other 4 6x6 boxes have other rules, including which ones can have blue dots. Fortunately, someone else figured all of the rules out for me and let me just go to town with my mad pentomino skills (since we’d been floundering a little before that). It turned out one of my randomly-constructed 6x6 grids HAPPENED to be a valid Mega Man 5 code, which was a good start, and after 3 tries I got the Mega Man 2 code! Matt even downloaded a NES emulator so we could check, and BOY were we proud when we got that. Then, given the next constraint, I quickly got the Mega Man 3 code, and with only two codes left it wasn’t hard to finish. We had a few words wrong but quickly figured out how to extract the final answer (it was clever and involved the bosses from each game, since these passwords involved defeating bosses) and the only blemish on this at all is that Redmond didn't bother telling us they had already done the extraction and called it in so Matt and I wasted 5 minutes on that. Shrug. They wouldn't have gotten it without me assembling things, so whatever :P
(Making Mega Man passcodes out of N-tominoes is also one of my special skills.)
Then I went back to a puzzle called Lead Right. Have I mentioned that, at least to me, the "MIT Flavor" in the puzzles came in the form of TMBG, square dancing, Gilbert&Sullivan, etc? This one was Square Dancing combined with cryptics. I feel kinda bad because much like several other puzzles, I started working on it with someone, got distracted, and didn't come back until much later. I had put in a dead wrong answer to one line that had somehow never been corrected, so I looked at the spreadsheet, took out that answer, filled in a few letters into the answer they had been getting, and then suddenly Jay Lorch and I came to the exact same conclusion: "LEAD" was the definition for the final clue, not part of the final clue. Aha! And when I mentioned that out loud, the current hunt manager even said, "Oh yeah, when they called back to say our answer was wrong, they even said “LED RIGHT... err... LEED RIGHT... whatever... your answer is wrong". So rather than it being lead like in a dance, it was lead like in a pencil.
I should mention that by now it was around 1am, and Dan Egnor had informed me that Left Out was going to go on the final runaround (which I suspected, although it turns out they were doing the final Tower runaround first before the final final). They were apparently the 2nd or 3rd team to get there. I took stock of our current situation and figured out the following facts:
1) I was pretty tired
2) We were doing pretty well but there was no way we'd even remotely be close to winning
3) But there was a good chance we WOULD get to the final runaround
4) And it was going to take at least a few hours
5) So goddamnit I wanted to be awake for that
And thus I decided to head back to the hotel and sleep since some other people were also walking back to hotels and I could walk with them. Normally I tend to go to sleep at 7-8am and not get back until like 2-3pm the final day. It seemed distinctly possible that for once that would actually mean missing out on something significant. On the way back to the hotel we passed through Lobby 7 - can't avoid it coming from Building 1 really - and saw Luck doing something weird with several of their members lying on the floor and the others posing. We were waved to walk around the sides of the lobby by some Sealab staff and did so.
I woke up the next morning at 9:30 a bit groggy, expecting to maybe get some breakfast at the hotel, to shower and change and saunter back down to 1-134, except that HOLY CRAP OUR TEAM HAD FINISHED ALL THE METAS. There were some confusing emails about a gang going to the Green Building for some kind of pre-final-runaround runaround and "We think the final runaround is happening soon so GET HERE!!!!", so I wrote back a "Be there ASAP!", got up and took a quick shower, threw on clothes, and pretty much walked as fast as I could to our HQ.
However, shortly after I got there, something odd happened, namely that, well, we called Sealab to schedule the final runaround, and were basically told that they were somewhat short-staffed at the moment as many people had gone to sleep, and so we could either do an extremely limited runaround right then, or we could wait 2-3 hours and do the entire thing.
Well, some of these people have been on this team for 16 years and this is their first ever time finishing, so we were going to do the entire runaround if it meant we were going to have to wait around wasting time for half the day.
Which, in the end, is what happened. We had three open puzzles, and of course two of them fell pretty quickly. Our last remaining puzzle was a weird nonogram that involved two grids where one could not really be done logically due to contradictions and the other just had lots of 1's. After quite some time, we did figure out that it was a picture of Ariel the mermaid, and then even more time later we concluded that the 1's made Braille dots spelling out something that was wrong with her (the entire round that she was in included answers that were nasty disorders such as blindness, decapitation, dislocated bones, anal bleeding, etc. Or more like, they were things that were nasty to happen to people, though not quite as nasty when they happened to words. Anal Bleeding, for instance, just meant that you took the last letter off a word and turned it into A, B, or O). The only thing is, we could not quite get the Ariel picture to work out exactly right. And we definitely could not get the logic to work out around the Braille, especially the upper left corner of the grid. No matter how hard anyone tried. We were just sure this puzzle was super-impossible. And not much fun for having twenty people staring at all day. But this is where we were for five hours.
(No, seriously. This is exactly where we were for five hours, aside from cleaning up and the pizza break.)
A few notes about the preceding paragraphs:
On showering: I had taken a hasty shower and my hair was kind of tangled, and I was very confused at the time why the crappy hotel conditioner seemed to be making it worse, not better. The next morning I found out exactly why: in my haste, I had grabbed the little bottle of Body Lotion, which looks surprisingly similar to Conditioner if you aren't reading the words, which of course you aren't when you are TRYING TO GET TO CAMPUS AS FAST AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE OMG FINISHING HUNT. So yes, I can now confirm that body lotion is, indeed, pretty crappy hair conditioner.
Also, a silly story on how HQ informed us about "anal bleeding" as an answer, which I heard the next morning:
HQ: We have some good and bad news for you, which do you want first?
Us: The bad news?
HQ: Well, the bad news is, the answer you submitted for [I forget what puzzle] is incorrect.
Us: Great, what's the good news?
HQ: The good news is, the answer to Benny Lava is "anal bleeding".
Us: Thanks. Wait, anal bleeding is the GOOD news?
On Ariel: This puzzle troubled us all day long; I believe it got "solved" while most of the team was out doing the runaround. Amusingly, after hunt ended Matt Lahut made the observation that all of our math was correct and we just came to the dead wrong conclusion about it - what had gone wrong was a TRANSCRIPTION ERROR copying the puzzle image to the google doc. Which is why we never got that one corner to work out.
So anyway, how does a Mystery Hunt team fill 5 hours waiting eagerly to do the final runaround?
Well, first, I went around the room taking pictures of the artifacts I hadn't seen yet, like the Swordfish and whatnot. And I asked everyone who had been around for the night for details on the things that had taken place then.
People spent a while doing some pre-emptive cleaning, rearranging the desks in our second room. I walked back and forth to Jeff and Ian's cars with people carrying unopened bottles of soda. We packed up our fridge and microwave and printer and other such things.
We noticed there was a study break scheduled for 1:17pm with pizza sponsored by HRT. Having nothing better to do, most of our team went over to eat pizza.
We called HQ to get a better ETA on when, but they couldn't really tell us anything beyond "between 2 and 3".
We continued staring at Ariel. We guessed some things. We started engaging with the Oracle to try to find out what we could.
Finally, around 2:40 we got a call to meet them in the lobby of Building 13 at 3pm!! YAAAAAY!! We asked whether we should bring jackets, laptops, etc, etc, and all they said was to bring the items we'd gotten from the metametas. So we did. Mark C very graciously volunteered to stay behind and guard all of our stuff so people didn't have to carry backpacks and so on, and off we went!
Well, we got to the lobby of 13 and were met by our "guide" and by another "associate". The guide read a long thing that I utterly was not paying attention to, and checked that we had brought our items with us. Then suddenly the Kraken came out of a room and started berating our team, telling us how we were clearly not fit to be part of the sea. You know, because fish are good at teamwork, and cooperation, and perceptiveness, and all of these other things that we clearly are not.
I guess we certainly aren't cooperative, because a few sentences in after the Kraken told us that "my associates have informed me that you have none of those qualities," I called out in a smartass voice, "YEAH, BUT YOUR ASSOCIATES ALSO TOLD US THAT ANAL BLEEDING WAS GOOD NEWS. I'M NOT SURE I'D TRUST THEM IF I WERE YOU."
Everyone laughed. The Kraken continued on her rant. We continued occasionally interrupting to make jokes, like when the Kraken insisted that we are horribly unfriendly beings, Matt stepped forwards like "Hi! I'm Matt. What's your name?"
Eventually we were allowed to "prove" our "worth" to the Kraken by meeting some of the other sea creatures and learning all of these qualities that the Kraken insisted we couldn't possibly possess, and then get a chance to find the nautilodestone.
(The guide checks all of our items.)
(The kraken tells us how we are not fit to coexist in her ocean.)
We started by meeting the Jellyfish in lobby 7, and this was the thing we'd seen Luck doing at 1am. Basically, some subset of our group would go up to the 2nd floor, and then the rest of us would get a word, and we would have to put ourselves into position on the ground so that the upstairs group could guess what we were. The catch was that we could not move once we had gotten into formation, and that we could not make any letters or symbols or otherwise spell things out (braille, semaphore, whatever).
Our team split into 4 groups for this - 3 groups of guessers/charaders and 1 group of designers.
The words started out easy - the first was "seahorse", so we made ourselves into the shape of a seahorse on the ground. This took one guess to get. The second was "shipwreck", and I was also on the ground for this - we all took off jackets and made a sail, and Ryan and Alisa were the mast of the ship, and there were two broken halves of a ship underneath it, and we had people jumping off the sides, and that got guessed immediately too.
I was in group 3, so we went upstairs while the rest of the team arranged things, and then went to guess. What we could see was a group of four guys from our group on the left, and a big + made of jackets, and the people on the right had arranged themselves into a nautilus shell, so we were like Nautilus, and then realized the guys were not only the ones with PhD's but they were actually acting like listening to a heart, things like that, so it was Dr. Nautilus, which we got in one guess. Yay.
The next three were really hard! The fourth was "fish and chips". I was on the floor for this next to Lokie again (we'd also been next to each other in the seahorse) so we continued our conversation about how to get up to the top of lobby 7 for hacks. We were part of the fish. I never got to see what they did for "chips" but it apparently took many guesses, maybe 4 or so.
The fifth word was "Sealab". This was really hard - we made some waves of water on the left and then a flask on the right. I was just standing around not part of it, but I could see the guesses and they were nowhere near right. "Ocean science", "Marine biology", lots of things like that. After 7 or 8 guesses the Jellyfish let us reconfigure it, so we kept sea, and made a lab of sorts, with Rena and Chris doing some kind of thing with a trashcan and steampunk goggles, and Jamie had a pen as a pipette, and somehow our team managed to guess it immediately after that. Whew.
I was upstairs with the 6th group yet again, and when we came out, our guide was like "you definitely want a photo of this", so I took one (shown below). It was someone on the floor dressed up as Mario under a box made out of jackets with a round thing coming out of the top. After about ten seconds of vague debate I said "Well, if this isn't a COIN, I don't know what it is," and so I just wrote it on a whiteboard to guess, and it was right. Yay!
(Meeting the Jellyfish.)
(To make sure the guessers upstairs wouldn't hear, she had us gather around so she could quietly tell us a word.)
(Making the sail for our SHIPWRECK, with Ryan and Alisa as the ship mast, and people donating jackets to make the sail)
(“That thing on the right is a Nautilus. What are those guys doing? Oh, they're doctors!”)
(Our revised “lab” for SEALAB, after our first structure was utterly unguessable.)
(The last one was COIN.)
(We guessed by writing whiteboards to the Jellyfish downstairs, who would reply in kind. People lying on the floor often had no clue what was happening until they heard cheering.)
This part took us over an hour in all honesty. And then, we were told we would not actually be meeting the Crab but instead proceeding on to the Rainbowfish. As I found out later, the Crab was a huge word find with all the answers to the puzzles up to that point and we were supposed to actually solve a message out of it, and it just took a very very long time, so they skipped us first for time considerations and second because they hadn't printed up enough at the time. I'm actually totally fine with having skipped it but Ryan was kind of pissed off and started ranting about how first Random made us wait so long and then weren't even going to show us the entire runaround. I tried to point out to him that the only people really entitled to see the entire runaround are the ones who, you know, actually win the hunt.
Anyway, we get to the Rainbowfish's room and he explains that his job is to assess whether we are friendly enough to get along with sea creatures, so our job to do for him is to take fish selfies (which he demonstrated by taking a selfie with Rena, as "someone whose hat he had been coveting all weekend"). What this actually meant was, several floors of building 37 had fish stickers plastered all over the place, and we were supposed to get 100 selfies with them - of 100 different fish, that is. Only things in hallways, not in rooms.
So, Matt and Rena and Ryan and I took the 5th floor. Ryan went off to the opposite side of the floor, and then Matt and Rena and I just swept the rest of it, finding fish, taking photos, uploading. But Matt didn't have a working phone at the time, so what would happen is, he'd find the fish, and Rena and I would take the photos. As a result, I ended up posting something like 21 photos total out of our 100. I dunno, I was having a lot of fun with it and I guess I'm used to doing silly selfies from all my time living in Japan:
(Rainbowfish’s selfie with Rena, Rena takes a photo of a high up fish with Matt, and I make Rainbowfish (also named Matt incidentally) get a selfie with me too, which didn’t count because he’s in a room)
Ian had emailed out a link to our team of "POST SELFIES WITH FISH!", which was mostly for the benefit of people there so they wouldn't have to type out the link to where we were posting, except... a few remote people didn't know that, so for example, one guy sent a selfie with a stuffed animal fish he had, and Mike and Noel posted themselves with a drawing of a fish from the airport since they'd left early.
It should also be mentioned that we had a Hangout going the entire time on Eddie’s phone, so remote people could see the runaround.
So next we were going to visit the Octopus, but the Octopus wasn't ready for us, so our guide led us on a ridiculous roundabout route to get there, and even *I* knew we were stalling, but a few things happened during the roundabout route, including one of my favorite moments all weekend: we were going down the hall that Left As An Exercise For The Reader is in, that's Sarah's team, and as we went past their door someone was coming out so I said "Is Sarah here? Can I say hi?" and so I went in and I'm like "HI SARAH! HI EVERYONE! WE'RE ON THE FINAL RUNAROUND WE'RE ON THE *RUNAROUND*!!!" and since like half their team knows me from helping out with Wartron, Sarah said "Congratulations!" and the entire room burst into applause. And I was like "thanks! I gotta go! runaround!"
I get back into the hall with my team, who heard the entire room applaud, and they're like "...do you know those guys?"
Eventually we get to the classroom with the Octopus, who tells us we’ll play a game of Fishie Feud, where they had surveyed "a bunch of random fish" about various sea things - "name a Fish starting with H", "name a pirate phrase", "name a common non-food item that comes from the ocean" and other sea-related categories. After a few categories they started emphasizing how "these are from a survey of RANDOM fish" so when the next one came up as "What would you take with you on a sailing voyage?" I yell out "A LAPTOP!" which was, despite the hinting that these are people from Random, not actually on the list.
Our last category was to name ocean organisms that are misnamed (in our opinion). We did correctly guess things like "Starfish" ("Dude, what do you mean? It looks exactly like a star!" "Yeah, but It's not a fish."), "Jellyfish" ("ALSO not a fish."), but we were surprised that things like "jumbo shrimp" didn't show up on the list.
(Eddie carrying the remote half of our team through the hallways of MIT on the final runaround)
(The octopus and his assistant)
(Another amusing Fishie Feud category)
On our way to the next station I talked with the guide as he walked us over to find out why we hadn't seen the Crab, why we had such a long delay, things like that, and he told me how basically, 6 teams had been in the runarounds overnight, and so most of Random stayed up to see those first teams through the entire runaround, but as soon as they got through the character interactions they let the actors playing them who were crashing hard already just go to sleep. Setec had apparently finished around 8:30-9am and so they were running with a pretty low staff for a few hours after that, and we happened to call at an extremely awkward time.
For perceptiveness we had to visit the Anglerfish, who was going to show us tiny pieces of things that showed up in puzzles over the course of the weekend, and we had to identify them. Initially we would get penalized for wrong answers or passing, but they changed that halfway to speed us up. The snippets came from all over the place, so often they were intermediate steps (like one drawing from a physics puzzle, we didn't recognize it, we went and checked the puzzle, it wasn't there, and then the Anglerfish explained "It's that puzzle - this is the drawing you should have made in the process of solving it.") Sometimes it was a matter of remembering the puzzle's name, like when they played a backwards TMBG clip I was like "OH THIS IS THE TMBG PUZZLE, THE ANSWER WAS OSMOSIS, BUT WTF WAS THE TITLE OF THE PUZZLE?" and things like that. Several times when we got one of them, the response was "You guys solved that FORWARD? Good for you!" especially on one called the 10,000 puzzle pyramid, where you pretty much had to write a program to solve it. Ian actually did, so he knew the intermediate steps. I am under the impression that a lot of teams just backsolved it.
You would think that we would be screwed without the Redmond contingent to identify puzzles that they worked on without us, but remember that I said Eddie had been streaming a hangout the entire time for remote people? Well, it was still going, and maybe four or five questions in, when we're all trying to remember what the heck one of the puzzles was, we hear a voice from the phone like "We worked on this here! It's ____!"
So, 40-50 questions later and we were able to move on to the final, which put us in the hallway under the bottom of room 26-100 (the same way we went in to meet the Jabberwock last year). There was a hallway full of kelp, by which I mean green streamers, and then they were taped across the entry door as well. Alisa "cut" down the "kelp" with the "swordfish" and we went through to the final door.
In the auditorium, we all gathered on the stage, and the Kraken was waiting for us about halfway up the seats, in front of a table with 6 objects on it. "Only one of these is the true Nautilodestone", she informed us, "and if you have a working Magnetonomic Adjacency Detector, you should be able to figure out which."
We had brought our tangrams (which was the Magnetonomic Adjacency Detector that I mentioned in the Friday night runaround), but they handed us an actual metal detector to use once we proved we had the hunt version. They handed it to Jeff Simpson so we decided he should go up and get the coin, and he did, at 6:17pm on Sunday night, which seemed appropriate.
The "coin" was just a pretty shiny little stone (hematite?). Having never gotten to the end of the Mystery Hunt before, I was sort of expecting something more dramatic or cool to take a photo with, but that didn't stop our entire team from taking photos of/with it too. Apparently Luck got an actual real huge lodestone (and coins for all their members).
(Following Alisa through the hall as she cuts away the kelp)
(Getting ready to open the Kraken's lair with the Sword Fish)
(Jeff gets the Nautilodestone! Eddie is there with the hangout so they can see what's happening.)
(Like I said, it really was just a shiny little stone, but our entire team wanted photos of it anyway.)
(This is a coin, for all intents and porpoises.)
We were the 7th team to finish.
After that we went back to HQ to finish cleaning up. We ran into Rage back in Lobby 7 along the way (I know a bunch of their team), and they asked me how long the final runaround took us, and I said, without missing a beat, "3 hours and 17 minutes." Apparently thinking I was just being Random and joking, they asked again, "No, really, how long did it take?" "No, that really is how long it took. We started at 3 and ended at 6:17. Good luck!"
A small group of us got dinner at Bertucci's (in Alewife). Something odd along the way here was, right before we finished the runaround, Chris sent me a message saying that he was going to eat cold thai food with his team for dinner. I didn't really get what he was saying, but thought "wait a minute, did they not finish the hunt? and went to dinner? WTF?" Then around 8pm he sent me another message of "Ok, we just finished the final runaround, where are you?"
We eventually met up back at the Kendall, where I showed up, saw two other members of Plant in the lobby, and asked "Do you guys have any idea where my boyfriend is?" and they said "With some other Plant people at the Marriott?" so I texted Chris and chatted with his teammates until he showed up. Apparently they ordered food for dinner before starting the final runaround and it showed up and got cold while they were doing the actual runaround. Oops!
I demanded to see his fish selfies and he demanded some naptime.
And that about wraps up my hunt weekend. I mean, I went to wrap-up the next day, and I got to meet the guy I'm co-writing a puzzle for DASH with, and I got to say hi to a ton of other people. The wrap-up was super super short - last year I had to bolt as soon as it ended to get my flight, but this year I had like 2-3 hours to waste, and Chris disappeared with some of his teammates to eat lunch, so I hung out talking to various people for an hour afterwards. I may have inadvertently volunteered myself to help with some other hunts this summer. I dunno. Also, when I ran into Tyler I asked him to write a good sports puzzle for next year's hunt (we've both lamented it is an under-utilized genre in puzzle hunts) so we'll see if that happens :)
At the airport, it turned out that my gate of B24 and Chris's gate of B38 are not actually connected. I could get to B36 and SEE the B38 gate out the window but couldn't walk to it physically. So I got ready for a long lonely wait at B24 and right after I'd plugged in my laptop, David and Jill (from Rage) showed up, and Darby shortly after that, and Jeremy from Luck, and Kiran was also at our gate, and so rather than being lonely and grumpy I just ended up talking to puzzle people for an hour until the plane boarded.
Chris and I had flights an hour apart, but due to the stupidity of Caltrain it actually made sense for me to wait for him in SFO to get a ride home. Bizarrely, he was on the flight with Corey and Melinda, several other puzzlers, and, as it turned out, Brian and Purple (friends of mine from CMU and Google). They had been at Arisia, with one of Chris's friends, so they all met on the plane, and happen to live around the corner from us, so we gave them a ride home. It seemed like a fitting completely random but good ending to the weekend.
Crazy, huh? Can't wait for the next 358 days or so to pass for next year's hunt! Thanks, Random! Good luck, Luck!
Oh, a few more photos to finish with:
Our name is up there!
This is our team photo during the Octopus part of the hunt.