4.6: MIT By Foot (Solution)

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Authors: Brian Tivol and Ray Jones

This puzzle is another runaround on campus.  The goal was to start
people off simply in the beginning, get them used to what all the cute
little symbols on the clock meant, and then start playing with them.
In the event of heavy snow, we believed that all of the objects
photographed had sufficient depth.


- Many artifacts of bad picture-taking are present, but they aren't
  important.  This includes Ray's feet, Tivol's foot, the dangling
  camera strap, and the wandering string that the fotomat genius left
  on the scanner.

- Yes, the times in the corner are kooky, and they are important, but
  you really oughtn't try to sort the pictures by time.

- If you recognize one picture of the ground, look nearby for other
  spots where pictures were taken.  This may help you figure out the
  relationships between the pictures' order on the page and the
  pictures' "chronological" order.

- What are those things in the upper-left hand corner?  Well, stop
  looking at your feet and maybe you'll spot something, silly.


The order of the pictures as presented on the page is correct.  No
tricks there.

The "times" in the corner should be converted to analog clock hands.
The direction of the minute hand points toward the site for the next
photo; the direction of the hour hand points more roughly toward the
site for the previous photo.

We start off fairly early on in the first floor of the Student Center
(1), enter Tosci's (2), and then head in a straight line down Mass Ave
to the very recognizable Harvard Bridge (3-7).  After this stretch,
solvers should have warmed up to the idea of the time in the corner
pointing the way.

We then make an oddly sharp turn across Mass Ave and Mem Drive to a
fire hydrant on Mem Drive outside Killian Court (8), and then cut
straight past the Bronze Bunny (9) into Lobby 10 (10).  A bit of
manuevering (11) gets us into the Building 10 elevator (12) which we
exit after switching floors.  This is mean bit number one.

We exit into the basement (13), and head down the Infinite Corridor,
turning a bit to get to the stairwell in Building 7 (14-17).  As we
climb the staircase (18), the broken clock should be another aid for
using the analog hands as a direction-- whenever we go up or down, the
digits are replaced with dashes.

Walking out to peer down into Lobby 7 (19) should give a good
verification of how many flights we just climbed.  We then position
ourselves right outside of Rotch Library (20), and then jump through a
big closed window to get into the library (21)!  (Actually, we go back
down to the second floor, enter Rotch the proper way, and try to
figure out that the fourth floor on the bookstacks corresponds to the
third floor of Building 7.)  This is mean bit number two.

We then jump (up or down? look ahead) to another floor of the
bookstacks (22) and then back out through the window (23) to the
fourth floor of Building 7.  We get to the start of the Infinite
Corridor (24) and then take off down the corridor for quite a while.
The hallway actually shifts to the left and back to the right, but our
photos don't indiciate this-- we're really just headed in a straight
line despite all the walls that are in our way.  Mean bit three.
After a brief stop halfway through the hallway (25), we get to the end
(26) and then go around a corner (27) to get to Building 16 (28).

Once in Building 16, we sink straight through the floor to play around
on everyone's favorite Mystery Hunt set of floor tiles (29-31) and
then shoot back up to a different floor (32).  Which floor?  Well,
they all have a unique coloring system... this is mean bit number

We head down the hallway to a unique tile pattern on the ground (33),
then across the bridge to and through Building 26, stopping just at
the edge.  All those glass walls... to the right you can see the
devastated Building 20... to the left you can see a tiny little spot
in front of a room with green doors.  Break the glass to your left,
fly out the window, break the glass in front of 34-401, and land in
front of the doors (35).  Mean bit five.  

Plummet down to the ground outside 34-101 (36) and then head out to
the access road and make your way to Building 9 (37-39).  Wind around
to the Little Sail (40).  If you head in the proper direction and
travel just a little bit, you'll wind up at the other side of the
Little Sail.  If you head in that direction for quite a ways, you'll
wind up at the similar foot of the Big Sail (41).  You have to go the
long way; mean bit number six.

After a quick trip up the steps into Building 14, down the hallways
and turning toward the phone booths outside Hayden Library (42-44),
you're just a tiny bit away from the last photo, a path to the plaque
detailing a scultpure outside Building 14 (45).

Oh, nearly forgot: the occassional dashes and colons in the upper-left
hand corner are used to pattern-match against nearby signs.  This
should be obvious early on, outside Tosci's (3).  In this case, the A
in "-----A---:-" matches the first "N" in "TOSCANINI'S".  Other A's
come from a name on an office door ("F. FRANKEL", 25), a bright orange
sign in Building 16 ("CAUTION WHILE ENTERING", 32), and the name of a
statue ("ELMO-MIT", 45).  The B's come from the real name of the
Bronze Bunny ("RECLINING", 9), a stairway label for the basement ("B",
14), the name of a patron of Rotch Library ("GLADYS BROOKS [reading
alcove]", 21), and the name of 34-401 ("[conference room] A", 35).
Take all the A's, anagram them, take all the B's, anagram them, and
you get the answer: TURN BACK.

Comment from Ray:

Almost no one figured out how the times were actually directions,
unfortunately.  We thought this puzzle was too hard to do without
them, but many teams managed to do it without too much trouble since
many of the locations were identifiable.

Unfortunately, this meant that the subtle humor of the "Little Sail ->
Great Sail" transition was lost on most people, since they knew they
were headed for the great sail, didn't know that the times were
pointing them towards the small sail, and didn't need to go on that
loop of the runaround anyway.  Oh well.

Someone suggested at the end of the hunt that, in fact, we should have
sorted the pictures by time to make things harder.  If I make a puzzle
like this again, I won't underestimate MIT students' ability to
recognize their campus, even the boring bits.