Current Hunt
Related Links


Thanks for participating in the Mystery Hunt! We hope that you enjoy the puzzles we've put together for you.


Your Rich Uncle Pennybags has passed away, and you are poised to inherit his lucky coin, the secret to his success. However, Pennybags' will states that this treasure will only go to the relative who owns the most hotels, and evil nephew Alvin Acquire is off to a good start with seven.

In order to outdo Alvin, you must sort out your uncle's cryptic collection of title deeds (helpfully provided by the Law Offices of Stetson, Mayer, & Co.), get past the red tape of the zoning commission, and build eight sets of houses and hotels. Only then can you collect your inheritance, the key to recovering Uncle Pennybags' lucky coin.

How To Play

During the first twenty-four hours, we will be releasing puzzles every three hours, starting at noon. Each of these puzzles has a word or short phrase as its answer, and each of those answers clues a space on the Monopoly board. If one of these board puzzles has an answer of "GREEN LIGHT", then the puzzle's solution would be "GREEN LIGHT" and its identity would be "Go!".

Once you've solved a puzzle, you can call us up to verify its answer. Don't be surprised if we ask you how to spell a word, how you got the answer, or what you thought of the puzzle. Of course, we might ask you these questions even if we know your answer is embarrassingly wrong, so don't take them as a hint.

If you've verified a puzzle's answer with us, you can call us up to also verify its identity. Generally, you'll end up doing this in one phone call.

Naturally, we have a method of building houses and hotels. If you believe you have identified a set of properties that forms a Monopoly, call us up and rattle off the puzzles, their identities, and their color. (This is the only time we'll let you identify a board puzzle without having solved it first.) If you're right, you'll receive a set of four house puzzles and one hotel puzzle.

Like the board puzzles, the house puzzles have a word or short phrase for an answer, and you can call up to verify the solutions. To get the hotel answer, you must manipulate the six or seven other answers associated with the Monopoly. The hotel puzzle itself may provide a framework for reusing the six or seven answers; it may just tell you what order to use those answers without telling you what to do with them; or it may be no help at all.

If you correctly call in to verify a hotel answer, feel free to celebrate. If you get all eight, you'll be in fantastic shape.

Contacting Us

Here are a few more notes about calling us:

How Not To Play

The number one goal of the Mystery Hunt is for all participants to have fun. Please keep this in mind: respect your teammates and the other participating teams. You should not do anything that would harm another team's enjoyment of the hunt. In particular, don't alter puzzles so they become unsolvable or mislead other teams. Snooping around in other team members' directories is also bad form.

While there are many ways to approach solving a puzzle, some methods just aren't kosher. These include but are not limited to:

If you are ever unsure as to the legality of a technique, please ask us.

Typically, combining teams mid-way through the hunt is not allowed; however, if you have special circumstances, please give us a call. If you're going to drop out, please let us know so we can keep track of who's still in the game (and hopefully persuade you to stick with it).

Some Tips

For those who aren't used to puzzle competitions like this one, we have a few more tips:

Solving References

These pages describe how to solve certain common types of puzzles; you may find them helpful:

Cryptic crosswords: http://www.execulink.com/~tagies/cryptics/solvingguide/solvingguide.html
Cross sums: http://www.jimloy.com/puzz/sums.htm
Crostics: http://www.ozemail.com.au/~mcardle/crostic.html
Paint By Numbers: http://www02.so-net.ne.jp/~kajitani/cgi-bin/pbn.cgi/index.html

A fairly large wordlist can help, too. If you don't already have a favorite, you may want to pick from one of the many at http://www.puzzlers.org/secure/wordlists/grepdict.html.


Remember, the most important aspect of the Hunt is to enjoy yourself. In fact, it's really our job to make sure you (both individually and as a full team) are having a fantastic time. If you're completely stumped or not having fun, please call us, and we'll do what we can to help.

Contact: MIT IAP Mystery Hunt -- puzzle@mit.edu