Round 8 4 3 2002 MIT Mystery Hunt


While looking through Uncle Pennybags' papers, this letter about an old Christmas vacation during the winter of 1982 was found among the documents.
Dear friend,

Auntie and I are having a wonderful time. We started off at the cabin last night and made a wonderful dinner. The only setback was when I spilled the red wine onto her bloomers. Thankfully, if you put salt on it quickly it won't stain. We had the most exquisite pate that we served on Melba toast. It perfectly complemented the wine. I felt like a maverick because we continued drinking red wine out of the same carafe even though we had a halibut fillet for the main course. Auntie remarked that the members of our country club would lynch us for such as gross disregard for etiquette, but we had left the case of white wine at home.

After dinner, we headed down the long hallway in the cabin to the living room and veranda; I could see my silhouette on the wall from the moonlight shining in the window. Once we reached the recreational area, the room was dominated by a huge glass bowl-shaped table under a skylight. The table was actually a fish bowl filled with several brightly-colored tetras, a guppy or two, and those extra large goldfish. Off to the side in the room, was a brilliantly decorated Douglas fir with mini-candles and hand-blown glass balls of red and green. The owners of this cabin worked very hard to make it quite festive.

We sat down on two of the huge chairs surrounding the table and lit a fire in the fireplace. The andirons were entirely brass and had the heads of peacocks at each end. On top of the table was just one book, a big coffee table-type book. It was An Illustrated Guide to Modern Biochemistry. I opened the book and it flipped right to the page with a diagram labeled "Southern blot." The reason it opened up to this page was because some previous hooligan had torn off a huge chunk of the top of the page, probably to write a note down on. Don't people have respect for books?

Well, Auntie and I drank eggnog and sat by the fire. Eventually we turned in for the night. In the morning we were going to take the car over to the lake to go skating; however, the engine would not turn over. Reading through the manual, it appeared that this high-precision car, with everything machined to within a 15 Angstrom tolerance, was still prone to difficulties. I knew I should not have bought the diesel version, but after the fuel crisis, one can never be sure. Oh well.

So, now I sit back in the living room of this cabin writing you this letter. I am killing time, because it turns out that the halibut didn't sit well with Auntie and she's been in and out of the crapper all day. After I finish this letter, I am going to give the engine another try, or we'll have to call for a hired-car to get home in time. Happy holidays.

Your friend,