Welcome to the 2006 MIT Mystery Hunt!

It was supposed to be a nice, low-key celebration of you, the newest class of S.P.I.E.S. recruits, but Prof. Moriarty had to go ruin it ... again. He and his minions at the Evil Institute of Technology (E.I.T.) have unveiled their latest evil plan (PPT). This time, they've built a weather-control machine to plunge the world into perpetual ice and snow. With E.I.T.'s extensive tropical real estate holdings, they'll have the last place on Earth with sun and warm weather. They might even make ... one million dollars!

The latest E.I.T. plan was not a surprise to us at S.P.I.E.S., but the timing was — who would have thought they'd put their plan into action on Friday the Thirteenth?? We've been gathering intelligence on E.I.T.'s plan for months, but all of our experienced agents are still out in the field, scattered in different locations all around the world. And since our communications systems may have been compromised, we can't contact them through normal channels — we're not even sure which spies have useful information or where they've gone to ground. That's where you come in. Each S.P.I.E.S. agent in the field has been gathering information about E.I.T. in a different location, so that we can track down Moriarty's headquarters and thwart his evil plans. Your mission: find us (starting with me in Boston), get our intelligence, and use that information to foil E.I.T.'s plan. And all before E.I.T. goes into action and warm weather is gone forever!

Each S.P.I.E.S. operative has a pass phrase that he or she uses to identify fellow operatives. Clues to those pass phrases have been left where S.P.I.E.S. operatives can find them, hiding in the form of puzzles. By solving the puzzles in each location and considering their answers together, you can figure out our pass phrases. When you know an agent's identity and pass phrase, you can meet with that agent and debrief him or her. If you need anything else, someone in the massive S.P.I.E.S. bureaucracy can almost certainly take care of it — just ask.

Good luck on your first mission. And remember, we're depending on you!


How to Play

Mystery Hunt consists of several dozen puzzles, organized into rounds. Each puzzle has a word or a phrase as an answer. When you think you have solved a puzzle, click on "CHECK ANSWER" at the top of that puzzle's page. We will get ahold of you and verify your answer. We may ask you to spell the answer, to explain how you found it, or ask you what you thought of the puzzle. We may ask these questions even if we know your answer is way off, so don't make any assumptions based on how we respond. When we verify your answer, we'll update the S.P.I.E.S. control center with your information. This may grant you access to new puzzles.

Various puzzles may require you to perform actions, attend events, or visit S.P.I.E.S. HQ. Please do not visit HQ without first calling us to make an appointment. Contact information may be found on the Contact HQ page.

The answers corresponding to all the puzzles in a location comprise a "metapuzzle"; that is, you can put together those answers to get a final answer. Just like when you solve a puzzle, when you solve a metapuzzle you should verify the answer. Unlike normal puzzles, there is no "CHECK ANSWER" link for metapuzzles; you should call us to check those answers. Again, check the Contact HQ page for contact information. Solving metapuzzles is required to complete the hunt, so don't overlook this!

S.P.I.E.S. rules, regulations, and ethics

We have a number of rules we expect all S.P.I.E.S. agents in the field to follow. The most important guiding rule is: don't do anything that could interfere with the Hunt. Don't interfere with the activities of other S.P.I.E.S. agents or S.P.I.E.S. HQ.

You've already been organized into teams. For security purposes, we want to keep teams separate. Therefore don't exchange any information with other teams concerning any clues you've uncovered, any answers you've found, or any information you've uncovered about Moriarty and E.I.T. Needless to say, we're all working together against Moriarty here, not against one another. Don't do anything that will interfere with the progress of other S.P.I.E.S. teams. Don't try to get in the way of their headquarters, steal their answers, or do anything of that kind. Don't spy on other teams. In short, don't do anything that would harm another team's enjoyment of the hunt.

S.P.I.E.S. agents are supposed to remain under cover and not do anything that will attract the attention of the broader society. Anything that might cause law enforcement officials to get involved is a bad thing. If you think you need to break any laws or any of MIT's rules in order to stop Moriarty, call us first.

Also, don't interfere with our headquarters in any way. Don't try to hack our computer system. Don't try to listen in at the door. Don't try to trick us in any way. The Hunt will be stored on a server. Each team will be able to use it to see the puzzles it has access to. Don't hack the server, violate the Athena Rules of Use, or abuse the server in any way.

Contacting us

To contact us, see the Contact HQ page. Information may change over the course of the Hunt; we'll update it as necessary. We will also send email, but to be sure you have the latest information, check the page.


The entire point of Hunt is to have fun. If you're not having fun, take a step back. Don't skip (too much) sleep. Have some food. Take a break, or a shower. But if you're still not having a great time, let us know; we'll see what we can do.