2010 Mystery Hunt: Final Runaround

When the solving team arrives at 34-301, Emit is there.

Making the Time Jump Detector

"Here, everyone go inside." Emit joins them, along with an assistant.

"Give me all your items. This shouldn't take long at all." Emit verifies all the items, then goes through the door to the connecting room, closes the door, and Emit and other Beginner's Luck members in that room make humorous banging noises. He comes back out with a stopwatch, 2 copies of a map, and the settings sheet. "Perfect! Okay, we're about ready to head out and make things right."

"Listen carefully. As near as I can tell, the time jump detector has two major components. This numismatichronometer (NOO miz MAT ik kro NOM i ter)", Emit gestures to the stopwatch, "will tell me when the coin is. This spacetime map tells us where the coin manifested that year." Emit hands them one copy of the map.

The Spacetime Map

"The coin jumps about once every two minutes, unless you try to visit the location associated with its current year, in which case it jumps immediately. I'm not sure yet why the coin jumps to where it does when it does, but hey, I've got a whole bunch of puzzle solvers on my side, right?"

"I've modified the History Ray to repair any damage caused to a given year, and we can activate it remotely. It's a bit fiddly, though - there are a bunch of settings, and I'll need your help working out which setting to use when the time comes."

"However, we can also only repair the most recent altered year - right now, that's 2010. If we can find a way to force the coin to 2010 and work out how to set up the time ray, we can fix 2010 and move on to 2009."

"Are you ready to go? Right now the coin looks like it's in 1952." Emit starts the stopwatch (which is set to a 2-minute countdown timer), and the final runaround begins.

The Final Runaround

Unlike most runarounds, in this runaround the team was free to go anywhere they wanted and there was no one correct path to follow. However, they only have one numismatichronometer, carried by Emit, so they cannot split up and try to box in the coin that way; only the group with Emit affects the course of the coin, and only this group is receiving updates from Emit about the movements of the coin. (We didn't have two teams out simultaneously, but if we did, they would be following separate coins and not affecting one another, with some crazy ad-libbing by the two Emits if they happened to meet each other.)

The reaction of the group at the beginning is probably to try to run to where the coin is now, and in doing so they will find that it keeps jumping before they get there (and even if they "catch" it, it is set to jump when they reach it). Emit will call out the years it has moved to each time it jumps. They will find that it jumps across all the locations on the first row of the map, looping back around to 1952 and repeating. However, if they are in one of these locations when it attempts to jump there, it will turn right and start moving down the map.

If they happen to turn the coin for the first time by standing in the Wind Tunnel, it will go directly to 2010. If they turn it somewhere else, they may have to experiment for a little while. In either case, teams will soon figure out that the coin always turns right when the team is in the coin's path. Since each year they have to direct the coin through is in a different row and column than the last, they will need to turn the coin at least once for each year, perhaps more times if they mess up or if the location they need to be in to make the single turn is inconvenient (the Kendall T station, for instance).

Also, each time the coin reaches the latest unfixed year, the "settings" Emit mentioned at the start of the runaround turn out to be answer checks. This Hunt featured the first ever democratically determined answer checks; in the years corresponding to rounds other than 2010, teams had to come up with 2 of 3 answers for the 3 least-solved puzzles in the round solved by at least one team at the time the first team came to headquarters with their items, based on clues which had been written in advance for every answer. These answer checks were:

History Ray Settings

When teams pass an answer check, Emit announces that history for that year is fixed. When they pass the answer check for 1710, Emit tells them history has been fixed and the coin has stopped jumping. The team then realizes that the coin stopped in 1710 instead of in the present. "But maybe it survived unnoticed there and we can still find it there now!"

1710 corresponds to Ashdown's south gate on the map, which teams may have already visited. There was a small trick here which should not have been difficult for teams with any MIT knowledge: Ashdown is currently in a building where it has only been since 2008, and the original building, W1, is under construction. Naturally, if the coin was at Ashdown in 1710, it would be at the old location. In our timeline, Ashdown did not open until 1933, but then MIT did not open until 1861 and did not move to its current location until 1916. In the modified timeline of this Hunt, MIT opened at its Cambridge site in 1710, and the only reasonable assumption the team can make is that Ashdown opened then at its original site. Teams may well have considered this during the runaround if they ever wanted to visit this location to turn the coin.

The coin was hidden partly under the soil just outside the gate on the south side of the construction fence around W1, where it was found by Metaphysical Plant at 5:50 AM Sunday, January 17. (A Beginner's Luck team member was hiding in this area to bury/unbury the coin as needed so that it would not be hidden here if a team visited the location while the coin was supposed to be somewhere else.)

Additional coins which had not been buried were presented to the winners. The coin is 1.75 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.

Click to enlarge