In Thanksgiving Town, interacting with your family and friends can be . . . complicated.

Three intrepid puzzle solvers are trying to win the Mystery Hunt. Hopefully you can help them!


Here are your team members:

  • Al Capone is on the west side of the room solving this puzzle.
  • Tartuffe is on the north side of the room solving this puzzle.
  • Cookie Monster is on the east side of the room solving this puzzle.
  • A helpful duck is standing by on the south side of the room.

Along the south wall there are seven sashes:

  • A red sash marked FRESH EYES
  • An orange sash marked DISTINGUISHED VISITOR
  • A yellow sash marked META SOLVER
  • A green sash marked ROYAL GUARD
  • A blue sash marked MISS CONGENIALITY
  • An indigo sash marked MISS CONGENIALITY 2
  • A violet sash marked MAYOR OF NORMALVILLE

You should follow the steps in numerical order, unless otherwise instructed. During each numbered step, each character takes their actions for that step simultaneously, and you should not move onto the next step until everyone has finished following all of their instructions for that step. Characters may sometimes interact with others, so if a character’s instruction says something should be happening that hasn’t happened yet, wait and see if other characters make it happen during the current step.

It’s not a bad idea to record your results after each step, rather than only tracking the current state of things. If you make a mistake, you’ll be a lot happier if you don’t have to start over from the beginning!

Al Capone
  • Step 1: You guess you’re willing to give this puzzle a try, but you hope you get to do some things that are illegal. You remember there are rules for a sudoku, but those rules don’t apply to you, right? You like to get the most you can out of every situation, so just throw a 9 in every square of the grid. Hmm. In retrospect this might not pass for a solved sudoku if the fuzz shows up. You should stick in some lower numbers, but not too low. Sneak a peek at the monster’s grid across the room, and for every square over there that contains a 6, 7, or 8 (including if it’s one digit of a two-digit number), replace the 9 in the corresponding position of your grid with that 6, 7 or 8. You’re only lowering your total haul by seventeen, which isn’t so bad. Now have that dopey bird bring you a sash the color of paper money (in modern America, of course) and put it on.
  • Step 2: The glass police have come and gone, so it’s probably safe to bump up your totals. Find each of the 6’s in your grid (there are two of them) and increase the number above each of them by nine. There should now be exactly one two-digit number in the grid; in every square that shares a row or column with that two-digit number, replace the contents with a copy of that two-digit number. Just to check that everything’s on the up and up, for each of the 3×3 boxes that doesn’t touch the top or bottom of the grid, the center square multiplied by the sum of the squares to its immediate left and right should give a very familiar number. That’s more like it. Now have the duck bring you the only untouched sash that had no indirect effect on this instruction. Because dammit, you are armed, and you are fabulous.
  • Step 3: Mystery Hunt puzzle solving is turning out not to be as lucrative as racketeering. Who woulda thought. Wait! You see the answer to this puzzle! Your impulse was to try to make the numbers as big as possible, but it’s really about subtlety. Focus on the 3×3 box in which the nine numbers have the lowest total. Color in all of the squares in that box that are tied for highest value, and then look at the uncolored squares. Their shape forms a letter, and that’s the answer! You might want to let the rest of the team know. Secrecy or not, you’re in this together.
  • Step 4: You can’t shake this feeling that somebody’s watching you from above. You’re not a particularly religious guy, so you assume it’s a G-man! You’d better start cleaning up these cooked books before you get busted for tax evasion. Maybe they’ll look at numbers in the middle row first, so make those much lower. Replace the first number in the row with a one. No, even that’s too much. Make the next number a zero. No, you want something out of this. Make the next number a one. Keep alternating like this until you’ve finished the row, and then do the exact same thing to the middle column. The last digit you write will be in a row that now sums to 68 . . . that’s too conspicuous. Rip off the rightmost three columns of the entire grid, crumple them into a ball, and throw them at the blue guy across the room. They’re his problem now.
  • Step 5: Given the paranoia you’re already feeling about potentially getting tossed in jail for life, you don’t react very calmly when you see a giant hand and bottle emerging from the ceiling. THIS IS NOT OKAY. Gotta keep covering your tracks. Find the nine 9’s in your grid that are orthogonally adjacent to 1’s, and replace all of them with 2’s so that the contrast will stand out less. After completing these adjustments, you notice the color of the bottle above; if that hand likes to grab items of that color, things are not looking good. On the nearest item of that color, cross out the first word on the label, and replace it with that word reversed. Then identify the item in the room labeled with a word almost identical to the new word, and tell the duck to deliver that item to the konundrum guy. That should get the heat off you.
  • Step 6: Each team member in the room should paint the Nth letter of the alphabet on the underside of every occupied chair except his own, where N is either the sum of the present members’ numbers or the sum of the numbers of the occupied chairs, whichever is higher, unless the common leopard is striped, in which case the lower number should be used. The team member in the highest-numbered chair should use paint from the big watering can, while any other team members should use paint from the medium watering can.
  • Step 1: You guess you’re willing to give this puzzle a try, but you hope you get to do some things that are immoral. Oh drat, a konundrum. Those are dreadfully boring, and you really don’t get anything useful until the end. Perhaps you can save yourself some time. Begin the konundrum, but rather than starting at the beginning, follow the sixth step for each character. Hopefully this will wrap things up quickly so that you can go convince a rube that you’re an ideal spiritual advisor. Hmmm, that didn’t go as planned. It’s almost as if the author expected you to do that. It appears that exactly one of the devices was toggled twice during these instructions. Tell the duck that you’ll give it lots of bread crumbs if it brings you the sash matching the color of that device. Put on the sash, and don’t give the duck any bread crumbs. Not a single one.
  • Step 2: Your meddling in the actions of others doesn’t seem to be accomplishing the desired effect . . . Things keep coming together nonetheless, and most troublingly, you’re failing to profit from the results. You decide to follow the steps of your konundrum immediately before the ones you followed last time for each character, but to ignore any word that starts with the same letter as the character’s name (keeping in mind that one character’s name includes her job title). Still shouting out numbers, are we? You write that number to the right of the letter you wrote on the table earlier, because property damage is the one sin you seem to be able to execute without interference. Maybe this would have gone better if you’d have spoken in rhyme.
  • Step 3: This mayhem isn’t even fun any more. You glance over at the glutton’s grid, note the two letters that are tied for appearing most often, and angrily scrawl those two letters (in uppercase) onto your konundrum. Then you execute the first step for all the characters in your konundrum. Then you sulk. Wait! You see the answer to this puzzle! It works how any turducken konundrum would work: Once the characters start sharing answers with each other, you take the reported sudoku answer, and then the reported konundrum answer, and then the reported crossword answer. But before sharing your answer with anyone else, you decide to reverse the order of the six letters. Muhuhuhahaha! Now you just hope some money rolls in from your time-travel side hustle.
  • Step 4: You notice that during your most recent step, the dim character wearing the red shirt wrote a number on the wall. Perhaps the instruction they want to follow. I suppose they’d like that, wouldn’t they? Instead, carry out each character’s step numbered one LESS than the number on the wall. After doing that, you notice that two of the characters shouted things totaling seven letters, and six of those letters can be rearranged to a form a generic name for a house of worship, the sort of place you claim to go every Sunday, but naturally never do. Write the seventh letter on the table in front of you. You wouldn’t want someone to come to your home and write on your tables, but you are nothing if not a hypocrite.
  • Step 5: You have little if any belief in a higher power (contrary to the character you play in your scams), and you have to admit that your disbelief is a bit shaken by the fact that a giant hand from above just handed you a bottle of something. As much as you’d like to partake, one must keep up appearances . . . And anyway, maybe you can use this as bait. As you’re thinking of a plan, the local duck brings you an unsolicited sash. You tie it around the neck of the bottle, and you lower it into the konundrum. Then, waiting until after he begins eating, you count the number of letter C’s in the monster’s crossword grid, and follow that number step for each konundrum character. Drat, the little brat got away. Whoever lowered the bottle probably wants to know what number he shouted. You shout it, but just to cause trouble, you multiply it by forty-seven first.
  • Step 6: You were hoping to catch a hostage, but your fishing line appears to have wrapped itself around some sort of technological device. You’re not sure what it does, but you intend to find out. Yank the buckle back and forth a few times, and then have each character in your konundrum follow their third step. My, those are some urgent flashing lights and alarms. Everyone seems to be shouting out in distress. You calmly turn the konundrum paper over and begin doodling on the opposite side. While waiting for their desperation (and thus your fee) to increase, ask the duck to disguise itself as a cookie and roll toward the blue monster, and see what occurs.
Cookie Monster
  • Step 1: You guess you willing to give this puzzle try, but you hope you get eat some things that are fattening. Puzzle have so many empty squares. What, they need letters? You have favorite letter of all, C! C is for . . . COOOOKIEEEE! You put C in all squares that no have numbers in them. Four squares, one triangle. That good enough for you. You now send duck to bring you stylish sash, and put sash on. Oh, that no visible, camouflaged by your fur. You send duck to bring you second sash. This not quite right, so you cross out first word and write “Googly” instead. That right now, you have those. You consider eat duck, but it seem useful at fetching things. Maybe it fetch you tasty food later.
  • Step 2: Sash you ate before was tasty, but you still so hungry. You no can help but think of . . . mmm . . . chocolate chippies . . . yum . . . ginger snaps . . . [lip smack] . . . and . . . SNICKERDOOODLLLLES!!! You need make room to stash cookie in grid. Erase all letters and numbers in 15-Across and write word SNICKERDOODLE instead (spelled calm way, not way when you very hungry with extra L’s). Oh wait, that no fit. Cut off as many letters as need from beginning of word to make fit. If number of letters removed is N (yes, of course Cookie Monster know algebra), also put Nth letter of alphabet in square marked with number N. Ooh, that second occurrence of that letter in that column! That good checksum. Also you erase letter in middle square of grid. Square ask you for reason, but reason just because.
  • Step 3: Meal from earlier starting to give you heartburn. Maybe you should have eat balled-up paper instead. Wait! You see answer to puzzle! Back at beginning you put favorite letter all over grid, but after editing only one remain . . . and right next to it, puzzle answer written in standard Mystery Hunt encoding! No, not Morse or Braille or semaphore. (Yes, Cookie Monster know all those. This not Cookie Monster’s first rodeo.) You share answer with puzzle friends, and then go to bake COOOOKIEEEE! You make note to use kosher salt. It very important to use kosher salt.
  • Step 4: How can you think when you this ravenously hungry? You stand around lost in thought until object from across room hits you in face. Is it . . . COOOOKIEEEE?!? No, is piece of paper. What you do with this? Ohhhh, you see. Uncrumple paper and stick it on your grid, using leftover cookie icing stuck to fur. Three numbers at top tell you where it should go. That a lot of nines. Maybe nine is for cookie? In only five rows where there are same number of C’s and 9’s (including 9’s that were in grid when you started, if still visible), erase all of both. Ooh, two-thirds of remaining C’s look like tasty top and bottom of Oreo, but with no cream. Fill in three squares between them with . . . you don’t know, more nines, you guess? Seem to be thing all kids doing.
  • Step 5: What that in sky? Is that COOOOKIEEEE?!? No, is just bottle. That no interest you. You no imbibe. Instead you focus on matter at hand. You wearing two very fashionable sashes right now, and you notice that on one of them, you can (and do) cross out one letter so that sash contains name of website where you recently entered search phrase “Are cookies delicious?” and then answer it gave you (as if there any doubt). In five grid columns containing letters, replace topmost letter with copy of letter you crossed out on sash. Then, since no cookies around, you eat other sash you wearing. Yum! It perfect! Not too hot, not too cold.
  • Step 6: Why there so many O’s in grid? O’s so round and tasty. They remind you of . . . COOOOKIEEEE! You take big bite out of corner of grid, biting off 4×4 square in corner that has the most O’s in it. Bah, that not taste like cookies at all. It taste more like some kind of bug. Ahh, that why! All letters but one on piece you bite off scramble up to make name of insect. For reference, write name of insect in nearest across entry to chomp mark. Then in opposite corner of grid, write extra letter. Now get duck to bring sash of color matching much larger bird you remember from home. You consider eating him before too, but he probably able to best you in combat.