GC SF Sp WH BV YL BT CP SA CB CC Back to puzzle

Heart of the Park

There are ten runarounds that can be completed simultaneously by splitting up into small groups.

The Grand Castle

by Todd Etter, Linda Holman and Mike Springer

The runaround starts in the lobby of Building 7, as evidenced by the King’s comment about lobbying for a 7th husband. The path travelled from Building 7 to 9 to 33 and finally to 35. Each stanza of the dialog between king and queen identified a particular place and a particular word (or words) found in that location. The king and queen wanted different extractions. The comments about finding “middle ground” was a clue to take the midpoint of their two letters.

Object/WordKing’s LetterQueen's LetterMidpoint of Queen & King

Upon completing the above steps, the final step was to locate a four word message on a nearby wall THINK PLAN BUILD CITIES, where the second word (PLAN) was extracted to be prepended to the above word (REGICIDE). Consequently, the final answer was PLAN REGICIDE. Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to recreate their favorite fictional regicide.

Storybook Forest

by Todd Etter, Linda Holman and David Tytell

As the flavortext states, this runaround “starts” at the small lending library at the corner of Main Street and Ames. Hunters quickly realize that these directions are actually presented in reverse order, so in fact Hansel and Gretel are ending at the Library, and the solvers should follow the breadcrumbs backwards to the origin of their trip.

Letter K, shifted by 2M
Fire panel signO
Course X signP
Department of Biological EngineeringE
Morse code floor tile patternT
J. T. Dorrance signI
One.MIT name initialC
Nano lab missing letterE
Micromosaics: ReinsR

Since teams were working backward, they should read the answer in the reverse order to get RECITE POEM. The final instruction clues the hunters to a nearby sign where they needed to find the fifth word of the second sentence of the largest paragraph (BYZANTINE). Manipulating appropriately gives the word ZANY, so the final answer is RECITE ZANY POEM. Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to recite the first two verses of Jabberwocky complete with interpretation.


by Benjamin L de Bivort and Mike Springer

As could be discerned from the provided photo, teams were to start this runaround on the third floor of Building 7, near room 7-302. The entire length of this hallway contains small hemispherical models of the planets mounted to the wall; these are referred to as “Control Spheres” in the runaround. Beneath each sphere is an image of a red sun (at the same scale as icons of each planet) which serve as “Emergency Reset Button”. The runaround consists of various visits to each of these planets, with the extra “twist” that issues with the gravity drive cause the hunter to float and rotate at times so that “up” is not always toward the ceiling of the building. Keeping careful track of the changing orientation helps to properly interpret the letters seen from the location of each of the ERBs.

Visiting SequencePlanetLetter Extracted

Reordering these in the order of the planets’ proximity to the sun gives the phrase MOONWALK. Following the instructions in the final paragraph leads solvers to a plaque seen through a glass wall. Extracting the second and third words from the last line of the third paragraph gives DEPICT THE, so the final answer is DEPICT THE MOONWALK. Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to moonwalk from one end of the room to the other.

Wizard's Hollow

by Todd Etter and Linda Holman

The first step is to realize that the entire runaround takes place on a statue called “The Alchemist” found on the MIT campus. Follow one continuous path from one symbol to the next, taking the letter (or a letter that looks the most like the math symbol) where instructed.

start at delta on left shoulderblade of The Alchemist  
E to the CThis is your 5thC
SE to the 1  
E to the PHIRemove circle, this is your 4thI
NE to the 8  
N to the BRACKET  
E to the MThis is your 1stM
NE to the TRIDENT  
E to the BETA  
S to the AThis is your 2ndA
E to the LOOP INTEGRAL (long line with circle)  
SW to the 2  
SW to the Z  
S to the TThis is your 6thT
SE to the 2  
SE to the #  
NE to the BRACKET  
E to the M  
SE to the F  
S to the ROOT  
N to the farthest right EThis is your 9thE
NE to the PI  
NE to the (division bar)  
SE to the TRIDENTRemove center line, this is your 7thU
S to the 9  
NE to the NThis is your 8thN
N to the GThis is your 3rdG

The final solution is MAGIC TUNE. Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to sing a song listing Harry Potter characters to the tune of Modern Major General.


by Todd Etter, Linda Holman and Mike Springer
Answer: HOOP IT UP

The provided picture shows a barely discernible du Pont Court, which implies that the gold star is in the halls of Building 1 close to the intersection of Building 3. A little hunting finds the following posters on the wall of one of the floors depicting timelines of impactful milestones for a variety of MIT course tracks, as seen in the photo below.

Looking at the text, solvers should be able to match various snippets with milestones of a particular year. Each paragraph indicated two separate years within the same course. Transporting from one paragraph to the next was equivalent to transporting from a milestone to another milestone with an identical year in a different course. From there, two new milestones were found. This process continued until the end. The text near the end of the puzzle indicated you “could just shift your times forward based on each of the courses you took? You might need to wrap sometimes. Oh, and don’t forget to put things in order, of course!” This implied that you should add the course number to the duration of time between the two years found, and take that result modulo 26 to get a letter. This should be read in course order for the final message. The data looked essentially like the following:

Teleport YearFirst Milestone YearSecond Milestone YearCourse(Second-First+Course) mod 26)Letter

Ordering by Course number gives the answer HOOP IT UP. Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to twirl a hula hoop for 30 seconds.

Big Top Carnival

by Todd Etter and Linda Holman

Teams started in the Stata parking garage, and followed the described path for the tiny clown car, which can easily drive up stairs and through doorways! At each “clown’s house” location, one particular clown name made the most sense. Using the number indicated by the large X, teams indexed into the clown’s name to get one letter per location. At the end of the journey, teams also found one item and took the full word, giving the final answer phrase ELEPHANT IMPRESSION.

locationwhole numberindex numberclown nameletter
P1 Elevator Service Room32-00575MR.OTISI
MIT Hacks Fire Hydrant(1971-1980)1MR.DOUSEFIREM
Police Car253-12122SPEEDYP
Escher Sketch19888SKETCHERR
Professor Wolfgang Kettrle lab, Atomic Quantum Gasses Group20166GASSIEE
Sherman Fairchild bust19733MESSYFACES
A Batteryless Thermoelectric Energy-Harvesting Interface Circuitm0.35um5CHIPSYS
EG&G Education Center34-201-A2MISS EGGI
Lab with wires on spools36-2582COILYO
Display Case with 3d-printed Models30P Photonic Crystal Models (2008)8PHILAMENTAN
Display Case with Models of animal skulls   ELEPHANT

Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to do an impression of an elephant.

Creative Picture Studios

by Todd Etter, Linda Holman and Benjamin L de Bivort

For this runaround, teams had to translate emoji into walking directions, mainly using landmarks or things they saw while walking. Each section gave a location and targeted a single letter from a word found at that location. The final section pointed teams to a sign where they took five letters, yielding a final word to add to their solution phrase.

As an example, the first section translates to:
Walk to building 14S-100
Write SCIENCE (second letter)
This instruction gives the first letter of the solution: C

Note that about three or four days before Hunt, construction began at the library by the start of the runaround. This made it a little more difficult, but not impossible, to find the first sign. Hence the late addition of caution and construction emojis for the first location.

Target wordIndexLetter
ICOSAHEDRON (clued by its vertex figure 3^5)1I

The final solution is CHAPLIN DANCE. Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to perform a version of Charlie Chaplin’s dinner roll dance.

Safari Adventure

by Linda Holman and Benjamin L de Bivort

After determining the location of this painting in building 2 (on the ground floor, at the farthest end of the hallway), teams are led on a “walking tour” of the safari sights, starting with a view through the window across the river. This is analogized as a view of a Mountain Range. At each view point, an animal or natural sight is named, and can be associated with a conspicuous object in that view, such as a sculpture or element of the building. No data needs to be collected at these points. Eventually, the trail leads up a high stairwell (the Safari Sky Tower) to a final view, and the reveal that a poster has been planted on site (below). Now teams may realize that all the natural sites were also the names of yoga poses (Mountain, Tree, Eagle, Cobra etc.). And that those names match the poses in the poster shown below:

PoseQuantity (Index)Letter

Indexing into each pose name by the number of pose images gives the answer POSE YOGA. Also thematic is that the top of the stairwell is very warm, and a suitable spot for hot yoga. Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to perform three animal-named yoga poses.

Cascade Bay

by Benjamin L de Bivort

Teams start at the Departmental display case in the photo, which is across from 5-314. From there, they follow through pipes and flows as if they were a bit of water, stopping at various points to collect words from signage along the way. The words collected are numbered and correspond to the numbered blanks:

1) Ship nameESSO
2) Ship name part 2YORKSHIRE
3) Bathroom signOF
4) Bathroom sign part 2ALL
5) Bathroom sign part 3USERS
6) Green water pipe signCHILL
7) Green water pipe sign part 2WTR
8) Green water pipe sign part 3RTN
9) Sign on doorAUTONOMOUS
10) Museum sign aboveNAUTICAL
11) Museum sign above part 2MUSEUM
12) Small No. 1 ship typeBARGE
13) Small No. 1 ship makerGARGEAU

These words are then flowed into the grid at the bottom of the page according to the text rules and flow chart, resulting in the following:

The letters eventually fill the grid and the answer SURFGARGLE is read out from the numbered positions. Faint, dashed letters in the grid provide confirmation of the flow mechanics along the way. Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to gargle a Beach Boys song.

Cactus Canyon

by Todd Etter and James E Griffith

Teams find their way to a plaster frieze near 7-434. From there, the cowboy narrative brings them to a particular hallway location where they have a duel with a member of the Crimson Gang. Their opponent calls out a number of items, and then “Turn around and draw!” at which point teams turn around and find those items on the opposing wall. Tracing the items in the order they were listed makes a letter.

Gang MemberLetter
Abe CrimsonY
Becca CrimsonO
Charlie CrimsonK
Darlene CrimsonE
Edward CrimsonL
Charlie CrimsonD

Over a series of duels with various gang members, they trace out and collect the letters YOKEL. The duel for the letter K was not lethal, and Charlie Crimson escapes. In a final duel, the teams face Charlie again and are mortally wounded, extracting a D that replaces the original K. As they lie in the “ground” preparing to meet their maker, they are clued to extract the word “EPIC” from a placard, leading to the final answer: EPIC YODEL. Entering this into the answer checker informed teams that they needed to perform an enthusiastic western yodel.