Solution to Cafe Five

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by Nathan Pinsker, Josh Alman

In this puzzle, you just follow the instructions and answer the questions. The questions themselves range from very easy ("What is 3 + 4?") to complex logic puzzles.

With 25 minutes remaining, a special event occurs — L. Rafael Reif approaches the cafe for some lunch! Reif's puzzle is a huge double logic puzzle, requires two comps to dismiss, and has a 21-minute time limit.

Puzzles are bucketed into four difficulty levels: "easy", "medium", "hard", and "boss", and puzzles within each level are treated identically. Customers come in at a rate dependent on the amount of time left on the clock. This rate is gently accelerated as teams got closer to winning.

Once the clock runs out, you gets a token which can be used to get the answer to any one Cafe Five puzzle in the Infinite Corridor. You'll have to play again to get more tokens!

Some tips:

  • If you're overwhelmed with puzzles, pull a team member or two in to help.
  • Decide whether or not to comp a puzzle as early as possible, so you don't waste time on it.
  • For Wheel-of-Fortunes: Use OneLook! It can often give you a great set of candidate answers which is quick to scan through.
  • For logic puzzles: Use a solver! All the logic puzzles are "standard" enough that there are solvers online to handle them. Here's a good one.
  • For trivia & crossword clues: Make copious use of Google! It can often immediately tell you the answer to these.

Here is a link to download the individual puzzles and their answers.

Authors’ Notes

This puzzle was originally submitted to the 2019 Galactic Puzzle Hunt. We decided to cut it since it was too similar to Race for the Galaxy, another randomly-generated puzzle gauntlet. Luckily, the Infinite Corridor round format turned out to be a perfect fit for this puzzle!

The puzzle was inspired by McDroid's, a similar puzzle from an online programming contest. The concept remains exactly the same, but turned out to be tricky to execute without it becoming tedious or irritating. We went through a lot of design iterations, but we're happy with where it ended up.

While we were writing Mystery Hunt, one of the authors of this puzzle (Nathan) recycled this idea again and made Normal Diner for a game jam. It's plagiarism all the way down :^)

We ended up with 373 "easy" questions, 140 "medium" questions, 28 "hard" questions, and 5 "boss" questions, for a total of 546 questions. An incredibly large THANK YOU to the members of our team who fact-checked and contributed questions to this puzzle!!