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Public Access



by Ben Smith, Jacob Ford, Jen McTeague, Justin Ladia and Steve Kaltenbaugh
Art by Justin Ladia

Solvers are presented with a version of the pre-hunt promotional poster that says “THIS IS NOW A PUZZLE” on it. Messing around with the page reveals that the image is actually in seven sections, and looking at the alt text reveals that each section has an extra word unrelated to the picture. Taking these extra words in reading order gives the message GO CHECK REGISTRATION SITE FOR THE CHANGES.

If you are logged in, the registration site looks a little different. The rotating text at the top has changed to “NOW A PUZZLE”, and the question “Is anything on this page a puzzle?” has changed to be a series of clues with enumerations. Each of these clues can be answered with a one letter change to THIS IS NOW A PUZZLE, and the changed word is indicated by the asterisk in the enumeration. The added letters spell EXIF DATA

ClueAnswerExtracted Letter
Please don't solve my masters' project. 6* 3 1 6TH(E)SIS NOT A PUZZLEE
A feeder about the Roman Goddess of Night 4 2 3*, 1 6THIS IS NO(X), A PUZZLEX
A feeder about a type of bug. 4 2 3*, 1 6THIS IS N(I)T, A PUZZLEI
... then what is it? 4, 2* 3 1 6THIS, I(F) NOT A PUZZLEF
A feeder about a Valve game. 4 2 4* 6THIS IS (D)OTA PUZZLED
... is instead a red herring. 4, 2* 3 1 6THIS, (A)S NOT A PUZZLEA
Make a feeder into a baby! 4 2 "3* 1 6"THIS IS “(T)OT A PUZZLE”T
A feeder about the Turner who led a rebellion. 4 2 3*, 1 6THIS IS N(A)T, A PUZZLEA

EXIF data is information stored in pictures to note location, camera, and the like. If you view the EXIF data for each section of the poster, in the comment section there is one word. Combining them together in order, it gives the message “Did you know EXIF data includes thumbnails?”

Looking at the thumbnails is a bit harder, but there are sites like dcode that can extract them. When solvers do that, they are provided with thumbnails that are significantly different than the pictures, and in fact form a jigsaw puzzle of the original poster. The breaks between the jigsaw pieces, when arranged, spell KLINGER.

Jigsaw Pieces

Completed Jigsaw

Authors' Note

When we posted Justin's wonderful poster on social media, there were many folks who wanted to solve the poster, despite the giant "THIS IS NOT A PUZZLE" on it. There was exactly one answer remaining unclaimed at the time, and so a group of us gathered together in a channel and went "How can we make this into a puzzle?" Hopefully this was a funny, short puzzle in a round with a lot of long puzzles.

From Jacob:

I designed the registration site but was feeling down about not getting around to making my first Hunt puzzle. Then Ben, Jen, Justin, and Steve spun this adventure out of my little dichromatic Swiss-whatever-style webpage. My team is the best.

If you noticed my +.036em adjustment to letter-spacing on the spinning pill SVG after NOT changed to NOW in order to keep the phrases evenly divisible into perimeter (at least on most SVG renderers), I love you.