OLD HICKORY

Upon reading the flavortext and looking at the context of each of the cards, we see that the theme of the puzzle is "rejected" puzzles. We recall the slide from kickoff:

Each subpuzzle solves to a number. We can associate each of the subpuzzles to one of the bullet points on the slide such that each of the bullet points is associated to at most one of the subpuzzles:

Bullet Point | Subpuzzle |
---|---|

Too difficult | List of Primes (the problem is unsolved) |

Reference too obscure | MIT's Weekly Math Seminars |

References to places which don't exist | Wow! |

Logic requires 6+ bifurcations | Sudoku |

Too much anime | Sussy Baka |

Puzzle unsolvable unless all clues are solved | Hash Browns |

We use the answer to each subpuzzle to index into the bullet point.

Bullet Point | Subpuzzle | Answer | Indexed Letter |
---|---|---|---|

Too difficult | List of Primes (the problem is unsolved) | 4 | D |

Reference too obscure | MIT's Weekly Math Seminars | 2 | E |

References to places which don't exist | Wow! | 7 | N |

Logic requires 6+ bifurcations | Sudoku | 14 | B |

Too much anime | Sussy Baka | 8 | A |

Puzzle unsolvable unless all clues are solved | Hash Browns | 8 | N |

We notice that one bullet point has not been used, "Unclued Anagrams". We anagram the letters to get the cluephrase BANNED.

Upon submitting BANNED, we get the following prompt:

Great job! To get the final answer to this puzzle, please create and submit a puzzle that would have been BANNED by teammate to banned@mitmh2023.com.

After sending a puzzle, we receive the final answer **OLD HICKORY**.

We notice that each of the clues can be solved to a word that means brown, with the enumeration helping to determine the final answer:

Clue | Word |
---|---|

Something roasted over an open fire | Chestnut |

Cash crop used to make clue 5 | Cocoa |

Borough that's also a cocktail | Manhattan |

Long-ranged golf club | Wood |

Dessert made from clue 2 | Chocolate |

As clued by the title and flavortext, we'll want to hash the concatenation of these synonyms of brown; we use SHA3-256 to hash the lowercase string "chestnutcocoamanhattanwoodchocolate". Hashing this string gives "4ec377162cb15486c9bc91d363dc2f8d6c3fa4297c9da6daf04fd11fbef00008". Following the flavortext, we look at the end of this string, giving the answer **8**.

As clued by the flavortext, we seek to find a mathematician's problem related to the prompt. With a bit of searching, we find that this is exactly the fourth of Landau’s list of four currently-unsolved prime-related problems, giving us an answer of **4**.

We are directed by the flavortext and title of the puzzle to go to Building 2 to find a board with a list of all of the Math Seminars for MIT with the poster in the picture. The board can be opposite of 2-265, but the poster (on the weekend of Mystery Hunt) can be found in many places in Building 2.

We notice that the erased portions of the poster correspond to the stations Two-sample Testing, Wasserstein Barycenters, and Otto Calculus. Their first letters spell out the number **2**.

As hinted by the flavortext, we are interested in the number of solutions to the 4x4 sudokus, which we should then add together. There are 7 such solutions for each, for a total of **14**.

Hinted by the flavortext, we mark all the characters that are not from anime. We can use image search to find each character and use MyAnimeList to confirm anime status:

We notice that the non-anime entries, shaded above, form the shape of the number **8** on the grid.

We are given multiple descriptions in conjunction with real places. Perhaps hinted by WoW, World of Warcraft, which is set in the fictional Earth-like world of Azeroth, or by the flavortext that much of this subpuzzle is made up, we look to find fictional worlds that are inspired by the given real places. Moreover, each hint corresponds to a number, which we can use along with the fictional place name to extract letters.

Line | Media/Reference | Corresponding Fictional Place | Number | Extraction Letter |
---|---|---|---|---|

Wow! I didn't know that the main train is blue on the Isle of Man! | Thomas the Tank Engine | Sodor | 1, Thomas’ number | S |

Wow, I didn't know that there's a whole district dedicated to fishing in the United States! | Hunger Games | Panem | 4, the fishing district | E |

Wow, I didn't know that there are electrically-lit gymnasiums in the Tristate Area! | Pokemon Black & White | Unova | 4, the electric gym’s number | V |

Wow! I didn't know that all talking snowmen like warm hugs and have the same number of buttons in Norway! | Frozen | Arendelle | 3, the number of buttons that Olaf has | E |

Wow, I didn't know that a mushroom lost blue coins on a volcano in Amalfi Bay! | Super Mario Sunshine | Isle Delfino | 10, the number of coins on Corona Mountain | N |

This gives a final answer of **7**.