Wrap-up

The Fall 2020 competition has ended, and you are currently playing in stealth mode. Your are given all the hint credits you need, and your solves will no longer impact the leaderboard. Solutions can be found on the top left of each puzzle. Have fun!

If you enjoy puzzles, science or engineering may be the field for you. Scientific research and engineering is a continuous series of solving puzzles. It is also a continuous process of learning new things, whether you discover them or study the work of others.

— Nancy Roman


Thank you all for participating in our November Puzzle Hunt, and congratulations to our winners: mad🍉, who finished the first half of the hunt before 57 other middle school teams AND is a repeat winner; Ubiquitous Blanket, who finished first out of 123 other high school teams; and grEAT Minds! We’d like to shout out mad🍉 in particular for continuing on into the optional high school section and solving every puzzle we wrote. You can see full standings on our final leaderboards: MS/HS/Open, and you can find the solutions and authors' notes of each puzzle on the top left of their pages.

We had over 580 participants on over 250 teams!

Coming into this hunt, we were worried this hint would be too difficult and that some teams would be unable to solve them and give up. We were overjoyed to see that wasn’t the case. Almost 75% of registered teams solved at least one puzzle, and most teams solved many more than that! We are amazed with your dedication, perseverance, and teamwork in tackling these difficult puzzles.

We're looking for one or two new team members to join our puzzle writing team/family! If you think you have the experience and interest to help write our next puzzle hunt, please consider applying at this link anytime before December 12th.

The rest of the wrap-up will have spoilers on the hunt’s story and metapuzzle answers.

Story Overview

Each competitor was invited to the inteGIRLS Science Convention, where different scientists came and gave different tasks to the attendees. As it turned out, the convention was really a way for Disney PRINCESSes to make sure the attendees were up to the task of defeating each princess’s Villain! After the competitors took on the villains individually, they cornered the villains in a buffer zone. To defeat them, the princesses took a quick trip to BUZZFEED to find a LIVE REACTION, and Naomi Scott and Liu Yifei mixed two chemicals and trapped the villains forever.

Stats

We generated a histogram of all active teams’ (score > 0, meaning that they solved the Welcome puzzle) scores by division, and this is what we got, with the lines being the median score of each division.

  • Middle School: Mean 7.082, Median 7, Standard Deviation 6.439;
  • High School: Mean 14.475, Median 11, Standard Deviation 9.974;
  • Open/Public: Mean 18.078, Median 18, Standard Deviation 9.974.

Score Distribution by Teams

After the hunt, we asked people to rate how much they liked the puzzles on a scale of 1-10. Here is the ranking they produced:

We also asked teams to rate the puzzles by difficulty. Here’s that chart, with the number of times each puzzle was solved next to it:

PuzzleSolvesDifficulty Rating
The Inorganic Chemist1673.91
The Astronomer1584.13
The Marine Biologist1514.03
The Geneticist1464.75
The Physicist1394.55
The Science Convention1294.80
The Computer Scientist1265.10
The Neuroscientist1234.57
The Aerospace Engineer1215.26
King Candy855.29
Maleficent696.05
Te Ka676.37
Shan Yu646.11
Dr. Facilier616.22
Ursula596.20
Evil Queen576.10
Jafar516.59
The Villains446.17

And we wanted to share some of our favorite wrong answers from the hunt:

AnswerPuzzleTeamComments
MAGGIEYAOThe VillainsUbiquitous BlanketMaggie drew the art that appeared throughout much of the puzzle hunt and deserves the credit she got on the Buzzfeed images.
TREEINBANANA or TRUEINBANANAThe Computer Scientistmultiple teamsSo close, yet so far away…
GALAXYFLASHPIGThe Aerospace EngineerPECH Sisters
BEEFUZZ / BEEDFUZZThe VilliansBean Squad 2.0Ahere Tlmost...
ZEROONEONEZEROZEROONEONEZEROZEROONEONEZEROZEROZEROZEROONEZEROONEONEONEZEROONEZEROZEROZEROONEONEZEROONEZEROONEThe Computer ScientistLet’s Get CracklingWe’ll leave it to the reader to figure out why this answer was submitted.
WHYMUSTYOUBELIKETHIS / THERESANOTHERPUZZLE / GUYSYOUHAVETOUNDERTSANDThe VillainsyuzuThis speaks for itself
JOJOEVERYWHEREYOULOOKTHERESMOREJOJO / GOOGLEANYTHINGWITHTHEWORDJOJOINITANDTHERESANENTRY / … / ICANTEVENSAYOHMYGODABOUTITBECAUSEINSPANISHTHATSDIOSMIOANDDIOISAJOJOREFERENCEJafar;)I guess the Jojo references are inescapable
DEATHBYSTEREOJafarIR SpectrumMost people enjoyed our soundtrack :)

We also calculated the number of times each number is being explicitly spelled out as an incorrect attempt (i.e. excluding all that spelled out a number and correctly solved a puzzle). The highest number that someone has ever guessed was onethousandandone, with the smallest unguessed number at 31.

Numbers Spelled Out

We also wanted to know the relationship between the number of incorrect solutions that teams submitted vs. their scores:

Score vs. Attempts

And… the number of attempts submitted every 90 minutes…

Attempts vs. Time

Squad?

We’ve got quite a few teams with “Squad” in their display names. But does having “Squad” in your team name actually help you? To find out, we calculated the average score of all “Squad” teams and other active teams. The results are astonishing — according to our data, having the word “Squad” in your team name can likely result in your team scoring two times more points than other teams (20.83 for squad teams vs. 10.63 for other active teams).

Hunts We Inspired

After our May hunt, we were so excited to see that some of our competitors were inspired to write their own puzzles. We wanted to shout out the writers of BN Hunt, Mirroux, Co-puzzle Hunt, and Hunt20, who were inspired by our May hunt to write their own puzzles. If people enjoy solving puzzles, we highly recommend writing some — it’s a fun creative exercise, helps teach puzzle-solving skills, and there’s nothing like watching other people solve your puzzles. If you write puzzles and want to share them, send them over to [email protected], and we’d be happy to solve them and give feedback.

Where can I do more puzzles?

If you enjoyed these puzzles and want a similar experience, we recommend checking out DP Hunt or Colby’s Curious Cookoff. Both hunts are designed for people who are new to puzzle solving but are fun regardless of how much experience you have.

If you are looking for slightly more difficult puzzles, we solved Puzzle Potluck 3 in June and really enjoyed it. It informed a lot of the way that we structured this puzzle hunt and we would recommend it if you’re looking for a still-manageable puzzle hunt that has a lot of the really cool types of puzzle mechanics that exist in slightly harder puzzles. We also enjoyed the other two Puzzle Potlucks, although they weren’t as awesome as Puzzle Potluck 3.

Past that, puzzle hunts get quite a bit more difficult. We’d recommend looking at this list of past puzzle hunts or the MIT Mystery Hunt archive (we’d recommend MIT 2019 to start MIT hunts). The list of all previous MIT puzzles is at http://devjoe.appspot.com/huntindex/index/index.html.

Finally, the Puzzle Hunt Calendar has information about upcoming puzzle hunts.

Want to read more? Mingjie, our Director of Tech Operations, wrote a piece on Infinity which goes into more detail on the technical details of the website hosting the hunt. And oh, you know what, you haven't found the meta-meta-puzzle yet, now would be a good time! Start by entering the JavaScript console under "Inspect Element" on the homepage. Good luck!

Tech Write-up

One last thank you to everyone for participating! All the teams did so well! We had so much fun writing this hunt all summer, and we hope you enjoyed it! Happy puzzling and see you next year!

♥————Puzzle Team————♥

  • Adam (Belle)
  • Joy (Tinker Belle)
  • Julie (Ariel)
  • Laura (Mushu)
  • Maggie (Snow White)
  • Matthew (Duke of Weselton)
  • Mingjie (Vanellope)
  • Shrikar (Lago)
  • Vishal (Heihei)
  • Zain (Pascal)

and finally...

Memes!!

Made by our participants over at the inteGIRLS Forum »

paw paw

Te Ka

the test isn’t that hard

what i have

cool colors

maslow’s triangle

facilier hints

shan yu extraction

ouladarc

free hint

cranial nerves

1114

true in banana

dating app for princesses

arrow?

yannie

yes/no session

order of the rainbow