lumia’s msph experience (2023)

(spoilers all over the place, of course)

i am a very logic puzzle person. however, i do enjoy hunt puzzles often, especially when the hunt has a lot of logic puzzles.

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the site went down several times in the first few puzzles, and i took that opportunity to get food. this was the day of east side festival, so there was food pretty nearby, as in downstairs from my dorm room. however, i was pretty late to getting the food so it was mostly gone.

the first puzzle i managed to look at (i.e. that loaded for me) was numerator, denominator, fascinator. i immediately regretted clicking on this one first, because it was very much not my type of puzzle.

the next puzzle i managed to look at was mission: langley heist, but when i looked at it, it was basically solved.

the third puzzle i looked at was the bad, the good, and the beautiful. i took a few minutes to get the mechanic, and then i pretty quickly threw this puzzle at my teammates since people said there was a logic puzzle to work on:

the fourth puzzle i looked at was water beds. i broke the puzzle several times since i was bad at reading, but a teammate managed to solve the puzzle, and i just read the extraction off her completed solution.

the fifth puzzle i looked at was making tracks, which i just solved completely solo.

the sixth puzzle i looked at was introduction to sprite design. that was also a lot of logic puzzles, though most of them were done by the time i got to look at it. i did one of the puzzles, then left to work on yet another logic puzzle that was opened:

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the seventh puzzle i looked at was blue moons. since it was a pdf, i solved the logic puzzle with snipping tool and pasted it into the spreadsheet. the other two parts weren't parts i feel like i could do, so i just threw that one to my teammates.

i looked at web of lies, but i didn't really contribute anything to it since i wasn't paying super well attention to how the mechanic worked.

also, the site was back up by this point, so i'm gonna stop keeping track of the number of puzzles i see, it's gonna be a lot.


i worked on the economics interlude. it was a black box, though it was fairly straightforward what it did. we solved it pretty quickly, but i don't think it was relevant to the round itself. i didn't end up working on any of the other interludes later in the hunt.


cryptocurrency was a logic puzzle. i solved the puzzle and sent it in the discord chat, but while doing so i noticed the extraction and calledd it in.

the next puzzle i looked at was mercantile exchanges. the puzzle felt quite daunting in the beginning, so i looked at it and then switched to a logic puzzle:

i went to guns and butter, and soloed it.

i then went to go look at pyramid scheme. it was a crossword, though i kept breaking it because i kept failing to notice all the words that could have fit in the blank. i eventually found a way to fill the entire grid with the c, but i didn't feel like going any further downwards, and threw this puzzle at my teammates.

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i went back to mercantile exchanges, and decided to go work on it. i did a lot of nutrimatic queries and also scrabble dictionary queries doing this puzzle, possibly more than i've done for any single puzzle beforehand. i realized that all plays had to be bingos pretty early on, but finding words and putting them in the grid was pretty hard, especially since the words usually needed one letter from the grid. i did end up figuring out the numbers all the symbols stood for, but i didn't manage to finish the puzzle before the meta got solved and me solving the puzzle was no longer needed.

i noticed that mercantile exchanges had a lot of properties in common with set off fireworks.

  • the puzzle was about scrabble.
  • the puzzle involved drawing tiles into your hand, onto the left side of your hand (from your perspective).
  • players can either discard tiles to make the turn after easier, or play tiles.
  • players take turns taking one action.
  • there is a cluephrase from the hands at the end of the game.

though there are definitely similarities, there are also definitely differences, and mercantile exchanges did not feel like anything near set off fireworks while solving.


this is one of the three rounds that i ignored entirely. audio and music puzzles are the kinds that i like the least, and i lost all my interest in music theory from burnout in high school, so i wasn't really excited for this round.


i primarily worked on three of the puzzles in this round:

for themes and counterthemes, i figured that this would be kinda like a dropquote where you took one letter from each column to make something. so i plugged into nutrimatic a query to take one letter from each column, and saw the mechanic pretty quickly. however, i took longer to find the mechanic of one row missing a letter, and when i did find that mechanic, i let a teammate take over the rest.

for writing complementary characters, i got through around 10 pairs of letters and couldn't be bothered to figure out the rest. i know i skipped mx, ln, and sp, and yo made me do the type of googling that i didn't particulaly like. i understood the yinyang and the number puzzle pretty easily, since they were types that already existed, and i saw that the left edge was cluing the puzzles' rules immediately.

i also worked on how the other half lives. i read through it a bit, and then saw the break-in once i got to the part with the dates. then i took out my ipad and started taking notes. this also took an amount of googling that i didn't like, though i guess i knew a lot of the information here because i interact with bri'ish people sometimes. i did make several mistakes though, such as misreading shortest name as longest name, and failing to realize that 15 flights of stairs took you from the first floor to the 16th floor, and not the 15th. in the end i got the extraction from the bri'ish point of view, but for the american point of view i believe i missed an instruction somewhere. after looking at the solution after the hunt ended, i believe what happened is that i thought an instruction was a prize alert that actually wasn't.

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the only puzzle in this round i worked on is telescope. it was quite the logic puzzle, and i was able to solo this, though it definitely took a while.

sometime later on saturday, i and cj went to et together. he asked me whether i saw the telescope, and i said i don't think so because i thought he was talking about something near the end of the hunt. it turns out it was this puzzle, and i just forgot that it was named the telescope.

later, when i realized that this was the telescope, i told him that i did see it and that i soloed it, and he was like "fuck the telescope". bruh why are you asking me if i saw it if you don't like the puzzle?

computer science

i skipped this round completely, possibly because i was busy doing puzzles in the other rounds when it was unlocked, and the math round unlocked right after it.


i looked at green's theorem and solved a few clues on it, though the main insight was found by someone else. i believe this is about where i went to sleep on saturday night.

i woke up to see not that many new puzzles unlocked in math, but a lot of the metas were solved overnight. i guess my team just focused on metas that night.

i immediately went to go look at lie groups, since it was a logic puzzle. i solved the logic part, though i did break it several times. i also tried extracting, but i made an arithmetic error while doing the extraction (not while doing the puzzle), so this puzzle remained unsolved for embarassingly long.

the next puzzle i worked on was regular numbers. i had to relearn a couple of the symbols that were used, such as + and -, and i didn't know previously what . meant at all. however, the main part of this puzzle was quite fun afterwards, though i did end up throwing the extraction at a teammate who was working on this puzzle with me the whole time.

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i also worked on set theory. this is one of my favorite kinds of puzzles to solve in a hunt, i really enjoy the puzzles that are split into a bunch of easy pieces. i particularly enjoyed the break-ins for some of the minipuzzles here, especially the last minipuzzle. i also found the break-in for the second minipuzzle and was very unafraid to admit which number it was to my teammates. it definitely helped that i was a bit of an outsider on the team, with a pretty different background and demographic than my teammates.

afterwards, i went to go look at fibonacci sequence, and this is the very first time i used python on a hunt puzzle. in fact, that was how i broke into the puzzle. i continued working down the parts, but then i got to the part that involved lots of anagramming. i saw the phrase in the title was anagrammed, but then got stuck for a while. then i saw that there were other things that could be anagrammed, which i promptly used. however, i didn't see that there was a third step where i needed to anagram. this is where i got stuck in the end, and i ended up moving to other puzzles.


the first puzzle in this round i worked on was the olympics. it's a meta matching, where i saw two of the five mechanics pretty quickly, and two more mechanics were pretty clear in what they wanted. i did do some amount of research for that last meta, though a teammate was able to take it off me when i stopped finding things.

i didn't work on it's all greek to me, but i looked at the sheet my teammates were working on and i've actually used this puzzle mechanic before, for a thing that mit puzzle club does every year.

now we get to classical influences on modern architecture. this was the longest logic puzzle in this hunt so far. but at this point, this was the last logic puzzle remaining, and also really the only puzzle that i was willing to do. so i worked on it.

of course, it wasn't easy. my first pass through it broke something with the colorful borders, so i restarted the puzzle completely. my second pass was much better, and i was able to get all the borders, but i still broke one of the skyscrapers. fortunately it was only one, and my teammates were able to do the extractions for me, so we almost had a word for an answer. we maybe should have called in that answer, but we decided to ask for a hint instead, which confirmed that there was only one skyscrapers that was wrong. eventually someone called in a word that was the letters we extracted except for the one from the wrong puzzle.

i did the hydra head that was a snake puzzle and the punny head, but nothing else. i heard that my teammates asked for a hint on this puzzle, and the hint said to look at how many heads were popping up after we called in the answers, which was definitely not something we would have found ourselves, since we were trying to not make too many heads.

finally, the last puzzle i did significant work on was the crommyonian sow. this was also basically the only meta i worked on in this hunt. we got the blue lines from actually having the answers, so i just guessed that we also had the pink lines and called in an answer. i also was able to use this to backsolve another puzzle in the round, so this is also basically the first backsolve i did myself. i felt myself slowly progressing on the track to hunt puzzle mastery.

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lumia’s msph experience (1)


i also skipped this round completely. it seemed like you'd have to keep a lot of pages open at once, and i didn't really feel like opening them all up when i could instead be doing a logic puzzle that only needed that one page.


so when the hunt time ended, we were still working on the last classics meta. we ended up skipping it right as the solutions came out so we could go look at the final metameta. it turns out that the final metameta was similar to the first meta where we typed stuff into a box and it would show up on a graph. i didn't really contribute that much to this, though i did notice that the graph was a bit more responsive than how it was for the first round.

i left my team's vc at around 11:45pm on sunday. as i left, i said "see you for the next hunt".
i rejoined for a few seconds about 15 minutes later because i thought of a remark that i could have made instead:
"see you for the next hunt. i heard there's one happening on june third -- oh wait"
"see you for the next hunt anyways."


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