2016 Puzzle Competition Rules
Teams of 1-4 people may compete. It is recommended to have a
diverse team in order to have a variety of perspectives and experience
levels examining the puzzles.
This year is different than other years – no devices, Internet access, or
outside resources are allowed!! All the puzzles have been deliberately
picked to avoid needing Internet access, and the puzzles can be found
online, so we will not be allowing devices.
Some useful items include: paper, pen/pencil, scissors, graph paper,
caffeine, and a functioning brain.
The puzzle competition will consist of 5 puzzles, which range in
difficulty. The solution to each puzzle is an English word. There is one
exception – one puzzle has a French phrase as the answer. Since we
aren’t allowing Internet access, and knowing French is not a
requirement, that puzzle will stop there.
The competition will last 2 hours. At 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and 90
minutes into the competition a hint for each puzzle will be released.
The team that solves the most puzzles will win. If there is a tie between
two or more teams, the team that solved the puzzles in the least amount
of time wins.
To submit an answer, write your team name, the question name, and
your answer on a sheet of paper and give it to the judges. We will record
the submission time and inform you if the answer is correct.
There is no penalty for incorrect submissions, within reason.
Any questions that teams have during the competition may be submitted
on a sheet of paper, and all answered questions will be announced to all
The grand prize for the winning team will be a $25 Amazon gift card and
a Google Cardboard kit for each of the team members.
Solving the Puzzles
There are three distinct parts to each puzzle:
- The puzzle title. This is never a necessary part of the puzzle, but
may help give you direction
- The story text. This is not part of the puzzle itself and can be
ignored, but strange word choices may become more apparent after
solving the puzzle.
- The puzzle itself. This is a graphically distinct section of the page,
below the story text, containing all the essential elements of the
puzzle. EVERY PUZZLE CAN BE SOLVED WITH THIS
INFORMATION ALONE, without the title or story.