Hat tip to Chris Dickson for already pointing out an upcoming puzzlehunt I didn’t know existed!
The first ever Cambridge Puzzle Hunt is being held next week, starting Monday at noon GMT (that’s Monday 7am ET, and probably other times in other places). It’s Australian-style, with five four-puzzle days. Team size is limited to five (though there’s also a division for solo solvers, which I might enter given the short notice), ties are broken by time of last submission, and prizes are limited to teams with at least one Cambridge student. (That’s Cambridge in England, not the one a lot of us descended on this past weekend.)
Now is as good a time as any to explain what I mean by an “Australian-style” puzzlehunt; this format originated with the MUMS Puzzle Hunt run by the Melbourne University Maths Society, and then similar rules were used for the SUMS Puzzle Hunt (replace Melbourne with Sydney) and the CISRA Puzzle Hunt, the creators of which have gone on to create the mezzacotta hunt. (All three of these are linked in the sidebar.) In each of these hunts, there is a series of rounds of puzzles released on subsequent days. If you solve a puzzle in its first 24 hours, you get full credit; after that, a hint is released and the puzzle is worth one point less. There are usually three hints for each puzzle, and teams are ranked by score, with ties broken either by average solve time, or more frequently last solve time… The latter means that if all the puzzles are fairly solvable, the final day is the only one where speed matters.
I used to solve the Australian hunts with The Sons of Tamarkin, a team I founded at Brown University, but now I often play with Killer Chicken Bones (which usually consists of some subset of Brent Holman/Rich Bragg/Kenny Young/John Owens/Todd Etter/Ian Tullis).
The most recent of these was SUMS 2016, which happened in late December (just barely avoiding being SUMS 2017), which was… um… quite difficult. After Mystery Hunt posting is out of the way, and perhaps after my beginning-of-semester rush, I plan to post a SUMS recap (and maybe also talk about the November P&A).
If anybody’s reading this and is looking for a CPH team, feel free to post below… If the winning team is formed in the Puzzlvaria comment section, I will graciously accept part of the credit.