Upcoming: Live and Online Puzzlehunts in September and October

We interrupt your much-delayed breakdown of Bar Exam for a quick rundown of a half-dozen puzzle events coming at you in the next two months. Well, three of them are coming at you wherever you might live; the other three are local, so at most one of them is physically coming at you, unless you live in three places at once, in which case I’m both happy and sad for you.

Hat tip to Dan Egnor’s puzzlehuntcalendar.com, which lists most of these events plus others, and is an excellent resource to keep tabs on upcoming puzzlehunts.

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Live Hunts:

The Microsoft PuzzleHunt, probably the event most similar to the MIT Mystery Hunt, goes down September 16 and 17 on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington. Unlike the Mystery Hunt, MSPH has strict rules on team size and Microsoft affiliation, so unfortunately you can’t just cobble together a team and show up, even if you live near Seattle. On the other hand, if you’re local and you know folks who work at MS, it may or may not be too late to guilt them into inviting you.

If you live in the Boston area (as all the cool kids do), BAPHL 16 will be happening on Sunday, October 8 somewhere in that vicinity. Nathan Curtis is organizing and crowdsourcing the puzzles, and registration opens soon for teams of up to six.

The day before that is DCPHR 2, the result of southern gravity dragging the BAPHL format down to Washington DC. The website is short on details about the upcoming edition, but it does include the archived puzzles from last year’s event; I haven’t solved them yet, but they look fun, and month from now the Halloween theme will feel timely again.

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Online Hunts:

One of my favorite online events of the year is Mark Halpin’s Labor Day Extravaganza, which is usually themed on a piece of classical literature or mythology (the very first one was actually related to Labor Day, exploring the Labors of Hercules). This year’s drops the Saturday before Labor Day, September 2. Mark’s puzzles are very tightly constructed and often very difficult; the size of the Labor Day hunt is usually comparable to an issue of P&A, but I still consider it one of the hardest puzzlehunts of the year. It’ll be even harder for me this year because I have to leave for a soccer game four or five hours in… consider this an invitation to win in my place.

(I forgot to add Mark’s Labor Day puzzles to the sidebar until today, so there’s a backlog of almost a dozen excellent extravaganza that you may not have seen before. Enjoy them, but be sure to tip appropriately.)

Speaking of “issue of P&A,” the next issue is released one week later, on Saturday, September 9. It’s issue #69, and I’m sure Foggy will treat that occasion with class and dignity. I will be trying to finish it very quickly, because later that day I’m going to, you guessed it, a soccer game. You guys are killing me.

Finally, Foggy’s much more expansive project, Puzzle Boat 4, sets sail on Saturday, October 14 (the Kickstarter I linked to earlier this year met its goal and then some). Unlike P&A, Puzzle Boat is closer to a Mystery Hunt in size and complexity, so you’ll want to recruit some friends in advance. Thankfully, I don’t have a soccer game to go to on the 14th! Instead I have a wedding. So I was going to assemble my team on the 15th, but on the 15th I have a soccer game. (I wouldn’t mind this as much if the Revolution were remotely good right now. Get well, Kelyn.)


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