Congratulations to team Plugh, the winners of Hard mode, and to
team Saddening Goat, the winners of Normal mode!
For information about BAPHL 5, join our low-traffic mailing list.
A page with all puzzles and their solutions
is now available.
Organizers: Rob Speer, Catherine Havasi, Charles
Steinhardt, Amos Eshel, Glenn Willen, Jason Alonso
Writers: Rob Speer, Charles Steinhardt, Amos
Eshel, Glenn Willen, Ben Aisen, Bryce Herdt, Derek Kisman, Sam
Trabucco, Jason Alonso, Catherine Havasi, Adam Hesterberg,
Craig Harman, Robin Baur, Eli Bogart
On-site help: Ian Lai, Yuri Lin, Adam Seering
and probably others I have forgotten.
(Okay, these weren't actually all frequently asked.)
- What's the maximum team size?
- 6 people.
- What do we get if we win?
- Fame, glory, and an utterly token prize. Oh, and if you win
the Hard version, you get an invitation to write BAPHL 5.
- When will I actually be charged the registration fee?
- You should have been charged it by now. Contact us if
that didn't work.
- What time should the hunt end by?
- You should expect that the hunt will be over around 6 PM,
and around then we'll meet for a wrap-up. We'll call your
team when we know exactly where and when the wrap-up will be.
- Will the hunt involve running from place to place?
- Sometimes. Not always.
- What if it's raining?
- Then we'll get a bit damp and try to do things under roofs.
It would take a severe weather emergency to make us reschedule
- Are teams allowed to use the Internet?
- No. BAPHL should be solved using paper and your mind.
Think back to a simpler era. Don't bring a computer, and don't
use any sort of Internet connection.
We suggest turning off
your phone's data connection if it has one, to resist the
temptation to use it; but if you need to be on call or
something, you may use it for things entirely unrelated to
- What about other kinds of outside help?
Don't call people you know and ask for help, because that
effectively makes your team bigger. You can ask HQ for hints
if you're totally stuck.
- Can we ask random strangers on the street for help?
- Sure, if you think that would help. As long as they don't
use the Internet either.
- Can we ask HQ for help?
- Yes! We'll even answer specific questions for you if we
think they're reasonable. But if you're doing well, you might
find our answers less helpful.
- Let's stop beating around the bush: suppose my team decides
that our only way of progressing in the Hunt is to find all
English words containing two Zs and an O. What should we do?
- Ask HQ. We will do the search for you. Slowly. And then
we will read the answers to you. Very slowly. And
we will stop to snicker at all the variants of the word
- Is this one of those corporate-sponsored "scavenger hunts"
that's actually advertising things to us?
- Heck no. BAPHL is written for the love of puzzling, and it's
funded entirely by your registration fees.
- What if it's getting late and my team is totally stuck?
- Ask us for hints. We won't think less of you for it.
- What supplies should I bring with me?
- Things for working with paper, such as pencils, highlighters,
scissors, tape, and
a straight-edge. Definitely bring a clipboard.
If you want to bring paper references, such as
a Scrabble dictionary, go ahead. (But books are heavy and you
may not want to be carrying them around.)
- You may also bring specialized electronics, such as a
camera or a calculator, that you use for simple purposes like
taking pictures or doing arithmetic. And you can use your phone
to pretend to be a camera or a calculator.
- Who are you guys?
The writing team for BAPHL 4 is a subset of the Manic Sages,
an MIT Mystery Hunt team with a tendency to come in second.
We're far too
big to be a BAPHL team, but we were invited to write BAPHL 4
so that BAPHL can happen more often.
- I'm still hung up about the Internet thing. Can you give me copious examples?
Fine. But the following
are just examples, some of them implausible. You'll
have to extrapolate using your common sense and your sense
- Use your phone as a phone, not as the Internet in your
pants or as a reference material. You may use it to call
teammates and HQ, or for things that are entirely unrelated
to solving puzzles.
- In particular, don't use smartphone apps to solve
- Don't use a laptop or a tablet for anything.
- Bringing a few paper references, if you want, is fine.
We hope you don't have to use them. If you bring a
cart full of books, you will probably be mistaken
for the homeless booksellers of Harvard Square, and we
reserve the right to try to buy them off of you for a dollar
- You may look up information in printed materials in a
bookstore, newsstand, or public library if you want.
- If you have Wikipedia printed on microfilm and a
microfilm reader... never mind, that's kind of awesome.
- Google Maps is on the Internet. Don't use it.
We'll give you a map of the area on paper.
- Google Latitude is on the Internet. Don't use it.
If you lose track of where your teammates are, call them
- Text messages are kind of not the Internet. You may
text your team members. You may not text Google or
any service that answers questions for you.
- If you use a service on the Internet as a
complete substitute for a cell phone plan or a
text message plan, you may continue using it for exactly
that during BAPHL.
- If anything makes you stop and think
"is this lame?", it probably is, so don't do it.
- If anything makes you stop and think
"is this a really clever loophole?", it's probably lame,
so don't do it.
firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about future events.