BAPHL 5: The Great RaceTop

BAPHL 5 tickets


Congratulations to Azote, who won the event!

A page with the event's puzzles, solutions, and event summary is available.


On Site Organizers: Mike Booth, Joseph DeVincentis, Nathan Fung, Paul Melamud, Nick Poulos

On Site Help: Brad Friedman

Puzzle Authors and Event Design: Mike Booth, Joseph DeVincentis, Nathan Fung, Craig Kasper, Paul Melamud, Nick Poulos, Corey Plover, Mike Sylvia

Test Solvers: Katie Berry, Tim Carnes, Mark Halpin, Christine Lattin, Dan McCarthy, Jonathan McCue, Eric Minikel, Eric Prestemon, Dave Shukan, Thomas Snyder, Sonia Vallabh


BAPHL 5 started at Evans Way Park in Boston, adjacent to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The checkpoints and two of the puzzles took solvers through the fens to the Fenway Victory Gardens, and to Simmons College, the Longwood/medical center area, and around the Museum of Fine Arts.

(Not So) Frequently Asked QuestionsTop

Will the hunt be indoors or outdoors?
Outdoors. All teams are encouraged to dress for outdoor activities.
What if it's raining?
We'll get wetter than usual. There is no rain date or alternate course; it would take a severe weather emergency to make us reschedule BAPHL.
Will the hunt involve running from place to place?
Sometimes, but not always.
If this hunt is about a race, does that mean we'd benefit by deploying cars, bicycles, blimps, jetpacks, or Olympic sprinters?
Though, as in previous BAPHLs, teams may bring whatever method(s) of locomotion they deem suitable — the host neither restricts nor recommends in this regard — the event does not require anything but your two feet.
You may be traversing typical urban, pedestrian terrain — streets, sidewalks, grass, park boardwalks, stairs, footbridges, et cetera — and will be expected to abide by all the usual rules and regulations, such as "no small airplanes near the major government buildings" and "no riding the 250-horsepower experimental motorunicycle on the sidewalk, especially without a helmet". Plan accordingly, and remember, safety first.
This being Boston, parking is a problem, so motor vehicles are at least as likely to hinder you as help you. We invite you to consider how much easier it is to park a bicycle, or a foam-rubber scale model of a motor vehicle.
Will we be entering private buildings, or places that require admission?
No. There will be no need to pay a fee to enter a building, or to enter any area that is not publicly accessible for free. If your team discovers something to the contrary, you are on the wrong course.
Are teams allowed to use the Internet?
Can you say that again, but with more words?
BAPHL should be solved using paper and your mind. Don't bring a computer, and don't use any sort of Internet connection. The puzzles have been designed with this restriction in mind.
In fact, in order to resist the temptation to use the Internet, we suggest turning off your phone's data connection.
You may use the phone for speech or text messaging (to humans, not search engines), as a simple camera, or as a simple arithmetic calculator — but no smartphone apps or web access. And if you need to be on call or something, you may use it for things entirely unrelated to puzzle solving. As with past BAPHLs, you're on the honor system, and your integrity is at stake.
What supplies should we bring?
Bring things for working with paper, such as pencils, highlighters, scissors, tape, and a straight-edge. Definitely bring a clipboard or two.
You will be given any reference materials the hosting team deems necessary during the course of the event. But if you want to bring paper references, such as a Scrabble dictionary or the Encyclopedia Britannica, go ahead, as long as you are willing to let us take pictures of you towing them along.
Provided they still own such things, teams are encouraged to bring simple cameras or calculators — though phones may also be used for these restricted purposes.
What time should the hunt end by?
You should expect that the hunt will be over around 6 PM, at which time we will present the winners and have our wrap-up ceremony. We'll call your team when we know exactly where and when the wrap-up will be.
What do we get if we win?
You'll win a cup, of course! Oh, and if you win the "Formula One" division, you are allowed to register for the Grand Invitational (i.e. Hubert will ask if you wish to write an upcoming BAPHL).
When will I actually be charged the registration fee?
At the time of registration. Contact us if that didn't work.
Can we ask random strangers on the street for help?
The "phone-a-friend" approach is discouraged, since that kind of planning effectively makes your team bigger. Don't call people you know and ask for help — you can ask HQ for hints if you're totally stuck.
However, if you think polling a random stranger on the street can help you answer a question, that's fine — especially if you are just asking for directions, or about some local factoid. As long as they don't use the Internet, or sit down and solve puzzles with you, that's not against the spirit of the rules.
You said we could 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.
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.
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 is funded entirely by your registration fees.
Who are you guys?
The writing team for BAPHL Five is "plugh", a subset of a larger MIT Mystery Hunt team (known by various "luck"-inclusive cognomina). We agreed to write this BAPHL after winning BAPHL Four.
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 of fairness:
  • 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, as a basic arithmetic calculator or camera, or for things that are entirely unrelated to solving puzzles (like texting your mom how awesome BAPHL is).
  • In particular, don't use smart-phone apps to solve puzzles.
  • 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. We reserve the right to poke fun at your library-in-a-cart, unless it appears to be a racing library-in-a-cart, which would be excellent.
  • 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 if you really need one.
  • Google Latitude is on the Internet. Don't use it. If you lose track of where your teammates are, call them and ask.
  • 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.


Specific HQ contact information will be given in writing to each team Captain on race day, along with other essential information.

Email for questions about the BAPHL 5 event.

Email for questions about past or future BAPHL events.