This hunt has three main puzzles and a simple meta puzzle
. The puzzles are geared toward beginner puzzlers, but were designed to entertain newbies and experts alike. I would say that this hunt is a bit more challenging than the 2012 and 2013 hunts. Beginners can take advantage of the hint system to overcome hurdles while experienced puzzlers can challenge themselves to solve the puzzles as quickly as possible.
Hints can be obtained when you feel stuck. You can view hints for any puzzle by submitting "hint<hint number>" as an answer. If you wish to see the first hint, simply submit "hint1" - and, if that hint isn't helpful, try "hint2." Text provided with each puzzle will indicate the total number of hints available.
Submitting intermediate messages that you discover while solving may confirm your progress and/or may reveal information to help guide you to your final answer. When you are typing partial answers, punctuation should NOT be included, case does not matter and you can either use appropriate spaces or use no spaces (randomly placing spaces will not work). If there are many words in a partial solution, use the first three.
Game Control (GC) support:
The hint system allows you to play anytime without live GC. However, if there is something you need from GC, please do not hesitate to send Dr. Bob an email:
. He may not get back to you immediately, but he is online a lot so if you are in a pinch, it is worth a shot.
This hunt is guided through PHP files. Little effort has been put in to secure code or solutions. Those with the proper background are reminded that the intention is for you to solve the puzzles and NOT to try to game the system or hack the web files. Thank you!
Dr. Bob's standard scoring system is in play. In this system, each puzzle is assigned a Generous Average Solve Time (GAST). You receive GAST points for solving a puzzle (without a hint) and (GAST minus <solve time>) bonus points if you solve the puzzle in less time than 'expected.' Taking a hint limits your score to 90% of the GAST (meaning, you can no longer earn bonus points for that puzzle).
The solve time for each puzzle begins when you submit "start" and ends when you submit the correct solution. Breaks between puzzles do not count against you - allowing you to space out your play. Simply start each puzzle when you are ready.
Results will be posted online for teams/individuals that wish to have their results posted. You can opt to be listed as a participant or simply stay anonymous. Again, this is not a fancy online system, so, these results are done periodically... manually. So, while the goal will be to update nightly, there may be a couple of nights where this gets skipped. I will update results frequently through Jan. 4, 2015 - after that, it may be awhile.
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