Organization — About the Puzzles — Tips for Solving and for Collaborating.
- This game is an online puzzle hunt that has been created for the participants of the Mathematical Institutes Open House on Wednesday, January 6th 2021, happening during the (virtual) Joint Mathematics Meeting. The puzzles may include references to math, and to the JMM.
- Participants will meet on Zoom and solve the puzzles in teams of 2-4 people, in breakout rooms.
- This is a private event, the Puzzles page is password-protected and accessible only to the participants. Please ask me for permission before sharing a puzzle with some non-participant.
About the Puzzles
- There are 3 independent puzzles. They are not math puzzles, although they have a mathematical theme. They are in puzzle-hunt style: they come with no, or minimal, instructions. The first step is to figure out what to do, and use the information or data to extract some meaning. They often require one intuitive leap in thinking (or aha-moment) to solve.
- You may use the internet to search for information (some of the puzzles are impossible to solve without looking things up).
- The goal is to find the answer to each puzzle. The answer is always an English word or an English phrase.
- To check your answer, you must enter it in a specific field (in a Google Form) just below the corresponding puzzle. The form will validate if and only if this is the correct answer. You should write each answer in lowercase, and without spaces.
- Submitting your answer in the form also enters your team into the “leaderboard” for each puzzle.
- Each puzzle is entirely contained in a pdf file. You don’t need to do technical things to the pdf (nothing hidden in the metadata or concealed by steganography!). There are no clues on this website outside the pdf files.
- It is not necessary to print the puzzles. But it may be useful to have a way to annotate or draw on the pdf electronically.
Tips for solving
(what to do if you are stuck)
- If you are confident in your answer, but the form does not accept it, check that you typed it correctly (lowercase, without spaces), and that you indeed have the complete answer (in some puzzles there may be an indication of the word length(s) of the answer).
- Re-read the title and the introductory text carefully. They may contain clues.
- Consider what information you haven’t used yet.
- Thoroughly check the work that you’ve already done.
- Google things you don’t know. Google things you know.
- Take a break, look at another puzzle, ask a friend.
- Look up a specific hint in the Hints page, or ask for a personalized hint by email.
Tips for collaborating
(when solving as a team during a videoconference)
- One team member can share their screen with the puzzle on it, so that everyone can annotate the screen.
- Use the virtual whiteboard in the videoconference software.
- Use a shared folder (e.g. in Google Drive) and share notes in documents or worksheets among your team.