Puzzle Hunts: MIT Mystery Hunt 2018, Left Coast Left Out

I once again teamed up with the left-coast contingent of Team Left Out to remote-solve many many MIT Mystery Hunt puzzles. These puzzles are hard work; but it's nevertheless a great feeling to be part of such an amazing team, knocking those challenges down.

Here's a photo at left-coast HQ: our larger, east-coast contingent has just finished the hunt and is posing for a photo. Those left-coasters who hadn't already had to go home gathered in front of the big screen:
Photo: Ian, Stribs, me (floor), Nina, Wei-Hwa, David, Josie, Trisha, Charlie; not shown: Kiki, taking the photo

This hunt was pretty maggot-y for me. (That, is, I tended to gnaw on tough puzzles a long time each; versus "moth-ing", flitting from puzzle to puzzle.) I'd help out on a tough puzzle, we wouldn't solve it, I'd go to bed… and when I woke up the next morning, there would be that puzzle, still waiting for me.

E.g., I woke up and Michael Baym had figured out that we shouldn't have relied on the total accuracy of the document we found on the internet with file-name DEDICATION_SIGNS_2013.PDF but entitled "DEDICATION SIGNS 2011(1).xls" (surprise!), and would have to gather data about Cambridge's named town squares by staring and clicking around on Google Streetview. On the one hand, it was great that someone had figured out what mistake we'd made yesterday. On the other hand… I'd hoped (with some historical precedent) that this puzzle wouldn't still be waiting with a big ol' pile of gruntwork for me when I woke up. Surely someone else would have solved it or "backsolved" it or… So, yeah, maggot-y year.

Reader, when it came time to find people to work on a Duck Konundrum, I looked around and realized that one of them would be me, didn't run away screaming or anything. So, yeah, a maggot-y year for me. I asked things of myself that I wouldn't normally; struggled through; all very inspiring; yada yada yada.

It wasn't 100% maggot-y. When we found out that the week's Listener Crossword in The Times (UK) was planted there as part of the Mystery Hunt, I surprisingly got to contribute a word. There are plenty of folks on the team much better at UK crosswords than I am… so the only way I could contribute was to coincidentally be looking at the puzzle just as it unlocked.

Another surprising contribution in in the "Larry did that?!" department: one involving music recognition and booze. People who know me are squinting at that previous sentence and rubbing their eyes.

Anyhow, some more photos:


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