Mystery Hunt coin found in Courtyard

Random Hall team wins Alice in Wonderland-themed hunt in 38 hours

This year’s MIT Mystery Hunt — themed “Alice in Wonderland” — began Friday with a Kresge Kickoff at noon and officially ended Monday afternoon after a wrap-up ceremony in 26-100. The team “One Fish, Two Fish, Random Fish, Blue Fish” of Random Hall won at 2:30 a.m. Sunday after about 38 hours of searching.

The winning team’s name “One Fish, Two Fish, Random Fish, Blue Fish” was purposefully based on a work of literature to parody last year’s winning team, whose name was the full text of the book Atlas Shrugged, according to team leader Adam P. Rosenfield ’08. Rosenfield said that Random last won in 2005 and that, while the team is happy to have won and looks forward to planning next year’s hunt, the team values having fun over winning.

“The Internet has always been a huge part of our problem solving strategy,” Rosenfield said. They have a custom server for Mystery Hunt Collaboration, he explained, noting that about 20 percent of his two-hundred-person team participates remotely from as far away as California. The winning team found the coin (actually a large clock, ostensibly the rabbit’s pocket watch) in the President’s Courtyard. (The President’s Courtyard is situated immediately West of the Great Dome and is enclosed by the outside walls of the Infinite Corridor, Building 10, and Building 13.)

Like Random’s team, most teams prefer to use the Internet for collaboration as well as research. Steve D. Pomeroy PhD ’89, a member of “Control Group,” likened the role that the Internet plays in their problem-solving strategy to the role that oxygen plays in aerobic respiration.

Many of the smaller teams did not hope to win the hunt and participated only for fun. Karthik Arumugham of “Grand Unified Theory of Love” believes that his small team would not be well-equipped to run a hunt and said that winning would be the “worst case scenario.” He said that the team has a rule against picking up coins to prevent such a scenario. Teammate Jess Gleason noted that “there are coins on this floor that we have not picked up.”

Alice Shrugged, last year’s winning team and the organizer of this year’s hunt (with a name-change to incorporate this year’s Alice in Wonderland theme), said that they tried hard to “make the hunt fun for small teams” and that, while the overall theme was Alice in Wonderland, they tried to “incorporate MIT” as an underlying theme.

This year’s hunt included a “backwards” portion of the hunt in which they were told to produce (rather than receive) a red herring. One team produced a dish of cooked herring, and another produced a red hair-ring.

Alice Shrugged also invented an MIT and Mystery Hunt-themed version of Cards Against Humanity for one of the events. The game featured white cards such as “Donald Sadoway,” “DeVry University,” and “There are two people having sex in 26-100,” the last of which “referred to an incident which happened at a previous hunt,” according to Rosenfield.

Several of the top teams received copies of the game during the wrap-up. The game will not be on sold to the public, but it is unclear if the game will be made available to the public as an online document.

The team logged three injuries planning the hunt, all of which took place preparing a puzzle called “Safety First” that was to be included in the first-aid kits distributed at the beginning of the hunt.