Bear (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

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MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Safari Adventure
Author(s)Nina Hinrichs
AnswerClick to revealALI, BRETT, FOLLIS, RUINS, WORTH
No. solves1366 correct guesses, 13 full-solves
No. total guesses125

The bear ripped her ball to shreds, and the keepers are trying to put it back together but can't get all the pieces to fit. Be careful, if she doesn't like it, she'll rip it apart again.

Bear is a Folding Puzzle from the Safari Adventure round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

Folding Puzzle - The puzzle consists of a few parts; the most prominent is a list of folding instructions. These create the Sonobe module from modular origami; the instructions themselves are otherwise not part of the puzzle.

Law of Large Numbers - Below the folding instructions are labels for each of the 12 modules being created: each one is a large number with at least 10 digits. Further detailsThe puzzle also helpfully notes to start with "MOD 149", indicating that the numbers are being used for their modular arithmetic values (fittingly enough for a puzzle about modular origami).

The final assembly.

Pairing Up - Taking every number below the puzzle MOD 149 will reveal that each number corresponding to positions 1, 3, 4, or 6 on the module either has a unique remainder (in which case no matching is required) or pairs with exactly one other such number. (For clarity's sake, this number will always be larger than 26.) Moreover, the two slots paired in this way will have opposite polarity: a flap (1/6) will be paired with a pocket (3/4), cluing that that flap should be inserted into that pocket.

Alphanumeric Substitution Cipher - The numbers corresponding to the circled numbers (2 and 5) are always at most 26 (though the occasional 0 will also show up). These can be read using the standard A1Z26 cipher; the red lines marked on each module will form a loop on the complete shape, indicating the ordering.

The Waterfall Effect - This process will generally create two shapes (along with some singletons). Of these, one is always a "Toshie's Jewel" (a triangular bipyramid made of three pieces), whose message always reads MOD followed by three one-digit numbers (the inclusion of a 0 in the first such message discourages reading this latter segment in A1Z26). This provides another modulus to feed into the assembly step. (At some point, the modulus will instead create one shape; this indicates the end of the waterfall.)

Final Clue Phrase - The other will gradually use more and more pieces (another Toshie's Jewel for 3, then a boat-shaped 5, then a cube for 6, then a heart-shaped 7, then a triakis octahedron that uses all 12). Each one generates a phrase that can be inserted into one of the blanks at the top of the puzzle for a final cluephrase pointing at one of the answers.

Multiple Answers (Linear) - Like most puzzles in Safari Adventure, this puzzle has multiple answers; its structure is fairly linear, however, as each answer is generated at a different stage of the waterfall.