Chairiot Races (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

Chairiot Races
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Creative Pictures Studios
Author(s)Justin Graham, John Owens, Charlie Graham
AnswerClick to reveal👻
No. solves13
No. total guesses97

“Welcome to the Chairiot Races! Strap into your chair and put on your PennyVision headset...

Chairiot Races is a Mini-Meta from the Creative Pictures Studios round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt.

Solve Path[edit | edit source]

This puzzle is presented as a set of twelve minipuzzles.


Attempting to solve the puzzles as presented, however, is not useful. Instead, solvers should note the tagline, which appears to describe the plot of a movie; some elements differ from the actual movie, though, and instead clue a word that is off by one letter. These letters, taken together, spell ARTIVIVE THIS.

Artivive is an app that adds augmentations to art. Scanning each of the images in the puzzle with the app reveals hidden information that makes the puzzle solvable (along with an unrelated animation that will be relevant later).


The app provides a different set of images. Treating the locations where the images are the same as 1s and the others as 0s and taking letters in five-bit binary extracts the answerTRANSFORMERS.


The app maps the grid of letters onto North America, draws a line between San Francisco and New York, and highlights the letters SF-EC-NYG on the line. This, along with the Iron Giant theming, hints at the fact that both San Francisco and New York have a Big 4 sports team called the Giants, and hints towards finding the other five pairs of cities that share a sports team name. Drawing the line between each pair, finding the abbreviation for each team on that line, and taking the letters in between spells the answerUNECONOMICAL when the letters are ordered alphabetically by team name.


The app provides numbers for each animal and plays several songs. Each song uses the noise of one provided animal; indexing the number by that animal into the song's name reveals the answerNURSERY RHYME.


The app overlays a grid of letters onto the given chessboard, along with a picture of Blu and Jewel in the bottom left corner. This puzzle is a Knight's Tour; take the route that forms a phrase with the given enumeration. This is a cryptic clue for the answerNOMENCLATURE.


The app provides a large number of images. The title slide hints at transadditions; each image is a transaddition of a famous archer, and taking the extra letter provides the answerENCYCLOPEDIA.


The app provides a large number of images corresponding to the designs of maritime signal flags; the given image provides the backgrounds. Matching the two and translating spells the answerLABORATORIES.


The app provides a jigsaw (which cannot be manipulated in the app). Solving it reveals the cluephrase ORANGE NINJA TURTLE, cluing the answerMICHELANGELO.


The app provides a list of years and two book covers which have had the word HUGO redacted from them. Taking the winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel for that year, matching it to one of the fake book titles in the image, and taking the eigenletter spells the answerUNDERCURRENT.


This image is believed to be no longer functional.

The app provides a translation key, revealing the paw prints and squirrels to be drawing instructions. Each line traces out a letterform; these spell the answerRIPPLE EFFECT.


The app reveals the given grid to be a sudoku. Solving it, then taking the sum of every number on a given letter and translating it to a letter, provides the answerAFTERTHOUGHT.


The app provides a standard dropquote. It solves to a quote by the answerLEONARD NIMOY.


The app completes the image, but also adds a gradual blurring effect on top that makes it annoying to read. Reading it as an autostereogram (or ignoring that whole ordeal and reading it off the original image) reveals the phrase CRAYOLA HEX #ff6fff, cluing the answerSHOCKING PINK.

Reading the first letters of each subpuzzle answer in order spells TUNNEL MURALS, hinting at the Borderline murals in the tunnel between Buildings 68 and E17. People with knowledge of MIT culture may also recognize this connection at an earlier step, either by recognizing the unrelated animations or by looking at the title and connecting it to the MIT tradition of riding an office chair down the tunnel's slope.

Several murals in this tunnel system have an Artivive component matching one of the unrelated animations. In order from the bottom of the slope to the top (also left-to-right):


To do TO DO images

  • Puzzle 1Transformers: Scanning "Flower's Answer" (the words YOU ARE HUMAN) reveals a CAPTCHA box.
  • Puzzle 12sHockingpink: Scanning "The Little Prince" (the fox above the French words) causes the words to shine, and reveals a rose and an orbiting planet. This image is believed to be no longer functional, though the words should make this part of the ordering evident.
  • Puzzle 2unEconomical: Scanning "The Statue of Leafberty" causes green leaves to grow along the outline of the statue.
  • Puzzle 3nurSeryrhyme: Scanning "Girl" (a girl among foliage) causes her eyes to blink and fireflies to fly around her.
  • Puzzle 7michElangelo: Scanning "Stop and Smell the roses" (a woman with flowers in her hair) causes her eyes to blink and bees to fly around her.
  • Puzzle 6laborAtories: Scanning the untitled piece directly to the right of the previous image (a jumble of black circles) reveals two traveling lines that cause some of the circles to be filled in with gray.
  • Puzzle 4nomencLature: Scanning "Split" (a woman's head) causes the head to split open and reveal another head.
  • Puzzle 10afterthOught: Scanning "Galaxy Note 7" (a head obscured by a multi-colored cloud) causes the cloud to animate.
  • Puzzle 9rippleefFect: Scanning "Abyss or Bliss" (a woman swimming) reveals a turtle swimming alongside her.
  • Puzzle 11leonardniMoy: Scanning "Cat's Cradle" (two people playing the namesake string game) reveals a cat playing with a ball of yarn.
  • Puzzle 5encyclopedIa: Scanning "Incandescent" (a woman surrounded by lightbulbs) causes the lightbulbs to gradually light up.
  • Puzzle 8undercurrenT: Scanning "Afloat Pt. 2" (an abstract watery piece) reveals a blue fish with legs (similar to the figure on the right side of the art) swimming through the water.

Diagonalizing the answers in this order reveals the phrase THE SEAL OF MIT. Using Artivive on this seal reveals the answer. This step is believed to be no longer functional.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

Mini-Meta - The puzzle is a set of twelve mini-puzzles.


Missing Information - The puzzles as presented are not solvable (unless you really want to solve an image of Nemo floating in space).

Off By One - Each of the minipuzzles, however, has a tagline... which resolves to a string that is one letter off from a famous animated film. Taking the replaced letters spells...

Intermediate Clue Phrase - ...ARTIVIVE THIS.

Interactive - Artivive is an augmented reality app; using it on each of the images in the puzzle provides the actual puzzle to solve (along with an unrelated animation that will be useful later).

Binary - Puzzle 1 (Rango) extracts using five-bit binary. Which bit is which depends on whether the image is the same between the presented version and the AR version.

Knowledge Required (Sports, Team) - Puzzle 2 (The Iron Giant) puts its grid of letters on a map of North America, and highlights some letters on the line between San Francisco and New York. The letters include the abbreviations for the San Francisco Giants (SF) and the New York Giants (NYG), hinting at finding the other pairs of Big 4 Teams with the same name (Panthers, Jets, Kings, Cardinals, Rangers).

Word Search - Puzzle 2 involves a variant on a word search. The lines to search on are helpfully defined by the map; search for the aforementioned teams' abbreviations and extract the letters between them.

Identification (Music, Popular) - Puzzle 3 (The Secret Life of Pets) plays music when Artivived. These songs can be identified, and their titles indexed into based on the animal noise they use.

Knight's Tour - Puzzle 4 (Rio) overlays letters onto the provided chessboard. Solvers must construct a knight's tour that (a) starts and ends at the given locations and (b) produces a sentence that fits into the enumerated blanks. This is a Cryptic Clue cluing the minipuzzle's answer.

Image Identification - Puzzle 5 (Brave) provides a number of images to identify.

Transaddition - The start of the animation states the images are all people Merida admires. ADMIRES is a transaddition of MERIDA; the remaining images are transadditions of famous archers. Taking the extra letter spells its answer.

Maritime Flags - Puzzle 6 (Angry Birds) provides the layout of several maritime flags, to be overlaid onto the background colors given.

Jigsaw Puzzle - Puzzle 7 (Howl's Moving Castle) is a standard jigsaw puzzle. You can't move the pieces from Artivive, though, so an alternate method must be found, whether that's Spatial Reasoning or image manipulation.

Identification (Literature) - Puzzle 8 (Beauty and the Beast) provides years, along with the covers of two books that obscure the word "Hugo". This refers to the Hugo Awards; take the Best Novel winner for each year.

Eigenletters - Each novel matches a fake book title in enumeration. Take the one letter that overlaps.

Turtle Graphics - Puzzle 9 (Lady and the Tramp) is actually encoding drawing instructions (the paw print is one unit forward, the squirrel is 90 degrees clockwise). Drawing each line out from a rightward starting heading traces out a letterform.

Sudoku - Puzzle 10 (Ghost in the Shell) gives a sudoku (despite being 12x12, it only needs 1-9 to solve, since every row/column/box has three black squares).

Alphanumeric Substitution Cipher - As hinted by the large Σ, the numbers on each type of letter should be summed together. This provides numbers that can be converted into letters for the answer.

Dropquote - Puzzle 11 (Finding Nemo) is a standard Dropquote.

Initialization - Solving all the puzzles and taking the answers' initial letters spells out...

Intermediate Clue Phrase - ...TUNNEL MURALS.

Knowledge Required (MIT Culture) - MIT's campus has a connected basement level commonly referred to as "the tunnels". One such tunnel connects the south end of Building 68 to Building E17; one wall of that tunnel is covered in murals. It is also well-known for being an ideal slope for riding rolling chairs.

Paired Up - Notably, several of these murals also have an Artivive function. Some have an animation that also plays on one of this puzzle's minipuzzles.

Reordering (Positional) - Reordering the answers by the associated animation's position in the Borderline, from the bottom of the slope to the top...

Diagonalization - ...and diagonalizing (the answers are all twelve letters long)...

Recursion - ...reveals the phrase THE SEAL OF MIT. Scanning the MIT Seal with Artivive reveals the answer.