Checkerboard (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)
|MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
|Ian Tullis and Yar Woo
|Click to revealLEGAL BALANCE
|No. total guesses
Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]
Flavortext - If you want to play some Wizard’s Checkers, there’s only one rule—don’t make any dick moves (or any moves at all, really).
Knowledge Required (Politics) - Despite appearances, this is not a checkers puzzle—it's actually a Checkers puzzle. An excerpt from Richard Nixon's Checkers speech can be filled, one word at a time, into the checkerboard. (Potential ambiguity around the hyphenated word "six-year-old" is resolved by including it as a given.)
Indexing - The yellow numbers scattered around the board can then be used to index into the square's word, yielding...
Keep Going! - ...ENEMIES AND AIDES. This is, however, not the answer.
Identification (Politics) - Now knowing the puzzle centers around Richard Nixon, ENEMIES AND AIDES can be recontextualized around Nixon's political life to refer to two specific lists: ENEMIES being members of Nixon's Enemies List and AIDES the seven aides indicted in 1974 for their roles in the Watergate Scandal.
Alphanumeric Extraction - The Enemies List is conveniently numbered and has a size approximating 26. For each set of initials on a red checker, take that person's position on the list.
Enumerations - The enumerations on the black checkers uniquely identify one of the Watergate Seven...
Indexing - ...and the parenthesized numbers can be used as an index. Concatenating the two words obtained from these extractions yields the answer.