First You Visit... (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

First You Visit...
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Creative Pictures Studios
Author(s)Mark Gottlieb, Gaby Weidling
AnswerClick to reveal🕛
Statistics
No. solves4
No. total guesses70
Links
PuzzleLink
SolutionLink

The Western Union operator was just about to close up shop. “Hey,” the president barks, waving his dead cell phone. “I need to send a tweet.” The operator grudgingly hands him a blank form and waits.

First You Visit ...Bikini Fatso is an Instructional Puzzle from the Creative Pictures Studios round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt, presented as a sequel to the infamous First You Visit Burkina Faso.

Solve Path[edit | edit source]

 

So what's a Bikini Fatso? Obviously it stands in for Burkina Faso in some way...

The first thing to look at is the tweet, which points at Last Week Tonight by John Oliver in several ways—directly mentioning the title and hiding J. OLIVER in the alphanumeric cipher in the comment, retweet, and like counts—and also has a date. Watch the Last Week Tonight episode for that day; very early on, Oliver rattles off a list of fake names for countries, including the aforementioned Bikini Fatso.

Having found that, we now look at the rebuses below the itinerary, each one of which is cluing a country from that list (including Nepal and Bhutan, which technically precede the list):


The countries each have a picture number, a number of dots indicating how many steps in the itinerary lead into it, and a letter count for its fake name.

Finally, we can look at the itinerary. Each step is ambiguous, however, since each can lead to several countries:

 

There are 32 traveling steps and 33 countries, so one will be unused. This rules out elimination logic for now.

  1. Start in Bikini Fatso (not pictured).Start in Burkina Faso.
  2. Travel to one of the three countries (pic sum 58) that borders any country that borders the country you’re in (but doesn’t itself border the country you’re in).These are Mauritania, Senegal, and Guinea, all of which border Mali. No countries on the list border Burkina Faso.
  3. Travel to a country whose capital has a one-word name with the same number of letters as the capital of the country you’re in and doesn’t contain a K or an S. Given the three options for the country you’re coming from, there are four possible destinations, with pic sum 71.From Nouakchott, Dakar, and Conakry, the options are, the options are respectively Barbados (Bridgetown = 10), Morocco (Rabat)/Liechtenstein (Vaduz), and Bhutan (Thimphu). The K/S constraint rules out France (Paris), St. Kitts (Basseterre), and the three countries themselves (all of which have a K, not that it matters).
  4. Travel to a country whose calling code has two of the same numbers in the same position as the calling code of the country you’re in. (If a country is part of the North American Numbering Plan, ignore the 1 and use just the three digits that follow it as its calling code.) Given the four options for the country you’re coming from, there are seven possible destinations, with pic sum 84.The source calling codes are (1-)246, 212, 423, and 975. Iterating through a list of calling codes reveals seven countries that fit the bill: 246 goes to Angola (244) and Lesotho (266), 212 goes to Mali (222), 423 goes to Grenada (1-473), and 975 hits three countries: Nepal (977), Qatar (974), and PNG (675).
  5. Travel to one of the five countries (pic sum 131) whose currency is a franc of some sort.Much of Francophone Africa (four countries on the list) use a franc. France itself doesn't. Liechtenstein doesn't have its own currency and uses the Swiss franc instead.
  6. Travel to one of the two countries (pic sum 47) that features Spanish as an official language.These are Honduras and Paraguay. No weird edge cases here.
  7. Travel to a country whose flag has the same number of five-pointed stars as the flag of the country you’re in. Given the two options for the country you’re coming from, there are seven possible destinations, with pic sum 130.Honduras has five of them, while Paraguay has 1. 1-star countries are plentiful, with a lot of African countries on the bill (Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Angola, and Djibouti). 5-star countries are rarer, but two countries on the list have a southern cross formation of five stars (PNG and Samoa).
  8. Travel to one of the four countries (pic sum 94) whose flag contains a triangle that touches its left edge but not its top edge.There are two main ways this manifests: a pile (Eritrea, Djibouti) or a per bend dexter (PNG). Fiji's Union Jack also makes these triangles. The wording excludes bends sinister (Bhutan, Saint Kitts and Nevis) and Grenada's per saltire (which is blocked by a bordure).
  9. Travel to one of the six countries (pic sum 88) that borders at least five other countries. (This includes all countries, not just potential travel destinations.)These are France, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Guinea, and Laos. Inclusion and exclusion within this group is unaffected by exclaves.
  10. Travel to one of the two countries (pic sum 38) with a national anthem whose title contains a word that translates to “freedom” or “liberty.”These are Guinea (Liberté) and Samoa (The Banner of Freedom). While some anthems have unofficial names, none satisfy the condition.
  11. Travel to one of the four countries (pic sum 80) whose flag has vertical stripes but no five-pointed stars.The vertical tricolors are Barbados, France, Romania, and Guinea. The five-pointed stars clue excludes Senegal.
  12. Travel to a country whose capital has a one-word name with the same number of letters as the capital of the country you’re in and doesn’t contain a K or an S. Given the four options for the country you’re coming from, there are five possible destinations, with pic sum 61.This is a rehash of step 2 with different countries; the lengths to target are 5 (Paris), 7 (Conakry), 9 (Bucharest), and 10 (Bridgetown). Conakry still leads to Thimphu, while Paris takes Dakar's old destinations of Vaduz and Rabat (while being unable to go to Dakar itself). Bucharest gets two new destinations (Vientiane and Ngerulmud), while being barred from another four by the K/S rule. Bridgetown, however, has no destinations (Basseterre and Nouakchott both having forbidden letters).
  13. From its capital, stay at the same latitude and travel to a non-island country. (Each time you travel like this, you’re traveling to a country that is part of a continent. You’re going to its principal land mass, not to any disputed territories or far-flung offshoots.) Given the five options for the country you’re coming from, there are seven possible destinations, with pic sum 115.Thimphu's latitude hits Nepal; Vientiane's hits Mauritania and barely grazes the northernmost point of Eritrea. Vaduz hits Romania and France (though actually going to France would force a loop). Rabat hits Lebanon. Traveling from Ngerulmud barely grazes the southernmost point of Guinea. The given caveat is due to Thimphu's latitude also intersecting the disputed region of Western Sahara.
  14. Travel to one of the two countries (pic sum 28) whose flag has a crescent moon on it.The obvious one is Mauritania, but the uppermost symbol on Nepal's flag is also a moon.
  15. Travel to one of the two countries (pic sum 61) with a national anthem whose title, in English, has more than two words, fewer than six words, and an exclamation point.As it turns out, all you need is the exclamation point. There are two on the list: Saint Kitts and Nevis (O Land of Beauty!) and Romania (Deșteaptă-te, române!).
  16. Travel to one of the five countries (pic sum 97) that features English as an official language, and also features another official or national language whose name is a single word in which one vowel appears exactly twice, another vowel appears exactly once, and there are no other vowels. (If a language has multiple names, and one of them meets these criteria, it counts.)A lot of the African and Oceanian countries fit this bill with their national languages (Fijian, Samoan, Setswana, Sesotho). Rwanda has four (!) national languages, of which Swahili is the satisfier. The one-word requirement excludes Tok Pisin (PNG) from consideration.
  17. From its capital, stay at the same latitude and travel to a non-island country. Given the five options for the country you’re coming from, there are only three possible destinations, with pic sum 54.All five origins are in the sparse southern hemisphere, so the only viable targets are each other, Angola, PNG, and Paraguay. Gaborone hits Paraguay. Suva barely misses Paraguay but grazes the top of Botswana. Apia hits Angola. Maseru and Kigali both hit nothing.
  18. Travel to one of the two countries (pic sum 29) with a 2-letter ISO 3166 code whose second letter is its first letter Caesar shifted up or down by 2.These are Nepal (NP) and the Netherlands (NL).
  19. Travel to one of the five countries (pic sum 89) whose currency is a dollar of some sort.Fiji and Barbados have their own dollars; the other two Caribbean countries use a common dollar (the East Caribbean dollar). Palau is in free association with the US and thus uses USD.
  20. Travel to one of the four countries (pic sum 72) with a national anthem whose title, in English, starts with the letter O.Two of them are in English (PNG and Saint Kitts and Nevis). The other two are translated: Angola ("Onward Angola") and Palau ("Our Palau"). Translations are generally sourced from Wikipedia.
  21. Travel to one of the six countries (pic sum 116) that features French as an official language.This is France, Monaco, and Francophone Africa (Djibouti, Guinea, Senegal, Rwanda).
  22. Travel to one of the four countries (pic sum 76) whose flag has an animal on it. Don’t forget to check the backs of the flags!Bhutan and PNG both feature one prominently. Fiji has a bird on its coat of arms. The clarification is meant to clarify Paraguay's unusual two-sided flag layout; the back of Paraguay's flag has a lion on it.
  23. Travel to one of the four countries (pic sum 54) whose capital starts and ends with the same letter.These are Eritrea (Asmara), Grenada (St. Georges), Poland (Warsaw), and Samoa (Apia).
  24. From its capital, stay at the same latitude and travel to a non-island country. Given the four options for the country you’re coming from, there are eight possible destinations, with pic sum 136.Warsaw hits the Netherlands. Apia, as previously mentioned, hits Angola. St. Georges hits the northern edge of Guinea (barely missing Senegal) and goes straight through Djibouti. Asmara hits four: Mauritania, Senegal, Honduras, and Laos.
  25. Travel to a country that borders any country that borders the country you’re in (but doesn’t itself border the country you’re in). As in step 13, don’t count any disputed territory as part of a country you might be traveling to; treat it as independent. Given the eight options for the country you’re coming from, there are nine possible destinations, with pic sum 151.Despite the large number of options in the last step, there are only so many valid steps here. Laos, for instance, can leverage China's large number of neighbors to get to both Nepal and Bhutan. Guinea has Mauritania and vice versa, and Mauritania additionally has Morocco (once again treating disputed Western Sahara as a separate entity). The Netherlands has both France (ignoring the direct border on the island of Saint Martin) and Poland, though going back to Poland would form an invalid cycle. Angola has Rwanda (through the DRC) and Botswana (via Namibia, cut off from a direct border by the Caprivi Strip). Senegal, however, is on the wrong parity for neighbors' neighbors (and once again cannot use Morocco due to the disputed territory rule), while Djibouti and Honduras are isolated.
  26. Travel to one of the three countries (pic sum 37) whose capital city has a 4-letter name.These are Samoa (Apia), Fiji (Suva), and Qatar (Doha).
  27. From its capital, stay at the same latitude and travel to a non-island country. Given the three options for the country you’re coming from, there are three possible destinations, with pic sum 48.Samoa and Fiji have already been mentioned (Angola and Botswana). Doha's latitude intersects the northern tip of Mauritania.
  28. Take the calling code of the country you’re in and label its digits ABC. Travel to a country whose calling code is a prime number with a tens digit that’s either double A✕C or half A✕C. (If a country is part of the North American Numbering Plan, ignore the 1 and use just the three digits that follow it as its calling code.) Given the three options for the country you’re coming from, there are two possible destinations, with pic sum 32.Fortunately none of the numbers in question are are two digits. The target numbers are 4 (Angola's 244), 7 (Botswana's 267), and 2 or 8 (Mauritania's 222). Eliminating every obvious non-prime (divisible by 2, 3, or 5) and numbers without matching digits from the list leaves six options, none of which have a 4: Fiji (679 = 7*97), Grenada (473 = 11*43), Monaco (377 = 13*29), Nepal (977 is prime), Senegal (221 = 13*17), and Kosovo (383 is prime).
  29. Travel to one of the seven countries (pic sum 145) in which the country and its capital have the same number of letters as one another, but their starting letters are neither the same nor alphabetically adjacent. (In this case, use the names of the countries as they appear on a map, not as they appeared on TV.)These are Angola/Luanda, Botswana/Gaborone, Fiji/Suva, Mauritius/Port Louis, Poland/Warsaw, Paraguay/Asuncion, and Rwanda/Kigali. The clarification removes countries with eponymous capitals (Djibouti and Monaco) and also Mauritania/Nouakchott.
  30. From its capital, stay at the same latitude and travel to a non-island country. Given the three options for the country you’re coming from, there are three possible destinations, with pic sum 48.Botswana, Fiji, Rwanda, and Poland have already been mentioned (Paraguay, Botswana, nothing, and the Netherlands). Asuncion hits the south of Botswana. Port Louis hits both Botswana and Paraguay. Luanda hits PNG, but that's an island country.
  31. Travel to one of the six countries (pic sum 92) whose 2-letter ISO 3166 code is a legal Scrabble word.These are Eritrea (ER), Laos (LA), Liechtenstein (LI), Morocco (MA), Mauritius (MU), and Tonga (TO).
  32. Travel to one of the five countries (pic sum 82) whose flag contains a circle but doesn’t contain an animal. Don’t forget to check the backs of the flags!These are Grenada (star in circle), Laos, Liechtenstein (small circles on the crown), Palau, and Rwanda (in the sun). The animal caveat excludes the orbs held by Bhutan's dragon and Paraguay's coat of arms (which has a lion on the back).
  33. Travel to one of the two countries (pic sum 45) with a national anthem whose title, in English, contains NOBLE.These are Botswana (Blessed Be This Noble Land) and Mauritania (Country of the Proud Guiding Noblemen).

From these details, working out the itinerary works a little bit like a sudoku. While a country having a single use is not necessarily indicative of a forced column until the one unused country is found, other sudoku deductions are possible:

 

Steps 27 and 33 each have the same two potential destinations (Botswana and Mauritania). As such, both must be used on these steps, and other possibilities that require them are no longer possible—and the two are used on a lot of steps. Step 25, for instance, has both; eliminating Mauritania from this row eliminates Guinea from the prior step, and Grenada from the step before that. Eliminating Mauritania from Step 2 perpetuates into eliminating Barbados from Step 3 and then into eliminating the only remaining possibility for Lesotho on Step 4. Thus Lesotho can be determined very early on to be the unused country; however, this logic puzzle is still solvable without that knowledge.

One such elimination forces Nepal onto Step 14, which forces the Netherlands on Step 18. Nepal is also one of two remaining options on step 28, which forces Qatar -> Mauritania -> Kosovo for 26-28. The Netherlands's placement forces 29-30 to be Mauritius -> Paraguay. In turn this forces Honduras in step 6.

Samoa is forced in Step 16 (the Botswana step eliminated Botswana and indirectly eliminated Fiji via Step 17), which forces PNG in Step 7, Angola in Step 17 and Guinea in Step 10. This forces the first few steps to be Senegal to Liechtenstein to Grenada.

Steps 23-25 are also forced (Eritrea -> Laos -> Bhutan); this forces Step 22 (Fiji) and Steps 12 and 13 (Morocco -> Lebanon). The rest of the grid can now be obtained from "single" deductions on steps (i.e. there is only one possibility for that step).

After obtaining the order, fill out the itinerary, then follow the line for the final cluephrase USE UNUSED IMAGE AS MAD FOLD-IN. Folding the unused LE SOFA image such that the middle section is hidden reveals the answer.


Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

Content Warning - This puzzle has adult content and comedy that some might deem to be objectionable.

Instructional Puzzle - Below the tweet and the telegram form is an itinerary, presented as a list of instructions à la First You Visit Burkina Faso.

Knowledge Required (Geography) - Every instruction involves some kind of geography knowledge to determine which countries it can travel to.

 

Knowledge Required (Television) - Between the content of the tweet and the Alphanumeric Substitution Cipher hint in the like and retweet numbers, the puzzle hints that it's actually about Last Week Tonight—and more specifically, the episode of Last Week Tonight that aired on the date of the tweet (3 March 2019). A segment early on in the episode lists off a number of fake names for countries, many vulgar in nature.

Hint in Title - The puzzle is actually called First You Visit Bikini Fatso (the full title is redacted due to the aforementioned content warning, among other things); this is the fake name used for Burkina Faso.

Rebus - Below the itinerary are a bunch of pictures, many vulgar in nature. They are pictorial representations of one of the fake names. Each provides a letter count for its "name", the number of times it might be traveled to in the itinerary, and a number used for additional checksumming.

Logic Puzzle - Following the instructions correctly thus becomes a kind of logic puzzle.

Marked Elements - Once the correct itinerary is determined, the telegram can be filled out. Following the lines on the grid...

Final Clue Phrase - ...results in USE UNUSED IMAGE AS MAD FOLD-IN, asking solvers to examine the one unused image...

Obscuring the Unnecessary - ...and perform a fold-in on it for the answer to the puzzle.