Map Quests (Huntinality 2022)

Map Quests
Huntinality 2022
CTO (Brick Zander)
Mapquests logo from the puzzle, modelled after the Mapquest logo.
Author(s)Benji Nguyen
AnswerClick to revealOCEANOGRAPHY
No. solves138
No. total guesses425

Map Quests is a geography and word puzzle from the CTO round of Huntinality 2022. The main premise of the puzzle is aesthetically and functionally based on the navigation service from the early 2000s known as MapQuest.

Solve Path[edit | edit source]

Solvers are initially presented with a series of mapquest-styled directions, as well as a wordsearch grid at the bottom of the page.


While they may be able to identify some words or phrases in the grid, there's no way to determine which are actually important and which are red herrings. However, if solvers do attempt this, they will likely notice the text in the top and bottom rows of the grid that say:


Hopefully, this is enough to deter people from focusing on the grid. Instead, looking at the maps, they should be able to identify what locations the maps refer to. While some may be easily identified by solvers who have knowledge of their properties/locations, there are some that are certainly easier to identify by looking up the content of the directions. These include the 6th (Wogglebug and Jack Pumpkinhead are from the Oz series), 7th (Tiger Lily and Tick-Tock are from Peter Pan), and 12th (the Forge of the Giants is a location in Elden Ring).

The more that people identify, the more likely they'll be able to figure out the connecting factor of each of the locations. Namely, that each map refers to a location with "LAND" in the name, such as The Land of Oz, Neverland, and The Lands Between for the 6th, 7th and 12th respectively. Additionally, by identifying each of the locations (and finding maps of them), solvers should be able to plot the journeys referenced by the directions for each one. As mentioned in the instructions at the beginning of the puzzle, these should be strings of compass directions, but it will likely be unclear what these are to be used for.

At this point, the "beginnings" from each trip, the names of the lands, and the word search are unused, but if solvers have taken a look at the grid, they may have identified some possible words or phrases that will end up being useful. As it turns out, if solvers strip out articles and "LAND" from each of the locations, they can find synonyms for the remaining words in the grid (such as OUNCE for OZ, WHEN PIGS FLY for NEVER, and AMONG for BETWEEN (but not AMONG US)). These entries in the grid happen to be the same length as the Y in each set of direction's "Start at Xth of Y" phrase.

At this point, knowing that there's not much left to use, solvers should attempt to use the directions from each map with the word in the grid that relates to its land. By starting at the letter noted by the start of each directions and travelling in the compass directions letter-by-letter, more words can be spelled, one per set of directions. In the order that the directions are presented, these words form the following phrase:


While this instruction may not entirely make sense due to the way it's arranged, it can be interpreted in the following way:

Find terms from chapter titles from a novel with a setting that contains "LAND" and a word meaning "AWE"

The most fitting novel (which is also conspicuously missing from the rest of this puzzle) is Alice in Wonderland (WONDER = AWE), which also happens to have 12 chapters. This allows for association of one chapter to each of the twelve words in the word search. In fact, looking at each of the chapter titles from the book, each has a single word that can be found in the grid, specifically crossing one of the 12 Land words.

While solvers may initially attempt to reorder the letters marked by these crossings by chapter number, this is actually not necessary. Instead, they can just read the letters in the grid in reading order, resulting in their final answer.

Track Differences[edit | edit source]

As with the other puzzles in this hunt, there are differences between the casual and expert tracks' versions of this puzzle. However, in this case, the only difference is a change to the flavortext between the two versions. In the Casual version, Click to revealthe word "lands" in the flavortext is bolded to emphasize the importance of places with "land" in the title.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

Parody - Of the 'Mapquest' website.


Hint In Flavortext - The flavortext mentions "Lands", a word shared by all of the locales used in the puzzles. This part is even bolded in the casual version of the puzzle.

'Other Way' Message - The wordsearch isn't supposed to be done first. To drive people away from it, the top and bottom rows contain the message "Stop. Read maps first. You do this later."

Geography (Maps, Fictional and Real) - While maps don't need to be ID'd from images here as is the usual case for map-based puzzles, it is important that they're found, as accurate directions are very important for the second half.

Ordinal Directions - The instructions say as much; cardinal and intercardinal directions are both needed to get proper messages from the wordsearch.

Identical Substrings - As solvers identify the source of the directions, they should notice "LAND" or "LANDS" showing up in every name. This is important (or rather, important to remove for the next step).

Synonyms - Once the LANDs have been removed, the remaining (non-article) words have synonyms that can be found in the...

...Wordsearch - An important note: while the bulk of the wordsearch isn't boggle-style, some words can be found that way, and need to be found that way to properly solve the puzzle.

Enumeration - With how many words are in the grid, the enumerations given at the start of each set of directions are important to identify exactly which word is to be used.

Indexing - Similarly, the index (Xth of Y) shows solvers which letter to start with for the next step, which involves...

...Directions to Spaces - Once solvers have a starting point and a set of ordinal directions, they can make words boggle-style in the grid to chain together a huge new cluephrase.

Alice in Wonderland - A conspicuous absence from the rest of the puzzle, and one that's needed to solve the final part of the puzzle. As it turns out, words from the book's chapter titles can be found in the grid crossing the original entries.

Letter Intersections - Looking at where these intersections happen, solvers can extract their final answer (in reading order of course).