It's a Clown Puzzle, Bro (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

It's a Clown Puzzle, Bro
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Big Top Carnival
Author(s)Rich Bragg, Nick Baxter
AnswerClick to revealAMERICAN LEAGUER
No. solves20
No. total guesses91

It's a Clown Puzzle, Bro is a puzzle from the Big Top Carnival round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

Flavortext - The clowns need to position themselves for the show.

Image-Heavy Presentation - The puzzle consists of 23 images of a clown holding a balloon. Each clown has an image on their face and another on the balloon, as well as a number for each.


Identification (General, Image) - The images can be identified. For the balloon images, the strings to identify have a letter count indicated by the number. For the clown images, though, there's a mismatch—and not in a way that suggests indexing is a valid option (some strings are too short).

Knowledge Required (Sports - Baseball) - Googling some of the less ambiguous balloon IDs together reveals that all of them are baseball terminology. Likewise, the clown IDs can be identified as nicknames for various famous baseball players; the player's last name is enumerated using the number on the clown's body, indicating that the last names may be important information.

Hint in Title - "That's a clown question, bro."

Hint in Flavortext - The keyword here is position—in the context of baseball, this refers to the nine fielding positions, each of which is given a number.

Indexing - Each player has a (primary) fielding position, which provides a number that can be indexed into the baseball term matched to each player.

Alphabetical Reordering (Consecutive) - The images are ordered initially in alphabetical order by the balloon image, hinting that a reordering is necessary. The players from the clown images have last names with unique initial letters between A and W; order by this letter.

Final Clue Phrase - The result is the phrase JUNIOR CIRCUIT BALLPLAYER, a clue for the final answer.