A Boy and His Dog (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

A Boy and His Dog
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Big Top Carnival
Author(s)Jan Chong, Jesse Morris, Yar Woo
AnswerClick to revealSMURF TURF
No. solves17
No. total guesses76

A Boy and His Dog is an image-heavy puzzle from the Big Top Carnival round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

Flavortext - In this ride, a dog and his human friend keep finding cards with paw prints on it, but they seem to be having trouble putting them all together.

Image-Heavy - The puzzle consists of 54 images—18 in a single column on the left and 36 on the right, each with some number of paw prints.


Identification (General) - The images can be identified.

Pairs and Groups - Doing some counting on the images reveals exactly twice as many images on the right as on the left. It is reasonable to assume that one image on the left is to be associated with two images on the right.

Rhyme Time - The method for determining the matches involves associating a rhyming phrase (like space race) to particular sets of three images. Easiest to determine the matchings for are three images with a common theme, such as three space-themed images for space race or two poker cards and a poker chip for blackjack.

Hint in Flavortext - Recognizing the title and flavortext point to the children's show Blue's Clues is helpful for the previous step, though no knowledge of the show is required for this puzzle. More important to the puzzle is the last part, which hints that the paw prints on each trio of images need to be added together.

Indexing - This sum is an index into the phrase for each set.

Recursion - The result is another three words, GRASS FOOTBALL BOISE, which doesn't seem to resolve as a regular cluephrase. However, one can apply the mechanic for the puzzle again. Searching for football stadia in Boise leads to Albertsons Stadium, which has a rhyming nickname that is also the answer for the puzzle.