Creatures from Outer Space (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

Creatures from Outer Space
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
The puzzle's icon, a building with a large green alien sitting on top of it.
Author(s)John Ananny, John Owens
AnswerClick to revealGREENBACKS
No. solves56
No. total guesses145

Creatures From Outer Space is an image ID puzzle from the Spaceopolis round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt. It predominantly features a series of pictures of American politicians, distorted in various ways.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

Image Heavy Presentation - Aside from the flavortext, the puzzle is made up entirely of the distorted images.


Image Manipulation - A rare case of solvers not actually having to restore the original images! Granted, doing so could help identify the individuals, and ultimately they're just resized to have odd dimensions, so the process is probably within the range of doability.

Hint in Flavortext - Multiple references to "looking down upon [the nation]" and being up high should clue solvers towards geography being important in some way.

Identification (Politics, US) - While geography is in fact important, this ultimately falls under the umbrella of political puzzles, as the geography that's important is US congressional districts. All the people pictured are members of the House of Representatives (from the time of the hunt, at least), and as such, each has a district assigned to them. Solvers can arrange these (ridiculously gerrymandered) districts so that they're resized and turned to match the pictures of their representatives.

Alphabet Lookalikes - If done correctly, the resizing of the districts should result in letters (or letter-ish shapes) being formed, spelling the final answer.

Asked and Answered - "What did these people really care about?" Prior to solving the puzzle, this acts as a hint towards finding their regions, but afterward it's just a witty little joke: Final AnswerGREENBACKS is slang for American money.