Foreign Box Office (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

Foreign Box Office
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Creative Pictures Studios
Author(s)Mark Gottlieb
AnswerClick to reveal📚
No. solves26
No. total guesses69

These days, a profitable movie has a little something for everyone.

Foreign Box Office is a text-heavy puzzle from the Creative Pictures Studios round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt. It is presented as a PDF detailing the plot of a fictional James Bond movie.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

One-File Wonder - The puzzle is in the form of a PDF...

Text-Heavy Presentation - ...despite only having text.


Knowledge Required (Linguistics, World Languages) - As hinted by the first few lines of the text, this puzzle is actually about false friends—peppered throughout the work are a rather large number of place names or nationalities. Positioned near them is a word to translate into that language; elsewhere in the text is that translation, but the word is also orthographically identical to an English word (or in one case an abbreviation) and is used in that context. The first such instance, for example, is "to die in Honolulu"; make ("die" in Hawaiian) appears exactly once in the text.

Connect-The-Dots - After finding all these pairs, turn once more to the initial few sentences to figure out what to do with them: namely, for each pair, draw a line between the periods at the end of their sentences. (This is only possible if the puzzle is presented the same way to everyone, hence its presentation as a PDF.) Doing so draws out the answer.