Hall of Mystery (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

Hall of Mystery
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Big Top Carnival
Author(s)Martin Reinfried
AnswerClick to revealBOLD STROKE
No. solves35
No. total guesses113

Hall of Mystery is a Cryptic Crossword (or rather, two) from the Big Top Carnival round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt.

Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]

Flavortext - The two chambers of the hall are wide open, with identical markings covering the floors. The chambers are always adjacent, but seem to move around, allowing the task described by the message at their centers to be accomplished in direct fashion. What will it take to master this hall of mystery?

Cryptic Crossword - The puzzle consists of two barred cryptic crosswords with identical grids, along with nine separate cryptic clues.


Schrödinger's Clues - However, not all of the crossword can be filled just by solving the clues—ten entries in each grid are left unclued. The nine separate clues can solve to two different answers, which fit in different grids. (This realization can also be achieved in reverse, by wheel-of-fortuning the entries from their crossings and parsing clues to obtain the answers.)

Intermediate Clue Phrase - The last unclued entry is in the center of each grid (and is directly highlighted). The words complete to CONNECT and ALL DUOS by filling in letters from squares with matching symbols.

Hint in Flavortext - The puzzle is more direct about how to pursue this—"the chambers are always adjacent, but seem to move around", in a way that allows a solver to CONNECT ALL DUOS directly.

Instructional Extraction - Positioning the grids adjacent to each other in each of four possible positions allows one to connect the ends of some of the pairs of words, using one straight orthogonal line of cells. The letters on this line form a word.

Recursion - Ordering the nine words obtained in this manner by the order of the clues at the beginning reveals another cryptic clue ("SEEMING TO RADIATE OVERCONFIDENCE INITIALLY BACKERS OF LAKE DEED") that can be solved two different ways. These two words together form a phrase, which is the answer to this puzzle.

Asked and Answered - Mastering such a confusing attraction as the Hall of Mystery may, indeed, require a BOLD STROKE.