# Wizard Woods (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

Wizard Woods
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Wizard's Hollow
Author(s)Asher Walkover
Statistics
No. solves35
No. total guesses97

Wizard Woods is a text adventure from the Wizard's Hollow round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt. It [INSERT BRIEF DESCRIPTION]

## Solve Path

As with any text adventure, the first thing to do here is attempt to map out the area.

Unfortunately, this proves difficult—the solver will quickly discover that this map has non-sensical geometry. While each individual step is reversible by walking backwards, multiple steps do not follow this same logic; one can walk continuously towards the east or southeast and end up in a cycle. Trying to map out the whole thing on a single graph is a fool's errand.

The best one can do, then, is a table.

While mapping, solvers may notice the ladder tracks connecting up to two directions at any given location. One can follow the tracks, moving in the direction linking up to the direction they just came from, until they reach a dead end; they can then work in the other direction to find the other end of the ladder. Altogether, there are six ladder tracks to map out.

Tracks are numbered for ease of reading; they are completely arbitrary.

"Map"
Origin Direction Destination Track
START N Fruit Remains S
Fruit Remains S START S
NW Jewelry 6
NE Animal 6
E Company 1
SE Crop 1
Clothing (Elder) NW Thin Dough 1
N Actor Rehearsal 5
W Color 5
E Unit of Length 3
Thin Dough W Animal 2
NE Actor Rehearsal 3
E Crop 1
SE Clothing 1
S Unit of Length 3
Crop (Daft) W Thin Dough 1
NW Fruit Remains 1
SE Company 3
S Alcohol 4
Company (Apprentice) W Fruit Remains 1
NW Crop 3
E Actor Rehearsal 3
S Fish 1
Fish W Jewelry 2
NW Actor Rehearsal 5
N Company 1
E Animal 5
SE Animal 2
S Tree 2
Jewelry W Bird Part 4
NW Color 2
N Animal 4
E Fish 2
SE Fruit Remains 6
S Bird Part 6
Color W Tree 4
N Tree 2
E Clothing 5
SE Fish 2
Tree NW Bird Part 4
N Fish 2
E Color 4
S Color 2
Animal (Fledgling) W Fish 5
NW Fish 2
N Alcohol 4
NE Unit of Length 5
E Thin Dough 2
SE Unit of Length 6
S Jewelry 4
SW Fruit Remains 6
Unit of Length W Clothing 3
NW Animal 6
N Thin Dough 3
SW Animal 5
Actor Rehearsal (Chilly) W Company 3
SE Fish 5
S Clothing 5
SW Thin Dough 3
Alcohol (Bespectacled) N Crop 4
E Bird Part 6
S Animal 4
Bird Part W Alcohol 6
N Jewelry 6
E Jewelry 4
SE Tree 4

But why ladder tracks? Talking to the wizards will reveal an object that they wish to turn into something else. Each initial object is indicated as a capitalized four-letter word.

This combination should lead solvers to deduce that the ladder tracks each represent a word ladder, with rungs clued by the objects in the clearings. One should now determine these ladders, perhaps by identifying four-letter words that fit the category and have valid transformations in either direction.

 Fish CARP Company CORP Fruit Remains CORE Crop CORN Thin Dough COIN (dough here as in money) Clothing COIF (a kind of cap)
 Thin Dough PITA Animal PIKA Fish PIKE Tree PINE Color PINK Jewelry LINK Fish LING
 Crop FARM Company FIRM Actor Rehearsal FILM Thin Dough FILO Unit of Length KILO Clothing KILT
 Crop BEET Alcohol BEER Animal BEAR Jewelry BEAD Bird Part BEAK Tree TEAK Color TEAL
 Color ROSE Clothing ROBE Actor Rehearsal ROLE Fish SOLE Animal MOLE Unit of Length MILE
 Alcohol WINE Bird Part WING Jewelry RING Fruit Remains RIND Animal HIND Unit of Length HAND

There is still the matter of the wizards, though—and just using the objects as linkages doesn't seem to make sense anymore. Well, what about tracking the individual letter changes instead?

"Map"
Origin Direction Destination Transformation
START N Fruit Remains N/A
Fruit Remains S START N/A
NW Jewelry D -> G
NE Animal R -> H
E Company E -> P
SE Crop E -> N
Clothing (Elder) NW Thin Dough F -> N
N Actor Rehearsal B -> L
W Color B -> S
E Unit of Length T -> O
Thin Dough W Animal T -> K
NE Actor Rehearsal O -> M
E Crop I -> R
SE Clothing N -> F
S Unit of Length F -> K
Crop (Daft) W Thin Dough R -> I
NW Fruit Remains N -> E
SE Company A -> I
S Alcohol T -> R
Company (Apprentice) W Fruit Remains P -> E
NW Crop I -> A
E Actor Rehearsal R -> L
S Fish O -> A
Fish W Jewelry G -> K
NW Actor Rehearsal S -> R
N Company A -> O
E Animal S -> M
SE Animal E -> A
S Tree K -> N
Jewelry W Bird Part D -> K
NW Color L -> P
N Animal D -> R
E Fish K -> G
SE Fruit Remains G -> D
S Bird Part R -> W
Color W Tree L -> K
N Tree K -> E
E Clothing S -> B
SE Fish P -> L
Tree NW Bird Part T -> B
N Fish N -> K
E Color K -> L
S Color E -> K
Animal (Fledgling) W Fish M -> S
NW Fish A -> E
N Alcohol A -> E
NE Unit of Length O -> I
E Thin Dough K -> T
SE Unit of Length I -> A
S Jewelry R -> D
SW Fruit Remains H -> R
Unit of Length W Clothing O -> T
NW Animal A -> I
N Thin Dough K -> F
SW Animal I -> O
Actor Rehearsal (Chilly) W Company L -> R
SE Fish R -> S
S Clothing L -> B
SW Thin Dough M -> O
Alcohol (Bespectacled) N Crop R -> T
E Bird Part E -> G
S Animal E -> A
Bird Part W Alcohol G -> E
N Jewelry W -> R
E Jewelry K -> D
SE Tree B -> T

Starting from the wizard, there is a unique ladder of letter transformations to transform the starting word into a (clued but not explicitly stated) target word:

 START Company RANK E Actor Rehearsal LANK S Clothing BANK W Color SANK N Tree SANE N Fish SAKE (rice wine)
 START Alcohol MEWS S Animal MAWS W Fish SAWS N Company SOWS (female farm animals)
 START Actor Rehearsal COLD W Company CORD S Fish CARD (e.g. a joker)
 START Crop TINS NW Fruit Remains TIES E Company TIPS NW Crop TAPS S Alcohol RAPS (some Eminem songs)
 START Clothing RAFT NW Thin Dough RANT W Animal RANK S Jewelry DANK E Fish DANG N Company DONG (foreign currency, here Vietnamese)
 START Animal WARE S Jewelry WADE W Bird Part WAKE N Jewelry RAKE (gardening tool)

The directions are the only parts of the puzzle that haven't explicitly been used yet. Following the directions traces out lowercase letter shapes; arranging these letters in order of the wizard descriptor (which ranges from A-F) yields the answer.

## Puzzle Elements

Interactive (Text Adventure) - The puzzle takes the form of a reduced text adventure: there are only nine valid commands (the eight cardinal/ordinal directions and TALK), and all interaction is done via buttons.

Word Ladder - The central conceit of the puzzle.

Follow the Arrows - The paths taken by the new word ladders trace out letter shapes (assuming path lengths are one unit in each direction).

Arrangement By Consecutively Designated Emblems - The adjectives describing the wizards start with letters A-F, and the corresponding letters are ordered in this way.