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Some red (smoked) herring. Not helpful in solving puzzles.

Red Herrings are misleading elements of a mystery or puzzle, intended to lead the solver down an incorrect path or temporarily distract from the correct path. While less common in puzzles as an actual element, the phrase itself shows up quite often. It's commonly said that intentional red herrings should be avoided when writing a puzzle, as solvers will find enough of their own to follow. That being said, the phrase "red herring" has become something of a staple within puzzle hunts.

The words "Red Herring" have become synonymous with "Ignore this piece of information, it's not useful to you". Thus, red herrings in puzzle hunts are rarely intended to deceive; rather, they are a sincere (if humorous) warning to not subject oneself to needless confusion. Leaning into the humor of the phrase is also quite common, with writers finding more and more creative ways to say "This is a red herring".
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Did you know ...

  • ... that The MIT Mystery Hunt has been running annually since 1981?
  • ... that Test Solution Bees Ignore splits into two teams for the MIT Mystery Hunt, the competitive 'Swarm' and the beginner-friendly 'Hive'?
  • ... that Galactic Puzzle Hunt is an annual puzzle hunt run by ✈✈✈ Galactic Trendsetters ✈✈✈?
  • ... that this wiki was started by community member Emma Liddell?
  • ... that the puzzle type TEAMWORK TIME got its name from a series of puzzles from the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt?

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