Minimalist Presentation

Puzzles with minimalist presentation contain little to no visible information in any format.

Puzzle Application[edit | edit source]

Puzzles presented in a minimalist fashion usually fall into one of several categories:

  • The puzzle is not really blank; there is information that is either too small or transparent to see. Alternatively, the puzzle only consists of whitespace characters, which is information that can be used to solve the puzzle.
  • The puzzle entirely resides elsewhere; usually the puzzle content is encoded in the title, but there could also be other externally visible features of the puzzle that form the entirety of the puzzle.
  • The puzzle is not meant to be directly solved, and instead must be backsolved, or bypassed entirely.

Strategies for these puzzles may include trying to find hidden information about the puzzle, such as copying the puzzle to clipboard and looking for any irregularities, flood filling an image with an image editor, or viewing the source code of the website or inspecting the internals of a file. Other approaches of attack may be to consider the title of the puzzle, or whether the structure of the round or hunt has any other peculiarities or quirks that might make the puzzle as presented unsolvable.

Additionally, pure metas, by virtue of only using the answers to the feeder puzzles in a round, could be said to have a minimalist presentation, forcing solvers to rely on only the flavortext and patterns from the list of answers.

Examples[edit | edit source]

Transparent or too small[edit | edit source]

  • Invasion of the Micronauts (MITMH 2009) (web) - The puzzle is printed in a very small font in a PDF. (The theme is justified as the rest of the puzzle is about flavors of quarks.)
  • This Page Intentionally Left Blank (MITMH 2013) (web) - After highlighting the puzzle, we see links to a large number of seemingly blank files, which must be interpreted in various ways in order to extract answers from them.
  • p1ctures (MITMH 2015) (web) - There are a series of images which must be accessed by changing the URL; the first image is transparent.
  • This Puzzle Intentionally Left Blank (GPH 2020) (web) - The entirety of the puzzle is various whitespace characters which form different minipuzzles.
  • White as a Sheet (Silph) (web) - There is a single link, which leads to a spreadsheet that appears to be blank. In reality, there are various formatting and formulas that allow the sheets to be extracted in various ways.

Puzzle content resides elsewhere[edit | edit source]

  • JFK SHAGS A SAD SLIM LASS (MITMH 2012) (web) - A memorable MIT Mystery Hunt puzzle, the title of the puzzle can be extracted to an answer.
  • HE COMES (Smogon Puzzle Hunt 3) (web) - The real title is a little more distorted than this, and is the entirety of the puzzle.
  • ✏️✉️➡️3️⃣5️⃣1️⃣➖6️⃣6️⃣6️⃣➖6️⃣6️⃣5️⃣5️⃣ (MITMH 2021) (web) - During the hunt, the title was a textable number, which led to the actual puzzle content.

Must be backsolved[edit | edit source]

  • Pokémon Island (MITMH 2018) (web) - This round contained six entirely blank puzzles, all evolutions of other puzzles that can be solved. The evolutions are answer transformations that must be deduced from the other pairs of puzzles.
  • ⊥IW.giga (MITMH 2021) (web) - One puzzle in each round of this building needed to be backsolved, effectively creating a "round in reverse".
  • The Wyrmhole (MITMH 2023) (web) - One round contains only puzzles without any content. It turns out this round is also a puzzle that you've already solved, which allows you to find the answers to these puzzles.

See Also[edit | edit source]