The Aerialist (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)
|MIT Mystery Hunt 2020|
|Big Top Carnival|
|Author(s)||Shelly Manber, Todd Etter, and Jesse Morris|
|Answer||Click to revealDAME COMMANDER|
|No. total guesses||84|
The Aerialist is a puzzle from the Big Top Carnival round of the 2020 MIT Mystery Hunt.
Puzzle Elements[edit | edit source]
Flavortext - Penny Park's famed aerialist is quite an elegant and powerful woman.
Video - The puzzle is a single video of an acrobat in an aerial silk performance, accompanied by a mellow backing track and an occasional gong.
Semaphore - During the gong sounds, the aerialist pauses briefly in a position with legs or arms extended. Each position can be decoded as a semaphore letter.
Interwoven Strings - Decoding directly yields gibberish. However, one can separate the letters by how the aerialist formed them: arms or legs, and right-side-up or upside-down.
Spatial Reasoning - Doing so yields sane-looking extracts of JUDI and BRITISH on the right-side-up letters but gibberish GXGLK and DKUVW on the upside-down letters. However, since the upside-down letters were formed... well, upside-down, rotating the semaphore letters 180˚ before decoding reveals the correct extraction of TITLE and DENCH.
Final Clue Phrase - The four extracted words can form a cluephrase in the proper order: JUDI DENCH BRITISH TITLE. This leads to the answer.
Asked and Answered - The flavortext mentions an "elegant and powerful woman", of which the answer is one example.