Wizard Woods (MIT Mystery Hunt 2020)

Wizard Woods
MIT Mystery Hunt 2020
Wizard's Hollow
Author(s)Asher Walkover
AnswerClick to revealBUREAU
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[edit | edit source]

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.

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.

Ladder 1
Company CORP
Fruit Remains CORE
Thin Dough COIN (dough here as in money)
Clothing COIF (a kind of cap)
Ladder 2
Thin Dough PITA
Animal PIKA
Color PINK
Jewelry LINK
Ladder 3
Company FIRM
Actor Rehearsal FILM
Thin Dough FILO
Unit of Length KILO
Clothing KILT
Ladder 4
Alcohol BEER
Animal BEAR
Jewelry BEAD
Bird Part BEAK
Color TEAL
Ladder 5
Color ROSE
Clothing ROBE
Actor Rehearsal ROLE
Animal MOLE
Unit of Length MILE
Ladder 6
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?

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:

E Actor Rehearsal LANK
S Clothing BANK
W Color SANK
N Fish SAKE (rice wine)
S Animal MAWS
N Company SOWS (female farm animals)
START Actor Rehearsal COLD
W Company CORD
S Fish CARD (e.g. a joker)
NW Fruit Remains TIES
E Company TIPS
S Alcohol RAPS (some Eminem songs)
NW Thin Dough RANT
W Animal RANK
S Jewelry DANK
N Company DONG (foreign currency, here Vietnamese)
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[edit | edit source]

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.