Puzzle Hunt (or how to spend a weekend at work without working)

I spent almost every minute I was awake this weekend on the Microsoft campus; other than closing some bugs Saturday morning I didn't do any work at all.  I spent the rest of the weekend taking part in Puzzle Hunt 7 (Alice in Puzzlehunt).  The Puzzle Hunt is an annual event at Microsoft, it's a team event around solving puzzles, which eventually lead to a location on campus.  Once a team has solved enough puzzles to find the location, the game is over.  That didn't happen this weekend.  From 10am on Saturday to 6pm on Sunday 51 teams attempted the task.  The puzzles themselves were fiendishly hard.  In the first 24 hours we solved just 4 puzzles.  In the last 8 hours we solved 15 more.  There was a great variety of puzzles, from one that was just a keyboard with keys arranged in the wrong places, to a deck of cards and one that was printed in the Sunday New York Times - yes we had to go buy the paper and find where in it the puzzle was printed and then solve it!  Other puzzles sent us around the campus looking for physical clues on how to solve the rest of the puzzles.  One puzzle required us to get a pizza delivered...

It was a fun (but long and tiring) weekend.  Thankfully the team I was on didn't win.  If we'd had won we'd be responsible for hosting next years event and that doesn't look like a small task by any means.  Now I just have to wait a year until the next one.  That should be just about long enough to recover from this one!

Comments (6)

  1. Sean says:


    Sounds like fun! So, what does the winning team get as a prize?

  2. Sean,

    I’m not sure what they get as a prize (other than having to host next year), I didn’t go to the closing ceremony, I just tied up a bit in our team’s conference room and went home to sleep.

  3. Anonymous-PuzzleHunt-Organizer says:

    This year’s prize was a framed and partially mirrored picture of Alice. It was adapted from a classic Tenniel illustration and doubled to appear like a face card in a deck of playing cards.

    Previous years have also had token prizes, though the real prize is simply the satisfaction of your work (and the right to run the next hunt, of course).

    And you’re right, it is no small task running this thing…

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