6 Craziest Places to Hide the Coin

By Codex Zouche-Nuttall, Page 2 of 2

#3. The Kickoff's Lectern

They always say it’s in the last place you think to look. A rational person would say that’s because you stop looking when you find it. In this case it’s because it’s the one place where nobody would be stupid enough to put it: where everybody already was, in plain sight.

If she’d’a kept on going down that way, she’d’a gone straight to the coin.

The coin has taken many forms over the years: a wooden cube, a science-fictiony device, and even an honest to god coin! So a lectern isn’t even that unusual by historical standards. But one way to make sure it doesn’t walk off over the course of the weekend is to make it a piece of wooden furniture weighing hundreds of pounds.  Copies will be made available online.

Make sure you have somebody strong enough to take the coin!

The best part is that so often, when you realize the solution to a puzzle, you feel like an idiot for not noticing it sooner. Showing the coin to every team in the opening minutes of the hunt, then leaving it unguarded all weekend, is just the same thing writ large. We were really hoping for a faster hunt this year.  Unfortunately, though you may all be great at puzzles, you’re horrible at the obvious.

#2. In Mountain View, CA

You’ve reached the end of the hunt.  At the end of two days solving puzzles, you’re probably desperate to spend more time in a dimly lit, confined room with a bunch of people who haven’t spent as much time showering as you might like.  Yes, time for the final runaround!  But first, one small thing - you’ve got to go buy your plane tickets.

Probably the furthest you’ll ever get from your parents’ basement!

Get ready for a 6 hour airplane trip to the other side of the country.  Manic Sages isn’t going to pay for this one because the hunt is already run on a shoestring budget.  Go call your parents for some pizza money, and ask for a few hundred extra.  If you still can’t get enough money for a ticket, go to UPS and get inside a shipping box - just make sure to take a drill for some air-holes.  More likely you’ll be crammed into some economy cabin with 300 of your best friends.  Hope you don’t miss the flight.

Hope you slept well!

Once you’re there, the final run-around takes advantage of all the interesting sites in the area.  The beautiful bay view, the Computer History Museum, the beautiful bay view, all the tech companies in the area (the good ones, anyway), and the beautiful bay view.  Once you’ve finally found the coin, you have the best of all things to look forward to - another long flight home.

#1. Inside a Bank Vault

You think the theme of this year’s hunt was just for flavor? Haven’t you learned that flavor text is the best hint? Yes, all these puzzles are training you hunters for the real runaround, which is planning a heist on the vault at the MIT Federal Credit Union. We sure hope you’ve been reading up on bank heists, because planning is key.

Better hope you’re smarter than they are!

The puzzles were each designed to help you overcome one of the real security measures the bank uses.  Hopefully you copied all the work done by your off-site solvers, as you’ll be a little preoccupied to call for puzzle research once you start.  Remember the PIN from the first round?

The combination is a 20x20 cryptic crossword puzzle.

To up the realism, their guards haven’t been warned to expect you.  Be sure to duck if they pull out guns!  And once you’ve dealt with the stress of committing a felony, running next year’s hunt will be no sweat.

Second place is a bit of a disappointment this year.

After you complete the break-in and collect the coin, you’ll have to design puzzles for your own hunt next year. Don’t worry too much; you’ll have plenty of time. The theme will be even easier to come up with: might I suggest, “Break HQ Out Of Prison”?