Rules

Format

  • The puzzleball tournament (i.e. the puzzlehunt) starts on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 and ends on Thursday, March 23, 2017.
  • Teams have a maximum size of 10.
  • Like other online hunts, puzzles will be released throughout the week on a timed schedule. For more information on what you can expect from the puzzles or tips on solving them, see the first question on our FAQ.
  • 5 puzzles will be released per day over 6 days (March 14-19), for a total of 30 puzzles.
  • Puzzles will be released at 1:59 PM PDT each day.

Scoring/Ranking

  • Solving a puzzle will earn your team some number of points. The point values will be provided with each puzzle.
  • Unlike some other puzzlehunts, point values do not decrease. Solving a puzzle at any time during the hunt will give you the same number of points.
  • Teams will be ranked using the following tiebreakers, applied in order:
    1. Total score.
    2. Average “adjusted solve time”. For each puzzle, the adjusted solve time equals the maximum of 1 day and your solve time. Essentially, this means that you can solve a puzzle any time within 24 hours of its release to get “full credit.”
    3. Timestamp of last puzzle solved.

Solving

  • Each answer is a string of letters A-Z. Lowercase letters will be changed into uppercase, and any other characters will be stripped before checking for correctness.
  • You have 50 total guesses for each set of 5 puzzles. If you legitimately run out of guesses and need more, feel free to contact us, though we won’t grant your request if we see that you were guessing random thematic answers, brute-forcing all 10-letter words that start with Q, etc.

Hints

  • Every day after the first, each team will receive 2 hints in the form of yes/no questions. These hints can be used on any puzzle open for at least 24 hours.
  • To use a hint, go to the puzzle’s hint page and submit your yes/no question.
  • In addition to a “Yes” or “No” answer, we may provide additional clarification/help depending on the circumstances.
  • Roughly one week into the hunt, we will start giving out additional hints, and we may be more generous with clarifications; we want teams to be able to solve most or all of the puzzles by the end!
  • We will respond to hint requests as soon as possible, but you might have to wait if none of us are available. To account for possible differences in response time, any time spent waiting for a response will not count towards your solve time on that puzzle.
  • If your question is unclear or too subjective, we may ask you to rephrase it, in which case this will not use up a hint. However, the time spent waiting will count towards your solve time: it’s up to you to ask questions that we can answer.
  • In the exceptional case that a team solves a puzzle while waiting for a hint response, we will refund the hint, and the time spent waiting for the response will not count towards the solve time. In other words, you should always submit an answer as soon as you get it.

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