Melbourne University Mathematics and Statistics Society

Puzzle Hunt Rules
Please note that the rules shown in bold have been updated.


  • To find a hidden object specified in the puzzles.
  • Gain as many points as possible by solving the puzzles using the least number of hints.


  • Each team can have a maximum of 10 members. Each member must provide a valid email address.
  • There is no other restriction on teams; in particular members do not need to have an association with the University of Melbourne or reside in Australia.
  • A team may use any source of information, including the internet and other people.
  • Any action deemed unsporting by the Puzzle Hunt organisers may result in disqualification. This includes, but is not limited to, contravening these rules, soliciting for answers or hints from the MUMS Committee or anyone involved in organising the Puzzle Hunt, and stalking the MUMS Committee or other teams.
  • MUMS Committee members may take part in the hunt but are ineligible for prizes.
  • To be eligible for prizes a team must have at least one team member who is able to physically collect the prize, and that member must be using his or her real name.


  • A set of puzzles will be released at midday on each day from Monday 7 April to Friday 11 April. There will be five such sets in total.
  • At midday after the day a puzzle is released, a hint for that puzzle will be given out. The day after a second hint will be released, and a third hint on the day after that.
  • Puzzles and hints will be posted on the puzzles page of this site. Teams will be notified by email when they are released.
  • Answers to puzzles are to be submitted online.
  • Guesses across all puzzles are limited to 100 per day. Guesses will only be deducted for incorrect attempts.
  • You may submit answers to any puzzle from the time of its release until the end of the hunt.
  • There will be 25 puzzles in total, with 5 on each day.
  • In addition to the puzzles mentioned above, a special "meta" puzzle will be released at noon on Day 6 (Saturday). The metapuzzle ties in all the clues from the previous puzzles to reveal where the hidden object is located. Note that you will need to have solved most, if not all, of the other puzzles in order to be able to fully solve the metapuzzle.
  • Solutions for all puzzles will be published upon completion of the hunt.

Puzzle Answers

  • Puzzle answers contain only alphabetic characters; they do not contain punctuation, numerals or spaces, and are not case-sensitive.
  • Puzzle answers are either a single word or suitably conjoined words, for example, "icecream". Note that "IceCream", "ICECREAM" or "iCeCrEaM" are all acceptable, but "ice cream" or "ice-cream" are not.
  • If the answer to a puzzle is a person, there may be several ways to represent that person by name, for example, "bush", "georgebush", "georgebushjr", "georgewbush" or "dubya". Our convention for this is as follows, in order of precedence:
    1. If the puzzle mechanism explicitly spells out an answer, the correct answer is always that, for example "johnso" (2005-2.4).
    2. If the puzzle describes a person via an object/concept/location which is named after that person, then the answer is the name attached to that object/concept/location, for example "indiragandhi" referring to the politician after whom the airport in Delhi is named (2005-3.4).
    3. If the puzzle gives only the person him/herself, the answer is the surname portion of the name under which that person is best known, for example "zemeckis" referring to the film director (2005-1.5).
    4. To clarify the above point: the correct answer for Paul David Hewson would be "bono" not "hewson", and the correct answer for "Thomas Cruise Mapother IV" would be "cruise" not "mapother" (unless Rule 1 or Rule 2 applies).
    5. If you are not sure which of the above applies, you should try all sensible forms. Remember that punctuation or spacing is never included with a puzzle answer.
  • Meta-puzzle answers are confirmed but not credited, for reasons of simplicity. Sometimes, multiple answers may be confirmable for a meta-puzzle. The confirmation message will inform you as to whether further confirmations are possible.
  • The answers have been thoroughly checked, but if you feel the official answer may be incorrect, you can email us. We will check the official answer, but we will not provide any hints (until noon, of course).


  • The team which recovers the object will be awarded the major prize.
  • Second and third prizes will be awarded based on score.
  • Upon solving a puzzle, a team receives the number of points it is currently worth.
  • Each puzzle is initially worth 5 points. For each hint we give out for a puzzle, a point will be deducted from its value, down to a minimum of 2 points.
  • Scoring stops when a team recovers the hidden object and returns it to the Puzzle Hunt organisers in the MUMS Room.
  • In the event of a tie in score, teams will be ranked by the number of puzzles they have solved. If there is still a tie, then ranking is by the time of their latest solved puzzle (earliest first).
  • Teams will be able to view their progress and also that of other teams via the Puzzle Hunt website.


  • The team which recovers the object will receive $200.
  • The highest ranked non-winning team will receive $100.
  • The second highest ranked non-winning team will receive $50.
  • Winners will be announced via email.