Melbourne University Mathematics and Statistics Society

Puzzle Hunt Rules

For past participants, rules in bold indicate those that have changed since the last hunt.


  • 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, soliciting and/or stealing answers from other teams or Puzzle Hunt organisers and intentionally sabotaging any aspect of a puzzle.
  • 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 11th April to Thursday 14th April. There will be four 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.
  • One puzzle this week will most likely require physical presence in order to obtain full points.
  • Puzzles and hints will be posted on the puzzles page of this site. Teams will be notified by email when the first set of puzzles 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 20 puzzles in total, with 5 on each day.
  • In addition to the puzzles mentioned above, a special "meta" puzzle will be released on Day 5 (Friday 15th April). The metapuzzle ties in all the clues from the previous puzzles to reveal where the hidden object is located.
  • 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", "iCeCrEaM", "ice cream" or "ice-cream" are all acceptable. The answer checker will automatically strip the answer of all non-alphabetical characters. In particular, if the answer is a phrase designating the proper name of something, for example: the movie `Love Actually', then the correct answer would be "loveactually", not just "love" (or "actually").
  • If the answer to a puzzle is ambiguous, 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.