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Home Events Puzzle Hunt 2016 Puzzles Answers Meta - Time and Relative Dimension in Space
Solution for Meta - Time and Relative Dimension in Space (Answer = CLOCKTOWER SHADOW AT THREE PM)

The narrative is provided in the order of an external viewer, and out of order from the protagonist's point of view. We can join them together in a unique (cyclic) order.

Furthermore, three clues are provided in the narrative, which are:

  1. The sixth dial increments by 1 with with every time shift.
  2. The dial indicated by dial 6 will increase by 1 next time it ticks.
  3. Any two sets of dials will match in exactly 1 dial.

In addition, the meta image itself changes every hour, allowing you to obtain 24 of the 25 sets if you are patient enough. If you understand the mechanism perfectly and assume that the first two dials refer to the puzzle day/number, then you can actually obtain all 25 sets of dials from just knowing any one set of dials. That said, we wanted the meta to be highly solvable, so decided to let the meta image change every hour for extra redundancy.

The full (sortable, click on column header) table is as follows:

Puzzle OrderAnswerStory OrderTime Machine DialsLetterGrid Coords
1.1) Pursued by a BearHAMLET1(1, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1)H(3, 2)
1.2) StormEUROCLYDON23(1, 2, 5, 1, 1, 3)C(1, 1)
1.3) Eons ApartBERETTA5(1, 3, 2, 2, 4, 5)E(2, 4)
1.4) Diary of a StrangerMADMAN9(1, 4, 4, 5, 5, 4)M(5, 5)
1.5) LegendaryARTICUNO7(1, 5, 3, 4, 3, 2)T(4, 3)
2.1) Animal FarmPAPER TIGER8(2, 1, 3, 5, 4, 3)P(5, 4)
2.2) TheologyDECALOGUE20(2, 2, 4, 3, 3, 5)A(3, 3)
2.3) Choose Your Own AdventureKONIGSBERG2(2, 3, 1, 1, 5, 2)K(1, 5)
2.4) Now you will be gone!SWEET POTATO16(2, 4, 2, 4, 1, 1)W(4, 1)
2.5) Ship's TimeUSS HOUSATONIC19(2, 5, 5, 2, 2, 4)O(2, 2)
3.1) MouthsLAUGHTER15(3, 1, 5, 4, 5, 5)H(4, 5)
3.2) Build-A-PuzzleLEMON17(3, 2, 2, 5, 2, 2)E(5, 2)
3.3) MiddlemanMUSA14(3, 3, 3, 3, 1, 4)S(3, 1)
3.4) PedigreesWILLIAM GOPALLAWA3(3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 3)W(2, 3)
3.5) Hindu ShuffleSTACKED21(3, 5, 4, 1, 4, 1)C(1, 4)
4.1) See MiODE TO JOY22(4, 1, 4, 2, 1, 2)T(2, 1)
4.2) VSEPRTETRAHEDRANE24(4, 2, 1, 4, 4, 4)T(4, 4)
4.3) Wild MissingNo Attacked!NINTENDO11(4, 3, 5, 5, 3, 1)E(5, 3)
4.4) TrendsDALTON10(4, 4, 3, 1, 2, 5)L(1, 2)
4.5) Grid LogicDORAEMON13(4, 5, 2, 3, 5, 3)O(3, 5)
5.1) Power CircuitsZOLDER4(5, 1, 2, 1, 3, 4)O(1, 3)
5.2) Time's WheelDARKFRIEND6(5, 2, 3, 2, 5, 1)R(2, 5)
5.3) Obliquely DefinedREPAIR18(5, 3, 4, 4, 2, 3)A(4, 2)
5.4) Dream TeamBRENDAM12(5, 4, 5, 3, 4, 2)D(3, 4)
5.5) Writing on the WallRIVER SONG25(5, 5, 1, 5, 1, 5)R(5, 1)

From the way the grid and dials are placed, it seems reasonable to assume that dials 1 and 2 refers to the puzzle ID and dials 4 and 5 refers to the grid on the right. Since dial 6 is used extensively in the solving process (assuming you didn't just take 24 sets from the meta image), that only leaves dial 3 as the indicator for which letter to index. Indeed, we index the (dial 3)th letter from puzzle (dial 1).(dial 2) and place it in the grid at row (dial 4) and column (dial 5). The letter and new order are represented as columns in the table above.

Ultimately, the 5x5 grid will contain these letters:


which spells out the meta answer CLOCKTOWER SHADOW AT THREE PM.

Gold Trophy Notes:
The easiest way to find the object is to just go to the South Lawn at 3pm, and hope it's sunny enough that you can pinpoint exactly where the shadow is. Unfortunately, that may not always be feasible, particularly if the meta is first solved at 4pm and you want to be the first team to find the object.

We can use to determine the sun azimuth (318°) and elevation (22°) at 3pm on 13th May. Furthermore, we can estimate the height of the clocktower to be around 30m (a ballpark estimate will do) and thus narrow down the region where the object might be. Indeed, using these values, we can trace exactly where the shadow will be:

And the red cross indicated in the image is exactly where team Cat Fedora Group found the hidden object, a crocheted TARDIS, and saved Time. Congratulations to Cat Fedora Group!

Design Notes:
One of the first decisions made in this Hunt was to use completely freeform answers. This was partly because we had plenty of first-time contributors to the MUMS Puzzle Hunt, but also because many of them had written their own puzzles before in preparation for their own puzzle hunt. Instead of modifying lots of puzzles to use restricted answers, we decided we would accept all puzzles (and their answers) this year, and can think about a more restrictve meta next year. This turned out not to be completely true: after 23 puzzles were finalised we finally decided on the current meta string. It turned out that we could fit 22 of them, and one of them (Pedigrees, fortunately the most flexible one) had to be changed to begin with a W. The remaining 2 puzzles came after, with one-letter restrictions.