The International Space Station and an Attempt at Puzzle Hunt Creation

Answers

This is really where the main aha moment of the puzzle comes in, and so it helps a lot to have a group of people all staring at the problem. Someone notices that there’s a book called “Harvest”, and there’s also a harvest moon. There’s a book called “Strawberry fields”, and there’s also a strawberry moon. You google “harvest moon strawberry moon” and find a list of twelve moons;

  • Wolf moon
  • Snow moon
  • Worm moon
  • Pink moon
  • Flower moon
  • Strawberry moon
  • Buck moon
  • Sturgeon moon
  • Harvest moon
  • Hunter’s moon
  • Beaver moon
  • Cold moon

You quickly see that each book has a word in its title from this list. Thus, you have an ordering for the books. If you order the books this way, then you have also ordered the cards, and so you have an ordered list of phrases. There are a lot of patterns one can use try to extract information from an ordered list of phrases. One is to just try taking the first letter of each phrase. Here, that’s obviously not sensical: TPCSNAACEASG. You could try to make an anagram from that, but then you wouldn’t need to have ordered the books in the first place. Another classic is to take the nth letter from the nth phrase; the first letter from the first phrase, the second letter from the second phrase, and so on. Here, that gives us;

THECAMPANILE

The Campanile is a well-known place on campus, namely the bell tower.

SatherTower

Thus, everyone runs from the engineering library to the Campanile, to look around. Under the bench outside the door, there is a package wrapped in a golden space blanket. The payload has been recovered! Now you all take it to my house and open it, where it contains birthday cake, and astronaut food like dehydrated ice cream and Tang. Enjoy!

the-payload

Next up is a short list of instructions on how to run this puzzle hunt, and a discussion of how the actual event went.

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