EPP10: The Abecedary
Congratulations GREEN TEAM!
The Green Team, consisting of: Captain Tracy Cobbs, Mark Brady, Katie Daniel, Heath Hopkins, David Jarrell, and Andrew Thomas, won my Tenth Puzzle Party (and also picked up the Day-Tripper Certificate along the way). The final scores for all teams were as follows:
* Opted for the Day-Tripping Party experience of only competing for the first 8 hours.
Analysis of team scoring over the 26 hour party (click to enlarge)
I hope to have more data about team scores and progress posted on the website soon.
Here is a list of electronic versions of many of the puzzles if you wish to get a feel for what the teams were up against. Of course, many of the puzzles required working specifically within the Auburn/Opelika, Alabama envronment, or were supplemented by physical pieces; but you should be able to solve many of the puzzles just from these links.
For the curious, clues to the Hidden Puzzle were embedded in these puzzles:
- K, announcement of Hidden Puzzle (bold question #8, enact fully on letter grid at bottom)
- F, "Goldfinger" (Au + finger)
- J, "Jefferson" (italics)
- L, "SHOW" (Braille)
- M, "Pete Conrad" (playing card code)
- P, "Earth" (symbol)
- R, "Gamma" (engraved on one of the dice)
- U, "New Jersey" (red number)
- V, "Leviticus" (yellow squares)
- W, "Lithium" (inside CD booklet)
- Z, "Poules" (underlined, "french hens")
Here are the 26 codewords that were engraved on the acrylic letters which teams sought. The Hidden Puzzle (which many teams suspected existed, but none solved) hinted that the players should focus on the third letter of each codeword...
This section will list any important announcements or errors about the Party or its puzzles. I will update it as needed throughout the duration of the Party. Errors about individual puzzles will also usually be listed in the "Notes" section of that puzzle on the teams online Scoreboard.
- 11:45am: Start Puzzle completed by everyone and scores entered on the scoreboards.
- 3:06pm: There is an error in the U-puzzle. In the second equation the "- 119579" should be "+ 119579".
- 3:30pm: There is an error in the A-puzzle that will cause it to be impossible to fully deocde the message. However, the puzzle DOES decode far enough for you to get a clear idea of where to go.
- 3:50pm: At 5:30pm I will take a "snapshot" of the scores for determining who will receive the Day-Tripper Certificate at the 6:00pm forum. Between 5:30-6:00 I will likely be unavailable for contact as I will be en route to The Independent Bar (203 Opelika Rd, Auburn). I expect your team be present there at 6:00pm. I will hand out Certificates at that point and we will have a Q&A session. You are allowed to be working on puzzles while at The Independent. My understanding is that there is WiFi access there.
- 11:50pm: There is a good chance that the baggie of Y-pieces is missing from their location. If your team calls me with the correct destination for this puzzle, I will give you the codeword that you would have found engraved on the piece, but you will not have the plastic piece for the Meta-Puzzle (if pieces do reappear, we will distribute them appropriately).
- 3:43am: In an earlier message I stated that because the Y-pieces seemed to be missing from their location teams should call in with the message from the puzzle, and if exactly correct, I would tell them the engraved codeword that they would have found on the Y-pieces had those not disappeared. I said that the teams would simply have to do without the physical Y-piece as far as the meta-puzzle is concerned. For fairness sake, I have changed my mind on the second part of that ruling. If you call in with a correct message not only will I give you the engraved codeword for Y, but your team may assume that you have possession on the physical Y-piece when working on the Meta-Puzzle. Of course, imagining that you are fitting the piece with the other pieces will take a bit of spatial dexterity, but that is fairer than not rewarding your team with the find. When you come to have the Meta-Puzzle graded, I have an extra copy of the Y-piece that you can use in your demonstration.
26-27 March 2011
The orientation and rules for the Start Puzzle for EPP10 will be held at the "Toomer's Oaks" at 9:30am Saturday! Be sure that your team is assembled there at that time. After the orientation, the Start Puzzle will begin promptly at 10:00am.
My Puzzle Party for 2011 will be another marathon, teams will have up to 26 hours to complete as many of the puzzles as possible, and score more points than the competition. Teams are now open for creation, so veterans of past Parties should start strategizing, and, of course, I encourage newbies to join in the fun.
The format for EPP10 will be similar to past Parties, but there will be some slight differences. The main change will be that I plan to award "Day-tripper Certficiates" to the team which is in the lead after the first 8 hours. The plan is to assemble all of the teams at 6:00pm Saturday evening at a The Independent (203 Opelika Rd, Auburn). There I will announce who is currently winning and distribute certificates. During the forum I will also answer up to three questions from each team concerning the puzzles (this is in lieu of an online hint system). The Q&A session will be aloud to everyone present (so you can maybe get a feel for what puzzles other teams are getting stuck on).
At the end of the forum/dinner teams may return to their headquarters and continue their solving (and, in fact, the venue supposedly has WiFi access, so you may be able to do some solving there). The Party will be officially called to an end at noon on Sunday, and at that point the real awards (trophies of some sort, as usual) will be handed out to the team who ends up with the most accumulated points (this could be the same team that was awarded the Day-tripper Certificates earlier).
I hope this format will be more agreeable to those who do not want to commit to all 26 hours of the Party. They can just try to get as many points as possible early on (wusses).
Team formation for EPP10: The Abecedary, will be similar to my most recent Parties: each individual will have a "cost" based on whether or not he or she has participated in past Parties and how many trophies he or she may have won. The cost for a person who has never participated in or helped organize a past Party (including all EPPs and APPs) is 6 Points. Players who have attended past Parties are worth 7 + [the number of trophies won]. A PDF listing of all past players (and trophies won) is available for review (if there are inaccuracies, please let me know).
If a person is not on that PDF list, he or she is worth 6 Points, otherwise: 7 + Trophies (the last column in gray in the spreadsheet indicates Trophies). Finally, if a player is attending EPP10 and is from out of town (away from Auburn/Opelika), they have their cost reduced by 1 (this reduction is not indicated on the list above.
The total value/cost of a Team roster for EPP10 may not exceed 52 Points.
Team colors may be reserved on a "first come, first served" basis; email me when you have at least two people ready for a particular team, and tell me what color you would like to be. At some point (no later than a week before Puzzle-Day) you will need to designate a Team Captain and I will need that person's (cell)phone number and email address for correspondence during the Party.
Currently I plan to accommodate up to eight teams. If they come close to filling up, and more people want to participate, I will entertain the idea of allowing more Team colors (Gray and Brown could be added).
|TEAM ROSTERS (team names are optional but encouraged)
|Math GTA Team A
||The A Team ("We pity the fools!")
|Kelly Bragan (8)
James Dabbs (8)
Robert Ford† (9)
Sean O'Neill (7)
Scott Varagona* (8)
|Rob Beaty (7)
Jessica Cobb† (6)
Robert Haberstroph (6)
Liz Hardeman (6)
Jen Jackson† (5)
Jeff LaMondia (6)
Ian Schaffer (7)
Billy Symon* (7)
|Miranda Burnette (7)
Eric Hayes† (6)
Ian Hoffman† (5)
Evan McDonald (6)
Melanie McDonald (6)
Viviana Valenzuela* (7)
Austin Yuill (6)
Thomas Yuill (7)
|Brandon Bakr (6)
Amanda Chu (7)
Rachel Decker* (7)
Samantha Knight (7)
Michael Laughlin (6)
Tausif Muzaffar (7)
Jamie Myers (6)
|Mark Brady† (11)
Tracy "Mr. T" Cobbs*† (11)
Katie Daniel† (6)
Heath Hopkins (9)
David Jarrell† (7)
Andrew Thomas† (7)
|Math GTA Team α
||Math GTA Team 1
|Anna Brice (8)
Daniel Brice (8)
Steven Clontz (8)
Chris Krizan (6)
Erin McMullin† (6)
Sean McNichols (6)
Charles Pilman*† (7)
|Amanda Kaye Bain (7)
Tanner Bain (7)
Jaye Herrod† (6)
Kelly Hollingsworth (9)
Mike Hollingsworth* (10)
Allison "Big Al" Miller† (6)
Amy Smith (7)
||Alex Byaly* (7)
Zack Sarver (7)
PJ Couch (6)
Kristin Courtney (6)
Rachel Watson (6)
Haley Steger (6)
Holly Steger (6)
Mark Peterson (6)
|Melanie Butler (7)
Amy Steinkampf† (7)
Caroline Tomlinson (6)
Jose Valenzuela* (8)
Megan Robinson (6)
Calvin Thomas (6)
Rob Wallis (6)
Wil Kilpatrick (6)
* Team Captain (my contact person for the team), be sure I have this person's phone number and email address BEFORE the day of the party.
† Out of town player (-1 to base cost)
"Un-teamed" players. These are players who have said they will likely show up on Puzzle Day, but for one reason or another have not yet settled on a team. If you are looking to bolster your team's roster, you may want to try to recruit these folks:
- No Un-teamed Players At This Time
Of course, you are also encouraged to invite other friends as well.
Types of Puzzles
Details about specific puzzles will remain unknown until the Party starts. However, I will provide this information (though it is subject to change up to the final moments):
There will be an online system to enter "codewords" obtained when hidden puzzle items are found. Correctly entering these codes will prove that various Main Puzzles were solved, and a running tally of points will be kept. At any point during the Party a team should be able to calculate with fair accuracy what their current total points are.
- The will be a "Start Puzzle" at the "Toomer's Oaks" trees in downtown Auburn where all of the teams will meet at the beginning of the Party. Players should be at that location at 9:30am Saturday for the introduction/orientation. As teams finish/solve the Start Puzzle, they will gain access to the Main Puzzles.
- There will be 26 Main Puzzles. Solving them will earn teams Points and also direct them to certain items hidden about town that will be used in the Meta-Puzzle.
- Using items gained from solving Main Puzzles, a Meta-Puzzle can be worked on to gain even more points.
As always, I will try to have a great variety of puzzles in both style and difficulty; some will be easy and accessible to everyone, other with require much skill with words, numbers, or computers... try to have a lot of skills represented by your teammates!
With a few exceptions most puzzles will have a base value of 1000 Points for the first team to solve them. Once a particular puzzle has been solved by one team, the value for that puzzle will decrease over time for the remaining teams. For every 2-minute increment after the "first solve time" the value of a puzzle will decrease by 1 Point. The maximum available points an unsolved puzzle is currently worth to your team will be displayed on your online "Scoreboard" (so a maximum potential value of less than 1000 Points would indicate that at least one team has solved that puzzle -- though you will not know which team) -- this will all be calculated for you online, you don't have to worry about the pesky arithmetic. The few puzzles that diverge from this scoring system will be worth a variable number of points (based on how "well" you do at them), and they are not subject to the time-decrement.
The only mechanism I am currently planning for hints on puzzles is the dinner/forum that I have mentioned at the top of this webpage. Certainly, during the Party before that forum I will not be fielding phone calls asking for hints about the puzzles. Teams are welcome to call me for the following reasons:
After the dinner/forum session I may allow for phone-hints, but I will probably not make that decision until the very last moment.
- You want to double check a possible location you think you are supposed to visit because of a puzzle-solve. Call up, ask "Should we go here?" I might ask a follow-up question or two, but I will likely just answer "yes" or "no". No fishing for extra information!
- You should call if you think there is a significant error in a puzzle (something beyond an obvious typo or such). I will announce significant errors on the Errata section of this webpage as well as on the online "Scoreboards" for each team. The first team to report an error in a puzzle might be awarded some Bonus Points to reflect the fact that the mistake they had to struggle through is immediately corrected for all other teams. However, any such Bonus Points are solely at my discretion and not up for negotiation. They will not be huge amounts of Points, more just an acknowledgement of which teams found which errors.
Here are some recommendations:
- Have at least four people on your team (and someone fairly familiar with the Auburn/Opelika area).
- You probably want a "team headquarters" where you will centralize during the Marathon. Your team may NOT be headquartered at my house (that's my headquarters).
- Having at least one player on your team that knows how to play Texas Hold'em Poker will be helpful.
- Have access to the internet, cellphones, digital cameras, laptops, printers and so forth.
- Have one or more vehicles at your disposal (you'll likely want to split up during the day).
- These things may also prove handy:
- Check back to this webpage for updates.