Post- Magazine

hunting for clues, eschewing the blues

Purpose is hard to come by in the winter. But in the spring? And on the weekend? It's easy to find purpose on spring weekends. From here on out, the G-Cal populates itself. This weekend, it is Yves Tumor, and last weekend, it was Brown Puzzlehunt. Serendipity had brought newfound acquaintances from the Sex Power God party to the 2nd Annual Puzzlehunt, expanding our team from 6 to 15. It seems the saying about Brown is true: Thrill-seeking daredevils come for the mankinis but stay for the Blue’s Clues* cameo.

At noon on Saturday, we waited out technical difficulties by snacking and meeting the friends of friends. In our home base on the second floor of Salomon, it was clear that having a good time was on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Many had put aside their DL assignments, taxes, illness, and in my case, writing this vignette, to be fully present in that little bubble of child-like wonder, suspended in time. 


With the puzzles varying in type and difficulty—the easiest of which was to read (and reread) a 5,000 word story (no less than 14 times) to retrace a murderer’s steps, and the hardest of which was to not eat the orange Starburst tantalizingly placed in a Ziploc bag labeled “DO NOT EAT”—the team organically devolved into subgroups as people took the lead in different puzzles that captured their personalities and expertise. For me, a good three hours was spent on solving the murder of a chess-automaton builder through backwards deduction in the aforementioned 5,000 word story. The God of the Labryinth (purposely misspelled), was written entirely from scratch by a Puzzlehunt writer, and is a brilliant reference to one of Borges’ stories in Ficciones on the life of the fictitious Herbert Quain. The prompt hints that the easy solution provided in the story is purposefully misleading, and a careful reexamination allows readers to crack the hidden code and deduce for ourselves the true murderer. Next to me, my teammates poured their hearts into uncovering the secret message within TikTok cat videos. 

In the short lulls between puzzles, I couldn’t help but look around the room and have my suspicion confirmed: Nothing feels better than hard work rewarded by accomplishment, with friends old and new, in a sun-soaked space touched by distant jazz music from a festival on the Main Green. The hum of the room that afternoon was punctuated by elated exclamations of triumph and the sudden declaration that one was in dire need of a bathroom break but just couldn’t break away from the task on hand.

It was well past dinner time when we realized we were famished. The sun had long since set and a purifying fluorescence lit the room. For someone who couldn’t shake the yoke of inauspicious stars that placed her in Orgo in senior spring, I wondered how it was possible I didn’t need more than just a bathroom break in eight hours, but require a solid two hour nap, multiple recesses for snacks, and a few YouTube videos to watch lectures back to back.

Now I won’t point fingers at who came up with the idea to pull an all-nighter, but at 8:00 a.m. when we emerged from the back ramp of Salomon onto the sun-bathed Ruth Simmons quad after being locked-in for 20 consecutive hours, we exited as winners. We saw Brown anew in the crisp morning light. Warm wind rained little pink petals down on us as we set off for Louis. The little bubble was about to be popped, but before it did it had delivered us squarely into spring. We admired the flowers on our little walk to breakfast, remarking repeatedly that these beautiful blossoms surely weren’t here the day before. 

 *Steve Burns and friends (character actors from children’s television show Blue’s Clues) personally recorded the video clue provided on the titular puzzle “Blue’s Clues” for Puzzle Hunt 2024

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