MN0PQ 8 Archive


This puzzle event took place at over the course of an afternoon near downtown Minneapolis, starting in Loring Park.

Overall, the event was a pretty straight-forward puzzle hunt. One exception to this hunt is that each puzzle had two answers:

  • an easier to find answer called the ‘key’, which leads to the next puzzle location using the map
  • the harder to find one-word ‘solution’ to the puzzle

So you didn’t have to completely solve a puzzle to move on (this helped groups of different skill levels maintain pace with each other).

The below will attempt to match the flow of the day.

Introductory Materials:
Code Book
Sanity Check


Once teams were assembled and registered, the Sanity Check rules were briefly covered, and the plot was introduced by the host:

“Thank you so much for coming today. I didn’t know who else to turn to, because my problem requires such keen, puzzling minds such as yours. I know that you guys are good at finding information in places that others are unable.

“My dear, _dear_ brother, Phineas, has been missing for the past two weeks now. And now, I fear for his life. Phineas was… he was a troubled soul. He would see connections where there were none. The last time I saw him, he was worked up about something he was researching. It was another of his conspiracy theories. He said there was a secret society called ‘The Literati’, who controlled world politics and guided human progress. He thought the Literati were onto something new, some grand and horrible scheme, and that he had the key to stopping it. He said that they would surely be after him now.

“And he ran away. I haven’t seen him since.

“That’s where you come in, puzzlers. I think you guys may be able to help me decode his notebook pages, and figure out where he is! The first puzzle, is contacting his known associates. I think they would be a good place to start in finding more of his notebook pages.

Here’s the information I’ve gathered so far about them. (Puzzle 0 is handed out).

Before each puzzle, teams were required to pass a small ‘interaction puzzle’ to receive their puzzle sheets. These are all described here, but otherwise had no bearing on the puzzle sheets received (aside from thematic connections).

Interaction Descriptions

Puzzle 0:

Puzzle 0 was a starting puzzle that played out over Loring Park.

Puzzle 0 Description

All of the subsequent puzzles were more traditionally handed out at each location, apart from the interaction puzzle that was required, as explained above. Other than that, the puzzles were just sheets that were solved on location. There were no other location-specific requirements to the hunt.

Puzzle 1 (Cross):
Puzzle 1 SheetHints/Walkthrough

Puzzle 2 (Positions):
Puzzle 2 Sheet –Hints/Walkthrough

Puzzle 3 (Bubbles):
Puzzle 3 SheetHints/Walkthrough

Puzzle 4 (Wikipuzzia):
– Puzzle 4 Sheets A BHints/Walkthrough

Puzzle 5 (Extremes):
– Puzzle 5 SheetHints/Walkthrough

Final Puzzle (Conspiracy):

At the final location, the teams meet Phineas in the Sky Pesher, who gives them the final puzzle and some plot:


“You found me, agents! I’m just on the verge of figuring out their plans, but it is very difficult. See what you can do with these, and we might be able to stop them before it’s too late!

– Part A Conspiracy Sheet

– Part B Card Stock Sheet (should be printed on thick stock if possible, suitable for constructing with)



The puzzlers then deliver the answer to Phineas:

“Thanks agents! You’ve figured it out! Of COURSE that’s the answer. Now quickly, we need to go contact my network of associates. They’ll surely have the perfect strategy to, the perfect way to, the… the… —- oh no.

For just at that moment, the Host from the beginning arrives, blocking exit.

“Well, it’s wonderful to see you again, Phineas. Thank you very much agents, for finding my dear, _dear_ brother Phineas. You’ve all done quite well – I wouldn’t have imagined that you puzzlers would be able to make any sense of his insane ramblings. But you did it. And you figured out about the tower…

“Well, now that Phineas is back home, safe and sound

(more lackeys appear from behind Host, and drag Phineas away, kicking and screaming).

“Now that he’s no longer in danger, I guess we can part ways, eh agents?

(puts on sunglasses, makes necklace featuring fish and orb and key much more noticeable – it’s the three symbols just as foretold in the phineas’s notes)

“Knowing what you know, dear agents, I wouldn’t be surprised that you would be fearful for your own lives. What with dangerous conspiracies abounding. But I think you can rest easy for now. Someone may still have some use for you yet.

“I’m afraid poor Phineas is too much of a danger to himself and others, however. He’ll have to go somewhere real safe.

“Good day, agents. And thank you.

THE END all spooky-like

Bonus Puzzle:

At all locations, a man with a hat was present holding a locked box. If teams approached the man and said the proper phrase (embedded in the above puzzles 1-5 as a hidden secret), he would give them a bonus puzzle sheet.

Bonus Puzzle SheetHints/Walkthrough

Standings for MN0PQ8, September 2010:

(* indicates they solved the final puzzle)
There’s no ‘All-Seeing Eye’ in Team 7400 points, * WON POINTS
Copperclad Alibi 7300 points, * WON BONUS
American Dairy Prevention Council 6100 points *
Dyn-O-Mite 4000 points *
Team Ender Wiggin 3800 points *
The Ghost of William Randolph Hearst 2100 points, * WON RACE
Team Discovery Channel 1400 points
Team Enigma 900 points
Sasquatchzilla 300 points
Unsubmitted, but courageous none-the-less:
Brainy Bunch,
Ingeniousus Dissimulatus,
Obey the Sheep-Biting Pineapple,
Team Mycroft,
Ümläüt Äbüsërs