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To All Teams:

ACME and VILE, in a daring display of resource pooling, have just sat down
to talk together, and we'd like to report on the state of the Hunt.  No
one is on the coin trail; indeed, no one has the trail yet.  We're looking
to see how we can help teams move forward.  The hints in this email are
part of that process.

We've set up a hint email line,  You won't
necessarily get an email reply to this email, but instead we will try to
call you back to discuss the issues.  When you send the email, include
your team name, room number, the telephone line to call, and if necessary
the person we should ask for to discuss the puzzle in question.  If you
have many questions (up to five), try to include them in a single email.

We've put up the "Have You Tried" list from Acme's solving last year; it's
linked in from the front page of the ACMEcorp website.  It's last year's
list, and it's a little Acme-specific, but it might spark some good ideas
on your end.

OK, on to the hints. Some general notes:

* When solving a puzzle, look at what information you have and what you
don't, and consider why you might have been given what you have and why
you might not have been given the information you haven't.

* If you have information that you think is the right information and
you're not getting anywhere with it, ask your teammates.  You have smart
teammates, and even more to the point, someone who hasn't been staring at
a puzzle may have a new insight.  When you've been staring at a puzzle,
it's sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees.

A note about ordering: we don't believe in anagrams (that are more than,
perhaps, three or four letters).  As a generalization, the information you
get from a puzzle is either in the right order, or contains a method for
ordering it.

3.3 "Cans and Donations"

Most of you have probably realized what you need to be looking at here.
If you don't know what to do with it, consider the second paragraph of the
flavortext and see if any strange words leap out.  They might have
something interesting and relevant in common.

3.4 "Stained Glass"

There are three different pieces to go through here, each clued in the
flavortext.  The relevant clues in the order you want them are: "...these
exact colors..."; "...changes..." (perhaps in the context of " of
eight..."); and "...pacing around on [the floor]."

3.8 "The Price is Right"

Don't trust that online sources have the right information for this one.
You should be able to tell in each case when you've got the right

3.9 "Unprecedented Discovery"

Most of you have probably realized that these are "odd men out."  The
flavortext suggests that something is missing from each set; figure out
what those things are.

3.10 "Lost in a Maze"

No one seems to have much direction on this one.  It isn't necessarily as
scary as it looks.  It's a puzzle that benefits from showing it to lots of
people on the team.  Try and get yourself in the mind of the creator: what
was their task?  How would you go about creating a puzzle like this?

3.11 "Property of Others"

Read them aloud.  To course 21 majors if need be.  These should be pretty

4.4 "Three Square Meals"

It's a lot of data, but it should be suscpetible to the right analysis.
Look for the patterns (and, if need be, consider the title in the context
of what you learn).

4.8 "Light Reading"

If you don't have all the information, read the flavortext and previous
hints (which are on the website).  If you have all the information you
need and can't make sense of it, take a step back.  It's not as hard as
you think.

5.2 "Antiphony"

Figuring out what all of these are is, obviously, pretty crucial to
solving the puzzle.  Looking up "antiphony" might also help.

5.3 "Making a List"

If you can't get started on this at all, look for the clues in the
flavortext.  If you can't get finished, you should know that the order
(well, one order) is the correct one.

5.4 "Standard Excuses"

The excuses the people are making may not add up to something suspicious.
The signs, on the other hand...

5.5 "Mad Liberation"

If you think you've finally got a story you like, you're most of the way
there.  Consider What the waiter says.

5.6 "Pop Quiz"

OK, yeah, it's hard.  Work out as much as you can and see if you can piece
together the answer from that.  (If you've got the opposite problem--lots
of knowledge, no idea how to decode--consider the last line of flavortext
and the rather odd numbering.)

5.7 "Guys'll Eat Ivy Too"

Cryptic clues?  Just the opposite!  (Read the title again.  And maybe

5.8 "Mad Props"

Yes, yes, these are hard to websearch.  It's possible to piece it together
with partial information.

6.2 "Background Research"

Personally, I love movies.  They're something of a pain to watch in
libraries, though, aren't they?  It's like you can't enjoy them

6.4 "Second Game"

If you've identified many of these and can't get anywhere with it, try to
figure out what they have in common.  (Or in a sense, what they fail to.)
Compared to, say, putting the engineering puzzle in "Popular Mechanics,"
the boss behaved somewhat oddly.

6.6 "Time's A-Wastin'"

Each clock has a different encoding.  Getting one of them should help you
get a feel for the sorts of things that might be going on.

7.2 "Johnny"

Don't forget that image 7 is displayed somewhat strangely--that wasn't an

7.3 "Set Match"

Intimidating, but look for ways to read the information in sensible ways.
(Don't forget to order it properly if you feel you need to.  Look for
mechanisms.  We're not *gratuitously* cruel.)

7.4 "Mixed Drink"

Perhaps not as complicated as you think.  Figure out what the symbols are;
use the directions in the recipe to figure out what to do with them.

7.5 "Folderol"

We suspect people have the object assembled and can't "read the unused
letters" properly as the directions state.  Six letters are circled; use
the circles as a guidepost in reading the rest.

7.6 "Squiggles"

Scary, isn't it?  But wholly tractable.  The text *is* English, we
promise; the writing system is completely invented; and the gimmick, well,
consider the flavortext.

7.8 "Dream Getaway"

Keep at it.  Get the information and see what develops.


Dating: Nothing much of interest actually happened on any of these days.
(Well, perhaps on one of them; it was of interest to *some* people.)

Drawing: Yes, you have to actually draw these things.  You can even do it
without an Etch-a-Sketch.  Once you have the drawings...well, the
flavortext refers to "sketchiness" for obvious reasons and to
"perspicuity" because the artist in the video draws a comic of that name.
What else does it say?

Ikebana: It's not what you have, it's what you don't have that counts.

Knitting: That's not a typo, there in the flavortext.  And yes, it's
perhaps nonstandard, but the right person should be able to analyze this
properly.  (And the right person shouldn't be too hard to find; you
probably have a number of them.)

My ABCs: very straightforward in its mechanism; just find these on campus.

Subtraction: The justification is relevant.  Pair the lists up...somehow.
Needing to become "The One" in "reality" sounds like Matrix flavor, but
there's something more familiar to modern-day Americans that this might
refer to.  Those words tell you what you're dealing with; 'Subtraction'
and 'ultimate fate' tell you what to do with them when you've got them.


(We know not everyone has these.  Hold on to the hints if you need to.)

Ballroom: Not as scary as it looks.  What have you done with it?  OK, and
did you follow up on that?  (And are you drinking enough water?  Not a
hint, just good advice.)

Breezeway: Some of these are based on somewhat more obscure facts, but not
too terribly obscure.  And they're all findable.  Sort through it,
organize the information, and look at what you've got.

Auditorium: Those broken displays...looking at the pixels that are working
is helpful.  But so is looking at the information that would be displayed
if all the pixels were working.  (What would you expect to be displayed
there?  It probably is.  Just hard to read.)

Garage: Well, identify them; that's a good start.  After that, well, look
for a mechanism for getting an answer.

Hall of Chess: we don't know what's giving people trouble here.  The chess
game should get you an almost-unique recent history of the game.  The
logic should disambiguate it and get you a good ordering.  Then...well,
look over the flavortext and think about what that piece of paper actually

	--you know who we are by now.

All information copyright (c) 2003 ACMECorp, Inc. All rights reserved.