Tips and Links
Whether you're new to the puzzle hunt scene and need a couple of footholds to get started, or you're a puzzle-solving veteran but need to be inspired, we here at the USC Puzzle Hunt have compiled a list of useful tips and links for your benefit.
A majority of these tips have been compiled from a list provided by the Princeton Puzzle Hunt. Go over to their blog, which contains not only these tips, but other useful information as well!
Also, the folks in charge of the MIT Mystery Hunt created a document, Have You Tried..., that consists of an extensive list of techniques to try.
Encoding and Obfuscation
One of the simplest techniques used by puzzle writers is to hide a message or answer using some system of encoding. Some of the more common examples are...
- Alpha-numeric substitution; e.g. A=1, B=2, C=3, ...
- Area and country codes.
- ASCII, Morse Code and other telecommunications encodings.
- Ciphers of various sorts, most notably Caesar cipher and Pigpen cipher
- Maritime Signal Flags and Semaphore
- NATO Phonetic Alphabet
- Resistor Color Bands
In addition to the methods of obfuscation above, there are some puzzle formats that come up at least once a year for any given puzzle hunt, namely...
Other Useful Tools
In addition to the above links, other useful resources include your favorite search engine (I prefer Google) and Wikipedia. Wordplay-centric databases that allow for wildcard word-searching include the OneLook Dictionary Search and One Across.