MUMS: the word

Melbourne University Maths (and Stats) Society logoThis site has news from three exit game sites, two of which have not yet been mentioned before, all of which is nearly fit for publication but is just not quite there yet. Tease-y tease tease.

So, instead, follow-up to discussion two weeks ago of the Australian puzzle hunt tradition. The Melbourne University Mathematics and Statistics Society, whose logo is above, ran their annual puzzle hunt in early May. This was their eleventh hunt, or the tenth anniversary of the first; the first hunt’s co-ordination is credited to one Julian Assange, vice-president of the society at the time. Quite a legacy.

The 2014 hunt looks likely to be judged extremely favourably by history. There were 192 teams on the scoreboard, doubtless plenty of others who failed to trouble the scorers, and there has been an estimate of over 860 participants all told. That’s a huge achievement! It’s not a competition to have the biggest puzzle hunt; thanks go to all hunt organisers, whether their event is large or small. Nevertheless, the MUMS event is one of the world’s great hunts. (Particularly interesting is the comment “It’s human to want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. And man! This is big! Go puzzle hunt legacy!” at the bottom of page 11. Absolutely agreed, MUMS; with that in mind, consider yourselves firmly pointed in the direction of DASH and Puzzled Pint…)

This year there is even a behind-the-scenes document that is a must-read, a particularly fine example of the type. One cute sidenote is that one participant was cryptic crossword creator, writer and media personality David Astle, who blogged about his experience and very entertainingly discussed it on his radio show (well worth a listen: go about 6’45” through, and there’s three minutes about the hunt). Astle also played a role as dictionary expert on Letters and Numbers, which might effectively make him the Australian Susie Dent.

Congratulations to Wild Goldfish: Lumber Support, the winning team, and to every other team happy with their record of success. A particular tip of the hat to the tenth-placed ManMaths team, solving all 20 puzzles plus the meta, who derive their name from mathematics in Manchester – the one in the UK! – and are heavily associated with the marvellous monthly Puzzlebomb.

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