FAQ for Intern Puzzleday 2019

What is Intern Puzzleday?

The Microsoft Intern Puzzleday is an annual collaborative puzzle competition that challenges each team of 10 to 12 interns to solve a large number of original puzzles of all different kinds. Participants will have the chance to solve anything from traditional puzzles like crosswords, cryptograms, jigsaws, wordplay, and logic problems to wandering around campus to find landmarks or puzzles that have to be solved on location.

Who is Puzzleday for?

Puzzleday is for Microsoft interns and a limited number of their friends. Rule number 1 is "HAVE FUN!" It's a team competition so novice and hardcore puzzle solvers alike can participate. More information about registration is available on the Rules page.

When is Intern Puzzleday 2019?

Puzzleday begins at 10:00 AM on Saturday July 13th, 2019 in 33/McKinley. You should show up at 9:30 AM to meet your team and check in. We'll have a few announcements and then hand out the puzzle packets shortly after 10:00 AM. Puzzleday runs continuously, with answer submission ending at 5:30 PM. An awards and puzzle-demystification ceremony will be held shortly thereafter in 33/McKinley.

What equipment do I need?

Primarily your brain and a lot of imagination. Every member of your team should have access to a computer. Other devices with internet access, pens, pencils, and paper will be helpful. A pair of headphones or speakers may be desired. You can use any supplies from the copy rooms, but please take just what you need and return items like scissors and tape when you're done.

What about food?

University Recruiting will be providing lunch for every team. You must use this website to submit your lunch orders after you register your team. You may want to bring additional snacks for yourself and your team. The cafeterias will not be open. Since the event runs continuously without any breaks, you won't want to leave campus to look for food.

Who wins?

See the Rules page for more information.

How do we know if we've solved a puzzle?

Each of the puzzles has a simple final answer, either a single word or a short phrase. In some puzzles you are explicitly told how to get the final answer. In others, figuring out how to extract the final answer is part of the puzzle. You enter puzzle answers into the website and are immediately told whether they are correct. If you solve a puzzle and you get a long phrase it is probably a clue to a shorter answer. Try entering the phrase into the website. If the word/phrase is recognized and you get a "Keep going" or similar message, that means you entered a valid partial answer and are on the right track.

What is a "Metapuzzle"?

A metapuzzle is a special puzzle that takes the progress you've made from solving other puzzles and combines them in some way. It is not necessary to solve all other puzzles before solving the final metapuzzle. The metapuzzle will be clearly labeled for Intern Puzzleday 2019.

How do we solve puzzles that don't have instructions?

The implicit instruction for all puzzles is "Figure out the final answer." Puzzles without instructions are either classic puzzle forms, perhaps with a twist, or puzzles where the challenge is figuring out how to solve the puzzle. In the latter case, the key is usually to look for patterns or common bonds between the parts of the puzzle. For example, are many of the words spelled wrong? Have all the vowels been left out? Sometimes there may be a hint hidden in the puzzle.

What's the best way to win?

The best way to win is to solve puzzles quickly so that you get to the final metapuzzle. The best way to accomplish this is with teamwork. Many teams prefer to work individually on the easier puzzles and work as a group on the harder puzzles. If you get stuck, ask for help or switch to another puzzle. Make sure you keep track of which puzzles you've already solved and confirmed using the answer submission system.

What's the best way to lose?

Not having fun. If you're not having fun working on a particular puzzle, switch to another one. Don't worry, you're unlikely to run out of puzzles.

What if we're really stuck?

If you don't understand how to solve a puzzle, contact puzzle control. We may give you a hint or clarify the instructions. Aside from that, there are enough puzzles that you probably won't be stuck on all of them.

When do we get hints?

Puzzle control will provide hints during the event.

What are the prizes?

Each member of the three winning teams will receive a trophy and other theme-related prizes. Every participant receives a commemorative T-shirt.

Can I finish by accident, without solving the puzzles?

No. 😇

Do I have to register to participate?

Yes. If you miss the registration deadline, send mail to puzzle control at puzzhunt.

Do I have to be on the Redmond campus to participate?

Yes. While it might be theoretically possible for someone to help a team from a remote location, some of the puzzles will require you to visit locations on campus and team events like this really don't work when a team is not together in one location.

I'm not that good at solving puzzles and some of these puzzles look hard. Can I still participate?

Yes. As in any event like this, some teams and some players will be very dedicated. But the event is designed so that less dedicated teams will also have fun. It's also OK to have teams that consist of some hard core participants and some casual participants. There will be a variety of puzzles so there's a good chance there will be puzzles that you enjoy.

I have special needs and/or require the use of assistive technology. Can I still participate?

Absolutely. Puzzleday is a team event, and we find that many teams consist of people from different backgrounds and specialties. While it is the case that we provide printed copies of all puzzles to teams, we endeavor to make them accessible to all audiences. If you require alternate versions of puzzles, please reach out to puzzle control at puzzhunt before the event so we can prepare the materials. Upon request, we are able to provide digital files for a number of puzzles (enough to keep you busy) that are compatible with Microsoft Word and Windows Narrator.

How do I contact puzzle control?

Send email to puzzhunt. We will also provide you with a telephone number to contact us at during the event.