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“Trick or Treat!” and “The Search for Mr. Mystery”

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First up, this one’s a classic “MSP style” puzzle that our loyal fans will enjoy. Take a pass at “Trick or Treat!” by Kevin Zhou, Carnegie Mellon University.
[Download PDF]

Secondly, not your typical MSP puzzle, but a fun “treasure hunt” style diversion that made us smile! Check out “The Search for Mr. Mystery” by Jacob Zirkle, Howell High School.
[Download PDF]

  • Hint from the editor: The password will be an initial-capitalized 4-letter word, relating to (1) an extension of something, (2) a homophone of something, and (3) a part of something.

Solutions will be shared next week, alongside a new set of puzzles. See you then!

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[SPOILERS] “Cake Catastrophe” and “Twin Cities Logic Puzzles” Solutions

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We hope you had a great time solving last week’s puzzles! The solutions are below.


The answer to Madelyn Cox-Guerra’s puzzle, “Cake Catastrophe,” was THE U.S. BOTANIC GARDENS. [Download Solution Walkthrough]

In Madelyn’s words: The U.S. Botanic Gardens is a celebration of our nation’s flora. Washington D.C. is a heavy city weighed down by the gravity of politics and history. In the midst of all that, the Botanic Gardens provide a peaceful and unifying space for all to enjoy.


The answer to Sierra Grandy’s “Twin Cities Logic Puzzles” was MINNEAPOLIS SCULPTURE GARDEN. [Download Solution Walkthrough]

Sierra’s personal notes: I included local coffee shops that I enjoy, museums I have been on dates with my fiancé with, and place I have volunteered. All of the names that I included in the puzzle are friends and family of mine. Ultimately, the answer to the three puzzle is “Minneapolis Sculpture Garden”, because I went on one of my first dates with my fiancé there and now I go there regularly when I need to decompress.

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“Cake Catastrophe” and “Twin Cities Logic Puzzles”

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This week in Mission Street Puzzles Scholarship Edition, we have a delightful pair of logic puzzles to share! These have a slightly different kind of answer extraction mechanism than usual, but we’re still confident you’ll have a great time solving them.

“Cake Catastrophe” by Madelyn Cox-Guerra, The University of Minnesota Law School
[Download PDF]

“Twin Cities Logic Puzzles” by Sierra Grandy, Metropolitan State University
[Download PDF] Editor’s note: please use the following hints.

  • You decided to go to Peet’s on Tuesday or Friday, since your favorite barista there works those two days.
  • You were in Maple Grove for coffee earlier in the week than Minneapolis.
  • You were in St. Paul on Friday for coffee.

Solutions will be shared next week, alongside a new set of puzzles. See you then!

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[SPOILERS] “Mystery at the Mall” and “Takeout Troubles” Solutions

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We hope you had a great time solving last week’s puzzles! The solutions are below.


The answer to Jenna Miller’s puzzle, “Mystery at the Mall,” was ROOSEVELT FIELD. [Download Solution Walkthrough]

Jenna says: When I was a child, I viewed this shopping mall as an utopia. I was enamored by the rows upon rows of stores and how it felt like you could find almost anything and everything there. I thank this mall for helping me find some of my favorite hobbies – not just shopping, but also researching
malls and retail as a whole across America and around the world.


The answer to Michelle Volz’s puzzle, “Take-out Troubles,” was L STREET TAVERN. [Download Solution Walkthrough]

Michelle’s notes: Famous for being the bar in Good Will Hunting, this unassuming and homey watering hole is a Boston favorite for locals and tourists alike!

My all-time favorite movie is Good Will Hunting, so this bar has a special place in my heart. The movie even inspired me to apply to MIT for graduate school. Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled to get in and I am so excited to be able to spend the next two years learning from the amazing and brilliant faculty. And of course, the puzzle scene is incredible, an extra bonus. 🙂 How ‘bout them apples?! 😀

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[SPOILERS] “A Two-Story Building” and “Pop Pop’s Perplexing Postcards” Solutions

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We hope you enjoyed last week’s puzzles written by our two of our scholarship finalists – check your answers below!


The answer to Zachary Wong’s puzzle, “A Two-Story Building,” was MYSTERIOUS GALAXY. [Download Solution Walkthrough]

Zachary adds this personal note: Mysterious Galaxy is a bookstore in my hometown that specializes in (among other things) fantasy novels, which has always been my favorite genre both to read and to write. I’ve spent many hours in the story simply browsing the shelves and picking out books to read, and on one memorable occasion, I met my favorite author there (Brandon Sanderson) during a book signing. To me, Mysterious Galaxy is the archetypal small bookstore: quiet, comforting, and in the end, home to so many more than just two stories.


The answer to Jonah Nan’s puzzle, “Pop-pop’s Perplexing Postcards,” was LETTERMULLEN. [Download Solution Walkthrough]

Jonah’s personal note:

The 2019 MUMS [Melbourne University Math and Statistics Society] Puzzle Hunt featured a homophone-themed puzzle in which solvers extracted “lettermullen” and were supposed to submit the final answer ISLANDOFIRELAND, a step which my team was stuck on for days. It was frustrating at the time, but now it’s one of my favorite puzzling memories because of how satisfying it was to finally get it and how obvious it seems in hindsight. To me, Lettermullen represents the frustration of being stuck, the joy of finally getting unstuck, and the “aha” moments of puzzling that stick with you for years.

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“A Two-Story Building” and “Pop Pop’s Perplexing Postcards”

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We’re thrilled to share another high-quality pair of puzzles from our student puzzle writers this week:

“A Two-Story Building” by Zachary Wong, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
[Download PDF]

“Pop-Pop’s Perplexing Postcards” by Jonah Nan, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
[Download PDF]

Solutions will be shared next week, alongside a new pair of puzzles. See you then!

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[SPOILERS] “Home in Hong Kong” and “A Puzzling Quest” Solutions

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We hope you loved the first couple of puzzles from our student writers this season – we certainly did!


The answer to Natalie Tsang’s puzzle, “Home In Hong Kong,” was THE PEAK. [Download Solution Walkthrough]

Natalie adds this personal note: My family comes from Hong Kong, China, but growing up as an Asian American, I did feel disconnected from my identity. Last year, I had the chance to live in Hong Kong for three months. The Peak holds a special place in my heart as it was the first place I visited during my trip there, and it symbolizes an acceptance and understanding of my Asian American identity to me.


The answer to Clayton Hull’s puzzle, “A Puzzling Quest,” was DIAGON ALLEY. [Download Solution Walkthrough]

Clayton says: Everything in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios from the music, to the brick roads, to the giant dragon sitting on top of Gringotts came together to make it feel like I stepped into a magical world! It was then that I discovered my love for theme parks. Diagon Alley is meaningful to me because it inspired my dream to become an imagineer for Disney Theme Parks.

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Congratulations to Our Scholarship Winners!

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Thank you to all of the students who wrote and submitted puzzles for the Mission Street Puzzles scholarship! We were absolutely blown away by the quantity and quality of the applications. As our judging team test-solved each puzzle, every single submission put a smile on our face, and it was extremely difficult to narrow down the pool to just one winner.

…so we decided to choose two winners! Huge congratulations to both of our scholarship prizewinners:

Odin McDermott (Whitman College), whose puzzle was entitled “The Inflight Magazine”

Ben Coukos-Wiley (Rochester Institute of Technology), whose puzzle was entitled “Bridges”

Starting in two weeks (July 15th) we will begin posting some of our favorite puzzles for the Scholarship Edition ten-week series. You’ll have the opportunity to solve Odin’s and Ben’s puzzles as part of this series. See you all then!