By Pearl Mak
Members of the University of Maryland’s Puzzle Club hosted their first annual Puzzlehunt at McKeldin Mall April 1, in hopes of sharing their interests with others and to provide an enjoyable experience for those participating.
“Our club started out at as a group of friends that enjoyed writing and doing puzzles,” sophomore Puzzle Club Secretary and Computer Engineering major Danny Rong said. “Our main goal in all of this is just to create a fun event for the participants and ourselves. As long as everyone has a good time, then we have reached our goals.”
According to Rong, the Puzzle Club modeled the event after Carnegie Mellon’s PuzzlehuntCMU and MIT’s Mystery Hunt.
“We patterned our event after similar ones on other campuses but tailored to our campus,” Rong said. “We had to wrestle with a lot of internal struggles — with what kind of puzzles we wanted to write, how to divide up the work, etcetera. But as the semester went on and our event started to take shape, we had a better idea of what we were doing.”
Each participant received an 18-page packet with puzzles on each page. Puzzle Club members specially designed the puzzles, said “Puzzle Master” Matt Du, a senior Computer Engineering and Japanese major. The various puzzles range from a word search to decoding a sheet of music notes. There are puzzles that lead participants to different parts of campus as well.
During the Puzzlehunt, participants came together to solve different types of puzzles, which served as clues for a larger puzzle that revealed the final answer. The theme this year was “crime scene,” and people participated by solving the crime scene and determining the culprit.
“It all just seems very well thought out,” Mei Edwards, a sophomore and early childhood education major, said. “This packet is huge and the puzzles all look really difficult. But it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Each Puzzle Club member wore nametags with code names to match the crime scene theme. Du’s code name was Mr. E, for example. After each participant was finished with a puzzle, he or she would go to Du or other Puzzle Club members to check if their answer was correct. If it was correct, they may move on to the next puzzle. If it was not correct, they would stay on the same page and continue to solve the puzzle.
“We mostly just want attendees to have a fun time solving puzzles. Hopefully those who are new to puzzles will develop a newfound interest in puzzles and those more experience will still get a challenge,” Rong said. “Also those who are interested in puzzles can join our club as well and help make next year’s puzzle hunt even better than this year’s.”