November 2015 Puzzles Hints

  • A Signature Puzzle: Trying to solve the puzzle with Extreme Speed can’t hurt.
  • Anticron: This puzzle runs on two distinct 24-hour clocks, which is why you can be zoned out for half the time and still solve it.
  • When Is My Birthday Again?: Apparently, if you don’t want to tell your friends your birthday, you can tell one of them the month and the other the day. And if you really want to annoy them, you can change one of the days at the end so they have to work it out again.
  • Three for the Price of One: How do you get nine entries in the word bank from three puzzles? If you’re stuck at the start or the end, check near or between the corners.

When Is My Birthday Again?

As usual, you can check your answers here. Text above this horizontal rule is not part of the puzzle.

Solvers (in my local UTC−5 because I’m lazy):

  1. Lewis Chen (phenomist) @ 11-19 05:03:07
  2. Jack Lance @ 11-19 10:39:11
  3. Yoshiap @ 11-20 03:29:54

No, it’s not July 16 any more. “July” doesn’t even have 16 letters.

  1. January 4, January 6, January 9, February 6, February 10, July 16, July 25, September 4, September 10, September 16
  2. April 3, April 5, June 17, June 24, August 2, August 5, August 18, November 2, November 3, November 17
  3. April 5, April 9, May 1, May 5, May 8, July 6, July 24, December 1, December 6, December 9
  4. March 7, March 24, April 1, April 2, April 7, November 1, November 5, November 13, December 2, December 5
  5. February 8, February 11, February 13, March 11, March 23, April 4, April 8, April 15, October 4, October 13
  6. January 5, January 20, March 1, March 4, March 10, October 2, October 4, October 5, December 1, December 2
  7. March 6, March 8, March 18, April 10, April 25, September 6, September 15, November 8, November 10, November 15
  8. March 11, March 23, June 3, June 4, June 17, July 1, July 4, August 1, August 3, August 11
  9. January 1, January 2, April 1, April 4, April 8, September 2, September 4, September 13, October 8, October 21
  10. February 1, February 11, February 12, July 1, July 3, July 16, August 3, August 12, September 11, September 22
  11. January 5, January 6, January 17, August 1, August 6, August 18, September 5, September 18, November 1, November 24

A Signature Puzzle

As usual, there had to be something here. In fact, this year, there are several somethings. Hype!

This is based on an idea by chaotic_iak. You can check your answers here. Text above this horizontal rule is not part of the puzzle.

ETA 11/17 16:15 UTC−5: Adjusted spacing between the bottom numbers after feedback. The puzzle is otherwise the same, and solving should not be significantly impacted.

Solvers (in my local UTC−5 because I’m lazy):

  1. Yoshiap @ 11-17 18:28:34



There are 30 minutes until my laundry finishes.

It is 2:30 in the morning as I write this. Normal people are not awake at this time of day. It’s possible that normal MIT students are, though.

I’ve been meaning to blog for a while, but things happen and other things happen and still more things happen. From a state of total inexperience in the kitchen, I’ve already managed to single-handedly cook six six-person meals for my co-op, not to mention all the weird meals I make for myself (which is just as well, I don’t think they are of typically mentionable caliber.) I’ve already taken two exams in three of my classes and the big midterm for my fourth. Four puzzlehunts — Simmons, aquarium, Palantir, ΣUMS; five if you perhaps include Next Haunt. Six SIPB meetings. A few bottles of Soylent; I lost count and don’t want to check my room because that’ll disturb my roommate. Θ(3000) zephyrs. And after many weekends of eye-opening group practice, tonight I have to catch a flight to Rochester, NY for ACM-ICPC regionals.

(On the other hand, Drop Date for this term, the deadline for dropping classes, is yet to arrive.)

I really wanted to capture all of this somewhere. Still do. But words take time and even then they fail me. What can I say about all of this, in these thirty sleep-deprived minutes I barely manage to squeeze out of my schedule?

Life is hard, and in so many different ways. People are amazing, and in so many different ways. Time is such a painfully illiquid asset. I think I made the right choice coming here.


As readers of this blog probably know, I am not an MITAdmissions blogger. It was kind of disappointing at the moment, but now I rarely think about it except when I come up with good reasons why I shouldn’t be an MITAdmissions blogger. One reason is that I am not very good at coming up with advice that could generalize to a wide audience, even an audience only as wide as people at or coming to the ‘Tvte. (There can be only one!) This by itself probably wouldn’t be so bad because there’s plenty of generalizable advice to go around, but I also don’t like repeating well-known stuff. Don’t skip class, except when you really know when you’re doing, which you probably think you do when you skip class. Get enough sleep, maintain good study habits, set aside time to keep up with old friends, back up your zarking data, alternate alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, do not forget the factor of one-half when computing the area of a triangle. You get the picture.

There’s only one piece of advice I can say that I believe is generalizable to any degree, and in particular I think my past self would have appreciated and also had not heard, even in passing, from any other source: Get a Sharpie.

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