Solution: Huntinality 126.96.36.199.0.0.0
Answer: RUNTIME STACK
Authors: Violet Xiao, Shuxin Zhan
Dev: Violet Xiao
When opening the puzzle, solvers see a webpage that looks similar to the homepage, with some modifications that seem puzzly. In addition, the “Our Products” section has a new button labeled “Dive on in”, which, when pressed, causes the pictured mini-page to expand to the full size of the page. This new page is different from the previous, but also a page that looks similar to the homepage.
Solvers can “Dive on in” more times, to see up to 6 layers deep of different pages. (Alternatively, they can click the separate links in the puzzle page to jump straight to specific pages.) Each page contains a separate mini-puzzle to be solved. We will now go over each mini-puzzle separately.
Subpuzzle Answer: REACHINGBACK
This is a puzzle about the 12 verb tenses of the English language, controlled by the Venn Diagram of the “Who?” section and the countdown clock. The “When?” section displays whether we are in the past, present, and future, and the “What?” section gives the sentence “we rock” in which to apply the tenses, as well as the enumerations that gives the answer REACHINGBACK.
|Countdown clock||Venn Diagram||Proper tense|
|Future (positive countdown)||Simple||WE WILL ROCK|
|Present (0:00)||Perfect||WE HAVE ROCKED|
|Past (negative countdown)||Perfect||WE HAD ROCKED|
|Present (0:00)||Simple||WE ROCK|
|Future (positive countdown)||Perfect||WE WILL HAVE ROCKED|
|Present (0:00)||Perfect Continuous||WE HAVE BEEN ROCKING|
|Past (negative countdown)||Perfect Continuous||WE HAD BEEN ROCKING|
|Past (negative countdown)||Continuous||WE WERE ROCKING|
|Future (positive countdown)||Perfect Continuous||WE WILL HAVE BEEN ROCKING|
|Present (0:00)||Continuous||WE ARE ROCKING|
|Future (positive countdown)||Continuous||WE WILL BE ROCKING|
|Past (negative countdown)||Simple||WE ROCKED|
Subpuzzle Answer: ULTRASONIC
The hero banner is replaced with a banner of superhero quotes with one letter wrong. The correct letters yield the answer ULTRASONIC:
|Batman||This city just showed you that it’s full of people ready to believe in good.|
|Flash||Life doesn’t give us purpose. We give life purpose.|
|Groot||We are groot.|
|Iron Man||The suit and I are one.|
|Michelangelo||Wise man say forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.|
|Spiderman||This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spider-man.|
|Superman||It doesn't take X-Ray Vision to see you are up to no good.|
|Venom||Rolling down the street, like a turd in the wind.|
|Wolverine||You picked the wrong house, bub.|
|Wonder Woman||What one does when faced with the truth is more difficult than you’d think.|
Subpuzzle Answer: NEBRASKA
The “Our Community” section is replaced with a ring of buttons laid out in a hexagonal pattern, and a picture of a bee in a hexagonal grid. Pressing buttons makes the bee move positions, though some areas seem to be walled. There is also an indicator of if the bee is “getting warmer” or “getting colder”, indicating that there is a particular goal to be reached.
In addition, the “Our Values” section has been replaced entirely with a picture of the United States flag and some text. The text indicates to treat the stars as representing individual states, in the order of admission to the Union (with Delaware 1st and Hawaii 50th). Also, by hovering over the image, a pattern of a hexagonal maze is revealed. This maze corresponds to the invisible walls in the bee image, allowing solvers to navigate to the goal.
Once the goal is found, solvers can find that it corresponds to the 37th star in the grid, leading to an answer of NEBRASKA.
Subpuzzle Answer: TEAPOT
The register button on the bottom of this page has been replaced by an image and some text, and a larger, grayed out, register button. Attempting to click the button causes a note to be played–it turns out the horizontal position of where the solver clicks affects the pitch. Hitting the correct notes in sequences causes green dots to appear, with them all resetting if a wrong note is hit.
The image, when rotated 90 degrees clockwise, represents a music staff, with the frowny face becoming a bass clef. Each line of text (besides the very bottom one) has a single O, which corresponds to a note in the sequence that must be played.
By playing this sequence, the button turns green and the message “You win!” is shown. Pressing the button at this point causes an alert mentioning “Error 418” to appear. Looking this up, this code is a reference to the HTTP error code for “I’m a teapot”. Additionally, the solver may notice that the sequence of notes played was the melody to “I’m a Little Teapot”. Reading the text of the image, this suggests the answer of TEAPOT.
Subpuzzle Answer: IRIS
The “Our Team” section has been replaced by a section with the images replaced with colored circles with directional arrows. Like in the original homepage, each of the small circles is clickable, while the large one is not, and clicking a small image swaps its place with the large one. However, in this page, the colors of the circles always stay the same–only the arrows themselves swap.
Solvers will notice that at every step, the circles in the grid move according to the direction of the arrows. The goal is to simultaneously get each circle onto its corresponding goal in a corner. There is no exact prescribed method to do so, but a general method that works is to incrementally get each circle besides the red one in a corner, then maneuver the red circle to its goal while making use of walls near the corners of other goals so that the other goals don’t drift too far.
Once complete, the grid gives a “You win!” message, and displays four 3x2 rectangular boxes. Reading the contents of these boxes as braille gives the answer IRIS.
Subpuzzle Answer: ME
The register section at the bottom of the page (which had a picture of a jigsaw piece in the background) is replaced by a scrambled jigsaw puzzle. The pieces may be interactively dragged around. Solving the jigsaw gives the following image:
This image represents a scrambled 2x2 jigsaw (whose pieces can’t be dragged around). If the pieces were to be put together, with the arrow labeled “UP” pointing upward, it would display the text “ME”, giving the puzzle’s answer.
Putting it all together
In the puzzle, each page appears over the center of the previous, covering all but the very sides (the borders). Doing similarly with the answers, they could be arranged like so:
When viewed from the top, with letters above obscuring letters below, this reads as RUNTIMESTACK, the final answer. (Alternatively, solvers may notice that the first letters of the words in original order going down, followed by the last letters of the words in original order going up, spell out the answer.)
Early on in development, Peter was creating a lot of the site content, including the homepage. He showed me (Violet) the recursive mini-page he had made as a joke, but I convinced him that he should actually put it in.
Later on, I noticed that the answer RUNTIME STACK was still available, and would go great with a puzzle dealing with multiple layers of the mini-page. I ended up scrapping the idea because I felt like it would take a disproportionate amount of effort for just an intro round puzzle while we still had a lot of things to work on.
After we scoped out some of our plans to have interactive elements in the hunt, due to time and development constraints, I ended up wanting to revive this idea and recruited Sushi to help me. We brainstormed more content to put on the homepage and how they could be transformed into puzzles and got to work. A bit of the content there exists solely to serve as the backdrop to this puzzle (most notably, the Our Values section with the owl word cloud). It was perhaps not the most responsible decision at the time to immediately invest a bunch of dev resourcing into this immediately after deciding we didn’t have enough dev resources and needed to scope down, but at this point I’m glad we did it!