EPP10: The Abecedary

Congratulations GREEN TEAM!

The Green Team, consisting of: Captain Tracy Cobbs, Mark Brady, Katie Daniel, Heath Hopkins, David Jarrell, and Andrew Thomas, won my Tenth Puzzle Party (and also picked up the Day-Tripper Certificate along the way). The final scores for all teams were as follows:

Analysis of team scoring over the 26 hour party (click to enlarge)
* Opted for the Day-Tripping Party experience of only competing for the first 8 hours.

I hope to have more data about team scores and progress posted on the website soon.

Here is a list of electronic versions of many of the puzzles if you wish to get a feel for what the teams were up against. Of course, many of the puzzles required working specifically within the Auburn/Opelika, Alabama envronment, or were supplemented by physical pieces; but you should be able to solve many of the puzzles just from these links.

For the curious, clues to the Hidden Puzzle were embedded in these puzzles:

Here are the 26 codewords that were engraved on the acrylic letters which teams sought. The Hidden Puzzle (which many teams suspected existed, but none solved) hinted that the players should focus on the third letter of each codeword...



This section will list any important announcements or errors about the Party or its puzzles. I will update it as needed throughout the duration of the Party. Errors about individual puzzles will also usually be listed in the "Notes" section of that puzzle on the teams online Scoreboard.

26-27 March 2011

The orientation and rules for the Start Puzzle for EPP10 will be held at the "Toomer's Oaks" at 9:30am Saturday! Be sure that your team is assembled there at that time. After the orientation, the Start Puzzle will begin promptly at 10:00am.

My Puzzle Party for 2011 will be another marathon, teams will have up to 26 hours to complete as many of the puzzles as possible, and score more points than the competition. Teams are now open for creation, so veterans of past Parties should start strategizing, and, of course, I encourage newbies to join in the fun.

The format for EPP10 will be similar to past Parties, but there will be some slight differences. The main change will be that I plan to award "Day-tripper Certficiates" to the team which is in the lead after the first 8 hours. The plan is to assemble all of the teams at 6:00pm Saturday evening at a The Independent (203 Opelika Rd, Auburn). There I will announce who is currently winning and distribute certificates. During the forum I will also answer up to three questions from each team concerning the puzzles (this is in lieu of an online hint system). The Q&A session will be aloud to everyone present (so you can maybe get a feel for what puzzles other teams are getting stuck on).

At the end of the forum/dinner teams may return to their headquarters and continue their solving (and, in fact, the venue supposedly has WiFi access, so you may be able to do some solving there). The Party will be officially called to an end at noon on Sunday, and at that point the real awards (trophies of some sort, as usual) will be handed out to the team who ends up with the most accumulated points (this could be the same team that was awarded the Day-tripper Certificates earlier).

I hope this format will be more agreeable to those who do not want to commit to all 26 hours of the Party. They can just try to get as many points as possible early on (wusses).


Team formation for EPP10: The Abecedary, will be similar to my most recent Parties: each individual will have a "cost" based on whether or not he or she has participated in past Parties and how many trophies he or she may have won. The cost for a person who has never participated in or helped organize a past Party (including all EPPs and APPs) is 6 Points. Players who have attended past Parties are worth 7 + [the number of trophies won]. A PDF listing of all past players (and trophies won) is available for review (if there are inaccuracies, please let me know).

If a person is not on that PDF list, he or she is worth 6 Points, otherwise: 7 + Trophies (the last column in gray in the spreadsheet indicates Trophies). Finally, if a player is attending EPP10 and is from out of town (away from Auburn/Opelika), they have their cost reduced by 1 (this reduction is not indicated on the list above.

The total value/cost of a Team roster for EPP10 may not exceed 52 Points.

Team colors may be reserved on a "first come, first served" basis; email me when you have at least two people ready for a particular team, and tell me what color you would like to be. At some point (no later than a week before Puzzle-Day) you will need to designate a Team Captain and I will need that person's (cell)phone number and email address for correspondence during the Party.

Currently I plan to accommodate up to eight teams. If they come close to filling up, and more people want to participate, I will entertain the idea of allowing more Team colors (Gray and Brown could be added).

TEAM ROSTERS (team names are optional but encouraged)
Math GTA Team A The A Team ("We pity the fools!")
Kelly Bragan (8)
James Dabbs (8)
Robert Ford† (9)
Sean O'Neill (7)
Scott Varagona* (8)
Rob Beaty (7)
Jessica Cobb† (6)
Robert Haberstroph (6)
Liz Hardeman (6)
Jen Jackson† (5)
Jeff LaMondia (6)
Ian Schaffer (7)
Billy Symon* (7)
Miranda Burnette (7)
Eric Hayes† (6)
Ian Hoffman† (5)
Evan McDonald (6)
Melanie McDonald (6)
Viviana Valenzuela* (7)
Austin Yuill (6)
Thomas Yuill (7)
Brandon Bakr (6)
Amanda Chu (7)
Rachel Decker* (7)
Samantha Knight (7)
Michael Laughlin (6)
Tausif Muzaffar (7)
Jamie Myers (6)
Mark Brady† (11)
Tracy "Mr. T" Cobbs*† (11)
Katie Daniel† (6)
Heath Hopkins (9)
David Jarrell† (7)
Andrew Thomas† (7)
40 50 50 46 49
Math GTA Team α Math GTA Team 1
Anna Brice (8)
Daniel Brice (8)
Steven Clontz (8)
Chris Krizan (6)
Erin McMullin† (6)
Sean McNichols (6)
Charles Pilman*† (7)
Amanda Kaye Bain (7)
Tanner Bain (7)
Jaye Herrod† (6)
Kelly Hollingsworth (9)
Mike Hollingsworth* (10)
Allison "Big Al" Miller† (6)
Amy Smith (7)
Alex Byaly* (7)
Zack Sarver (7)
PJ Couch (6)
Kristin Courtney (6)
Rachel Watson (6)
Haley Steger (6)
Holly Steger (6)
Mark Peterson (6)
Melanie Butler (7)
Amy Steinkampf† (7)
Caroline Tomlinson (6)
Jose Valenzuela* (8)
Megan Robinson (6)
Calvin Thomas (6)
Rob Wallis (6)
Wil Kilpatrick (6)
49 52 0 44 52
* Team Captain (my contact person for the team), be sure I have this person's phone number and email address BEFORE the day of the party.
† Out of town player (-1 to base cost)
"Un-teamed" players. These are players who have said they will likely show up on Puzzle Day, but for one reason or another have not yet settled on a team. If you are looking to bolster your team's roster, you may want to try to recruit these folks:


  • No Un-teamed Players At This Time

Of course, you are also encouraged to invite other friends as well.

The Puzzles

Types of Puzzles

Details about specific puzzles will remain unknown until the Party starts. However, I will provide this information (though it is subject to change up to the final moments): There will be an online system to enter "codewords" obtained when hidden puzzle items are found. Correctly entering these codes will prove that various Main Puzzles were solved, and a running tally of points will be kept. At any point during the Party a team should be able to calculate with fair accuracy what their current total points are.

As always, I will try to have a great variety of puzzles in both style and difficulty; some will be easy and accessible to everyone, other with require much skill with words, numbers, or computers... try to have a lot of skills represented by your teammates!


With a few exceptions most puzzles will have a base value of 1000 Points for the first team to solve them. Once a particular puzzle has been solved by one team, the value for that puzzle will decrease over time for the remaining teams. For every 2-minute increment after the "first solve time" the value of a puzzle will decrease by 1 Point. The maximum available points an unsolved puzzle is currently worth to your team will be displayed on your online "Scoreboard" (so a maximum potential value of less than 1000 Points would indicate that at least one team has solved that puzzle -- though you will not know which team) -- this will all be calculated for you online, you don't have to worry about the pesky arithmetic. The few puzzles that diverge from this scoring system will be worth a variable number of points (based on how "well" you do at them), and they are not subject to the time-decrement.


The only mechanism I am currently planning for hints on puzzles is the dinner/forum that I have mentioned at the top of this webpage. Certainly, during the Party before that forum I will not be fielding phone calls asking for hints about the puzzles. Teams are welcome to call me for the following reasons: After the dinner/forum session I may allow for phone-hints, but I will probably not make that decision until the very last moment.


Here are some recommendations:

The Trophies