EPP17: The Joke's On You

Congratulations, Team EMBU!

The EPP team comprising: was truly a force to be reckoned with as they jumped out to an early lead and were never truly in danger of dropping to a lower place. However, from the feedback I received, every team seemed to enjoy their day of running about Auburn in the perfect weather and solving the puzzles that I'd cooked up for the day.

A reader of this page may view most of the paper and pencil puzzles by clicking on the titles visible on the Survey Results Page.

A visualization of the scores for the day may be seen in the graph below. The 0-0 origin in the lower left corner indicates the moment when the first puzzle solution by any team was entered (and yes, team EMBU got 700 points -- 7 solves -- entered before any other team had answered a single thing). The big jumps at the end for a few teams are due to their achievements during the meta/hidden/bonus Toy Box puzzles (the incrementing there is a bit inaccurate as the score system only registers a bump for those five puzzles for the time when the last one was solved... however, the final scores are accurate).

Another record of the scores is available on the scoreboard.

David and Lisa (from team EMBU) have posted a very nice review of EPP17 on their Room Escape Artist website.

And finally, Steven Clontz has uploaded a directory of EPP17 photos that he took throughout the day.


Stop me if you've heard this one before:

A priest, a blonde, and a cruciverbalist walk into a puzzle party, and the priest asks, "does anyone know why that walrus is holding a purple suitcase?"

And the blonde replies --

Oh, so you have heard that one; yeah, it's an old one. But good, that means you are more than "qualified" to attend my next Puzzle Party. EPP17 is going to be on April Fools' Day. There will be jokes, there will be pranks, there will be winners, losers, and plenty of fools.

If you think you are up for it, please get a team together ASAP. Even if you don't know the punchline to the joke above, you are more than welcome to participate. Over the past thirteen years I've had over 400 people play in my Parties, and I'm always looking for new people (and am thrilled to have repeat-participants, of course).

This webpage will be packed with information as the date draws near and I make updates, but for now the most important thing to know is how to form a team...


When you are ready to establish a team, email me with your team members (including Team Captain info, if known at that point) and your chosen team name (I expect really funny team names this year). Team names will be approved by me and confirmed by listing them on this webpage.

Team formation rules will follow my fairly standard system. Each player has a "value" based on participation in, and trophies/wins from, past Auburn puzzle events. There is a point-cap for a team which the total of players' values may not exceed. If a team member has never particpated in an Auburn puzzle event, he or she is worth 8 Team Points, otherwise his or her value is equal to 9 + [number of trophies/wins] from past puzzle events.

If the player is visiting from out of town, his or her value is reduced by 1 (to encourage out-of-towners to attend). If a player wants to participate remotely (i.e. they will officially be on a team but not in town -- corresponding via internet or phone with their team), the player's Point Value is reduced by 2.

Here is a PDF of all past-players and their Trophy/Win counts (the final yellow column). Visiting and remote Player Point deductions are not included in that value. If a person's name is not listed in that PDF, he or she must be a newbie (and thus worth 8 Team Points). If there are errors in that PDF, please let me know.

The total value of an EPP17 Team may not exceed 70 Points.

You are welcome to adjust your team rosters anytime before Party-Day (adding teammates, removing them), just send me an update-email when you want to make changes.

I will accommodate up to 15 teams at EPP17; that should be enough to handle everyone, but these shindigs are getting more and more popular every year, so if you want to guarantee a spot, start forming you team right away.

TEAM ROSTERS (70 Team Points maximum)
Team Captains are in boldface. The Captain needs to be sure that I have his/her cell phone number and email address and needs to tell me a password for his/her team.
† Visiting participant (-1 Team Point)
‡ Remote participant (-2 Team Points)
(States represented: AL, CA, FL, GA, IN, LA, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OH, OR, SC, TN)
Stirrers of Dissension (66)
Laura Abell (8) †
Alexander Calvert (9)
Ashler Collier (9)
Leah Donahue (8) †
Kyle Kubik (8)
Tori Luther (9)
Daniel Hardin (7) †
Connor Watkins (8) †
EMBU (67)
Rich Bragg (7) †
Steve Gaddy (11) †
Julie Gaddy (10) †
Mike Holzbaur (7) †
Rex Miller (11) †
David Spira (7) †
Lisa Spira (7) †
Jonathan McCue (7) †
Nice Belt (69)
Elijah Beaver (8)
Erin Beaver (9)
Eric Cahanin (8) †
Rebecca Godwin (9)
Shauna Henry (9)
Brandon Nelson (9)
Mallory Nelson (9)
Mary Trigg (8) †
The ImPEACHables (69)
Frank Branham (7) †
Bryan Leclair (8) †
M. Sean Molley (8) †
Heidi Pritchett (8) †
John Richardson (8) †
Brian Schoner (8) †
Joe Streeky (7) †
Greg Watson (8) †
Sandi West (7) †
PUZZLES!! (68)
Patrick Buckingham (9) ‡
David McMullin (7) †
Vicki McMullin (7) †
Charles McPillan (12) †
Erin McPillan (11) †
Christopher Night (7) †
John Pilman (8) †
Karen Pilman (8) †
The IT Crowd (68)
Mark Conway (8)
Elizabeth Hardeman (8) †
Allen Kinzalow (8)
Drew McDonald (8)
Taylor Pruitt (9)
Ian Schaefer (10)
Neil Schaefer (8) †
Ben Willis (9)
Fool's Errand (65)
Guy Archibald (7) †
Lee Daniel (8) †
Anna DeOcampo (7) †
Jarrett Franklin (8) †
Josh Lawhorn (7) †
Case Morton (7) †
Lindsay Morton (7) †
Thomas Nelson (7) †
Chad Thies (7) †
The Aristocrats (65)
April Burnette (8)
Miranda Burnette † (8)
Phillip Ferrentinos (9)
Ian Hoffman (8) †
Melanie Hoffman (8) †
Anthony Tortomase † (8)
Viviana Valenzuela † (8)
Thomas Yuill † (8)
A Motley Crew (66)
Tom Beard (9)
Jason DeLeon (8)
Robert Ford (13) †
Tim Hardwick (12)
Sarah Muse (7) †
Sanny Omar (8) †
Zachary Sarver (9)
Pity The Fool (66)
Gavin Bethea (8) †
Stephen Bennett (8) †
Kristen Bomer (8) †
Chloe Hope (8) †
Kevin Hope (8) †
Cathlena Martin (8) †
Benton Tyler (8)
Scott Varagona (10) †
"Civil" Disobedience (69)
Bryan Beckingham (9)
Lauren Beckingham (9)
Jonathan Davis (9)
Jennifer Kidder (7) ‡
Jeff LaMondia (9)
Marta Miletic (8)
Cassie Montgomery (9)
Jack Montgomery (9)
Secrets of the Potato Closet (57)
Brittney Gordon (7) †
Rebecca Hoffmann (6) ‡
Lacey Kent (8)
Jim Mellish (7) †
Jimmy Mellish (7) †
Rachael Ryland (7) †
Meredith Thomley (8)
Natalie Thomley (7) †
What a Fool Believes (70)
Eric Agnitsch (8)
Kaitlyn Childers (9)
Ashley Gibson (8)
Tim Guice (9)
Hudson Lafayette (9)
Trent Mitchell (8)
Andrew Owens (10)
Ken Yang (9)
Stephen Hawking's Dance Team (50)
Chris Daniel (9)
Paul Daniel (9) †
Joseph Hall (9)
Michael Henry (6) ‡
Simon Lee (9)
Kayla Reid (8)
Jokers With Kelly (69)
Tanner Bain (9)
Tina Crowdus (9)
Kelly Hollingsworth (11)
Mike Hollingsworth (12)
David Jarrell (10) †
Paul Rundle (7) ‡
Andrew Thomas (11) †
"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. If you want me to add your name to the Un-teamed list, email me and let me know an email by which prospective teams can contact you.

  • Currently no un-teamed players.

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


As is typical for my Parties, the day will start with some type of Opening Puzzle (at a location To Be Announced). This will involve all of the teams in the same area, scurrying around, and trying to accomplish some not-too-terribly-difficult task. As teams complete this Opening Puzzle they will then be eligible to pick up their main puzzle booklet for the day.

This puzzle booklet will contain twenty-one puzzles. There will, of course, be a wide variety of puzzle types and difficulties.

Answers to puzzles will be entered into an online "dashboard" which will also tally a team's score as the day progresses. Most puzzles will be worth 100 points to the first team to solve it. Once a particular puzzle has been solved by one team, its value will decrease by 1 point every 10 minutes. There will be no penalty for incorrect answer submissions (whether through mistakes or carelessness).

All answer submissions will be halted at 9:00pm (twelve hours after the start of EPP17).

As answers are submitted teams will learn of additional ways that more puzzles may found and solved. And who know, I might even hide a puzzle or two in plain sight.

The team will the highest final score wins.


You may, for any of the twenty-one basic puzzles, request a hint if your team feels it is completely stuck. To receive a hint for a puzzle a team member must come to my headquarters. Upon arrival tell me what puzzle you need help on, and I will ask how far you've gotten on it. I will try to get as good a feel as possible as to where you are in the solving process of that puzzle so that I can give you a valuable hint (without just giving you the answer). Once I have the necessary information, and if I feel I have a worthy hint to give, I will ask if you want to receive it. When you definitely state that yes, you want the hint, I will tell it to you.

Hints will cost your team Points. The number of Points subtracted from your team's score will be randomly determined by rolling a number of dice equal to which number hint this is for your team (i.e. the first hint will demand one 6-sided die be rolled, the second hint -- regardless of whether for the same or a different puzzle -- will require two dice to be rolled, etc). The player receiving the hint will roll the dice as I watch, and I will deduct the Points (you will soon see it on your team's dashboard).

You may request multiple hints for the same puzzle (which will necessitate multiple dice rolls, of course). I do not guarantee that my hints will be crystal clear, but they will be relevant.

Important: When you come to my headquarters for a hint, be ready to concisely tell me what puzzle you are asking about, and what the problems are. In the past I've had many people come in on their cellphone with other teammates trying to erratically figure out, in a complete state of confusion, what is supposed to be asked. I am very busy administrating the Puzzle Party, please do not come for a hint until you are ready to clearly talk about the puzzle! Wasting too much of my time might incur a (small) point penalty for your team (beyond any points lost from the hint itself).

You may also find free hints throughout your adventures of the day.


Here are some recommendations:

The Trophies

To be announced.