2014: The Year of the Armadillo

(Check out some photos!)

ArmadilloWelcome to the Puzzle World Cup! In 2014, students in 19 teams competed for the prestigious prize. The year was one of superlatives. The most students participating in a Puzzlepalooza: 324; the Hugest Prize Ever: a six foot soccer ball; the most amazing Iron Puzzling feat: a team ("Shadynasty") solved all twelve puzzle packet puzzles without any hints (never done before, and may never be done again); and an ending socloseeven closer than 2013: in the finale puzzle, that Iron Puzzling team lost by one second to the winner; and finally, the winning team making up the most ground on the last day ever: coming from seventh place at the beginning of the last day to winning!

After quickly dispatching the Qualifying Rounds, the 19 teams attacked the World Cup Puzzle Packet of twelve puzzles. The Puzzle Lords had several favorite puzzles in this contest; here are three:

Easy | Medium | Hard

...and the answers (which are one or two-word phrases).

Oh, and I suppose since it's been posted on YouTube, we ought to add Puzzle Lord Ostrander's puzzle, too <shudder>:

...though it should be noted that to solve Puzzle Lord Ostrander's puzzle, the teams also had to complete this jigsaw puzzle....

Each correct answer form the World Cup Puzzle Packet earned a team a odd black pentagon with the answer printed on it. On the final day the teams also got twenty "double hexagons"; here's a PDF of all of these if you want to print them out (duplex print them on the short edge when you print them), and you can do part of the final puzzle, too.

Teams constructed the final puzzle, which gave them twelve five letter words that lead them through a maze on the gym floor, which spelled out their final instructions: "Shout out goal!"

And that's just want the winners--"Budapesto, Hungry"--did. Congratulations to Clarisse Callahan, Charlotte Detwiler, Sophia Doescher, Christopher Jung, Eric Neyman, Anne Pietanza, Robert Rose, Benjamin Sklar, Haein Son, Henry Speaker, Kelsey Terhune Cotter, Briana Villa, Wen Qing Xu, Catherine Xue, Jake Yamada, Daniel Yuan, and Alexander Zhang!


The specifics? Here they are:


[click to enlarge]

Perhaps the most sought-after prize after winning itself is The Coveted Spirit Award. This year the team of the People's Socialist Democratic Republic of Genovia was the clear winner:


The First Losers Prize went to Ciphrus; they answered the final puzzle third but won the First Losers Prize as they had the most points other than the winning team due to their outstanding performance completing the Puzzle Packet during the first three days.

Like many puzzle tournaments, there are ways to get hints in Puzzlepalooza...the team that gets the fewest hints with the best results is awarded The Iron Puzzler award; as flagmentioned, this year team Shadynasty did the incredible: they answered all twelve Packet Puzzles correctly with no hints at all; a feat we Puzzle Lords will never forget.

Other awards included Best Team Name, Group of Death (it was a soccer theme this year, get it?), the Best Motto with "Before You Wreckyoselvokia" from the team of Chezkyoselvokia, the Best Flag from Pistache Q.R.E, and, finally, Best Video from the Federated Hip Hop States of Harlem:

Finally, the Puzzle Lords would like to reprise the video that Michelle McGhee and Adrianne Kehne made before Puzzlepalooza started this year...

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