Monday, July 12, 2010

Intern Puzzleday 2010

Teams getting ready to start!
Microsoft has an intern event each year called "Puzzleday." Interns and guests get into teams of 10-12 people and spend all day (9am-6pm) doing tons of different puzzles. Microsoft teams up with puzzle writers around the region to create dozens of various new puzzles, mysteries, and games every year, including a large 2-part "metapuzzle" which the smaller puzzles help give answers to.
Each team is given a conference room for their team headquarters, where team members can work on the many paper puzzles they're given, including some multimedia puzzles on the Microsoft intranet. One puzzle was even set up using a corporate telephone service, where you had to call and follow a phone menu tree to figure out the answer. There were also many live puzzles and clues located around Microsoft Campus, so each team would need to coordinate their efforts to solve puzzles at their headquarters and to find clues/puzzles in other buildings. After you finish a puzzle, you submit the answer online to discover if you were correct and can move on.

I was so impressed with how much work went in to this event. One of the puzzles went so far as to put an invisible ink on the paper that could only be revealed when you put the paper in a refrigerator for an extended period of time. The puzzle creator hand wrote the invisible ink on the paper for each of the 50+ teams. We also got a large tube of mini m&m's for one of the puzzles. The only thing we could think to do to solve that puzzle was to count out the various colors of m&m's, but I thought that there was no way someone counted out the m&m colors for every one of the teams. I was wrong. The number of each color of m&m's was the key to figuring out that puzzle. The creator of that puzzle counted over 15,000 m&m's in order to create the various tubes for all of the teams. Crazy!

Cleaning up after we solved the metapuzzle with less than a minute to spare!

Anyway, it was so much fun. Tyler and I really love puzzles, and this was such a neat activity! I was able to participate on his team, but we also had Calvin there, so it made puzzle-solving difficult at times. I helped with a few puzzles, and then had to go home so Calvin could nap. We did make it back, though, for the last 8 minutes, where I was able to help solve the metapuzzle! We had less than a minute to spare. It was exciting because only about half of the teams solved it. We were also able to solve 34 other puzzles, and only a few teams were able to solve more than that. The highest I saw was 39 total puzzles. If only I had been able to stay all day, I think the results would have been different... Overall I think we got in 26th place. Not great, but we were still very proud of our efforts. Some of those puzzles were insanely difficult.

Calvin spent the entire awards ceremony a few rows away from us, playing with someone's iPad. He just sat in front of their feet and didn't come back until I went and grabbed him after he had been sitting there for 30 minutes. What a silly.

1 comment:

Diana said...

What a fun day! I can't get over the person who counted 15,000 M&Ms! Looks like things are going great for you guys! :-)