The 2020 Cryptex Mini Puzzle Hunt

An online puzzle hunt launching, Saturday, February 29, 2020, at 8:00pm EST, the day before International Cryptex® Day.

GRAND PRIZE: Nevins Line Cryptex® Security Box

Register First
The Fourth Eye

About the Puzzle Hunt

The 2020 Cryptex Hunt will come to you in the form of a novel, an original story with embedded puzzles. The puzzle hunt will run for 8 days, releasing a chapter a day.

Start Date: Saturday, February 29, 2020. The day before International Cryptex® Day
Final Puzzle: Saturday, March 7, 2020
Release Time: 8:00pm EST
Grand Prize: A Cryptex®

This is an original novel written especially for this puzzle hunt.

How Will We Start?

You MUST register first. Once you have an email registered with us, you can login to our Cryptex Hunt Server.

Register now

Puzzle Team

This Cryptex Hunt is brought to you by these lovely people!

JUSTIN NEVINS

Cryptex® Sponsor

Justin Nevins is the creator of the first Cryptex® Security Box and has been making custom works of art like this full time since March 1, 2004. Escape rooms and puzzle hunts have become his new obsessions. Check out his products at cryptex.org.

ERROL ELUMIR

Creator/Author

Errol Elumir creates puzzles for large-scale, theatrical escape events, and wrote 13 Rules for Escape Room Puzzle Design. Errol has a daily webcomic. co-hosts an escape room podcast, helps compile the Escape Room Enthusiast Survey, is on the board for the TERPECAs, and writes escape room articles.

KIRSTEN MILLS

Editor

Kirsten Mills is better known as Justin’s sister. She likes puzzles, games and especially stories, but her passion is language. She relishes opportunities to pick apart sentence structure. She lives in New Zealand although Errol keeps thinking it's Australia.

DARREN MILLER

Tester/Administration

Darren Miller and his wife, Melissa, have been hooked on escape rooms ever since they discovered them in May 2015. Now he designs and shares his puzzles online and you can find them at his site.

DAVID LEWIS

Tester/Support

David, also known as Strype in our Slack chat, has been a stalwart foundation in making sure this hunt runs correctly. He has been with us since the very beginning and fixes all problems in our hour of need.

MANDA WHITNEY

Editor/Tester

Manda Whitney is a Toronto based performer and writer (which includes two webseries, three stage plays and various sketches). She also writes and designs narrative for large-scale escape events. When she is not working on projects, she is usually updating her blog at mandawhitney.com when she remembers to.

LIZETTE TANNER

Editor

Lizette Tanner is an amateur writer. Most of her writing involve health reports and other government documents that have nothing to do puzzles. She lives in Alberta with her husband, her daughter, and a fluffy creature that is more or less a dog.

EKKO ELUMIR

Reader

Ekko Elumir is Errol's daughter. She didn't edit the book, really. She just read it during class when she was really bored. Having said that, she is one of the few people to get all the nerd references in this book.

COLIN SANDERS

Tester

Colin Sanders (DoctorXOR), the winner of the 2018 Cryptex Hunt, is excited to contribute to the future of Cryptexes. Armed with a background in electrical engineering, cryptography, and the Tim Tang Test, he plans to kickstart his own website of riddles.

MARGAUX YIU

Tester

Margaux Yiu is Errol's friend who tries to make him play all her new board games before she trades them. Margaux’s websites need to be updated. Here’s one: margauxyiu.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are some significant changes between this hunt and previous years, so please read on.

What is a Cryptex®?

Designed by master craftsman Justin Nevins, a Cryptex® brand security box is a self-contained cylindrical lockbox secured by a mechanically changeable code. Used in escape rooms or collected by fans, a Cryptex® is a beautiful, functional, solidly constructed work of art.

See Cryptex.org for more info.

What is the Cryptex Hunt? What is a puzzle hunt?

A puzzle hunt is a game where participants compete to solve a series of puzzles. The Cryptex Hunt is an online puzzle hunt that features Cryptexes® throughout the experience.

See puzzlehuntcalendar.com for other puzzle hunts.

Does it cost anything to play?

No, it is absolutely FREE with no "in-app purchases" or anything. The hunt will be available on this website at no charge.

We wanted to encourage as many people to play this hunt as possible and hopefully have a good time doing it! All time, effort, and costs have been donated in order to keep it free for the general public.

Will I need an app or mobile device to play?

No. This year's hunt can be played on the browser. You will need a way to read PDF files and you need access to the internet to validate your answers.

However, you can download the PDF file and read it offline.

How is the Cryptex Hunt structured this year?

The Cryptex Hunt will start on Saturday, February 29, 2020, at 8:00pm EST. It will be released over the week following as a daily series of chapters of a book, each containing an embedded puzzle, through Friday, March 6.

The Finale puzzle will be released on Saturday, March 7.

The first to finish all the puzzles with no hints will be the Grand Prize winner!

The puzzle hunt will remain online through the month of March for those who want to play at a more leisurely pace. Everyone who completes the whole hunt by March 31 midnight (EST) will be eligible to participate in the Draw Prize drawing.

You're kidding about the novel part, right?

No. The puzzles are embedded in about a fifty thousand word novel Errol wrote during NaNoWriMo of 2019 just for this hunt.

Is this a physical novel or a digital novel??

The novel will be digital and available as a downloadable PDF. You are not required to purchase a physical copy, nor does a physical copy exist. When solving this hunt, however, please imagine the novel as a physical novel.

Do I have to read the novel?

It would behoove you to do so.

What kind of puzzles will be included? Can I use the Internet?

The Cryptex Hunt will include many different types of puzzle designed by Errol Elumir exclusively for this event. Exploring and discovering the exact nature of these puzzles is part of the challenge for the players. All of the puzzles will resolve to a word or short passcode.

These puzzles are designed for this event - you won't be able to Google the solutions. However, you are welcome to use Google or other tools to help you as you work on them. Many Internet tools exist that may be useful for working puzzles.

Well... $%!*.

Justin is debating creating more voodoo dolls.

Can I play alone? Can I play as a team?

This year, we are using a version of the puzzle hunt server created by Dillon Lareau for Puzzlehunt CMU.

The server requires teams, so that means you can create a team with your friends, or create a team with just one person.

Please note, however, the final prize is still just one cryptex, and the team can choose who can bring it home.

How hard is this puzzle hunt? How much time will this take?

The puzzle hunt will be significantly harder than puzzles found in an escape room. If you are familiar with Puzzled Pint, the puzzles will be of similar difficulty and higher. The last puzzle may be a bit of a brain buster

The length of time it will take can range anywhere between 10 minutes to multiple hours. We are giving a full 24 hours for each puzzle.

Will there be a prize?

GRAND PRIZE - Nevins Line Cryptex® Security Box. For the first registered account to have completed all the early puzzles and to complete the Finale puzzle without hints.

SECOND PRIZE - Standard 5 Code Ring Cryptex® Security Box. Winner's choice of colors. Random draw from pool of all registered individual accounts to complete the entire hunt by March 31st. The Grand Prize winner is not eligible.

DAILY PRIZES - There will be prizes each day leading up to the Finale for the first person finishing that day's puzzle. The Grand and Second Prize winners are not eligible.

I have a question not in this FAQ!

We do too. Hah. Sorry. Please stay tuned as this will be updated periodically. If you desperately wish to know something, find us in the Escape Room Slack Channel. You can register for an account at The Codex.

Fine Print

  1. TO ENTER THE CRYPTEX HUNT (the “Contest”) you must complete each puzzle correctly and submit your answers through the website through a registered account. In the event of a dispute, entries received shall be deemed to be submitted by the registered account holder at the time of entry. Limit of one (1) entry per household.
  2. First prize contest starts February 29, 2020 and closes March 7, 2020 (the “Contest Period”). No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.
  3. The contest sponsor is CRYPTEX® (hereinafter referred to as the “Contest Sponsor”).
  4. Puzzle creators, employees, and their respective parents, siblings and children, and persons domiciled with them, their respective agents, parent, affiliated or related companies, subsidiaries, divisions, prize sponsors, and promotional and advertising agencies and administrators, are ineligible to enter.
  5. Prizes include two Cryptexes® and other prizes to be announced.
  6. Prize must be accepted as awarded and may not be sold or transferred, and is not convertible to cash. Contest Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prizes in the event a certain prize is unavailable. Shipping costs domestic or international will be covered by the contest sponsor, but any import duties, taxes or fees will be the responsibility of the winner. Prize winners are solely responsible for all costs not expressly described herein.
  7. On or after March 7, 2020 all eligible entries received during the Contest Period will be evaluated and the First Prize winner announced. Contest Sponsor will attempt to contact the potential winners by the information they have provided. Proof of identification must be provided upon request. Acceptance of the prize assumes that the potential winner has read and understood these official rules and regulations (“Rules”), accepts the Prize as offered and releases the Contest Sponsor from any and all liability of any kind arising out of the potential winner’s participation in this Contest and receipt and use of the Prize.
  8. First prize will be a custom made Cryptex® and will be awarded to the entrant who has completed all puzzles in the puzzle hunt first.
  9. Second prize will be a Cryptex® and will be a draw amongst all participants who have finished the hunt during March 2020. Odds of winning second prize will depend upon the total number of eligible entries received.
  10. First Prize winners of previous Cryptex Hunts are not eligible to win the First Prize (Grand Prize) or Second Prize (Draw prize) for a period of 5 years. Previous Second Prize winners (who have not won a First Prize in the previous 5 years) are eligible to compete for the First Prize, but are not eligible for another Second Prize for a period of 5 years.
  11. By entering this Contest, the entrants and participants automatically agree to accept and abide by these Rules. All decisions of the Contest Sponsor with respect to any aspect of this Contest, including without limitation the eligibility of entries, are final and binding on all entrants in all matters as they relate to this Contest.
  12. All entries become property of Contest Sponsor who assume no responsibility for garbled, lost, late, delayed, destroyed or misdirected data or any computer errors or malfunctions. Contest Sponsor does not assume any responsibility for incorrect or inaccurate capture of entry information, technical malfunctions, human or technical error, seeding or printing errors, lost, delayed or garbled data or transmissions, omission, interruption, deletion, defect or failures of any telephone or computer line or network, computer equipment, software or any combination thereof. Entry materials-data that have been tampered with or altered are void. If for any reason, in the opinion of the Contest Sponsor, in their sole discretion, the Contest is not capable of running as originally planned, or if the administration, security, fairness, integrity or the proper conduct of the Contest is corrupted or adversely affected, including by reason of infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes beyond their control, Contest Sponsor reserve their right to cancel, terminate, modify, amend, extend or suspend the Contest including canceling any method of entry, and select a winner from previously received eligible entries. Contest Sponsor reserves the right to modify the Rules without materially affecting the terms and conditions hereof. The Contest Sponsor reserves the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any individual they find to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of the Rules or otherwise in a disruptive manner. Any attempts to deliberately damage the Contest web site or to undermine the legitimate operation of this Contest is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made the Contest Sponsor reserve their right to seek remedies and damages to the fullest extent of the law. Contest Sponsor shall not be held responsible for any errors or negligence that may arise or occur in connection with the Contest including any damage to an entrant’s computer equipment, system, software or any combination thereof, as a result of their participation in this Contest or from using any material from the Contest website.
  13. Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and municipal laws and regulations. By entering this Contest, each entrant consents to the collection, use of his or her personal information (information that identifies an entrant as an individual, such as home telephone number, age and home address) by the Contest Sponsor for the purposes of implementing, administering and fulfilling this Contest. Contest Sponsor will not sell or transmit this information to third parties except for the purposes of administering this Contest.
  14. In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of the Contest Rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Contest related materials, including but not limited to the Contest entry form, or point of sale, television, print or online advertising, the terms and conditions of the Contest Rules shall prevail, govern and control.
  15. All intellectual property, including but not limited to trade-marks, trade-names, logos, designs, promotional materials, web pages, source codes, drawings, illustrations, slogans and representations are owned by the Contest Sponsor and/or their affiliates. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized copying or use of any copyrighted material or intellectual property without the express written consent of its owner is strictly prohibited.