What is a puzzle hunt? How do I solve these puzzles?

If you’ve never heard of puzzle hunts before, here’s a very brief summary: in a typical puzzle, you receive some information and have to extract an answer out of it, which is almost always an English word or phrase. Puzzles can come in many different forms; the only real commonality is that you usually receive no direct instructions, so it’s up to you to figure out how to make sense of the information you’re given.

If you are new to puzzles and are interested in seeing some examples, or if you’re looking for some practice, we recommend looking at previous Puzzle Potlucks or puzzles from other hunts such as Galactic Puzzle Hunt, REDDOThunt, or Teammate Hunt.

I’m stuck on a puzzle. What should I do?

Here are some general puzzle tips that might be useful:

  • Thoroughly check the work that you’ve already done. Fixing a small mistake or incorrect assumption can greatly help with getting unstuck.
  • Get fresh eyes on the puzzle, or conversely, take a break and look at something else.
  • Consider what information you haven’t used yet.
  • Put everything you have into your favorite search engine.

How difficult / long is the hunt?

We've heard that the current trend in online hunts is for the FAQ to say whether the event will be easier or harder than Puzzle Potluck. We expect Puzzle Potluck to be neither easier nor harder than Puzzle Potluck. Puzzle Potluck will also be approximately the same length as Puzzle Potluck (around 15-20 puzzles). The first teams usually finish the hunt on Saturday, but we encourage teams to continue solving through the weekend and beyond if they would like!

When will the hunt end?

The hunt will be open until Monday, August 30th at 9am PDT, at which point we’ll be posting solutions and a wrap-up. You are of course welcome to continue solving beyond that point!

Is there a team size limit?

There is no minimum or maximum team size. For the best experience we recommend a team of 3–6 people. Puzzle Potluck 4 in particular will be best experienced with multiple team members, although solo-solving is still possible.

Can I switch tracks?

Yes! Before the hunt you can change your team's track on your team management page. After the hunt begins you can switch at any time from the expert track to the casual track.

I think there’s a mistake in this puzzle!

Please describe the error in an email to puzzlepotluck@gmail.com and we’ll try to correct it.

What is the "Copy to clipboard" button on the bottom-right?

This button will copy a spreadsheet-formatted version of most puzzles in one-click. For best results, paste the clipboard contents directly into Google Sheets (rather than pasting without formatting). This functionality is provided for convenience only. We have attempted to preserve the original puzzle contents in the spreadsheet formatted copy as much as possible, with links to media (images, audio, etc.) where media are present. However, the puzzle on the website should be considered the official puzzle and any differences between the copied content and the website should not be considered part of the puzzle.

Can I write code that interacts with the Puzzle Potluck puzzles / server?

This will not be necessary to complete any aspect of the puzzle hunt. For the sake of our server, please do not do this. We may disqualify teams that egregiously violate this request.

Can my team create more than one account?

Creating additional accounts is not necessary to complete any aspect of the hunt, and is against the spirit of the competition. If you really think you need one, please contact us first.

Who’s running this hunt?

Please check out our About page!

Is the hunt free?

Yes! However, if you'd like to support the hunt, we do accept donations here.

Are there any prizes?

Nothing besides the joy of solving puzzles.

Is there a physical component to the hunt? Will I ever need to be in a particular location to solve a puzzle?


Is there a registration deadline?


I have a question that’s not on this list!

Contact us at puzzlepotluck@gmail.com and we’ll answer it. We might even add it to this list if enough people have your question!