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 puzzles from other hunts such as the Galactic Puzzle Hunt, Caltech Puzzle Hunt or DASH. (Puzzle Potluck will be somewhere between DASH and Galactic in difficulty.)

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 long will this take?

There are around 20 puzzles in this hunt, and we expect the first teams to finish the hunt on Saturday, but we encourage teams to continue solving through the weekend and beyond if they would like! For those who have participated in previous Puzzle Potlucks, we expect this hunt to be longer than previous ones.

When will the hunt end?

The hunt will be open until Monday, June 29th 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.

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.

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!