Illumine Logo   Illumine Game Recap

Clue 7 Solution: Mastermind

How the Clue Works

The sheet was two parts of a modified Girl Scout cookie order form. (The modifications were mostly to remove potential red herrings.) Printed onto the form were various cookie amounts and dollar amounts. One side formed the rule-teaching side, the other the puzzle; the rules were that of the game Mastermind.

The order form pages, again, are page 1 and page 2. But here is the data abstracted from the sheet:

Side 1:
           A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H   Total
          23                14        0
             23        1        4   $1.1
                 3     1  2     4   $111
              1  3        2     4   $1111

Side 2:
           A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H   Total
          13          24             $11
           4   2          3     1    $1.1
                      34       12    $1.1
           1  34          2          $.11
                   24    13          $1
               3   12           4    $.1

On both sides, the letters above correspond to labelled columns of cookies on the order form.

A = Reduced Fat Lemon Coolers
B = Trefoils
C = Do-si-dos
D = Samoas
E = All Abouts
F = Double Dutch
G = Tagalongs
H = Thin Mints
(some of these cookie names are trademarks of the Girl Scouts of America)

Aside from the colors, occurence of 1, 2, 3, and 4 once on each line, and odd totals, there was an additional hint toward mastermind on the puzzle side, a sticky note reading "I guess 'dream mints' is very popular. Keep trying hard." The subject and verb, as written, don't agree, but "dream mints" is an anagram for "mastermind." The rule-teaching side was hinted with a sticky note that read "Good job getting your goal in four tries!" something that implied completion, and that the final line of orders was the goal/solution for that round of the game.

The "goal" on the rule-teaching side shows that $1111 is the total that matches a perfectly correct guess. You remember from Mastermind that the oracle responds with two counts: the number of guesses that are present in the solution, but in a different position, and the number present in the position guessed. Since $1111 represents four guesses that are in present in the correct position, we infer that whole dollars are the right/right responses. We see 1s in fractional positions as well; these are the wrong position/right guess responses.

On the puzzle side, there are six trials with guesses from a player and responses from the oracle. Rules in hand, this becomes a constraint satisfaction problem. The first guess (13/24) paired with the fourth (1/34/2) immediately yields only three possibilities, because two of the four guessed colors are exactly correct in the first guess, but a Lemon Cookie in position one cannot be correct according to the fourth. The final solution is either All About/Lemon, Lemon/All About, or All About/All About.

And so on. Evaluating each of the three as hypotheticals eventually leads to one correct answer.

The Solution

The solution, in cookie form, is Trefoil, All About, Double Dutch, All About. Taking the first letter of each spells "tada" which teams entered into the phone system. The tada message told them to go to the Heritage Park Fountain nearby in Olympia.

Design Notes

The construction of the bars to route and secure the guywire was an experience. Twice in a row, we forgot to thread the turnbuckle onto its anchoring U-bolt -- a problem because both times the bolt was driven through a 2x4 quite securely. We destroyed two lengths of wood that way, plus other collateral damage. Construction took an unexpectedly long time.

Oh, and it was amusing that, as we were testing the top brace's fit onto the tower's shaft, a local (?) visitor asked if we were city workers reinforcing the tower. If you could see the brace, folks, you'd understand that it + tower = tower; there's no "reinforcement" going on.

As for the Girl Scout part of the puzzle, at one staff meeting, someone suggested Mastermind. We'd also brainstormed a ton of Illuminated organizations, including the GSA. I (Erik) worked Mastermind to fit the order form. Charles got an order form from his aunt, Sonya scanned it, and I added the numbers to fit the Mastermind game I'd created.

GC Notes

The box setup was largely successful, but extremely high maintenance. The wire required retensioning after every team. In cases where it was not serviced, teams were able to use the slack to negate the need for dowel rods.

On the order form, the fact that one order line was 65 (uppercase 'A' in ASCII for those in the know) was a minor problem in pre-Game play testing that I never resolved. The 65 had nothing else to recommend it, but I did see it show up in the phone logs. My concern was that if I changed it, the doctored form would be a larger cause for concern among teams.

< Clue 7  |  > Clue 8