Bennett Ellis



Partial Answers


GC Notes:

GC to update day-of-game.


This is a drop. The team is given a packet of papers (or multiple copies of the same packet). The first sheet is a set of instructions, explaining that the team has been given surveillance data containing photos and snippets of overheard conversations, and that they need to analyze the data further to find out what the enemy's next move is. The next sheets are a series of pictures of random people on random streets, ostensibly surveillance photos. Each sheet contains six pictures, in a grid 2 columns by 3 rows. Each picture has a colored box in one of the rainbow colors outlining a face in the street. Each picture is also associated with a single quote, ostensibly a what the person outlined in the box was overheard saying. See the link to the document in the data section to view the digital copy of the packet given to the team.


The quote associated with each picture is exactly 7 words long. The color of the box outlining the face of one of the people in that picture is one of the seven rain colors. The color of the box indexes in the quote using rainbow order. So, a red box indicates you should look at the first word, an orange box the second word, and so on and so forth. Read the first letter of each indexed word in picture order (upper left picture first, then upper right, then middle left, the middle right, then lower left, then lower right, then repeat for each subsequent page) to get the following clue


This leads to the second layer of the puzzle: braille. Each page has a 2x3 grid of pictures, each picture has one person with a box around their face. The pictures where the boxed person has a bag (shoulder bag, backpack, purse, etc.) can be marked, forming a braille letter. The braille letters when read in page order form the final answer:



  1. If they don't recognize that the boxes are all rainbow colored and that that's important:

    1. Do the color boxes around the faces have anything in common

    2. What colors aren't there?

    3. Are there any common puzzle techniques involving those colors

  1. If they don't realize they need to index using the rainbow colors

    1. What can you use rainbow colors for besides order?

    2. Can you associate the colors with numbers?

    3. What can you do with numbers?

    4. What about if you have a phrase and a number associated with that phrase?

    5. Do you think indexing could help?

  1. If they have tried indexing but not the right kind of indexing (many teams will try to index N letters into the phrase, instead of N words into the phrase)

    1. Have you noticed if the phrases have anything in common?

    2. In common at a more general sentence structure level?

    3. Does each sentence have the same number of words?

    4. How many?

    5. How many rainbow colors are there?

  1. If they have properly indexed by number of words using the rainbow colors, but can't seem to get the clue. Most often, they are trying to read the indexed words as a phrase, instead of taking the first letter of each indexed word.

    1. Have you tried writing out all those words separately? Looking at them in order on a separate piece of paper?

    2. If you have words, what is a common thing you can extract from each word?

    3. Without any other hints, where should you start with each word?

  1. If they seem to have the write indexing technique, or have mentioned trying the right indexing technique, but only got gibberish, most likely they made a mistake while doing the indexing. Mention that they have already been on the right track, and tell them they should try again but be more careful with their indexing. One of the most common mistakes is mixing up blue and indigo. Every team so far has correctly determined that indigo is the darker blue color, but sometimes even knowing that they will still mix up the indexing between the two colors.

  2. If they have the quote, but don't understand that braille is involved:

    1. What uses a 2 by 3 grid?

    2. Is there a common encoding that uses that structure?

    3. How about braille?

  1. If they understand that it's braille based on whether or not the person singled out in the photo has a bag but still get gibberish, most likely they just misidentified one person as not having a bag when they do or vice versa. Tell them they are on the right track and should maybe recheck their data. Suggest that pairs of people examine each photo together.