Week 9 – Puzzles Are Not My Forte

In the first full week of July, a small group of friends decided to hit the city to experience music from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra after a long day of work. That weekend, I participated in an intern puzzle challenge where it was a race against other teams and time to solve some of the hardest puzzles I have come across. (And I thought the SATs were bad enough).

Animated Music

Let’s see… the last band concert that I went to was… well, my own high school concert. Based on that, any symphonic performance was going to blow my mind away. Here’s the catch – the Seattle Symphony Orchestra was going to perform music from Pixar Movies! Time to go back to being a kid at heart again!

After being stuck in Seattle traffic, we quickly stopped to get a bite to eat at PF Changs, and headed over to the auditorium to enjoy two hours of Pixar music. To my surprise, upon entering the concert hall, there was a projector set up to play the movie clips of the music! OK, that’s pretty cool; originally, I was trying to figure out how to identify the music that was being played (unless it was the introduction music or main theme).

The lights dimmed, and off they went. As the video clip of Toy Story played, it was immediately hard to determine where the music coming from. Was it really coming from the symphony, or was it dubbed through the actual audio track? The symphony was so on point, it was like actually watching the movie. They showed scenes from Toy Story (1-3), Finding Nemo, Ratatoullie, A Bug’s Life, Wall-E, Cars (1-2), Up, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc., Brave, and Monsters University.

I’ll leave it UP to you to guess what scene was the most emotional, to the point where people in the audience were sniffling. For my first concert in a long time, I was very impressed. I wish I could go again show many others, but sadly, the concert was only offered for three days in July. I hope other symphonies pick up the rights to the music; it’s certainly a rewarding way to relax in the evening!



Puzzled Superheroes

Every year, Microsoft puts on a puzzle day for employees. This event was inspired by the MIT Mystery Hunt, which was then brought into the Microsoft culture in 1999. They also create a dedicated puzzle event (known as the PuzzleHunt) for interns as well. Each year, the PuzzleHunt team comes up with a theme, and integrate the theme into the various puzzles. This year, it was known as “Level 10 Access”, where we played the role of super-heroes, and were granted highest access to “confidential documents”. The goal was to decrypt information that villains had, by solving cryptic puzzles.

Being the punny person I am, as team captain, I assigned our team name as “Spiderman’s Web Designers”. Turns out, we won an award for having a creative team name! Guess puns finally work in my favor!

The event was lasted an entire work day (~9am-5pm). Do you think you can solve these puzzles? Since this year’s puzzles are going to be replicated for full time employees, I can’t post them yet, but I’ll post them at a later date. Are you able to solve these puzzles from a previous year? The established theme is Alice in Wonderland.


Author(s) Puzzle Solution
Morgan Brown All Mixed Up Solution
Derek and Dana Young But Never A Grin Without A Cat Solution
Amos Eshel Card Guard Solution
Josh Benaloh Carroll’s Menagerie Solution
Chris Heuser, Dana Young Connections Solution
Kenny Young Dodo Solution
Roger Wolfson Eat Me Solution
Dana, Kenny, and Derek Young Escape The Fox Solution
Portia McSwain, Amos Eshel, Morgan Brown, Julia Tazin Hare Pair Solution
Dana Young Kitty Can You Play Chess? Solution
Jason Deakins, Eliana Sanchez Mad Haber Dasher Solution
Peter Sarrett Off With Their Heads Solution
Derek Brown One And One And One Solution
Josh Benaloh Party Trap Solution
Luis E. Marino H. Reflections Solution
Dana Young She Went In Search Of Her Hedgehog Solution
Tim McConnell Things That Begin With The Letter M Solution
Jessica Wallace Through The Looking Glass Solution
Federico Gomez Suarez Tis The Voice of the Lobster Solution
Jeffrey Atkinson Tweetledum And TweetleDee Solution
Dana Young We’re All Mad Here Solution
Dana Young You’re Not The Same As You Were Before Solution