This is the ninth installment of the Fortnightly Topic Challenges Rerun described here and the fiftieth installment of the FTCs overall, with topics suggested and voted on here. This fortnight's topic is "Escape Rooms" (suggested by Stiv) and will span from the 21st of February to the 6th of March. During this period, we will compile the list of relevant questions and post it as an answer to this question.
In the meantime, please go and propose and vote on future challenges!
Everyone have fun, and happy puzzling!
Link to other Fortnightly Topic Challenges.
The suggestion is copied to this post for posterity.
In (what I am here terming) an 'Escape Room' puzzle, the solver is presented with several seemingly disparate pieces of information in the form of sub-puzzles whose interconnections may not immediately be apparent at first glance. Usually the aim of the overall puzzle is to solve each sub-puzzle, finding their interconnections along the way, and ultimately identify a specific piece of information that enables the scenario to be 'escaped' - e.g. a passcode to pass through a door, or a location where somebody or something might be found.
Crucially, all sub-puzzles are necessary (or at least provide additional hints) for finding the end solution - red herrings are rarely welcome, and extraneous sub-puzzles with no apparent bearing on the solution path are a waste of time for which the setter would not be thanked.
There have been several hugely impressive 'escape room' type puzzles on PSE in the past, perhaps most notably:
- This is important. I need you to listen… by Alconja
- You have prepared. You are determined. You approach the door by Alconja
- This is it. This is the one. Find your wife by Beastly Gerbil
As the mammoth upvote counts on these examples show, when this type of puzzle is done well it tends to be incredibly well-received and appreciated by the community (people love these!) - however, recently we have seen new Escape Room puzzles only very rarely. While I appreciate that this is partly because such a puzzle often requires a large investment of time and imagination to prepare and create, making this an FTC topic would present the perfect opportunity for PSE-ers to show their ingenuity and try something new and exciting - and there is nothing to stop puzzle setters getting started on creating their Escape Room puzzle ahead of time to get a headstart on the fortnight!