Welcome to the 2014 edition of Carl's Christmas Puzzle Hunt. If you're wondering what all of this is about, you can read the history of my Christmas puzzles.
I constructed this puzzle hunt specifically for my sons to solve, but I'm sharing it here in case anyone else is interested in it. The puzzles should be solvable by anyone who likes solving puzzles and has general geek knowledge, (Harry Potter, Dr. Who, Lord of the Rings, etc. are all fair game). Remember that the solution to the entire puzzle hunt indicates which of my four sons each present is intended for. (For solving this on your own, you can succeed by simply grouping the clues below correctly into four groups. It's only if you actually know my sons that you could then assign each group to one of my sons.)
If anyone wants to try to solve this on their own, I hope it will be fun. If you succeed, (or if you get stuck at any point and need a hint), please feel free to email me: Carl Worth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The puzzle hunt this year is arranged as a
central puzzle and a series
of puzzles providing hints.
The Main Puzzle
Each present under the tree was labeled with one of the following
clues. These are presented in a mostly-random order:
[Note: Here, you get to see the whole list all at once, but for the
boys, these appeared a few at a time throughout the month of
December. I didn't keep track of the exact order these were presented,
but the first few in this list are the first few clues that they
saw. These were intentionally chosen to appear that they could be
describing the boys themselves, ("I had the best bike!", or "He's the
one that always wear shorts"). As the clues progress, it becomes more
and more obvious that the clues can't be talking about the boys, (none
have been expelled from school, fought in wars, nor have a tendency to
go out in public without clothes!).]
[In addition to these clues on the presents themselves, every few days a QR code would appear on a Christmas ornament on the tree. So the boys got into the habit of doing a methodical scan of the ornaments looking for new QR codes each morning. I missed a chance here. I didn't know that one egg-shaped ornament could be opened, making a great hiding place. My youngest son was careful to check this egg every morning. If I had known that, I would have rewarded him by putting the final QR code inside the egg.
I haven't reproduced the QR codes here. Instead, I'll just provide direct links to the web pages the QR codes linked to. Each page provides a hint that will help in solving the clues on the presents. Generally, each clue is hidden behind a puzzle. On any of the subsequent pages, text within brackets like this is text I've added after the fact, (the boys didn't see this when solving the puzzles). I'll use this for things like commentary on how I constructed the puzzle, or how it played out, or for giving extra hints for anyone solving on their own.]