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2017 Matzah Hunt Potions Puzzle

· by Rachel Silverman · Read in about 2 min · (406 Words)

For the past 3 years we have put together an event for our friends and family that we have named Matzah Hunt. We put on this event in place of/in addition to a Passover Seder and it is an afternoon and evening full of a series of math/logic puzzles which ultimately lead to a hunt for the Missing Matzah, hence the name, Matzah Hunt. Over the years, the puzzles have become more involved and creative, the decorations have become more elaborate, and luckily, the attendance has grown. It ends up being a wonderfully fun day that we look forward to each year.

We opted for a themed Matzah Hunt this year: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. We thought that we should share our variation of the Snape’s potions puzzle at the end of the book. We arrange the vials of potions in a grid as opposed to a line, and we require 2 of the potions to be mixed to solve the puzzle.

Here is the arrangement of the vials (during the event, these were filled with two different liquids of the same color – one sweet and one bitter tasting. We opted for Port wine with a touch of green dye in it and Frenet Branca).

Looking at the potions puzzle from one side:
Potions Puzzle Layout 1

From the other side:
Potions Puzzle Layout 2

The accompanying puzzle is giving below:

Potions Puzzle

Five of us are poison, drink us and none survive,
Four of us are wine, ingest to remain alive,
To solve this puzzle you must find,
A certain poison and a certain wine.
When mixed together they create,
This puzzle’s solution- you must drink and wait.
To aid in your quest we hand to thee,
These seven clues we give generously:

On the grid before you, there lies only one,
Tic-tac-toe victory, so be aware everyone.
The tallest of us is, one of the special two,
While the short and squat is dangerous, unfortunate for you.
If one wine instead were poison, this puzzle you would see,
Is symmetric about the diagonals, think on this, since this is key:
For this one vial is the other half that you are looking for,
Get this right and your house will receive this puzzle’s points galore.
Beware of the mathematically-perfect-sided vial,
Drink only if suicidal,
When seen in leaf form, those with “lucky” numbered sides,
Contain only devastation, but fear not since all the clues provide.

Good luck and enjoy!