CISRA Puzzle Competition 2008 Rules

This is the archive of the 2008 Puzzle Competition. Please visit the current competition site for information about the latest Puzzle Competition.


  • Registration is open to teams of from one to four people.
  • The name and e-mail address of each team member must be filled out on the registration form when registering the team.
  • Teams may register at any time until the competition closes (12:00 noon Monday 5 May, 2008, Australian Eastern Standard Time).
  • Additional team members may be added to teams of fewer than four members after registration, using the form on the registration page.
  • Participants may be a member of no more than one team. If a single participant registers on multiple teams, all those teams will be disqualified.
  • Australian-resident full-time students must submit the name of their school or university when registering to be eligible for prizes.


  • First Prize: A Canon IXUS 960IS digital camera for each team member. RRP A$649.
  • Second Prize: A Canon Powershot A550 digital camera for each team member. RRP A$199.
  • Third Prize: A CISRA pen/stylus/laser-pointer for each team member.
  • Only full-time school and university students resident in Australia are eligible for prizes. A team must consist entirely of Australian-resident students to qualify for prizes. Teams containing one or more non-Australian residents and/or non-students are most welcome to compete for glory.
  • Eligibility of winners will be checked before prizes are issued. Documentary evidence of Australian student status may be required. Any team found to be ineligible for prizes will be disqualified and the prize will be awarded to the next highest ranked eligible team.
  • The First Prize will go to the highest ranked eligible team. The Second Prize will go to the next highest ranked eligible team. The Third Prize will go to the next highest ranked eligible team.
  • Puzzle competition organisers and their immediate family are ineligible for prizes.
  • Staff and contractors at CISRA and Adcorp and their immediate family are ineligible for prizes.

Puzzles and Point Scoring

  • Puzzles will be released on the following schedule:

    29 February - Site open for team registration. Group 1 puzzles released.
    Mon 28 April - Puzzle Week begins. Group 2 puzzles released.
    Tue 29 April - Group 3 puzzles released. Hints released for Groups 1 and 2.
    Wed 30 April - Group 4 puzzles released. Hints released for Groups 1, 2, 3.
    Thu 1 May - Group 5 puzzles released. Hints released for Groups 1, 2, 3, 4.
    Fri 2 May - Hints released for Groups 3, 4, 5.
    Sat 3 May - Hints released for Groups 4, 5.
    Sun 4 May - Hints released for Group 5.
    Mon 5 May - Competition closes. Puzzle solutions released. Provisional prize winners contacted to verify eligibility.

    All events occur at 12:00 noon Australian Eastern Standard Time (2:00 am GMT).

  • There is a total of 20 puzzles that are worth points, released in five Groups of four puzzles each. Teams may attempt to answer all puzzles in each Group.
  • All answers must be submitted to the answer server at Answers submitted by any other means will not be accepted.
  • Answers contain only one or more of the 26 lower case letters a-z. When submitting answers, upper case letters will be converted to lower case by the answer server, and spaces, numbers, and other characters will be removed before the answer is checked.
    Example: If an answer is "fortytwo", entering "Forty-Two" will be considered correct, but "42" will be incorrect.
  • For words where spelling differs, we prefer the Australian spelling (which is generally the same as British spelling).
  • The puzzles are designed not to be guessable by dictionary attacks or random guessing.
  • The answer server will stop accepting answers at 12:00 noon Monday 5 May AEST. At this point, the solutions to all puzzles will be released, the teams will be ranked, and the provisional winners will be announced.
  • Teams may submit up to 100 (one hundred) answer attempts in total for each Group of puzzles. Once a team has submitted 100 answers for a given Group, no further answers from that team will be accepted for any of the puzzles in the Group. Unused answer attempts do not carry over to any other Group. If a team submits an answer that it has already submitted for the same puzzle, it does not count as a new answer attempt.
    Example: The first Group of puzzles is (A.1, B.1, C.1, D.1). If a team has submitted 80 answer attempts for A.1 and 20 for B.1, it cannot submit any answers for C.1 or D.1.
  • Teams score points by submitting the correct answer to a puzzle. Once a team has submitted the correct answer to a puzzle, it cannot score any more points for that puzzle. All puzzle Groups are worth points, including Group 1.
  • Puzzles are worth points as follows:

    5 points before any hints for that puzzle are released, or for being the first team to solve a puzzle (no matter how many hints have been released),

    4 points after the first hint has been released but before the second hint,

    3 points after the second hint has been released but before the third,

    2 points after the third hint has been released.

    Any metapuzzle that is not part of the five puzzle Groups is always worth 0 points.

  • Teams shall be ranked in order as follows:

    1. Highest cumulative point score.

    2. Teams with the same point score are ranked in order from the earliest team to have reached that point total to the most recent, as determined by the timestamps of the submitted answers.


  • Although being run in conjunction with the CISRA graduate recruitment programme, the puzzle competition has no bearing on the job application process for potential employee candidates at CISRA. In particular, entry or high performance in the competition are not requirements for job candidates; neither is interest in employment at CISRA a requirement for entry in the puzzle competition. Likewise, a low score in the competition won't negatively affect your chances of gaining employment at CISRA; we understand that many factors might make it difficult to complete a puzzle competition. Details of participants' performance in the competition will not be given to CISRA's Human Resources department.
  • Participants interested in employment at CISRA may optionally indicate that CISRA may contact them regarding recruitment opportunities, by using the "Contact?" checkbox on the registration page. If this checkbox is checked, the name and e-mail address of the interested person will be given to CISRA's Human Resources department for possible future contact.
  • CISRA will collect and use participants' details for the purposes of the competition only and, if indicated by the opt-in checkbox, for possible contact regarding recruitment opportunities. Participants can access any personal information that CISRA collects about them and can request that CISRA delete this personal information by e-mailing CISRA.

General Rules

  • Teams may use any references or resources at their disposal, including the Internet.
  • Each team must work independently of other teams. Teams working together will be disqualified.
  • Any team engaging in misconduct or abusing the competition will be disqualified. This includes but is not limited to: spying on other teams, registering an offensive team name, etc.
  • The decisions of the organisers on all matters regarding eligibility and disqualification are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Teams may send administrative or technical inquiries to Requests for additional puzzle hints or clues will not be answered and may result in disqualification at the discretion of the competition organisers.