The Maltese Nene

In February of 2002, my friend of old, Peter Engrav, married my friend of new, Teresa Conde, on the island of Kauai. I had an unusual responsibility as part of the wedding party: I was to run the official wedding Game.

The Game (with a capital G) is a 30-hour sleepless puzzle-solving marathon that is held periodically at various locations, thus far (to my knowledge) all within the United States. Peter and I are avid participants, and Teresa has an impressive—for a nonparticipant—tolerance for this behavior.

By that definition The Maltese Nene was not a Game. It only lasted nine hours, there were fewer puzzles, and the puzzles were, for the most part, a little bit easier. Because of these differences, though, there was considerably more willingness among the guests to play.

The Theme

Smugglers were attempting to bring a famous artifact—the Maltese Nene—into the country, where they would sell it for untold quantities of cash to an unethical art collector. Peter is a huge Prairie Home Companion fan, so we decided to borrow—utterly without permission—the services of Guy Noir to foil these evildoers.

The Game

The Maltese Nene was divided up into two sections, the pre-Game, which took place entirely on a web site in the month prior to the wedding, and the Game, which took place three days before the wedding.

The "pre-Game" involved trying to figure out the name of the enemy organization. This required that the detectives solve four puzzles, and then synthesize the organization's name out of the four answers. The "original" web site, free of the accumulation of hints and solutions that would accrete as the 18th approached, may be found here.

The "Game" required that the detectives show up at Shipwreck Beach on Tuesday, where they would receive a puzzle, whose solution identified a location elsewhere on the island of Kauai, where they would find yet another puzzle, ad nauseam. Nine puzzles later, they conclude at the final location, where pizza and revelry awaited them.

In the end, all the puzzles were solved, and it's my understanding that people generally had a good time. The web site, with all the puzzles and solutions, may be found here: