Cryptex Hunt Logo

About the Cryptex Hunt

The Cryptex Hunt is an annual online game where players find and solve hidden puzzles. This year's theme is
"Puzzles hidden in YouTube".

Start Date: May 01, 2023 at 8:00pm ET.

May 2023
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How to Play

Please read our FAQ.
  1. Create an account. If you have an existing account, you can stick with that.
  2. Join or create a team. If you have a team already, you can manage who is on your team.
  3. All answers for the Cryptex Hunt will be entered on our Cryptex Hunt server (where you registered).
  4. There is no prize (other than bragging rights) for finishing first. 😀
  5. Join us on our Discord server for the latest updates and to ask questions!

Puzzle Info

In order to play and solve the game, please make note of the following:
  • All puzzles are browser-based and an internet connection is required.
  • It is preferable to play on a desktop computer. You will not see everything on a mobile device.
  • Although a download of the YouTube video is provided, some puzzles may not be solvable with just the raw video file.
  • Coarse language may be used. Player discretion is advised.
  • No answer will be an unclued anagram.
  • External knowledge is extensively used. Google often.
  • Your team should be prepared to use the following skills:
    • knowledge of common ciphers
    • cryptic crossword solving
  • You do not need to look at the source code or the filenames for any of the puzzles.
  • Spelling mistakes, coding mistakes, or bugs you find are not part of any puzzle.
  • YouTube ads and video suggestions are (probably) not relevant.
  • Mistakes in YouTube-generated captions or transcripts are not a clue.
  • You do not need to hack the website to solve the puzzles.
  • Please do not brute-force the answers. The server will stop you from entering answers if they are entered in quick succession.
  • Puzzle files are locked on this server, so please do not crawl directories.
  • Nothing on this page is a clue for the 2023 Cryptex Hunt.

Hint Policy

During the event, the community offers hints to one another, which they are allowed and encouraged to do. The Cryptex Hunt team, however, will be restricted on how they deliver hints.
  • For each puzzle, a hint channel will be opened on our Discord server.
  • The hint channel will not be opened until the puzzle is first solved by a team.
  • Until a puzzle's hint channel is open, players cannot share hints on our Discord for that puzzle.
  • Please use spoiler tags for all hints and use the appropriate channel.
  • The Cryptex Hunt team will only give hints in the appropriate Discord channel. To be as fair as possible, please do not DM them for hints.
  • For the finale puzzles, which start on Saturday, no channels on the Discord will be open and no hints will be offered until after the finale closes on Sunday. Please do not ask for hints for those puzzles during that time. Likewise, please don't share any hints or spoilers in any other public channels during that time.

Schedule and Finale

The following dates are for 2023.
  • Sun, Apr 30, warmup puzzles will be released.
  • May 1 through May 5 (Mon-Fri) at 8:00pm ET, one puzzle will be released each day.
  • Sat, May 6 at 1:00pm ET, the finale puzzles will be released.
  • Sun, May 7 at 1:00pm ET, every team that has completed the Cryptex Hunt is eligible for the Grand Prize drawing.
  • Wed, May 31 at 11:59pm ET, every team that completes the Cryptex Hunt by the end of the month is eligible for the Second Prize drawing.
  • All of the daily puzzles and finale puzzles (but not the warmup puzzles) must be completed to be eligible for the drawings.


This Cryptex Hunt was conspired by these lovely people!


Cryptex® Sponsor

Justin Nevins is the creator of the first Cryptex® Security Box and has been making custom works of art like this full time since March 1, 2004. Escape rooms and puzzle hunts have become his new obsessions. Check out his products at

Sarah bio photo



Sarah Willson is a writer, editor, and designer of digital curios, and also a player of them. She has been writing puzzles since the '90s (not that they were very good back then). She founded the puzzle design challenge EnigMarch and reviews escape games for Room Escape Artist.



Darren Miller and his wife, Melissa, have been hooked on escape rooms ever since they discovered them in May 2015. Now he designs and shares his puzzles online and you can find them at his site.



Dan Egnor is a longtime puzzle hunt and escape room enthusiast and occasional designer. He lives in Oakland, California with his partner and four cats. He is honored to work with the crew of the Cryptex Hunt and hopes you have a good time playing.

Shannon bio photo



Shannon McDowell is a Canadian board game inventor and puzzle designer. She designs innovative board games and puzzle hunt challenges, and was a member of the design team for the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship.



Spencer has been referred to as the “bad boy” of puzzle design… one time… earlier in this sentence… that he wrote. glhf! 🙂



Errol Elumir is a freak about puzzle design.


The Cryptex Hunt's puzzles were created by the following setters!



Darren Miller and his wife, Melissa, have been hooked on escape rooms ever since they discovered them in May 2015. Now he designs and shares his puzzles online and you can find them at his site.



Dan Egnor is a longtime puzzle hunt and escape room enthusiast and occasional designer. He lives in Oakland, California with his partner and four cats. He is honored to work with the crew of the Cryptex Hunt and hopes you have a good time playing.

Shannon bio photo



Shannon McDowell is a Canadian board game inventor and puzzle designer. She designs innovative board games and puzzle hunt challenges, and was a member of the design team for the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship.



Josh Ward is a novice puzzle setter and solver. He’s helped design and run the JoCo Cruise hunt and Puzzled Pint. If he can get through this hunt, you can too!



Tammy and Chris are longtime lovers of all things puzzle. Tammy is a Game Designer with Haiku Games.



Spencer has been referred to as the “bad boy” of puzzle design… one time… earlier in this sentence… that he wrote. glhf! 🙂



Ian is a teacher who loves all things puzzly. Learning to think is hard and puzzles remove expectations and the pressure to always get things right. Remember that the mistakes you make are your greatest lessons.



Jonathan is a student from The Netherlands and a part-time puzzle maniac. He designed The Cards of Confound a couple of years back, and still loves to spend every little bit of spare time discovering (and creating) new mysteries. :)



Joerg lives in Melbourne with his wife and daughter. He is a board gamer and puzzle enthusiast since his childhood and recently started to design his own puzzle hunts. Joerg is also volunteering his time working with gifted teenagers, who now and again get by tortured his puzzle hunts.



Bryan is a puzzle aficionado, loves board games, reading and designing puzzles for TTRPGs and kid’s puzzle hunts. As per his brother: "Old man in a young man's body".



Phill is one half of TtOAS, room escaping and puzzle hunting about the place, if the place is mainly the UK. With a long but varied puzzling history, he also playtests rooms and experiences for others, recently starting to create his own material.


Still a Troll

Errol Elumir is a freak about puzzle design.


These amazing people helped either test the puzzles, or contributed to them and/or the community!


Beta Tester

Amanda Dupuy is a postdoctoral fellow studying clinical lab genetics. In her spare time she designs and paints nail art puzzles as Charmandacure.


Champion Helper

BELTHAZAR is a player of the Cryptex Hunt and was solving the games just like everyone else. However, when finished, they were immediately in the channels providing help to anyone who asked. I honestly don't know if they slept! Great job, Belthazar!


Beta Tester

C.J. Smith spends most of his time doing music, math, or puzzles. He enjoys beta testing as a way to help design puzzles and puzzle experiences without needing to do anything significant towards actually making the final product.



David Lewis, also known as Strype in our Slack chat, has been a stalwart foundation in making sure this hunt runs correctly. He has been with us since the very beginning and fixes all problems in our hour of need.


Beta Tester

Jason is an escape room enthusiast who has played almost 500 escape rooms. He competes with Team Prospect in various escape room competitions.


Beta Tester

Manda Whitney is a Toronto-based writer and narrative designer. She has helped design narrative for three large-scale theatrical escape events and consulted on individual escape rooms. She also writes on narrative and gaming in her blog,


Beta Tester


Beta Tester

I enjoy making puzzle hunts in my free time. For games I've developed, check out!


Beta Tester


Beta Tester

Shuai Chen competes in escape rooms and puzzley things on Team Prospect and is founder and chief puzzle officer of Patchwork Adventures where she's been hosting virtual escape rooms since before it was cool.


Beta Tester

Tammy Mcleod loves all forms of puzzles. She competes with Team Prospect in various Escape Room championships, won the 2009 US Sudoku Championship, and holds a Guinness World Record for speed jigsaw puzzling.


Beta Tester

Trisha Huang loves all things games and puzzles. She is married to a world puzzle champion, and has two kids who also like puzzles. Her favorite thing to do is write stories and very easy puzzles for role playing games.


Beta Tester

Vivien Ripoll is a mathematician and puzzle designer. With his project Solving Fun, he designs puzzles in Spanish, English and French. He loves creating custom puzzling activities (escape rooms, puzzle hunts...), in particular in education and academia.


Beta Tester

Wei-Hwa Huang was lead puzzle designer on the first ever puzzle hunt to have a cryptex as a reward, back in 2006. The Cryptexes in this hunt are much better, though!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Cryptex®?

Designed by master craftsman Justin Nevins, a Cryptex® brand security box is a self-contained cylindrical lockbox secured by a mechanically changeable code. Used in escape rooms or collected by fans, a Cryptex® is a beautiful, functional, solidly constructed work of art.

See for more info.

What is a 'hunt for hidden puzzles'?

Every year, the Cryptex Hunt focuses on a theme and hides puzzles throughout that theme. For example, in 2019, puzzles were hidden in a magazine. In 2021, puzzles were hidden in an 8-bit graphic adventure game jam. In 2022, puzzles were hidden in other puzzles.

Why did you drop the 'puzzle hunt' moniker?

Although we have called the Cryptex Hunt a puzzle hunt in the past, the structure and expectations for a puzzle hunt are different from what the Cryptex Hunt is. There are a number of people who enjoy the format of the Cryptex Hunt, and a number of people who do not. Instead of trying to fit both expectations, we will default to the former.

Why is the Cryptex Hunt two months later??

Because Errol keeps playing "7 Days to Die" and shirks responsibility.

However, so it doesn't sound like Errol is trying to take all the credit, he isn't as involved this year. All the things you enjoy of this hunt will be because of the other organizers and designers. All the bad things are because he shirks responsibility and plays "7 Days to Die".

Are there still two prizes? Are they both draws?

Both prizes will be draws: the first prize will be a draw between all the contestants who finish all the puzzles by 1:00pm ET, May 7, 2023.

GRAND PRIZE - Custom Nevins Line Cryptex® Security Box. Random draw from pool of all registered teams to complete the entire hunt by May 7, 1:00pm ET.

SECOND DRAW PRIZE - Standard 5 Code Ring Cryptex® Security Box. Winner's choice of colors. Random draw from pool of all registered teams to complete the entire hunt by May 31. The Grand Prize winner is not eligible.

The first puzzle for the Cryptex Hunt will release May 1, 2023, at 8:00pm ET.

One puzzle will be released per day at 8:00pm ET.

The final puzzles will be released on Saturday, May 6, 1:00pm ET. (Subject to change!)

Teams who finish all the puzzles by May 7, 1:00pm ET will be entered into a draw for the Grand Prize winner.

The Cryptex Hunt will remain online through the month of May for those who want to play at a more leisurely pace. Everyone who completes the whole hunt by May 31 midnight (ET) will be eligible to participate in the Draw Prize drawing.

If I've ever been on a team that has won a grand prize, am I eligible for another grand prize?

No. You and your team are not eligible for another grand prize.

Does it cost anything to play?

No, this hunt is free.

All time, effort, and costs have been donated in order to keep it free for the general public.

How many puzzles are in this hunt?

Around eleven and then the Meta puzzles. There will also be warmup puzzles to get you used to the format.

How hard is this puzzle hunt? How much time will this take?

The Cryptex Hunt will target those who are new to puzzles; however, it will still be of a higher difficulty than an escape room and even take-home puzzle games.

If you are familiar with Puzzled Pint, the puzzles may be of similar difficulty.

Puzzles usually ramp up in regards to difficulty. The first half of the puzzles will be easier than the final puzzles.

The length of time it will take can range anywhere between 5 minutes to multiple hours.

How do teams work? Is there a max limit to the teams?

The server requires each player to be on a team, however, each person in the team will have their own unique login.

The minimum size a team can be is one person. The maximum size a team can be is ten people.

When any member of the team enters an answer on the server, the whole team will advance. However, the answer will be obscured so team members can still play without worry of being spoiled on the answer.

Will I be able to solve this hunt on my own?

The server requires you to join a team, however, that team can consist of only one player.

If you are new to puzzles, then this will be a challenging hunt. As noted under Puzzle Info, there are a variety of skills you will utilize and having a team which possess those skills will increase your solving chances.

If you are a veteran solver, then you will be able to solo this hunt, but it will take some work.

You keep telling us your Discord server. Do I need to join Discord?

You do not NEED to join our Cryptex Hunt Discord, however it is highly recommended.

We will post important information on the Cryptex Hunt server, however, for real-time, up-to-date information, the Discord is your best bet.

Furthermore, any hints you need will be available via the Discord server. During the Cryptex hunt, the admins are not available because they will be running the hunt. However, the community goes out of their way to help people.

Puzzle Resources

New to solving puzzles? Even though the Cryptex Hunt is not technically a puzzle hunt, these resources will help you get started.

Puzzle Tips

Common Ciphers and Codes

Fine Print

  1. TO ENTER THE CRYPTEX HUNT (the “Contest”) you must complete each puzzle correctly and submit your answers through the website through a registered account. In the event of a dispute, entries received shall be deemed to be submitted by the registered account holder at the time of entry. Limit of one (1) entry per household.
  2. First prize contest starts May 1, 2023 and closes May 7, 2023 (the “Contest Period”). No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.
  3. The contest sponsor is CRYPTEX® (hereinafter referred to as the “Contest Sponsor”).
  4. Puzzle creators, employees, and their respective parents, siblings and children, and persons domiciled with them, their respective agents, parent, affiliated or related companies, subsidiaries, divisions, prize sponsors, and promotional and advertising agencies and administrators, are ineligible to enter.
  5. Prizes include two Cryptexes®.
  6. Prize must be accepted as awarded and may not be sold or transferred, and is not convertible to cash. Contest Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prizes in the event a certain prize is unavailable. Shipping costs domestic or international will be covered by the contest sponsor, but any import duties, taxes or fees will be the responsibility of the winner. Prize winners are solely responsible for all costs not expressly described herein.
  7. On or after May 7, 2023 all eligible entries received during the Contest Period will be evaluated and the First Prize winner announced. Contest Sponsor will attempt to contact the potential winners by the information they have provided. Proof of identification must be provided upon request. Acceptance of the prize assumes that the potential winner has read and understood these official rules and regulations (“Rules”), accepts the Prize as offered and releases the Contest Sponsor from any and all liability of any kind arising out of the potential winner’s participation in this Contest and receipt and use of the Prize.
  8. First prize will be a custom made Cryptex® and will be a draw amongst all eligible entrants who have solved all puzzles by 1:00pm ET, May 7, 2023.
  9. Second prize will be a Cryptex® and will be a draw amongst all entrants who have finished the hunt during May 2023. Odds of winning second prize will depend upon the total number of eligible entries received.
  10. First prize winners of previous Cryptex Hunts are not eligible to win the First prize (Grand prize) or Second prize (Draw prize).
  11. By entering this Contest, the entrants and participants automatically agree to accept and abide by these Rules. All decisions of the Contest Sponsor with respect to any aspect of this Contest, including without limitation the eligibility of entries, are final and binding on all entrants in all matters as they relate to this Contest.
  12. All entries become property of Contest Sponsor who assume no responsibility for garbled, lost, late, delayed, destroyed or misdirected data or any computer errors or malfunctions. Contest Sponsor does not assume any responsibility for incorrect or inaccurate capture of entry information, technical malfunctions, human or technical error, seeding or printing errors, lost, delayed or garbled data or transmissions, omission, interruption, deletion, defect or failures of any telephone or computer line or network, computer equipment, software or any combination thereof. Entry materials-data that have been tampered with or altered are void. If for any reason, in the opinion of the Contest Sponsor, in their sole discretion, the Contest is not capable of running as originally planned, or if the administration, security, fairness, integrity or the proper conduct of the Contest is corrupted or adversely affected, including by reason of infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes beyond their control, Contest Sponsor reserve their right to cancel, terminate, modify, amend, extend or suspend the Contest including canceling any method of entry, and select a winner from previously received eligible entries. Contest Sponsor reserves the right to modify the Rules without materially affecting the terms and conditions hereof. The Contest Sponsor reserves the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any individual they find to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of the Rules or otherwise in a disruptive manner. Any attempts to deliberately damage the Contest web site or to undermine the legitimate operation of this Contest is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made the Contest Sponsor reserve their right to seek remedies and damages to the fullest extent of the law. Contest Sponsor shall not be held responsible for any errors or negligence that may arise or occur in connection with the Contest including any damage to an entrant’s computer equipment, system, software or any combination thereof, as a result of their participation in this Contest or from using any material from the Contest website.
  13. Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and municipal laws and regulations. By entering this Contest, each entrant consents to the collection, use of his or her personal information (information that identifies an entrant as an individual, such as home telephone number, age and home address) by the Contest Sponsor for the purposes of implementing, administering and fulfilling this Contest. Contest Sponsor will not sell or transmit this information to third parties except for the purposes of administering this Contest.
  14. In the event of any discrepancy or inconsistency between the terms and conditions of the Contest Rules and disclosures or other statements contained in any Contest related materials, including but not limited to the Contest entry form, or point of sale, television, print or online advertising, the terms and conditions of the Contest Rules shall prevail, govern and control.
  15. All intellectual property, including but not limited to trade-marks, trade-names, logos, designs, promotional materials, web pages, source codes, drawings, illustrations, slogans and representations are owned by the Contest Sponsor and/or their affiliates. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized copying or use of any copyrighted material or intellectual property without the express written consent of its owner is strictly prohibited.