"I think this is the single most amazing event that I have participated in during my four years at Exeter. I have heard more pitch silence and exploding cheers in the past two days than the past four years combined. Thank you all so so much for this thrilling experience just before I graduate!"

- Zhengyan "Darius" Shi '16

The PEA Puzzle Hunt is a one-of-a-kind, weekend-long event (usually) held at Phillips Exeter Academy that brings together our community each spring. The Hunt is a competition between teams of 3-10 people (composed of PEA students, staff, and/or faculty), all racing to solve a series of unique puzzles. They range from visual puzzles to word puzzles to logic puzzles, riddled with references from pop culture to Exonian culture. Quick thinking and good teamwork are the only things you'll need.  There will be over $600 worth of prizes at stake! In past years we've had hundreds of Exonians participate and many said it was one of their most memorable weekends at Exeter -- so grab some friends and make a team, quickly! You can play for a few hours or go hardcore for the full weekend -- either way, you are guaranteed to have fun!

Our team, Hunt HQ, spends several months putting together an elaborate series of puzzles each year. They range from clever twists on standard forms (e.g. crosswords, sudokus, etc.) to interactive programs to audio/video puzzles to run-around puzzles which require clues scattered around campus.

The kickoff, where we will run a brief puzzle-solving workshop and then unveil this year’s Hunt theme, will be Friday, May 22nd at 6:00pm EST, and the wrap-up and prize ceremony will be Monday, May 25th at 9:00pm EST. These will both be recorded and posted on our website if these times do not work for your team.


You might have already seen us lurking on your Instagram feed as @totallyphillpsexeter. This is where we will feature our Pre-Hunt puzzles––solving all of them will give you a voucher to skip a puzzle during the actual hunt.


We are making the hunt accessible to everyone! You can play for just a few hours or go hardcore for the full weekend––either way, you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience. So you have every reason to form a team! For those returning: obviously, things will be running a bit differently due to our circumstances. Instead of teams starting at the same time, each team may start whenever (in whatever time zone works for them). We will be working to make sure that everyone has equal access to the Hunt. The winners will be determined on total run time rather than the first to finish, so you can participate regardless of time zone.


Teams can be anywhere from 3 to 10 participants in size, but 5+ is strongly encouraged to power through the hunt. A team of 3 should plan for more communication with HQ; a team of this size would work for an Exonian and their family.

If you want to make a team with more than 10 people, please contact HQ! We will most likely approve this request, but want you to let us know beforehand. Teams above 10 are not eligible for prizes.

Lastly, this message is not a puzzle.

Summer Hunt 2020 Credits

Hunt Directors: Eleanor Bolker '22 and Alexander Pieroni '20

Head Writers: Thomas Mowen '19 and Alexander Del' Franco

Art: Alexander Pieroni '20

Website: Orion Bloomfield '20

HQ (writers, test-solvers, logistics):
Daniel Li '19, Gautam Ramesh '19, Dilhan Salgado, James Wang '19, Orion Bloomfield '20, Nathan James '20, Brian Liu '20, Ian Rider '20, Kevin Xu '20,  Eleanor Bolker '22, Mana Vale '22

Hunt HQ 2020 Credits

Hunt Director: Alexander Pieroni '20

Head Writer: Richard Huang '20

Art: Claudia Sanchez '20

Website: Orion Bloomfield '20

HQ (writers, test-solvers, logistics): Arjun Rajan '17, Yannick Yao '17, Kristy Chang '18,Bryce Morales '19, Emma Cohen '19, Miranda Derossi '19, Gordon Chi '19, Andrew Loevinger '19, Nathan James '20, Orion Bloomfield '20, Claudia Sánchez '20,  Eleanor Bolker '22, Mana Vale '22

Hunt HQ 2019 Credits

Hunt Director: Miranda Derossi '19

Head Writer: Andrew Loevinger '19

Art: Alexander Pieroni '20

Website: Andrew Loevinger '19

HQ (writers, test-solvers, logistics): Arjun Rajan '17, Bryce Morales '19, Emma Cohen '19, Gordon Chi '19, Alexander Pieroni '20

Hunt HQ 2018 Credits

Hunt Director and PEA Puzzle Hunt founder: Vinjai Vale '18

Head Writer: Michael Chen '18

Art: Wendi Yan '18

Website: Andrew Loevinger '19

HQ (writers, test-solvers, logistics): Miranda Derossi '19, Kristy Chang '18, Andrew Loevinger '19, Alec Sun '17, Yannick Yao '17, Emma Cohen '19, Adam Bertelli '19, Arjun Rajan '17, Victor Luo '19, Matt Hambacher '17

With <3 by Hunt HQ