I would very much like to earn the Archimedes hat.

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The two tips for earning this coveted hat are the following:

  1. Solve these riddles and it's yours. (Sound familiar?)

  2. Running naked through the streets of Syracuse is strongly discouraged, and neither I nor Stack Exchange are responsible for the consequences if you choose to do so.

If solving a riddle refers to unlocking the secret hat, which seems the most sensible interpretation, then where do you post your solution? I have had conflicting advice from two different mods. One told me,

How to earn Archimedes: posting on meta (or anywhere else public) is and always was a bad way of submitting guesses, because it ruins the fun for everyone else once the correct trigger is posted. The preferred way would be to e-mail guesses to team@stackexchange.com. Or even to me directly

Now, I happen to think that this is not an idyllic solution. First, email correspondence implies privacy, and if an exchange is private, how would the community know if the rules of the game had been respected? Secondly, the person awarded the Archimedes hat might not reveal the key to unlocking the secret hat to third parties, or they might very well do so, via an exchange of comments which can be easily deleted. And lastly, the number of emails that would bombard the mods would be scary to say the least. Therefore, informing Stack Exchange moderators through emails offers no guarantee that the secret won't be revealed later to friends when they are having a chat.

Which brings me nicely to the second piece of advice,

To have chance of winning the Archimedes hat, better guess in the Tavern, or David's room for secret hats. :)

The “Tavern” is a chat room in meta SE. I went to visit and lurk around the “Tavern”, and basically there was some talk about spam, and a lot about free hand circles. The only information I gleamed about the secret hats was the following

@username well, only two are still secret, right? Onion and Tiger.

There are currently thirteen rooms on SE meta, none were called “David room”, so I went into a chat room called the “Shadow Den”, thinking it might be some sort of code... it's not. But there are some very nice folk there. Anyway, do you just barge in The Tavern, post your off-topic solution and then hang around? I suppose some regular chat users might reply, but I don't know anyone in meta SE, it's quite an intimidating environment for an outsider such as myself. I doubt I will post my solution in a chat room, if that is the only venue but someone else could.


  1. Is it true only two secret hat solutions remain?
  2. Does that mean there are a total of thirteen Archimedes hats? Can more than one person earn an Archimedes hat for the same solution?
  3. Where do users post their Archimedes solutions? (I think it's “The Tavern”)
  4. Why has this specific piece of straightforward information been so poorly communicated? Can we please avoid the same confusion repeating itself next year.
  5. I thought unlocking the secret hat, Edward Edwards, still had to be fully revealed. Am I mistaken?
  6. I believe I know how to earn the Edward Edwards hat because I earned it myself yesterday. But it is difficult to verify since all the posts and comments submitted by different users on Winter Bash 2015 were deleted on December 24th, there were various bits and bobs which was fun putting together. C'est la vie...


If you ping me with the solution to Onion Knight, I promise I might email you a PayPal check when I get the hat ...

  • 1
    Re "None were called 'David room'": you are looking for chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/32836/davids-hat-store
    – ProgramFOX
    Dec 29 '15 at 19:01
  • @ProgramFOX thank you! Yes, that looks like a much better place.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 29 '15 at 19:03
  • I posted it in the chat, you somehow missed it... Dec 29 '15 at 19:04
  • @ShadowWizard perhaps I was still stunned by entering into two chat rooms on the same day! I apologize, I really didn't see that clarification. I thought the room was simply called “David's Room”
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 29 '15 at 19:06
  • @Mari-LouA One question per question please, as usual!Behave please. Dec 29 '15 at 19:10
  • All good, never too late... :) Dec 29 '15 at 19:12
  • @πάνταῥεῖ I am not posting five separate questions which are all related to each other. This meta post is primarily asking about the Archimedes hat, I would like a full comprehensive answer, if there is one.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 29 '15 at 19:13
  • Hey cool, I didn't know my Onion Hat was so secret! :)
    – Wildcard
    Dec 30 '15 at 1:34
  • Why would anyone downvote this, today, on a 5-year-old post?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 27 '20 at 15:10

General stuff

You're right. The Archimedes hat was poorly designed on our end and kept around mostly for tradition's sake in what was, in hindsight, not a great decision. In the long term, our solution is going to be "don't use that hat idea again."

For the remainder of this year's event, I still think private communication is the way to go. I haven't been awarding Archimedes for hats that were publicly "spoiled" (either on meta or in chat) for the obvious reason, but as you say, people could theoretically be sharing the answers off-site (as I said earlier, poor design by us). As to your other point, it's kind of you to worry about our inboxes, but there really aren't that many people interested in playing the secret hat guessing game. E-mail volume is nowhere near a problem (though, in a way, that's at least slightly reassuring that there's no cheating going on in practice).

As for trusting us, that's kind of built into the hat, since it's manually awarded. But since we're employees at the company that runs the network, if you don't trust us, then we're failing on a fundamental level and I would hope we can have a discussion about that.

Specific questions

  1. I haven't seen correct guesses for Cleanup Crew, Onion Knight or Edward Edwards as of this writing.

  2. I consider the total number of secret hats to be a secret itself, but as long as the trigger for a hat hasn't been publicly "spoiled," then any number of users can earn Archimedes for guessing it.

  3. You can post anywhere in theory, but there are two caveats. First, the practical one: you need to get a community manager's attention to your guess so that it can be checked against the correct answer and so we can award you Archimedes if it's right. The Tavern is good because CMs often wander in there, but it's not a guarantee... pinging helps. Second, if you post it publicly and it's right, then other users may get mad at you for spoiling their chances at that hat.

  4. Because I am bad at my job. This is the third year we've done this (the hat had a different name and design in past years but is otherwise identical) and I sort of figured that the people who were interested already knew the deal, which was a bad assumption. I'm sorry.

  5. You're not mistaken, see #1.

  6. I look forward to seeing your guess!

  • An even more super answer, thank you for clearing the cobwebs in my head :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 29 '15 at 20:18
  • What about Flying Tiger? (I don't care too much about that one, but others will)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 29 '15 at 20:48
  • 1
    Flying Tiger has been announced publicly. Not in the most obvious location, but, still.
    – Pops
    Dec 29 '15 at 20:50
  • @Pops I have added a guess for the "Onion Knight" recently as an answer in the secret hats thread, it was deleted by another mod. I still think my guess was right. I didn't post it in the chat. Dec 29 '15 at 22:35
  • 1
    @HeidelBerGensis okay, I see it, unfortunately, it is not correct.
    – Pops
    Dec 29 '15 at 22:38
  • 1
    @Pops thank you for the quick response, now I can feel peace :) Dec 29 '15 at 22:38
  1. Last time I checked there were four - Flying Tiger, Cleanup Crew, Edward Edwards & Onion Knight. Actually some people already found the trigger for some of these, but since the trigger wasn't revealed publicly, Archimedes can still be won for it (that's the case of Flying Tiger).

  2. More than one person can earn Archimedes for the same secret hat, but only if the previous person reported the secret in a private channel. According to chat records, two people already got Archimedes for Flying Tiger. I still don't know how that hat can be earned.

  3. Some posted it in the Secret Hats question here on MSE. Others posted it in David's Hat Store chat room. Others emails Pops directly.

  4. I guess if you are interested enough in hunting for hats, you get to this information eventually. :)

  5. It's not fully revealed as far as I know. You still have a chance.

  • Super answer, thanks a lot.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 29 '15 at 19:46
  • Wait, so the onion knight secret is revealed for sure? Dec 29 '15 at 20:14
  • @ShadowWizard No, I forgot about that one
    – Eran
    Dec 29 '15 at 20:14
  • @Mari-LouA of course
    – Eran
    Dec 30 '15 at 7:59

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