Published 3/13/2013

Welcome to our new blog, and also to the new version of 5 Minute Mystery.

5MM was launched almost 5 years ago. We've gone from paid-only access, to ad-supported mysteries, to a completely free-to-all website. Five years on, 5MM has 13,000 individual sleuths, and almost 200 original mysteries. We count among our users young kids, teachers, grandparents and all in between.

Today marks the first major overhaul to our website since our launch all those years ago.

What's new

This blog!

We plan to keep our user's informed of changes, both technical and functional. We'll also occasionally publish here site statistics of which we're proud.

Look & Feel

Gone is the hokiness of the old design, for better or worse. We're trying out a more modern look this time around. This will likely evolve over time but shedding the old skin outright allowed us to start with a clean slate. Without the old design or HTML cluttering things up, we were able to craft a very clean, elegant foundation on which to build future updates.

Multiple Attempts per Mystery

Users are now able to attempt mysteries more than once, and compare their attempts -- only the first attempt will count towards scoring. Mystery attempts are now timed, however, timing statistics will not be used for rankings and as such it is not in the sleuth's interest to subvert the timer!

User-Submitted Mysteries

Users are now able to submit their OWN original mysteries without our assistance.

User-submitted mysteries will be entered into their own pool and, given time, the most popular among them will "bubble" out of the pool and into our list of Official Mysteries.

Users whose mysteries "bubble" will be paid $50 per mystery, if they wish to receive compensation.

What's changed?

New Mystery Solving interface

The heart and soul of 5 Minute Mystery is the mystery solving interface. It has been completely re-designed from the ground up in this update. We hope that you will find it attractive, intuitive, and smooth.

Time is now a factor when solving mysteries. Time is not used in rankings as it can be fairly easily manipulated, but it's now tracked in case you would like to chart your improvement using this metric.

New Results Page

The results page has met some users with confusion and has been re-designed; results are now very clearly shown along with interesting statistics.

Bug Fixes

Bugs are a fact of life with software. All but the most rudimentary software has bugs. We have heeded our user's reports and have eliminated and/or resolved many issues. All users are welcome to report new bugs, and we will attempt rectify them in a timely manner.


Everywhere you look now, you will find a good amount of statistical information related to the mysteries. We're going to be adding more ways to understand how you stack up against other sleuthers, but we have a good amount in place right out of the gate with this update.

Top Sleuths Fairness

Top Sleuths are now ranked more fairly, skewed to reward more active as opposed to those who have only completed a few mysteries.

The largest benefit by far from this change is that the Top Sleuths by percentage much more accurately portray and reward interested sleuthers.


8:08am on 2013-03-19, Dolphin12 commented

Sounds cool, but I'm not sure I want to be timed

6:06pm on 2013-03-20, edalf1972 commented

fine with me.

7:07am on 2013-03-28, DEJDSHDEP commented

i dont like the fact that you will be timed, even though it doesnt count against you, it is hard to concentrate on the mystery and not the time

11:11am on 2013-03-28, Nappy commented

Its Awsm :)

9:09pm on 2013-03-28, DetectiveConan commented

The timer makes me feel pressured. It's hard not to notice the timer.

8:08pm on 2013-03-29, Your Friendly 5MM Admin (Alexander) commented

Thanks for the comments about the timer. We will discuss how to address this... I believe that the options are:

a) Abolish the timer entirely
b) Preference to not show the timer in the interface (but still record it on the backend)
c) Preference to not time at all

Option "a" is a non-starter, but both options "b" and "c" are compelling. Perhaps we will do both, however, we strive to keep the interface as clutter-free as possible, account page included.

10:10pm on 2013-03-30, Lonib319 commented

I don't like the timer because I have to stop a lot to help out my sister, and I don't want to constantly have to start the mystery over again. I would prefer that I be timed, without having to see it.

9:09am on 2013-04-01, kcollins commented

How can I use scoring with a classroom of sleuths?

12:12pm on 2013-04-04, Your Friendly 5MM Admin (Alexander) commented

kcollins: Your sleuths must have separate accounts at this time, however, you may find that our Leagues system suits your needs. Consider creating a new league for each of your classes.

That said, signing up "classrooms" of students is a request we've seen come in with some regularity, so we may implement this explicitly in the future.

Your input is welcome in this endeavor. Contact us via the link on the footer of each page, or post a new comment here.

5:05pm on 2013-04-11, artemis192837465 commented

I like most of these mysterys some are very easy like the one when this guy died on the movie set. Some r hard though

5:05pm on 2013-04-11, artemis192837465 commented

i dont like being timed so if you could change that i would be much happier

5:05pm on 2013-04-28, topdetective commented

I know that a lot of people already commented about it, but the timer is SUPER distracting. I think it's better to get rid of it.

7:07am on 2013-05-10, arayakim commented

I don't mind the timer. In fact, I think being timed helps me focus on the mystery more intensely, since I want to get the best time I can manage.

What really bothers me is that I apparently have a 102% solve rate.

9:09pm on 2013-05-10, Your Friendly 5MM Admin (Alexander) commented

arayakim: Your *solve rate* is not 102%. Your solve rate is 100%. Your "last 30 days by percentage" is 102%, which is possible because we award bonus points in certain circumstances. Refer to the "How to Play" page for more information on that.

Congratulations to you on an impressive points percentage. :-)

2:02am on 2013-05-11, arayakim commented

Thank you for the sentiment, and thanks for clarifying that, Mr. Alexander. It still bothers me a bit, since I don't think I should be getting bonus points that the others aren't getting too.

I know for a fact that I don't always completely identify all the clues for some of the mysteries, but the bonus points for the medium and hard mysteries I solved seem to have cancelled out my earlier mistakes. Is it possible to remove the bonus points from my score so that I only have my solve rate showing up?

6:06am on 2013-05-13, rena_basinger commented

I am an elementary teacher tutoring a high school student. Is there any way I can find out the reading levels of the mysteries?

3:03pm on 2013-05-25, Chinasensei commented

Just wondering who you all are? There's no an "About Us" page, and, as a teacher and a parent, it would be comforting to see who is putting this site together. Thank you.

10:10pm on 2013-05-25, Your Friendly 5MM Admin (Alexander) commented

Chinasensei: I'll see to it that an "About Us" page is added soon.

rena_basinger: Thanks! You've identified an oversight in the new design. I'll see to it that the mystery level is added somewhere public. The two obvious spots are the mystery solver page and the archives listing.

2:02pm on 2013-06-03, RoseRed commented

I wish it would move the mysteries I've already solved to the back of the line so I don't have to search for a new one.

9:09am on 2013-06-08, OC commented

Some of the mysteries are so simple that I think "that would never happen in real life" so I think deep into it and get them wrong. So can someone make a mystery that is more life like and makes you actually think and not give all the clues in the text. 0% solve rate mystery is what I'm after.

7:07am on 2013-06-21, leewalker543 commented

I think the mysteries are challenging!!!! I think the could happen in real life!!!!!!!

I rate this game 100%.

7:07am on 2013-06-21, leewalker543 commented

ooops! When i said the in the second sentence i meant they!!!!

7:07am on 2013-06-21, leewalker543 commented

i like the story "who shot mom!"

4:04pm on 2013-07-11, enderman commented

Being timed is just a way to show people how slow they are and please disable timing.