Negative Time Solving Contest 2016

Accompanying thread and Facebook event page.

It's that time of the year again! For those in the Northern hemisphere, this is your only chance of the year to solve a cube in negative time as day light saving (DST) ends and time falls back one hour. DST (Daylight Saving Time) ends the week of 24th in many countries in Europe. In most parts of the United States and Canada, DST ends at 2am on Sunday, November 6. See Time and to check the clock change schedule in your area.

The Contest

This challenge statement from 2004 by then-Caltech undergrad Tyson Mao pretty much explains it (original forum post).

There is only one day of the year where one can leave the drudgery of Caltech academic life and sprint off for a chili burger, chili dog, and chili fries in a timely manner. A very timely manner indeed... so timely that one can actually return before he departs.

This is the way of the Negative-Time Tommy's run. On one day of the year, a little bit before the first 2 AM, Caltech students hop in their cars and make a dash for the original Tommy's in Beverly Hills for some items with a lot of chili. The goal is to simply return before you left. If you are skilled, you may attempt the trifecta which consists of the burger with extra chili, the hot dog with extra chili, and the fries with extra chili.

Last year, I missed achieving negative time because of an accident on Highway 101. Our total time was 4 minutes. Of course, last year, I did achieve negative time cubing at a time of negative 59 minutes and 1 second. (I was not very fast back then.)

I challenge all of you to take part in the negative time solving tradition. We will have a website with the one, yes only ONE scramble which you will use for this entire year. The date I believe will be October 31, 2004.

The Rules

By submitting your time(s), you indicate your compliance to the following rules:

  • Use the provided algorithm(s). As usual, take up to 15 seconds of inspection per solve.
  • Begin every solve before daylight saving ends and complete every solve after it ends in your time zone. In the United States, for example, you must begin every solve (start the timer and turn the cube, not just inspection) before the first 2 AM and end every solve after the second 1 AM.
  • Don't be an idiot! This is an unofficial contest. Please follow all rules you would when submitting a record to

For example, if you start at 1:59:55 and end at 1:00:07, record your time as -59 min 48 sec. Rule 2 means that you can compete in multiple events at the cost of some extra time in each of your solves (except one). A fun category would be "most cubes solved blindfolded in a negative time." The entire solve must be done within an hour, so you first have to decide on the number of cubes to attempt and think about when to start memorizing.

Thanks to Tyson Mao for bringing this great Caltech tradition to cubing. Good luck to everyone!

Useful tools for US cubers: The Official U.S. Time, Atomic Clock Time.

The Scrambles

U2 D L B U' R' U2 B D' F R2 U B2 R2 D2 L2 U2 L2 D' F2 B2

This is the ONLY main Negative Time Solving Scramble for 2016. Do not use this scramble before the real attempt.

You can scramble other puzzles on your own, but if there's enough interest, please let me know and I'll provide an official scramble.

Submit your results


3x3 Speedsolve

RankNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1DonaldUSA-59 minutes, 52.8 seconds
2Chris ChoiUSA-59 minutes, 51.15 seconds
3Lucas GarronGermany-59 minutes, 50.33 secondsMy first sub-59:50, so I'm very happy. :-)
4Harris ChanCanada-59 minutes, 50.04 secondsGot an easy forced OLL skip:
(Cross) x2 L U F R' y' L F' U F' u'
U2 L U' L'
U R' U R U2 R' U R
U2 R U' R' U R U' R'
y' R U' R' U U R U2 R'
(R Perm) R' U2 R U2 R' F R U R' U' R' F' R2 U'
5Ethan VovanUSA-59 minutes, 49.887 secondsthere is a dog
6Jeremy FleischmanUSA-59 minutes, 49.53 secondsMy 12th one! Done while on a video call with James to discuss WCA software stuff =)
7Erik ChengUSA-59 minutes, 49 seconds
8Walker WelchUSA-59 minutes, 48.69 seconds
9Sam SchultzUSA-59 minutes, 48.38 seconds
10Devin Corr-RobinettUSA-59 minutes, 48.09 seconds
11Sammy TawakkolUSA-59 minutes, 47.52 secondsFirst time ever doing it. Go Air Force, beat Army!
12Joshua BlochUSA-59 minutes, 46.8 seconds
13Justin LinUSA-59 minutes, 46.25 seconds
14Felix LeeUSA-59 minutes, 46.01 secondsHi macky
15Andrew NathensonUSA-59 minutes, 46 secondsI need to go to sleep
16Pilan ScruggsUSA-59 minutes, 42.975 seconds
17Matthew McMillanUSA-59 minutes, 42.87 secondsIt would have been faster but it was a +2 :(
18Vincent SheuUSA-59 minutes, 40.5 secondsStopwatch timed; no Stackmat (with batteries) available.
19Daniel LoUSA-59 minutes, 39.88 seconds
20Lyle LowryUSA-59 minutes, 35.07 secondsMy first time in NST
21John SpencerUSA-59 minutes, 31 secondsMy first ever negative time solve. For science!
22Adeniji OgunlanaUSA-59 minutes, 20 seconds

3x3 Blindfolded

RankNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1Leyan LoUSA-57 minutes, 52.68 seconds
2Daniel LoUSA-55 minutes, 36.9 seconds
-Lucas GarronGermanyDNF:-(

4x4 Blindfolded

RankNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1Jacob PosnerUSA-49 minutes, 30 secondsWithout negative time, this is still my PB by over 10 minutes! Just goes to show how little I do 4bld...