Negative Time Solving Contest 2013

Accompanying thread and Facebook event page.

It's that time of the year again! 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 26th in many countries in Europe. In most parts of the United States and Canada, DST ends at 2am on Sunday, November 3. 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

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

This is the ONLY main Negative Time Solving Scramble for 2012. Do not use this scramble before the real attempt.


3B2 F2 L2 R2 2B 3B' 3D2 3B L' 2U F' 3U2 2B' 2U' 3R2 2D2 2B2 3R F' 2D' F2 U L 3U2 F 2R' 2D 3R' B' 3B2 3F 3R' 3D2 3B2 3F 2D' 3D U2 B F' D' B' F D 3D L' 2F U' 2R2 R B' 3D 3U2 B2 2F2 U' R' D' 3R2 2B2 3D' L' 3B 3D2 2L 3B2 D 3D 3B' L2 2R 2D 3D 2B' 3L2 3R 2U L2 2L' 3L' 3R R' B 3D L' 3B2 2D B' 2L 3L' R2 2U 3L 2D2 L2 D 3D2 L2 3B2 2U2

Please let me know on the forum if you would like me to generate scrambles for some other puzzle. Or you can scramble other puzzles on your own.

Submit your results

The Results

There were 31 participants representing 4 countries (and Smerbia). Of these, 2 participated in Europe and the rest were from North America.

3x3 Speedsolve

PlaceNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1Dylan RheeUSA-59 minutes, 49 secondsmeh
1Tim SunUSA-59 minutes, 49 seconds
3Jules ManalangUSA-59 minutes, 47.62 secondsMeh
4AJ BlairUSA-59 minutes, 47.17 secondsOnly .17 better than last year :/ Ah well.
5Steven XuUSA-59 minutes, 47 seconds
6Felix LeeUSA-59 minutes, 46.88 secondsDone on a 42mm ZhanChi...
7Lucas GarronGermany-59 minutes, 45.98 secondsManaged to let my camera fall halfway through?
8Jeremy FleischmanUSA-59 minutes, 45.15 secondsI guess being sober doesn't help.
9Ike LeeUSA-59 minutes, 45 seconds
10Ryan PrzybockiUSA-59 minutes, 43.977 secondsA bit lucky with the Waterman method ;)
11Louis de MendonçaUnited Kingdom-59 minutes, 43.93 seconds
12devin corr-robinettUSA-59 minutes, 43.45 seconds
12Dan DzoanUSA-59 minutes, 43.45 seconds
14Andrew NelsonSmerbia-59 minutes, 43.24 secondsHail Smerbia
15Justin LinUSA-59 minutes, 42.56 seconds
16Boris PerkhounkovUS-59 minutes, 40.22 seconds
17Graham Van GoffrierUSA-59 minutes, 38.14 secondsShoutout to the Norwell Speedcubing Society!
18Ryan PrzybockiUSA-59 minutes, 34.274 secondsNot a very good solve, but I'm tired. This is my first negative solve ever. Good luck to everybody.
19Michael YoungUSADNFI was short on time, and twisted a corner in the scramble >.
19Vincent SheuUSADNFI popped, lost my blue center cap, and still can't find it.

3x3 Blindfolded

PlaceNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1Sesi CadmusUSA-59 minutes, 7.1 seconds
2Leyan LoUSA-58 minutes, 17.21 secondsPretty drunk.
3Chris HardwickUSA-56 minutes, 28.39 secondsDone at a Waffle house with my fiancee Katie and friend Paul from high school. The adjacent booth was a table of drunk people watching me solve, and their commentary both during and after the solve was very entertaining! :) The waffle house negative time run was also a success! We returned home 9 minutes before we left :)
4Lucas GarronGermanyDNF (-51 minutes, 14.96 seconds)
4Dan DzoanUSADNF (-57 minutes, 43.83 seconds)2 edges oriented wrong
4Brandon MikelUSADNSSo I went to bed before the change time and had my phone wake me up at 1:56am so I could do my solve. I think it somehow woke me up at the 2nd 1:56am and not the first one :( I got a 1:52.00 BLD success

7x7x7 Blindfolded

PlaceNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1Mike HugheyUSA-17 minutes, 2 secondsMemorization time: 22:18; execution time: -39:20.

2x2x2-9x9x9 relay

PlaceNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1François CourtèsFrance-6 minutes, 27.75 secondsNot really fast, I was aiming for sub-(-10). I think the biggest challenge is not to fall asleep during the attempt :-p

24x24x24 Computer Cube

PlaceNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1Michael GottliebUSA-7 minutes, 43.562 seconds8077 moves. I was gonna do a 25x25x25, but odd cubes are hard.

Team Blind

PlaceNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1Shelley Chang and Kenneth LuUSA-56 minutes, 41.14 secondsAt 1:50am, we decided to do a team BLD. Shelley gave Kenneth a crash course on the Berkeley method and managed one practice solve before starting at 1:59.xx. Kenneth got nervous and forgot an algorithm he normally knows, so Shelley ended up calling the last PLL move by move and we finished in 3:18.86.

On a personal note, Shelley and Kenneth hope to compete in the Husband/Wife Team Blind category in the near future :)

3x3x3 while Juggling

PlaceNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1Ravi FernandoUSA-58 minutes, 15.01 secondsSlow solve. I thought about gigaminx or 2-7 relay OH while juggling, but wasn't sure if I could finish in negative time.

399 puzzle

PlaceNameCountryNegative TimeComment
1Ben WhitmoreUSA-17:23.912