anderson's Puzzle Blog

Puzzle 26: Falling Letters

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Rules (from the WPC 2017 instruction booklet): “Place letters into some cells in the grid. Same letters cannot share a side, and blank cells cannot share a side. Each outlined region must be filled in alphabetical order, starting with ‘A’, from left to right and top to bottom. Each outlined region contains at least one blank cell. Cells with the letters form a single connected area.” There is also an example in the instruction booklet, which can be found here; it’s the first puzzle in round 18, PIC.

This was made as part of WPC preparation, and I do plan on posting a recap on my blog at some point, so you can look forward to hearing about my multiple one-cell errors and other misadventures. Overall, this was one of my favorite puzzle types in the Puzzle Innovation Contest; there are a lot of rules and they feel somewhat arbitrary, but they work together surprisingly well.

The break-in for this puzzle might be very hard and I think the solving path is fairly narrow (at least based on Palmer’s solving experience), so here is a ROT13’d hint for the first step if you’re stuck: Gur oernx-va vf fbzrjurer nebhaq gur zvqqyr bs gur gbc srj ebjf.

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Written by qzqxq

November 3, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Puzzle 25: Oasis

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Rules (from the WPC 2016 instruction booklet): “Shade some cells in the grid. Shaded cells cannot touch each other orthogonally. All unshaded cells must be orthogonally interconnected. Unshaded cells cannot form a 2×2 square. Cells with circles cannot be shaded. A number indicates how many other numbers or circles can be reached from that cell by passing only orthogonally through empty unshaded cells (it cannot pass a shaded cell nor a cell with a number / circle).”

Notes: I think Oasis is the best new puzzle type introduced at the 2016 WPC. It feels very original, the rules are intuitive and relatively simple, and there’s tons of potential for interesting local and global logic (as demonstrated in the GP round 2 Oasis puzzles, which I highly recommend). I’d love to see others construct this type; let me know if there are other examples out there (the only other one I know of is on Walker’s blog).

Also, this was indeed the 25th WPC.

Written by qzqxq

July 7, 2017 at 3:15 am

Posted in Misc. Shading, Puzzles!

DASH 9 recap

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I participated in DASH 9 today in Fremont. First off, thanks to all of the organizers for a very smoothly-run event and for the great puzzles, as well as to Albert, Ben, Nathan, and Patrick for being great teammates.

Our team name was “)(()” (the joke is that it’s a palindrome, although no one believes it at first). We ended up getting 2nd place, which was certainly a pleasant surprise. Other teams with Galactic Trendsetters members got 3rd, 13th, 14th, and 16th, and our sister team “())(” got 55th, so it was a pretty good showing overall. Congratulations to everyone!

I’ll briefly discuss some puzzles now, so spoiler warning. Also, I’ll edit this post to include a link to the puzzles whenever they get posted (edit: here are the puzzles)

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Written by qzqxq

May 7, 2017 at 3:52 am

Galactic Puzzle Hunt 2017 recap: the puzzles

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The Galactic Puzzle Hunt took place about two six weeks ago, and overall, I had a great time helping create and run it and I’m really proud of everyone who contributed. There’s quite a lot of things I want to talk about, so this post will be dedicated to going over some of the specific puzzles; there will be another post for organization and other notes. There will be lots of spoilers, so be warned.

Before I get into the details, here are some personal puzzle recommendations if you haven’t seen them yet and want to try them out before being spoiled:

Now, for some specific puzzle commentary:

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Written by qzqxq

May 1, 2017 at 6:32 am

Puzzle 24: Trimino Divide

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This puzzle was made for WPC 2016 practice. Rules (from the IB): “Divide the grid along the given lines into triminoes. Each trimino is formed by three orthogonally adjacent cells. When there is a cross between two triminoes, they must be of a different shape. When there is a triangle between two triminoes, they must be of the same shape, but different orientation. When there is a dot between two triminoes, they must be of the same shape and the same orientation. Symbols always lie on a trimino border, not inside a trimino.”

Written by qzqxq

April 1, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Posted in Misc. Division, Puzzles!

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2017 Mystery Hunt recap

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The MIT Mystery Hunt happened two weekends two months ago, so here’s a (very belated) recap. It was my 9th hunt, and 4th with ✈✈✈ Galactic Trendsetters ✈✈✈.

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Written by qzqxq

March 29, 2017 at 4:02 am

Puzzle 23: Black Hole Tapa

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Rules (copied from the TVC instruction book): Follow regular Tapa rules. Additionally, each row/column must contain N Black Holes. Black Holes must be placed on the Tapa wall. For the purposes of surrounding clues, a cell with a Black Hole counts as M consecutive shaded cells instead of 1. Black Holes may touch each other. N and M will be given in Puzzle Booklet.

Also, in this puzzle, one of the clues has a 0 in it. I think the meaning of this should be natural, but just to be precise, the 0 must correspond to a non-empty group of black cells whose total length (adjusted for black holes) is 0.

Edited to add one more clarification: Even though the black holes count as 0 for clue purposes, they still count as black squares for everything else (black holes count for connectivity, you can’t have a 2×2 square of black holes, etc.)

blackholetapa

Notes: Well, I suppose I’m still alive. 😛

After going to the WPC (I’m currently writing a recap and hope to have it finished at some point), I’ve been motivated to get back into making puzzles after I basically had no time at all the past year due to school/burnout. So, have some TVC practice! Although I’m not sure whether this puzzle is representative of a typical Black Hole Tapa, as M=0 is a little unusual heh.

Written by qzqxq

December 1, 2016 at 11:51 pm

Posted in Puzzles!, Tapa, Variations

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