Tuesday, 28 February 2012

TVC X Recap

TVC X has finished. I finished 3rd and am now the only puzzler to reach the podium on both tests. Ranking-wise I'm doing the best out of everyone. But with each test having one puzzler who outsolved the rest by a mile, the normalised rankings puts me in third place.
I wasn't completely happy with my performance after finishing. I broke the Magnetic Tapa twice and the Toroidal Tapa once. I also had to guess my way through the end of the Tapa Guard, which didn't go all that smoothly. But that probably only cost me the 24 points in penalty I got in the extended time. I don't think I'd been able to get anything from the Tapa Distiller if I had been error-free. It took me 25 minutes afterwards to solve that puzzle and even though you get points per grid by the time you finish one grid you're almost done with the whole puzzle.

As for the puzzles, my favourites were the Anglers Tapas and the Shortest Segment Tapas. I'm not really sure why the Shortest Segment Tapas got such low ratings as I really enjoyed them. In my mind the Braille Tapa was highly overrated. I raced through that one. The Tapa Guard was underrated and i felt was the hardest single puzzle in the set. I obviously also found the Tapa Distiller challenging. That was partly as there seemed 3 places where you could possibly start solving and only one of them was any good to break it open in my mind. Of course I started with the 2 that didn't help much. The Magnetic Tapa was probably my least favourite, but that's just because the Magnetic aspect was a bit too little in my opinion.
I think my Combination, Shortest Segment and Braille Tapa were probably the most helpful for the test. For the Braille Tapa I think the most important thing you had to pick up is studying the letters before solving and seeing what the implications of colouring squares and leaving squares blank meant. I was expecting the Anglers Tapa to have the little loops as well, which is why I put it in my puzzle.

There always seem to be puzzle types returning to the next set. My choices would be Magnetic Tapa and Toroidal Tapa. The Magnetic Tapa I choose because I think I've shown with my second and third puzzle it has a lot more to offer than the puzzle that was in the test. So I think it deserves another showing. The Toroidal Tapa is just because I'm a fan of Toroidal puzzles and it uses the most Tapa thinking. Even though I liked the Anglers puzzle I don't need to see it back as I think the puzzle will probably be very similar as the ones in this test.

Finally I'm posting my Shortest Segment reject. This puzzle didn't match the rules that appeared in the test.

Rules for Tapa

Shortest Segment Tapa

Use regular Tapa rules. Additionally the numbers on the outside indicate the shortest segment of connected squares in that row or column. At least one segment of that length will appear in that row or column, but no segments shorter than the given number.

Click to enlarge


  1. I raced through Braille as well. Got stuck on Difference, probably more to do with myself being stressed than the difficulty though. I doubt any difficulty would justify spending 23 minutes on it and not even reaching half a solution.

    Looking forward to TVC XI and your practice puzzles. This could become a TVC tradition, probably already has :P

    1. Well the Difference Tapa I just found it hard to find the opening, which is why it was the last puzzle I solved, but after that I never really got stuck. I got through it in under 4 minutes in the second try when I did spot the opening. I started it when I saw the red timer start and thought "oh yeah there is extra time", while I was trying to figure out why I thought the Pata had 2 solutions. (My second solution has a 2x2 square.)
      I'm sure it's somehow tradition by the fact Deb posted the links to my puzzles on the official page, which immensely increased traffic to my blog. The first part is now my most viewed post.

    2. Oh I found the opening. I later realized that the reason I kept getting stuck is that for some reason I had taken it as a given that 4-2=3, 3-2=2. Like I said, tired mind. It seems we have more similarities than the Braille Tapa, I also saw the red timer and thought the same and finally moved away from Difference and finished the Total False in that 1 min 27 seconds penalty.

      I know what you mean about the traffic, similar stuff happened during the Puzzle Marathon, especially when I posted the Graffiti Snake practice puzzle, its never come close to those numbers since!

  2. Yes even I would like to see Toroidal Tapa. I have completed the puzzle, but not quite sure what happened to me I kept checking it and felt it was wrong, totally got lost and finally gave up. After the contest I solved it again took around 10 minutes and the solution matched with the one I did during the contest.
    This time I should not repeat the same mistake.

    Also your practise puzzles helped me a lot. Expecting you to prepare for the TVC XI and XII.