Wednesday, 6 January 2016


The first TVC of the season is over. I finished in 8th place, finishing all puzzles with 9 seconds to spare. It wasn't my best solve, but I'm still happy with it.
I had a bit of a slow start on the Alternative Tapa. I was a bit slow utilising the letters. I could have used uniqueness to finish it quicker, but I wasn't 100% sure if it held up. It just looked that uniqueness couldn't be guaranteed otherwise.
The next puzzle that caused problems was the second Skyscrapers Tapa. That was mostly because I forgot a 6 Tapa clue always needs one of two opposite edges coloured. I was treating it as a 5 clue and didn't see the opening. I got through I okay with a guess.
Then the Star Tapa held me up a bit, but luckily my own puzzle had given me some practise with the stars I needed here.
The last puzzle that caused problems was the second Magic Tapa. It actually caused the most problems and I had to restart it. Even on the restart I couldn't solve it, by which it was time to enter the codes. I was afraid I wouldn't solve it in time. But after entering the codes, I realised I had been treating a 2 as a 3 the whole time. So I could quickly solve the end and answer the key within a minute and claim my bonus of 0.2 points.

I think I got the most use out of designing my Tapa Star and Tapa Magic puzzles. I don't know which of my example puzzles were most useful for others. The feedback on my practise puzzles is getting less over the years. I don't know if it is because people don't need or want them anymore or if it's just because they have come to expect them. Some feedback would be appreciated as it takes a bit of work to push out all ten Tapas in the few days between the instruction booklet coming out and the start of the contest.

Lastly, the secret Tapa I mentioned in Part 2. The Tapa With Borders grid is also solvable as a 10x10 classic Tapa. I realised from the design that all outside clues were completely irrelevant to the Tapa with Borders logic. So I decided to clue them so that they would make a unique Tapa with the rest of the clues. I thought it was a fun touch.

Rules for Tapa

Click to enlarge


  1. Hi, I'm one of those people who's solving your practice puzzles without usually giving feedback, sorry. Are they enjoyable? definitely. Are they useful practice? yes, especially when it comes to less common variations. Thanks a lot for making them!

    Of this set, I especially loved the Tapa Logic, and found the Tapa Star extremely difficult.

  2. I also owe you thanks for creating the practise puzzles, especially the new variants. Typically the IB examples are minimal. Your puzzles are all on the tough side, but that is good to encounter before the contest itself.

    James McGowan