Wednesday 30 November 2011

Puzzle #64: Island

I decided to include this genre because the solving techniques are different from any genre. I figured this would lead to a more varied solving experience. I think many people still have trouble with the genre though, from what I heard back about this puzzle. This is probably because the solving works different than most genres. So there isn't too much to carry on from having done similar puzzle types. What you have to remember mostly, is that you have to create a single connected area. For this you have to take two things in mind. The first is the minimal distance between different clues to see how they can connect. The second is the maximum size of isolated areas can be placed. This puzzle uses the second technique more than my other puzzles so far.

Rules for Island

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Puzzle #63: Sudoku

I somehow didn't think a set would be complete without a Sudoku. I first thought of putting in a variant, but I was too lazy to actually make a Sudoku. I still had this puzzle lying around, which is the only successful 20 clue Sudoku I have ever made. I thought it was relatively tricky, but it doesn't give so many places to start. So I figured people would quickly start looking at where the openings were.

Rules for Sudoku

Monday 28 November 2011

Puzzle #62: Password Path

This puzzle type I've always liked. I hadn't really seen many of them in a while, so I thought it would be nice to put one in. I found it funny to then see that this puzzle type popped up in the WPC too as the instruction booklet was released after I had made this set.
I made a few of these puzzles and also had one that use 24HPC as the password, but that turned out a bit harder than I wanted. I didn't want this one to be too hard. It is one of the lower scoring puzzles in the test. I don't expect this puzzle to have cause many problems while solving.

Password Path

Draw a path that runs from the left top corner to the right bottom corner through all cells once without touching or crossing itself. The path can run horizontally, vertically and the diagonally. The path will run through the letters in the password in order, in the following way P-A-T-H-P-..etc. (B-R-A-M-B-.... etc. in the example).

Sunday 27 November 2011

Puzzle #61: Ripple Effect

As I've had a lot of fun designing Ripple Effect puzzles in the last months, I couldn't resist putting one in. I know my puzzles are generally harder than most, so I gave this puzzle the most points. There was a Ripple Effect puzzle distributed at the WPC which was seemingly harder than mine, but it was designed in a different way than I do.
I have previously said I wasn't sure how to design puzzles with given numbers. Mostly my puzzles with given numbers will just have them to make the end of the path unique. This one is different though. I placed these numbers in the start of the puzzle and then start designing the cages so that these numbers would instigate much of the path. I think it worked out really nicely and was worth all the points in my opinion.

Rules for Ripple Effect

Saturday 26 November 2011

Puzzle #60: Line of Sight

I still really love this genre. They are just fun to design and I think they are fun to solve. So I figured to really represent my taste in puzzles, this would be a good puzzle type to put in. I tried to make this one flow from the opening. I'm not sure how people found it in competition. It might be a bit hard to get into if you've never done them before. This ended up being the highest scoring loop puzzle.

On an unrelated note, I haven't actually made any puzzles since coming home from Eger. I'm not sure when I'll get started again but I'm a bit inspirationless at the moment. I hope to have some puzzles ready after this 24 hour puzzle championship run down though.

Rules for Line of Sight

Friday 25 November 2011

Puzzle #59: Penta Maze

I'd had this idea a while back already. I wanted to do something with mazes to turn non-unique mazes into unique mazes by placing shapes in them. I thought this was the easiest way. I found it somewhat funny to see the idea pop up in reverse in this year's USPC. This idea seemed like something different that would fit in well in a varied set.
I thought the puzzle worked out nice, but I haven't really heard any comments on people who tried to solve them. The starting logic is somewhat tricky, but I think the most obvious thing to start with.

Rules for Penta Maze

Rules: Penta Maze

This genre was developed by me.

Place all pentomino pieces in the grid so that they don't overlap any walls or eachother. Then draw a path that runs from Start(S) to Finish (F) that only runs over the pentomino pieces. The path crosses each pentomino piece once.

The example uses tetromino pieces.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Puzzle #58: Latin Pointers

So I have already professed my love of Naoki's genres already, so I figured I should put something new from him in this set as well. I came across these puzzles a little while before designing this set and absolutely loved the idea. I've always liked Pointers (named Japanese Arrows at the WPC) puzzles, even though I always find them very challenging. This genre combined the logic with Latin Squares. Therefore the name, Latin Pointers. Naoki named the genre mount, but that didn't really sound right to me.
Neither puzzle is very hard once you get the logic involved. I think this type helped the set become more diverse logicwise.

Rules for Latin Pointers

In both puzzles place the digits 0-3 once in every row and column.

Rules: Latin Pointers

This genre was devoloped by Naoki Inaba.

Place the digits 0-n once in every row and column as indicated. In each arrow there will be a digit that indicates how many digits the arrow is pointing at.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Slitherlink Pattern Guide

This is an introduction to number patterns in Slitherlink. It's not a complete guide to how to solve these puzzles. It's about patterns I think are handy to recognise as it makes solving these puzzles easier. There's a few patterns that are very common, which most people who solve these puzzles are aware of. This is because they show up in about every other puzzle. I like to use the more unfamiliar patterns in my puzzles as it gives people new things to learn. In my opinion it doesn't actually make the puzzles more difficult, just takes more effort to solve as you have to discover the patterns first. If you already know them, they're not actually harder.

Puzzle #57: Dice

This is a puzzle type I've always liked. There isn't too much variation in it, but they're always just fun to solve. It's just the kind of logic you have to use that makes them fun to me. As the logic is different to most genres I figure it is always a good type to throw into a puzzle mix. I tried to add them to my puzzle test, but I think I ended up making the wrong choice in taking them out there. I think I should have taken the Outside Sudoku/Skyscraper set out in hindsight.
I have a feeling the minimal number of clues needed for a 4 dice set with 24 different letters, is 13 words. I have no way to prove this, I just always make the puzzle unique with the 13th word. I have a feeling someone with programming skills could verify this. It's one of those questions that pop up in my head once in a while. Johan de Ruiter already once confirmed my question about the existence of unique 4 by 4 kakuros.
This puzzle isn't too hard. The path through it runs very smoothly, which is why I didn't have it score too many points in the set.

On an unrelated note, I will be posting the Slitherlink Pattern Guide I had mentioned in Puzzle #51 later today.


You are given a set of 4 dice with letters on them instead of numbers. Each side has 1 letter on it. The given words can be rolled with this set of dice. Determine the orientation of the 4 dice.
The given example uses 3 dice.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Puzzle #56: Yajilin

As might be expected, I also put in a few Loop based puzzles as those are my favourites.As my small Yajilin puzzles have all gotten a lot of positive feedback, I thought it would be good to put one in the set as well. I was really happy with the way this puzzle worked out. I started as I start all my Yajilin puzzles by defining the squares that will contain clues. Along the way I got to a nice unique puzzle, but hadn't used the 2 corner squares. I couldn't place clues in them, without ruining the logic I had built in. So I decided to keep those as empty clue squares and not let the loop run through them.
I think this puzzle is a little bit harder than the previous 2 10x10 Yajilin puzzles I have posted.

Rules for Yajilin

There's an additional rule, that no black bordered square can be used by the loop.

Monday 21 November 2011

Puzzle #55: Penta Pair and Penta Line

I'm posting 2 puzzles today. This is partly because I feel that posting only the Penta Pair puzzle would be a bit silly. They are both Pentomino puzzles. I had a few puzzle ideas ready for a test I was thinking of making, but that never really got off the ground. I might try that again next year as the theme is great. I put in some of the ideas in this test as I thought they were fun and it provided a few shape based puzzles.
The Penta Pair puzzle is a somewhat silly variant on the Pentomino Puddles puzzles. I have never been a fan of Pentomino Puddles puzzles, but I did like this twist on it though. I figured it would be a quick easy points, which you could get if you needed a short break or had a bit of time left at the end. I made a bunch of these puzzles and I think this was a really nice looking shape.
The Penta Line puzzle is just a simple pentomino grid variant. I hadn´t really ever seen the puzzles like this when I made it but have come across a few of them since I made it. This idea was the first draft for my LMI test, but I ended up going with a more traditional Pentomino puzzle type. I figured I could used it for this one now. I rated this puzzle a bit higher as the logic felt trickier to me than other puzzles.

Penta Pair

Determine which 2 pentomino pieces can´t both be placed in the grid without overlapping. Rotating and reflecting is allowed.
I´ve added an example that uses tetrominos.

Penta Line

Place all 12 pentominos in the grid. Rotating and reflecting is allowed. The pieces aren´t allowed to touch eachother, not even diagonally. Certain parts have already been placed.
I´ve added an example with tetrominos.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Puzzle #54: Sum Skyscrapers

Of course I needed to add some Latin square based puzzles. I also tried to fit in some arythmetic based puzzles in there. Sum Skyscrapers have always been my favourite variant, so it seemed like a logical addition.
The first puzzle I tried to make the clues on each side to add to 24, except how much I tried I couldn't get it right. This was the nicest result that came out of the attempts.
The second puzzle is a harder one. I was really happy with how this one worked out.

Rules for Skyscraper

In this variant the numbers on the outside indicate the sum of the visible digits.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Puzzle #53: Word Nurikabe

I also wanted to put in some puzzles with letters. But I generally have a lot of trouble designing puzzles with words. I tried putting in some word search and scrabble like puzzles, but they just didn't come out in any pleasing way. So i thought of using words in other genres I could work with. Nurikabe ended up being a nice choice. The trick of course was to make sure that the letters couldn't be all directly assigned to a word, because then the number of the island would be instantly known and it wouldn't be any different than a normal Nurikabe.
The design ended up really nice, with the word choice being related to the event and the puzzle.

Rules for Nurikabe

In this puzzle the number clues are replaced by letters and the islands by words. The words that have to be placed are listed on the side. Each word has one letter given. The words have to be placed so that they can be read by moving horizontally and vertically along the squares. check the example below in case something isn't clear.

Rules: Nurikabe

This genre is developed by Nikoli.

Determine for each cell if it's part of the stream or an island. Each number is part of a single island of horizontally and vertically connected cells, which size is equal to that number. Islands can't touch eachother horizontally or vertically. The cells not part of an island form the stream. The stream is a single connected area, which doesn't cover any 2x2 areas anywhere.

Friday 18 November 2011

Puzzle #52: Heyawake

I've realised I have 19 puzzles all ready for people to solve. I figured I might as well start posting them here. I made a puzzle set for the 24 Hour Puzzle Championship, which was held on monday. Now it's over I figure I can start sharing them with everyone. Therefor I'm going to post these puzzles here. This way I can also tell a bit about them, instead of you all just getting the booklet. There will be a few new ideas by me I used in the test and a few ideas I got from other people that aren't actually seen very much online.

Rules for Heyawake

I'm going to open this with a standard Heyawake puzzle. I needed a few more familiar types in the test and this one seemed like a good one to incorporate a nice 24 theme in. I didn't want it to be hard, so I chose some more standard cage shapes to go with the numbers. The 3 by 3 and 5 by 2 cages for the 4s seem to be very frequent in puzzles. I designed the puzzle with those at the start and tried to model the rest of the cages around them. This one is easier than the others I have posted so far. It's one of the lower scoring puzzles in the test, although for experienced Heyawake solvers it was probably a quick pick up.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Puzzle #51: Slitherlink

After the WSC and WPC my puzzle energy has been really drained. I don't think I'll post regularly for a while. This puzzle is the only puzzle I wrote during the whole championship week. It is meant as a Slitherlink Pattern Tutorial. I wrote is as a response to my teammates asking if there were patterns they didn't know. So I showed a few I like to use in my puzzles. Then I decided to just create a puzzle around all of the ones I had shown. I added one or 2 more little tricks I also like to put in. It's not a complete package of tricks for my puzzles. I have put some others in puzzles too. But figuring out all patterns in this one should get you along a fair bit in my Slitherlink puzzles.

Rules for Slitherlink

Monday 14 November 2011

Puzzle #50: Ripple Effect

Returned from the World Sudoku and World Puzzle Championships, seemingly in one piece. A few bruises and scrapes over my body is all I have left over from it. Finished nicely in 5th place after the 2 days of puzzling, which came as a surprise to me. I was expecting to have to battle really hard for a place in the top 10, but always remained comfortably in 4th or 5th place through the 2 days. Maybe on location competitions just suit me better than online competitions. Or maybe it's just that I am far more focussed sitting on a desk in relative silence opposed to solving online competitions in a lazy chair with the tv in the background. A bit too bad on my play off performance. A lousy No Four in a Row solve, a dumb Battleships solve and a stray circle in my Pointing at the Crowd puzzle, made me just miss out making the 7 person cut. I'm happy with my overall performance none-the-less.

Now back to actual puzzles. I know some people might have expected something special for number 50. I have been working on two ideas which were far harder than I had imagined to complete. I'm not even sure if one of them will ever work out, but it's nice to try challenging myself. As I couldn't complete either of them and I hadn't posted anything in over a week, I figured I should at least post something.
I've had a few of my puzzles published in Akil Oyunlari. It contains four Turning Fences and two Ripple Effect puzzles by my hand. Some of the Ripple Effect puzzles I had submitted were considered too hard for the magazine. I had somewhat expected they might be, but then again it said I could make some puzzles as hard as I wanted. I really loved the design of those puzzles, so I'm posting them here now. These two Ripple Effect puzzles have some very noticable designs. The first has a cute four by four square in the middle, which I've used in other puzzles before. The second has a nice stairs pattern in the right bottom corner. I hope you enjoy them.

Rules for Ripple Effect

Thursday 3 November 2011

Puzzle #49: Slitherlink; Liars

I'm not sure how much I will post in the next week or so. I will be flying out to Hungary on Sunday to participate in the World Sudoku Championships and World Puzzle Championships.

For this puzzle, the opening is trickier than my previous Liar Slitherlink puzzle.

Rules for Slitherlink

As an additional rule, exactly one clue in every row and column is incorrect.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Puzzle #48: Yajilin

Rules for Yajilin

My small Yajilin puzzles seem to be very much appreciated. So here's another one. Like the other one it's not too hard and it's not too easy. So hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Puzzle #47: Tapa; Hungarian

Last Tapa variant was considered an easy puzzle, but I don't think this one will be seen as such. This type I like a lot, but constructing them has caused me a lot of trouble. It's far harder to not run into impossibilities Tapa-wise as you have a set number of cells in each row and column. Normally the problem is uniqueness, here it is just having the possibility of a solution and then still having to worry about uniqueness. This one worked out well though. This variant will also appear at the WPC, which isn't overly surprising as the idea came from one of the constructers for the WPC.

Rules for Tapa

In this variant you are to place the digits 1-6 instead of colouring squares. The digits will appear once in every row and column. The clues indicate the sum of the connected sections of digits around it. Different sums are seperated by at least one empty square. As in normal Tapa, the digits don't form a 2x2 square anywhere.