Archive for the ‘Post without a puzzle’ Category

Fillomino-fillia 2

October 22, 2012

After almost a year and a half, I’m finally (co)writing another LMI test. Fillomino-Fillia 2 will be held at Logic Masters India on the weekend of October 27th. This is a sequel to last year’s Fillomino-fillia test, which was a set of Fillomino and variations that I cowrote with mathgrant. This year, mathgrant and I are bringing you even more Fillomino puzzles.

The format is similar to last year: 4 classic puzzles, 6 new variations with 2 puzzles apiece, and a “Best of Fillomino-fillia 1” section with 2 puzzles, representing 2 variations from last year’s test. As always with LMI tests, you can begin the test at any time between (on a US time zone) late Friday and late Monday, and once you start you’ll have 2 hours to solve as many of the 18 puzzles as you can.

Like last year, mathgrant and I will each post a four puzzle preview series, which will allow you to get familiar with the new variations on this year’s test. Each of us will be posting one per day over this week, with the last going up shortly before the test can be begun.

The delays in getting this test finished and scheduled at LMI are the reason for there being no pack release for so long. I had intended a post-mortem booklet with commentary, rejects, and plenty of extras to be puzzle pack volume 4 since forever ago, but we kept having to push the date of this test back. Anyways, that pack will probably be released within a week of the test being over. Volume 5 may have to wait until after Mystery Hunt is done; we’ll see.

WPC 2012 Playoff Update

October 6, 2012

See the last page of this link for the full playoff rules. I’ll assume knowledge of them for this post.

The top 8 were, in order: Ulrich Voigt, Thomas Snyder, Ko Okamoto, Palmer Mebane, Hideaki Jo, Zoltan Horvath, Bram de Laat, and Nikola Zivanovic.


WPC 2012 Update 5

October 6, 2012

I haven’t been keeping up with these well… still some rounds to talk about and the playoffs are already over and done. I’ll reserve playoff discussion for a separate post to be made just after this one. The results are online already, so I won’t post a score chart.

On the topic of previously discussed rounds that have now been scored, it seems I topped round 7, lines and arrows, by 13 points, despite a stupid 5 point mistake. I did feel I was pretty efficient that round though. Round 8 was indeed very difficult, with a top score of 77 out of 120 and my 63 not being too bad.

So now let’s start with the day 2 afternoon. Round 10 was “Anthology”. 20 puzzles, selected from each of the previous 20 WPCs. Very few mid-valued puzzles here. They were mostly 5- or 15+. In the round it did not go too well for me. I had a lot of high-pointers out, but at 15 minutes left in the round (out of 90) I wasn’t sure what other points I could get. The time ended up divided on a 17-point word puzzle with 60 words to put in. I tried throwing stuff down for 2 minutes, got a contradiction, and quickly moved on. The rest of time was spent trying to get the 20-point Japanese Number Castle, which was the type selected from last year and one I had done well on. Unfortunately I was maybe 3-5 minutes of tweaking away from solving it when the round ended, so that entire 15 minutes was bungled. Indeed, my score of 112 (Ulrich’s 160 was the top) was not so solid.

Next is round 11, the innovatives round which they called “Something Newish”. In both of my past two championships this round never went very well for me. It was my poorest showing in Poland and a place I lost a lot of ground on the top in Hungary. Here… I got the top score. I left untouched the two puzzles I felt very uncomfortable with, a 9 by 9 Easy as ABC Sudoku Skyscrapers (28 points, the highest of any in the championship), and Rural Tourism, a messed up Star Battle variation. Thomas was saying that the Sudoku should have been worth 48 after the round, given how long it took him. But I got everything else. The big victory of the round was starting a 21 point card puzzle with about 3 minutes to go. If you’ve been reading these updates, you know that’s a bad sign, but as the clock ticked down I barely managed to tweak my guessing into something I couldn’t find anything wrong with. Maybe 20 seconds were left when I put down the last bit. And I did indeed get it.

Finally, round 12, Half Dominoes. One samurai Sudoku style Half Dominoes grid, with row-column clues including all cells on the grid. 50 minutes to solve it, 100 points if correct. With so many cells in each row/column, it basically ended up almost like a Sudoku; not good for me. Still, I managed to pull a decent performance. I couldn’t touch top scores like Pal Madarassy’s 170 (solved in 15 to 15.5 minutes) or Thomas’s 162 (19 to 19.5 minutes), but my 139 (30.5 to 31 minutes) was respectable and kept me from losing too much ground. Considering the kind of round, I was quite happy with this. Below top scorers, where fewer people were finishing, the scoring was very lopsided, with 100s mixed with 20s, and I don’t think the scoring rules were well-designed with that part of the score table in mind.

That was the last individual round. Round 13 was a team round, which was instructionless. I don’t want to talk much about this one; it’s my least favorite round of any of the three WPCs I’ve been to. Suffice it to say, one of the puzzles, which we had to puzzle out the instructions for given an example, had the most unintuitive rules I’ve ever heard of. I don’t think any team figured out what that puzzle was about. Ridiculous.

I guess I forgot to talk about the previous day’s team round too (6), Marina, which was a manipulative optimizer puzzle. I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would, but it still wasn’t my cup of tea. We thought we had something pretty good at the end, but we ended up losing quite a bit of ground on it. Oh well. The team finished third, which is a bit unfortunate given some of our recent showings.

Playoff post coming shortly…

WPC 2012 Update 4

October 5, 2012

Day 2 morning, which had 3 individual rounds, is now over.

Round 7 was Lines and Arrows, which like 5 (black and white) also should have played to my strengths. I think I did about as well as I could have. I got everything except for Pointing at the Treasure and the harder Barriers, both of which I believe I’d stand little chance on. The lucky break of this round was starting the easier Barriers with one minute left and getting it out on intuition 30 seconds later, giving me enough time to check it.

Round 8 was Assorted Puzzles. This one turned out to be tough. A lot of puzzles seemed to be far harder and/or longer than their point value suggested. From my conversations with others I think everyone struggled with this round, and I’ll be satisfied with my score being just over half. But there was certainly room to do better.

Round 9 was Skyscrapers, with a bunch of crazy variations. Generally, when a 6 by 6 Skyscrapers puzzle gives you all 24 clues, it’s not going to be hard. Here, we got seven 6 by 6 Skyscrapers with all 24 clues, and pretty much all of them were tricky. They were also fairly elegant, which cannot be said of all the puzzles we’ve been seeing. The highest valued puzzle, a chaotic variation where the numbers 1-7 had to be placed with one missing in each row and column, was the only one I missed. I only barely got out a similarly high-valued puzzle, New York, the same variation except one space in the grid had to be left empty, so I was fairly happy with how I did. No one finished the round, desipte the 5 minute extension to the original 30 minute time limit. Thomas and Ulrich were apparently close though.

That was the last round this morning. I’m guessing I’ll move up the ranks a little when these rounds are scored; we’ll see.

WPC 2012 Update 3

October 5, 2012

Morning of day 2 starts soon. This post is for a scores update:

R. Name; R1; R2; R3; R4; Total
1, Ulrich Voigt; 85*; 180; 130; 85*; 480
2. Thomas Snyder; 68; 186; 105; 33; 393
3. Hideaki Jo; 46; 202*; 88; 53; 389
4. Bram de Laat; 78; 173; 69; 47; 372
5. Nikola Zivanovic; 75; 173; 69; 47; 364
6. Ko Okamoto; 36; 119; 127; 78; 360
7. Zoltan Horvath; 70; 141; 105; 42; 358
8. Palmer Mebane; 36; 126; 136*; 51; 349
9. Kota Morinshi; 46; 180; 77; 44; 347
10. Pal Madarassy; 46; 117; 93; 81; 337

Typos are possible. * means top score of the round if I searched the whole score list correctly. This is around where I expected to be, and below where I want to be. Going to want to make up some ground on day 2. Ulrich does not seem to be possible to keep pace with this year. It’s too bad the playoffs are going to nullify the likely sizable margin he will win by so thoroughly.

WPC 2012 Update 2

October 4, 2012

Three more individual rounds done. Not much scoring done yet though; I might post on that in the morning.

Round 3 was the round with puzzles where the rules are violated in one place, like a Tents puzzle where one tree has two campers attached instead of one. This one went quite well for me with a lot of lucky pinpointing of the “errors”, although Thomas blew me (and everyone else) away. In a 60 minute round, he finished 20.5 minutes early, I was 7.5, and Ulrich was 4.5. I don’t think many others claimed time bonus..

Round 4 was a short Easy as ABC round. As if dominoes wasn’t bad enough. Fortunately two of the types were a Crossword and a Snake (both ABC style), which I got all of. The third was actual Easy As, except on a hex grid. These slowed me down, and then the last one (which no one I’ve talked to found anything like a logical solution for) stumped me for a large portion of the round. No time bonus for me…

Round 5 was Black and White, with a lot of types like Tapa that I’m okay on, mixed with a few like Paint By that are more yucky. It went decently, with only two high-valued puzzles undone and a Thermometers. But then one of those puzzles was one I had a near-solution for and spent a huge amount of time (15 of 90 minutes) trying to tweak. Never got it. I don’t want to think about how much people gained on me from that wasted time when that should have been a high-scoring round for me.

That’s the last of the individual rounds today; there’s one weird team round to finish out and then we’re done for the day. Overall I’m quite unsatisfied with how I did given the rank I was aiming for, and mistakes haven’t even entered the equation. The themed rounds tomorrow (Skyscrapers + Half Dominoes, vs. Domino Hunt and Easy as ABC today) are better suited to me, but that doesn’t guarantee I’ll do well on them, given how many screwups on things I’m usually quick at I’ve been making. Winning the prelims might have to wait for a later year, but I think a respectable rank is within reach.

WPC 2012 Update 1

October 4, 2012

And the morning begins, with 2 rounds.

The first round was all Domino Hunt puzzles. One of my least favorite types. I did the best I could, but ended up with the two hardest left unsolved when the people I’m trying to keep up with are finishing with a substantial bonus. I had a shot at getting one of the last two when I went on a promising bifurcation route, but it broke at the end with about a minute left. Lovely.

The second round was the 2 hour marathon round of 21-themed puzzles, called Blackjack. It was going pretty well for awhile, and then I decided to try the Octopus (8 snakes on one grid, each length 21). 5 minutes in, I was pretty confident in one half. 25 minutes later, I had been trying and failing to get the other half to work and decided I needed to get to other things. One thing you don’t want to do on these marathon rounds is throw a quarter of the time limit at a puzzle you don’t get. Indeed, I ended up at about 75% of the score other top finishers were getting. In last year’s WPC these marathon rounds were where I accumulated most of my advantage, so this is a bad sign for me.

At this point, I have about 100 points of disadvantage to make up to keep up with the top, which translates to about 400-500 points on last year’s scale. The afternoon rounds are a little more suited to me, but not by much. We’ll see what happens.

WPC 2012: WSC over, WPC starting tomorrow

October 3, 2012

The WPC begins tomorrow morning. Still getting some last minute preparation and strategizing done for the day ahead.


Hello from Croatia (WPC 2012)

October 1, 2012

And so begins my time at my third WPC. It won’t begin for a bit; I actually arrived at the same time as the WSC competitors even though I’m not participating in the WSC. (What a tragedy; I don’t get to compete in rounds with cartoon characters.) I did this because there was no reason not to: I don’t really miss any weekdays at home by leaving earlier, and this way I get an extra buffer against jet lag and other traveling stresses. motris did the same as I did; it’ll probably be a little more awkward for him to be on-site yet on the sidelines for the WSC than me, given he’s the defending champion (is the word defending applicable here?), but that’s what he chose to do.

Anyways, I plan to cover some of my experiences with the WPC this year like I did for Hungary, but my round recaps might be much more abbreviated during the competition itself. The playoff format has a huge head-to-head component, to the point that talking about which types you did well on and which you did not can give a substantial advantage to your rivals. So I’m not going to say anymore about my performance than what can be learned from the score charts. Maybe I’ll write detailed thoughts and only edit them in afterwards; we’ll see. And yes, this is being presumptuous and assuming I make the playoffs, which very well may not happen. But even so, I lose nothing by planning ahead like this.

More news to come in a few days when the WPC properly begins.

Making the hiatus official

August 15, 2012

This is confirming what many of you have no doubt suspected from my having missed 5 weeks of puzzles or so, as well as a pack release. The blog will be inactive for some time. The reason is a Mystery Hunt writing backlog. I can’t say how much of the stuff I’m doing will make it into the final hunt, or how much of it is logic puzzles, or anything else more specific. But that’s why.

The next pack is expected to come out September. Reasons for the delay will be made apparent then. You can expect some posts about the USPC this year too.