Friday, 12 May 2017

UKPA Open 2017: Arrows

This round was provided for this year's UKPA Open. The round was themed around arrows. I had thought of making a set themed around arrows before. There's a lot of genres that use them, so it could lead to a varied set. I gathered a lot of different genres and tried to select a set that created a significantly varied set. I think I managed to select types that used arrows in different ways. There were a few genres I had tested, that didn't end in the set as they turned out too difficult, or not very enjoyable. A few of the types turned out harder than I thought and I added an easier puzzle to that section.
The set was 75 minutes during the championship. An instruction booklet can be found here.

Puzzles can be found below.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Puzzle #194: Arrow Loop

It's been a while since I've posted puzzles, almost a year actually. This month I'll be posting a few sets that I've provided to numerous puzzle championships over the last few months.

The first puzzle will actually be a puzzle that never appeared in a championship. It was originally was designed for the YKPA Open. The reason for this is that it came back as unsolvable by one of the testers. In the many years of having my puzzles tested, I haven't ever gotten the message back that a puzzle couldn't be solved, unless it had an error in it. This puzzle though, did not have any error. The problem with this puzzle was that I had made an assumption. This assumption involved a characteristic of loops, that I thought was well known and obvious. Both my testers weren't aware of this characteristic at first and only one could figure it out while solving. It was supposed to be a somewhat easy loop puzzle, but thus turned into a much harder puzzle, which I had no way of scoring the difficulty of accurately. So I decided to keep it out of the set. There's a hint below in case you need some help in solving the puzzle.

Hint (highlight to read):
Parallel bordering loop segments must always travel in opposite direction.

Rules for Arrow Loop:
Draw a single closed loop that travels through each cell exactly once. The loop is not allowed to touch or cross itself. Arrows in the grid indicate the direction the loop travels in from that cell.

 


Saturday, 30 July 2016

Puzzle #193: Greater Wall

Two weeks ago was the Dutch round of the WPF Grand Prix 2016. I wrote all the puzzles for this set, both the casual and competitive section. The sets can be found on the following links: Casual and Competitive. Not all puzzles I had written were used as the set, either because they were not needed or were too difficult. This post contains the puzzles of one type that weren't used.

This post will contain four Greater Wall puzzles. It's my own genre and I still had a lot to play with in this genre as it's still fairly new. That's why I wanted to include it. The first three were the original puzzles I had written, but in the end they were replaced with three other easier puzzles. The fourth was not used as a replacement. The puzzles used in the test all had more straightforward openings. In these puzzles, the openings are a little more complicated. They still given enough information for an easy start, but it needs a bit more effort to get through it completely. Puzzle 2 and 4 use the same opening clue, but the first one is harder to get through.

Rules for Greater Wall

Colour some cells to create a single orthogonally connected wall. The wall can't cover any 2x2 area anywhere. Where given, clues outside indicate all connected blocks of shaded cells in that row or column, in the correct order. Relations between two placeholders apply to the lengths of the corresponding blocks.

Puzzle #1
 
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Puzzle #2
 
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Puzzle #3
 
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Puzzle #4
 
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Friday, 29 July 2016

Puzzle #192: Magnets

Two weeks ago was the Dutch round of the WPF Grand Prix 2016. I wrote all the puzzles for this set, both the casual and competitive section. The sets can be found on the following links: Casual and Competitive. Not all puzzles I had written were used as the set, either because they were not needed or were too difficult. This post contains the puzzles of one type that weren't used.

This post contains four Magnets puzzles. One of them I never submitted, as I thought it would be too hard, but it's still a nice solve. I enjoy solving magnets puzzles, but the puzzles I write tend to turn out pretty hard. I've come to write more magnets puzzles these days that don't have all clues given. I find them more interesting that way. It leaves all clues being useful till the end. The first puzzle is an easier small puzzle. It uses some standard techniques to open up the puzzle. The second puzzle is a bit harder. It uses the interaction between different rows and columns much more. The third puzzle was a similar layout as the first. It works on some standard logic to start off as well. The fourth puzzle is also a larger version of the second puzzle. One clue per row and column usually seems to work the nicest for me.

Rules for Magnets

Puzzle #1
 
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Puzzle #2
 
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Puzzle #3
 
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Puzzle #4
 
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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Puzzle #191: Word Packs

Two weeks ago was the Dutch round of the WPF Grand Prix 2016. I wrote all the puzzles for this set, both the casual and competitive section. The sets can be found on the following links: Casual and Competitive. Not all puzzles I had written were used as the set, either because they were not needed or were too difficult. This post contains the puzzles of one type that weren't used.

This post will contain two Word Packs puzzles. This was the only type to be included in the Casual section. It's a type that I've seen in Breinbrekers before, but not really anywhere else as far as I can remember. I thought it would fit in well in the casual round. It was judged to be too varying in solving times to get an accurate rating for it. As the Casual section wasn't finished by anyone, it wasn't really missed. These puzzles generally work in a similar way. It's all a matter of understanding the logic involved. Usually the words are themed, to make it a bit more interesting. The themes I used for these two puzzles were Animals and Countries.

Rules for Word Packs

Place the given words in the grid, so that each rectangle contains exactly one word. Words in rectangles that touch each other can't contain the same letter.

Puzzle #1
 
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Puzzle #2
 
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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Puzzle #190: Tapa

Two weeks ago was the Dutch round of the WPF Grand Prix 2016. I wrote all the puzzles for this set, both the casual and competitive section. The sets can be found on the following links: Casual and Competitive. Not all puzzles I had written were used as the set, either because they were not needed or were too difficult. This post contains the puzzles of one type that weren't used.

This post will contain three Tapa puzzles. These puzzles were written in case a simpler genre needed to be added. Neither of them is particularly difficult, but they still are pretty nice. I thought the first puzzle had an interesting kind of symmetry. The solve is not too hard. The second puzzle worked out okay. I added more clues than I normally would. There's a few places to start and they al come together in the end. The last puzzle is a nice 10 clue puzzle. It's a low clue count for a 10 by 10 puzzle, especially with a symmetric clue distribution. The solve worked out pretty well.

Rules for Tapa

Puzzle #1
 
 
Puzzle #2
 
 
Puzzle #3
 
 
 
  

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Puzzle #189: Turning Fences

Two weeks ago was the Dutch round of the WPF Grand Prix 2016. I wrote all the puzzles for this set, both the casual and competitive section. The sets can be found on the following links: Casual and Competitive. Not all puzzles I had written were used as the set, either because they were not needed or were too difficult. This post contains the puzzles of one type that weren't used.

This post will contain Turning Fences puzzles. I enjoy this genre. The puzzles always are fun to write for me. I've done a lot of these puzzles and have figured out pretty well how the genre works. I wrote a tutorial for this genre a while back, which might be useful when doing these puzzles. I changed the layout a bit as I thought this was easier for notation than using the Slitherlink layout.
The puzzles aren't the hardest I've written, but I thought that would work better for the GP. The first puzzle is pretty straightforward. It only has even clues. The second puzzle has a simple opening, which leads to a harder finish. I wanted to leave the middle blank. To guide the loop through the clueless middle, I needed to make the end a bit harder to get it unique. The third puzzle is a bit more even in difficulty. It has one important step in the middle of the solve, but the rest should be smooth.

Rules for Turning Fences

 
Puzzle #1
 
 
Puzzle #2
 
 
Puzzle #3