February 19, 2010

Friday Puzzles #32

Welcome to Friday Puzzles, where I am pleased to announce the Puzzled Medium TM 2010 Sudoku qualifiers!!!

The prize you, dearest reader, could win is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to lick your very own elbow, under world championship conditions, whilst looking at this lovely picture of some Philadelphia cheese!

Well, let me temporarily avert your excitement, whilst I lay out the law of the Puzzled Medium TM 2010 Sudoku qualifier. It’s very important you pay full attention to the rules. These can never be broken. NEVER!

First off, this is only the first round. The top 50 entrants will be invited to part two. If I can be bothered to write a part two. Which I probably can, it’ll be good practice for the UK 2010 WSC qualifier, as kindly run by Puzzler Media. By the way, that is in no way affiliated or endorsed by anyone involved with Puzzled Medium TM.

Next is that although the aim of this competition is to find the best and most deserving people to lick their own elbows, do note that one place is already reserved for one of my cronies – who in all fairness has impeccable sudoku pedigree, but never mind the principle of competition or anything. Just bear in mind I do have another crony, who has pretty good (though admittedly not impeccable) sudoku pedigree, including another notable victory in a national sudoku championship (whose puzzles, by the way, were supplied by us at Puzzled Medium TM) and excellent performances when licking their own elbow in the past. He They will definitely not be getting special treatment. We have principles regarding competition!

The eagle-eyed amongst you might have caught on to the fact that being a good sudoku solver has nothing to do with successfully licking your own elbow. This is where you’d be wrong (even though I said fact!) Here at Puzzled Medium TM, we know best, and have a proven track record in previous years of selecting the best people to lick their own arses elbows. Honest.

Oh, please don’t cheat. Here at Puzzled Medium TM, we have never ever ever had any problems with cheating, and it’d be a shame for it to start now. Even though are lots of easy ways to hypothetically do so – for example by using the solvers at Scanraid and then submitting a plausibly competitive time. I shouldn’t really tell you that, but there we are, I’ve crossed it out. You were probably far too stupid to work that out for yourselves anyway.

And before I forget, let me tell you how to submit your answers. After completing the puzzles in an innocent fashion, select 18 digits from each puzzle and send them to me, along with your time. Hopefully your time-keeping device works in a similar sort of way to the ones we keep at Puzzled Medium TM…

Actually, you’ve already seen puzzles 1-4 in this first round of qualifiers in the last three weeks:

Puzzle 1: #036 Sudoku
Puzzle 2: #037 Sudoku
Puzzle 3: #034 Diagonal Sudoku
Puzzle 4: #035 Diagonal Sudoku

Puzzle 5: That’s this week’s novelty – enjoy!

#038 Killer Sudoku – rated hard

All puzzles © Tom Collyer 2009-10


- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Warren

    Any 18 digits?

    If so, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 2 ,6, 8, 1, 4, 5, 2, 8, 6, 9, 4, 7. Tine: 35 secs. Same for each puzzle :)

    19 Feb 2010, 13:03

  2. Thomas Snyder

    This was a nice killer, from a great starting pattern to good cage values that interact well. At least that’s what I think the Killer solver I plugged it into said. I’ve learned to add 3 minutes onto all my times so they sound reasonable. 3:35.

    19 Feb 2010, 18:13

  3. Warren: was 35 seconds the time it took you to write down 18 digits? I guess it doesn’t matter, rules is rules and it puts you way up the leaderboard!

    Thomas: I’m glad your getting some reward for persevering through the pretext, which I can tell you aren’t enjoying. However, these things should be all about the solving experience, and in this set of 5 are some of the best creations I’ve come up with yet! Also – 3.35 is a decent time. I gave it to a friend who is something of a killer specialist and he timed in on 12 minutes. Albeit once you got going it sort of turned into an extra-region puzzle.

    19 Feb 2010, 21:51

  4. George Danker

    I dare you to show Ariane this blog…

    Don’t be so bitter, you know you’ll be going to Philadelphia anyway.

    22 Feb 2010, 10:50

  5. I’d hope (and I am indeed fairly confident) that firstly Ariane is well aware of this blog, and secondly that she wouldn’t publicly rise to it. If not, then I’ll make sure that she does see this.

    Anyhow, she is well aware of how I feel about the state of the qualifiers, and indeed I have previously expressed my views far more bitterly than that. I think we have simply agreed to differ. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to satirise the situation if I choose to – especially if it means I produce some really good puzzles along the way. This should in no way be interpreted as a personal attack, and I hope everyone concerned is grown-up enough to realise that.

    Whether or not I go to Philadelphia doesn’t really have a bearing on the situation – and actually I’m sure this blog lowers my chances of going over. I merely want to see a universal qualification test free of numerous opportunities to cheat, that (most importantly IMO) actually reflects a WSC, and that contains a high quality of puzzle. Ideally this should be off-line. Put another way, a fair test that’s fun to do, and that actually chooses the best team. The other scenario is a pragmatically picked team, whereby the powers that be hand-pick a team based on complimenting abilities and team considerations. This is obviously less fair, but still better than the status quo.

    To illustrate this, let’s ask ourselves why David M gets a bye. I don’t think anyone doubts his abilities, and I’d think something would be seriously wrong if he weren’t to go. So what’s the problem with giving him a bye? The problem is this: if David M is so good, he should have no problem qualifying top 3. Thus in the hypothetical scenario that he doesn’t qualify, the only conclusion is that the qualifying test was a useless indicator of what the team should be. Thus to give him, and only him, a bye is an implicit admission by Puzzler of a lack of confidence in their own qualifier. Now I’m not quite as sure of my own abilities as I am David’s; on the other hand my track record isn’t bad either. For me to have screwed up three straight qualifiers leads me to conclude that something needs to be improved.

    Now, back to my suggestions. Were I not to qualify from such a test from the first scenario, then I’d happily accept that that was fair enough. I think it’s fair enough to conclude I ought to be included in the second. Put yet another way, I’m sticking to my principles on this one, regardless!

    22 Feb 2010, 16:05


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Welcome to the blog of current UKPA sudoku champion, two-time Times national sudoku champion and general logic puzzle fan Tom Collyer.



Home of the original Friday Puzzles, each Friday I publish a 100% original and handmade logic puzzle, inspired by the world-famous Nikoli company.


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