We are now half way through Puzzle Lounge! During the on-season, I was conditioned to not go to bed on Friday nights until some correct entries trickle in. Only minutes separate the fastest solvers, so they were unknowingly my quality control checkers. I sleep easy when their answers match.
There were a lot more of points up for grabs this session, owing to there being more than one puzzle per week. The puzzles were generally more difficult as well, which raised even more points. Before we jump into detailed answers I would like to thank everyone for participating, for the lively discussions, feedbacks, and most importantly the kind words in the inbox I could not individually reply to. Here, I try to include some snippets of your comments along with each week’s puzzles.
You can grab the full solutions of Session 2 here.
Session 2: Week 14
I see you’re here to examine the 6 exhibitions we are showcasing next week. This is a very important art symposium for our young Bongard Museum. Bah oui. I can feel our fame soaring already. Let’s work together to ensure nothing goes wrong, oui?
Allow me to show you our 6 exhibitions. Right this way, monsieur. See here, each exhibit consist of 7 paintings. As you can see, currently they only have 6 artworks in them. The 7th piece of each exhibit are mixed up in the storage room somewhere. Mais Enfin! And time is running out!
Mon ami Tawan promised to help me but he had to leave for an emergency. Ouf, at least he summoned you here. He had some nice words to say about you. I sense the same reliable air from you, monsieur. I entrust you help locate the 7th painting of each exhibit by next week? You will?
Session 2: Week 13
Name a puzzle beginning with O. You could’ve start with “odd” for puzzles like OEBS sudoku, (or just Odd Sudoku). A few seconds later you might’ve been able to come up with Oases or more recently in Jonas Gleim’s Alphabet test, Offspring. A few will be aware of this weeks’ puzzle.
I first saw this in a Bram de Laat’s 24HPC set and the large 10×10 Outis that I solved during the event left a good impression. I haven’t seen Outis anywhere before or since. Two puzzles this week.
Session 2: Week 12
Pentominoes are always reliable as a go-to ticket when one hits a puzzle writer’s block. There are so many object placement puzzles that use them and improving solvers should practice keeping mental track of pentomino sets. Frequently playing the boardgame Blokus can also help. My favourite pentomino genre is Statue Park but that’s not what we’re solving today.
Inspired by Vladimir Portugalov’s 12th Forsmarts anniversary event, where every puzzle played out on 12×12 grids, here is a 12×12 Pentomino Areas I saved especially for week 12.
Session 2: Week 11
A word puzzle this week. In 2009, during a trip to Singapore’s Vivo City, I was awestruck by three large shelves of puzzle books in Page One. That was the day I discovered Games magazine (my first issue was May 2009) and, with it, American style crosswords. Woefully, two years later, the shop had ceased to exist and I was later forced to rely on overpriced international shipping.
Matchboxes, a rare type in Games, has a very simple rule. You come up with entries in a given category and the more answers you fill in, the more clues you get for other answers. A wide range of themes had been adopted before; such as trees, boats, shades of red and baseball teams. I try not to Google when solving, and for maximum enjoyment I recommend you do the same for the puzzles below.
Below are six interconnected sets of Matchboxes. The category and an example entry are given with each puzzle. In an attempt to make things more challenging, even with Google, the category will be given for only the first three puzzles and no example entry will be given for the last puzzle.
Done with the two Sweeper Tapas already?
Here’s one more. This puzzle will have a separate count towards the tie-break.
Session 2: Week 10
Tapa is the proud brainchild of the puzzle-cranking machine Serkan Yurekli. He ran 20 (!) Tapa Variation Contests (TVC) from 2010 to 2016. You know a puzzle is successful when hundreds of variations can be spun from it. And no. I don’t consider one-off “puzzles”, slapped with some whimsical name, found by the bucketloads in some creative individual’s blog to be a valid variation. Aside from Sudoku, I can’t think of another type that has such a rich and vast array of variations. Battleships maybe? Or perhaps Snakes might be a closer competition.
I wrote a round of Tapa puzzles for an offline event in Serbia last year, and in research for that I consulted the 20 TVC’s. Clearly entranced by the cute symbols, I was lured by the Sweeper Tapa which debuted in the 12th TVC (March 2012). Practice puzzles by Palmer Mebane, Bram de Laat and the example in the instructions all used dull letters instead of the wacky symbols seen in the actual test.
In search for the original Sweeper Tapa, I discovered that the idea was credited to, check this out, Anurag Sahay. Below are two Sweeper Tapas where I aim to balance both the classical Tapa element with the variation’s constraint. Credits to Freepik, whose work I frequently use to spice up presentation, for providing the cute symbols.
Session 2: Week 9
Ever since the Sudoku Boom, a lot of computer-generated hopefuls have tried to become “the next Sudoku” with trifling success. One contender is the Kenken. Depending on the source, you may know this as Kendoku, Mathdoku or Calcudoku. It is believed that the first Kenken was written by a Japanese teacher, Tetsuya Miyamoto. You could have Kenkens in various sizes with a range of one to four operations involved. What makes these Kenkens so bland is that they’re all spewed out by a program. God knows why Will Shortz save precious room for an artless Kenken (and a similarly tasteless generated Sudoku) next to the holy New York Times crossword.
Sometime in 2010, Thomas Snyder, who was probably just as annoyed, wrote a book of Tomtom puzzles slapped with his own words; “until… publishers ditch their computers and actually try to construct more interesting puzzles… there will be nothing else worthy of being called a Tomtom”. Halfway through the book, the operations are removed from the grid, slowly morphing Kenken into the Tomtom we know and love. The last section of the book toyed with special number sets and mystery sets where no number sets are given at all. This week is my take on the mystery set variant. I almost summoned enough audacity to call this week’s puzzle Tamtam but common sense prevailed.
Puzzle Lounge is back for Session 2!
Hello everyone, how have you been?
I’m glad to be back for 7 more weeks of puzzles. The rules and the submission page are now updated.
Session 2 will conclude on the 3rd of October. One winner will receive the latest Nikoli Puzzle Box Vol. 14.
Session 2: Week 8
Kicking this session off will be the humble Yajilin. The 1300+ Yajilins in Puzzle Square, almost doubling the second most abundant type (Heyawake), certainly convey how popular a genre it is. The name comes from the Japanese word for ‘arrow’ (Yaji) and the English word ‘link’. Early USPCs called it Arrow Ring for a few years before finally reverting to the original name.
Constructors often force a unique solution, especially the loop-closing part, by adding superfluous clues. Sometimes when authors don’t want to provide further hints, they would fill said cell with a useless clue; such as a zero pointing outside, or mimicking an adjacent clue cell if such exist. These last-minute additions frequently ruin symmetry. To fix this hassle, the addition of grey cells (unclued blank cells) championed by Thomas Snyder during his LiveJournal days, have started popping up in modern Yajilins. If done appropriately, this introduces new interesting paths to Yajilin deduction.
As a purist, I still tweak my head off when Yajilin loops don’t close up nicely. To this day, none of my Yajilins, and I’ve written several, contain grey cells. A record I’m not too afraid to dispose, if I really have to. Luckily, no grey cells were needed for this week’s offering.
Session 1 of Puzzle Lounge is officially over. Below are the solutions, results and some notes of our first quarter of lounging. You can grab the solutions here in this PDF.