Hello readers, I’m in the middle of a relocation and that means having to do some file-keeping across computers. So far, I’ve lost two weeks’ worth of Puzzle Lounge content (cries) but some write-ups were salvageable. This is a post about my personal experience at the 2019 BRANDS Tournament which happened on 5-7th July 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. It was written near the end of 2019, and I have edited parts of it, so it makes sense now that it has been 2 years since. Photos courtesy of Thailand Crossword Association, Thananon Boonkrong and myself.
Session 3: Week 21
For the last couple of years, I use competitive triathlon streaming to alleviate my suffering on the treadmill. Slowly I become more interested in following the triathletes in their quest for glory. As soon as I got hooked to following the live events, the pandemic laid bare the international triathlon calendar. Now I no longer view exercise with as much disdain than during days at school where physical education would give me mental anguish.
Moving on from retraumatizing, we have an optimizer to close our third session. This puzzle is based on Sigma Snake and I look forward to seeing if you can beat my best attempt. May be the best solver win.
Session 3: Week 20
Thermometers is a long-time classic staple of the WPC. Unlike many other Evergreens, Thermometers seem to be dying out. An interesting take on it was seen in a Czech’s Puzzle GP which was done on a hexagonal grid, a twist I also employed here. There was a bunch of easy in Ken Endo and Kota Morinishi’s pocket-book which contained some nice gimmicks. A partially clued grid can also get very syrupy if the author is mean enough to not give any clear toeholds. That is what I tried to aim for with this week’s offering.
Session 3: Week 19
Evening Officer, we finally nabbed the notorious Flack the Ripper!
How did we manage? Well, his latest offense was quite blatant to be honest. Our intel heard last week he was commissioned by a puzzle blog seeking a new logo. The name escapes me. What was it now? Rainbow Puzzles? Or something like that, never mind.
The fact is, shifty Flack here foolishly winged it by swiping from real corporates to make the said logo. Such intolerable illegal shortcut is just asking to be caught.
Sadly, though Officer, just before we snapped in the handcuffs, he managed to delete all evidence from his work drive. Please help us prove this guy is phony, if we can identify the actual logos Flack ripped from, he can’t walk away guilt-free like last time.
Session 3: Week 18
One strategy I adopt to wriggle out of writer’s block is to consult a puzzle collection and taking down notes of interesting genres. I was specifically looking for a rarer type that I can perhaps squeeze two or three grids from. Saying that, here I am posting a puzzle that is pretty much one-off. In case you are curious, the puzzle collection that inspired this week’s offering was the 2009 Antalya WPC book.
Session 3: Week 17
A word knock-out puzzle this week. A lot of outlets have different names for this genre. The name “Bull’s-Eye” is credited to word puzzle author and trivia writer Shawn Kennedy. I am a fan of his books long before Andrew Parr set up Games Magazine Enthusiasts group on Facebook where Shawn would regularly share puzzle nuggets and interesting trivia questions that made the show such as Idiotest and Who wants to be a Millionaire?
I ran a similar puzzle some time ago in PuzzleDo, so I wanted to theme it on logic puzzles this time round. Obviously I can’t replicate the fill-in-the-quotes gimmick seen in actual Bull’s-Eye Puzzles, so instead, to finish the puzzle off you will have to guess which of the two remaining names is my favourite puzzle genre.
Done with the two Light and Shadows already?
Here’s one more. This puzzle will have a separate count towards the tie-break.
Session 3: Week 16
During a recent Toketa binge I went through a number of Light and Shadows. This type reminds me of Lakes, a Nurikabe knock-off that I believe is of Slovakian origin. I think the type is prone to hacking due to its heavily-clued nature. A very difficult Light and Shadow came up in Puzzle Boss Rush 2 and that played out like a guessing exercise, where the first successful solve was logged in after five or so minutes, whereas others took more than an hour. Making such puzzle is just more work for the author than the axe-wielding guesser so I wasn’t entirely keen on writing such monstrosity. We should accept that there is a limit to how hard certain genres can get before guessing comes to play. With that, here are two modest Light and Shadows.
Session 3: Week 15
The 2019 World Puzzle Championship seem like a distant memory for all of us now (and I still owe you a write up), but the devilish difficulty left quite an impression on me. During round 2, I discovered Serrated Doppelblock. I studied Doppelblock quite a bit as prep for the 2019 24HPC where I included three of them, but the serrated variant was new to me and it immediately went into my mental to-do list.
Over a year later, with the WPC papers in a different home, I could not remember how the serration on the grid looked. Thus, this week’s puzzle ended up having two cells jutting out from the centre (rather than one). I think there is enough interesting steps to warrant not binning this, though. The 2020-2021 theme serves as a nice introduction to Session 3 and the new, hopefully brighter, year.