Solutions to Nikoli Hurdles – 2/5

100m-200m: Tentai Show

When I listed possible types I want to include in Nikoli Hurdles, I promised to myself that one had to be a picture-puzzle that would violate the answer keys. I originally thought of Tetsunagi (Connect the Dots), but oh boy is it hard to make on computer.

I’ve solved less than 10 Tentai Shows and never tried making one. This construction feat was also a personal challenge. The one used was actually the second Tentai Show I made. This was the first one:

I would’ve asked:  identify this sport.
Difficult right?
I thought so too, which was why I made another one.
(Give me your best guess in the comments.)

Now, what answer would be appropriate, and internationally-recognized enough, to be the solution? Thinking Japanese, I quickly thought of Pikachu. Even if you haven’t been to Japan, or watched Pokemon, I thought it would’ve been quite difficult not seeing a Pikachu before.

Fearing age bias, my second option was Colonel Sanders of KFC fame. I even came up with a rough dot-to-dot puzzle resulting in the smiling old man we’ve all seen before, I would ask for a 3-letter solution, namely: K, F and C. No matter how much I like their chicken, I just couldn’t resist including the famous yellow mouse in Nikoli Hurdles.

A stream of comments came in after a few days. Some liked the idea, some said it was unfair. I’m left to wonder what would happen had I opted for the KFC puzzle instead.

Solutions to Nikoli Hurdles – 1/5

0m -100m: Suraromu
From past experiences I knew that a Suraromu can only be made hard by enlarging it. I have never quite seen a 10×10 difficult Suraromu. This puzzle has been in my puzzle shed for a while now and it was an attempt to see how hard I can get it to be. The end result turned out moderate to hard and I’m happy that some of the solving path isn’t too clear as most 10×10 Suraromu goes. Give this to someone who hasn’t solve a Suraromu before, and I’m sure this puzzle would pack a little punch.


Nikoli Hurdles Results

We now wrap up Nikoli Hurdles.

After solving 8 puzzles, I asked “how many 2s did you see?”
After running the entire 800m course, you would see 17 occurrences of the number 2. Throughout the 29 days, I received (guess what) 17 correct entries!

This is the list of players who are correct, in order of their submission times:
1. Serkan Yurekli
2. Prasanna Seshadri
3. Ivan Koswara
4. Term Ital
5. Adam Dewberry
6. Jack Bross
7. Alan O Donnell
8. Eva Myers
9. Alan Lemm
10. Maja Gribajcevic
11. Joshua Zucker
12. Scott Handelman
13. Branko Ceranic
14. Neil Zussman
15. Thomas Powell
16. Sanda Reic Tomas
17. Maja Cvenic

Instead of randomly generating a winner, I got the competitors to play Rock Paper Scissors. The order of submissions will determine their seeded spot in a standard knockout tournament. You can read all about seeded single-elimination tournaments here. Special thanks to for this great interface.


I thank all competitors for such a prompt reply. Some interesting statistics:
Paper was the most common selection at 44.71%, followed by Scissors at 35.29% and Rock was least chosen at 25.88%
Although seeding doesn’t reflect anything but placements in the brackets, 3 of the final 4 were from the top 4 seeds!
More bizarre, the final two were the top two seeds!

Competitors, take a deep breath, here are the results:
nikolihurdles (1)

Congratulations to Prasanna Seshadri of India!
Prasanna will have the 2013 Nikoli Penpa delivered straight to his door.
And with that, Nikoli Hurdles comes to a close.

Thank you everyone that took part. Even if you didn’t submit, thank you for your interest. Full solutions and notes about the competition will follow during the next couple of weeks. I will take that time planning for the next event which I hope will receive the same warm reception that Nikoli Hurdles did.

Here are the eight puzzles for those who didn’t get to see them.