Light Read #5 – Searching for the 100th solver


Here in the SOTR headquarters there’s a spreadsheet keeping track of all submissions since this blog began. I wanted to have a rough idea of how many solvers are entering, which events are popular, who’s been winning what, who hasn’t been winning, which events they liked, disliked – so improvements can be done. It is also a joy to see the list growing every year.

At one point, it looked like solver Arturo from Chile (!) was SOTR’s 100th entrant (not 100th entry since one entrant enters multiple events). But that was not to be. Solver Zach also entered Manila, but a good year before that he entered Colour Restore under another name. I found out only because he ended up winning :). Which meant Arturo was the 99th solver and the next newcomer would be the 100th.

That next newcomer is Jason V. Zuffranieri who entered Nikoli Hurdles 3 last November. (Applause). I remember seeing him race-solve Kakuro with World champion Kota Morinishi back in Beijing WSC 2013. Jason might lose this distinction if earlier entrants end up being the same person as another existing entrant. One frustrating example is Indian solver “Skynet”, who, despite being asked for his/her real name 3 times, continues to ignore me.

It may be uncomfortable giving away your name on the internet to a stranger, but I’m only using it to send you stuff when you win. And if it’s really that unsettling – you can always tell me to omit out your name.

By last count, SOTR has now reached the 100-solver milestone! (Applause).
Thank you for being a part of this achievement.
Here’s to another hundred!

Results of SOTR Quiz

Whether it’s the ill-timing with the holiday season or just that puzzlers don’t like quizzing in general as only 8 people entered the SOTR Quiz. Nevertheless, some impressive scores!
Let’s cruise through the answers.

  1. CHRISTMAS MAZE (2 points): You were given an easy maze to start off with. The correct path should have 13 turns.

  2. QUIZ #1 (2 points): Who is second most prolific solver, winning the second-highest number of individual WPC titles? That would be Wei-Hwa Huang with 4 wins. 
  1. QUIZ #2 (2 points): Who is the only female solver to have won an individual medal (gold, silver or bronze) in either the WPC or WSC? Jana Tylova, gold in at the 1st WSC, Lucca-Italy 2006. 
  2. SECRET SANTA (2 points):  Who is this person dressed up as Santa Claus? This is the current World Sudoku Champion, Kota Morinishi.
  3. NOT TYPOS (1 point each): Puzzle names can come from weird mash-up of words, words from different languages and even made up words. Therefore, sometimes Microsoft Word thinks it is misspelled and promptly auto-corrrects them. Below are 8 puzzle names that have been auto-corrected, can you guess what the original puzzle names were?nottyposIn order: Nurikabe, Tapa, LITS, Araf, Kakuro, Nanro, Hitori and Masyu

  4. QUIZ #3 (2 points): In 2009, a man allegedly cheated his way to the finals of a Sudoku tournament. His poor onstage performance called for a retest a week later. Seeing his dismal results, the organizers disqualified him. Name this man. The man is Eugene Varshavsky, who was also believed to have cheated in the World Chess Open back in 2006 as well, nonetheless, we never knew how he did it.

  5. QUIZ #4 (2 points): In what U.S. state did the above event took place? A tricky question which called for Pennsylvania and not Philadelphia (which is not a state). 
  6. FLAG DAY (5 points minus 1 for each incorrect/missing solutions): A new tradition to the WPC is the new WPC flag. Nope. It isn’t the one below. The flag below consists of several past WPC logos. How many past logos were used? And from what year(s) were they from?wpcflagThe logo was made using 4 elements from the logos of 2001 (Brno), 2007 (Rio de Janeiro), 2011 (Eger) and 2014 (London). flagdayans
  7. QUIZ #5 (3 points): Ever since this blog started in 2012, one and only one Pokemon have made an appearance somewhere throughout the years. What is this Pokemon? Back in 2013 (it’s been 3 years already?), Pikachu appeared in this Tentai Show puzzle.hereheispika
  8. QUIZ #6 (3 points): How is the picture below related to logic puzzles? This is Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory (1931). Eureka! That’s a name of a logic puzzle! Invented by Serkan Yurekli (he named the type after this painting) for the OAPC.whatpicture
  9. QUIZ #7 (3 points): Who won the individual gold medal in the year when the WPC host city’s name has the highest percentage of vowels (than consonants)? Niels Roest, gold in 2002 WPC Oulu-Finland.

  10. QUIZ #8 (3 points): Twice have there been a WSC host city where there are more vowels than consonants in the city’s name. Who won the individual gold medal in those years? Thomas Snyder (2008, Goa-India) and Kota Morinishi (2015, Sofia-Bulgaria).

  11. PATCHWORK (3 points): Which of the following pictures is the odd one out? Briefly explain why. You either see it or you don’t. A is the odd one out because every other picture were taken from this blog’s logo.oddoneout patchworkans
  12. CONCOCTION (2 points each): Never before seen by mankind is the puzzle below. It is made by combining several specific puzzle types together. Can you extract all the ingredients? Not easy! There are 5 types here: the symbols on the left are from Weather Symbols (I also accept its old name Ikebana), the grid is clearly Kenken (also accept Calcudoku or Tomtom, although strictly speaking, Tomtom is handmade and not computer-generated), the sudoku variant seen is Triangle Sums Sudoku, the numbered arrows are from Pusula and the bottom-right segment of the grid is Blind Spot. Only one solver got 10/10, well done Walker Anderson!concoction
  13. PLACES TO PUZZLE (2 points each): What better way to spend Christmas than surfing the web for puzzles to do? Below are 4 places I visited, can you tell where I’ve been puzzling this Christmas? Active puzzlers should quickly identify The Puzzle Robot,, Logic Masters India (sneakily taken from the ratings page) and Cleverly-titled Logic Puzzle Blog.  placesmeptpans
  14. LAST QUESTION (2 points): If you had answered all questions above correctly, one answer is used twice. What is this answer? Kota Morinishi was answer to questions 4 and 12…and now 16!

And now to the results…
The highest you can get is 60 points. First prize of Nikoli no Penpa 2016 will be sent to the highest scorer. No one aced the test but two were very close, scoring a nice 58/60. Woah! Those two are Gavriel Hirsch and a past winner Walker Anderson. This goes to the tie-breaks! The closest guess to the average score wins.

And the winner is…


Congratulations to Gavriel Hirsch from the United States! Our first winner for 2016!

Now on to some bad news. As for the consolation prize, less than 10 solvers entered – so I’ve decided to keep Dekabiro Kakuro for another occasion. The reason for this is because the winner of Guess the Average is ambiguous. The rules were to guess the average score of the Top 10 scorers, but only 8 entered and their average is 49.375 – which means either Prasanna (who guessed 49, only 0.375 off) or Kishore (who guessed 37.5 and if two zero scores were added, the average drops to 39.5) would win. Luckily this ambiguity doesn’t change the overall winner betwenn Gavriel and Walker. I apologize to both Prasanna and Kishore for this ruling and to make up for it – I promise an extra prize for the next event.

It’s been a long post. Thank you for being with SOTR at the turn of the new year. Next event drops early so stay tuned!
Have a great year to come!