The last puzzle in this series of Flashbacks is the hardest of the lot. Only 1 solver (Thomas Snyder) managed to solve it. Nowadays I use a computer when writing a difficult puzzle with many deduction-paths, but back then it was all grid paper and a lot of erasing. Because of the very-restricting nature of the type, I don’t think Akasuke will see any of its siblings soon.
So here is the devil that hardly anyone solved. Have another go at this in an untimed environment.
Akasuke: Fill in the grid of shaded cells with the listed numbers. Afterwards, the numbers become Akari clues, which are used to solve Akari in the usual manner.
Searchdoku is credited to Dave Tuller in his AARP Wordsearches book. The back story of this puzzle was shared in the LMI forum. The original puzzle had a Maori-birds theme and because of the Maori language’s vowel-heavy nature, it ended up being difficult and too guess-y. This last-minute product below, finished just hours before the test was to start, was a gem.
When a puzzle is garnished with compliments, including one from logic puzzle-jesus Thomas Snyder, it means a lot to any puzzle constructor. But what excited me the most was that it got me writing for Akil Oyunlari for the next 4 years. That morning is vividly etched into my mind; I woke up late in the morning to read my e-mails. One of which was from Serkan Yurekli, who invited me to write a Searchdoku for issue 72 – which also had a similar concept.
Here is the puzzle below, can you see the break-in?
Searchdoku: Find the listed word in the grid going in any straight direction. Some words may be found in, or going through, the blank 9×9 grid. After several letters are filled in, the empty 9×9 grid becomes a Sudoku puzzle using 9 different letters.
LITS^2 is possibly my only creation that has caught on. There aren’t many LITS variations, let alone five years ago. The idea of cramming two pieces in each region proved to be a success as several other authors are now writing their own LITS^2.
The puzzle in the online test had a simple LMI theme. I recall tweaking for hours to get rid of that notch on the “M” – but gave up when the deadline was approaching.
LITS^2: Shade in two tetromino pieces in each bolded region. The two pieces in the same bolded region may not be adjacent to each other. Otherwise, standard LITS rules apply.