# Results of SOTR Holiday Quiz 2018-19

Happy New Year readers, with the first half of January passing by we will award our first winner of 2019. Let’s go through the answers to our annual Holiday Quiz.

Q1: David and Goliath [2 points]
One month before the 2018 WSC/WPC, another world championship was held in Prague. This 11-year old won and set a new record by being the youngest world champion at what?
Pictured was Keisuke Fukuchi, an Othello prodigy, who defeated 2016 world champion Piyanut Aunchulee from Thailand in a best of three finals.

Q2: Another David [2 points]
In that same month, a 16-year old dethroned a seven-time world champion at what?
Over on the other side of the Atlantic in Oregon; Joseph Saelee defeated Jonas Neubauer (both USA) who was the current and 7-time world champion at Classic Tetris. The coverage of the event is phenomenal. If like me, you stumbled on this via Youtube recommendations, you’d hear enough Tetris jargon to last a lifetime. If only puzzles were presented in a similarly exciting way.

Q3: Secret Santa [3 points]
Who is this person dressed up as Santa Claus?
This is the current World Puzzle Champion Thomas Snyder. He became the first person to win both WPF titles (WSC and WPC).

Q4: Mashed Puzzles [3,4,4,3,4 points]
Which two puzzles combine to give the anagrams below?

ORCA WAVERS = ARROWS + CAVE
THAT PAINKILLERS = SLITHERLINK + TAPA (or PATA)
PUBLISHED OUTTASKS = BATTLESHIPS + SUDOKU
SETTING SLAM = MAGNETS + LITS
CLUMPED PLAYBOOKS = DOPPELBLOCK + MASYU

Perfect scores all around! I thought this was going to be difficult since most anagram solvers don’t have puzzle names in their database. Rakesh had a typo (List instead of LITS) but I marked it correct anyway.

Q5: Another Scrabble Controversy [3 points]
There was a controversy at this year’s World Scrabble Championship and it was caught on camera. What do you think is going on in this precise moment?

Nothing official was heard from the organizers but the incident in question involved Alexius Quashie (Ghana) allegedly peeking into the tile bag and swapping tiles he didn’t desire. The other side argues that because the bag at this event was transparent, they had to put the bag into another (opaque) bag. He claimed to have only look at where his hand was going when he felt that he was fishing into the wrong pocket. Nonetheless, he was disqualified.

Q6: Excelling at Art [4 points]
This 77-year old Japanese artist came up with a way to produce and sell drawings at his home. How does he do it?

Pictured here is Tatsuo Hirouchi, who makes Japanese landscape designs using Microsoft Excel. He’s been at it for over 15 years. You can visit his website here.

Q8: Wish Lists [2,3,2,3,3,3,3,3 points]
What do you think would be the most suitable puzzle for each house?

Let’s start from top to bottom going left to right.
Ken: Kakuro was what I had in mind. It turns out Kropki was equally valid.
Noah: A lot of you answered Star Battle Sudoku which is wrong because (normally) it would only contain 18 stars. The answer I had in mind was Star Product Sudoku which would almost always have over 20 stars. Tricky Noah.
Murat: Strawberry snake is the literal meaning of Hebi Ichigo. Ichigo is a pun that means “one to five”; signifying the length of the snakes.
Dave: The only cactus I remember seeing in a puzzle is in Area 51, a creation of David Millar. I also accepted Cows and Cactus but didn’t accept Tents (maybe with stylized trees?), Oasis (the actual puzzle type didn’t have any cacti, or anything symbolizing it) or jigsaw puzzle with a picture of a cactus (cheeky answer!).
Richard: Back in high school the Bunsen burner is often paired up with the tripod, hence Tripod Sudoku. I tried backing up Match Sudoku but couldn’t find any credible sources.
David: The correct answer is Psycho Killer. The creator, Serkan Yurekli, specifically mentioned Talking Heads as the inspiration for the name. This was back in 2009 during his amazing run of Oguz Atay Puzzle Contests. I didn’t accept Killer Sudoku since the actual name was exactly Psycho Killer. A couple of you submitted Cities which I vaguely remember as City Construction or the singular City – so I decided not to accept it. I tried finding other sources to score it but came up empty-handed.
Joy: This one had more acceptable answers that I thought. Intended answer was Tentai Show (Double Spiral Galaxies work as well); but I’ve also accepted Statue Park and Heavy Dots (even though the latter is in a grey area). Consecutive Quads Sudoku was not accepted because it is a number-filling genre. Paint by Threes also didn’t score because it doesn’t have circles.
Nick: Shakashaka. Not sure if there’s any alternate solution though.
ETA (18/1/19): As Rakesh has pointed out, there are some presentations of Paint by Threes that uses circles. This is accepted as correct and scores are changed accordingly.

Q8: Sequence [3 points]
Which puzzler would follow this sequence; Dai Tantan, Liane Robinson, Galina Titova, Zuzana Hromcova, Tejal Phatak, _____?

The list contains female puzzle solvers from China, UK, Bulgaria, Slovakia and India. These countries were also the host of WSC/WPCs from 2013. So any female puzzle solver from the Czech Republic (2018 host) would be acceptable. Two of you submitted Jan Novotny and did not score.

Q9: Christmas Trees [1,2 points]
Can you figure out which tree belongs to Manea? How about Giovanni’s tree?
Looking at the ornaments you could see that each tree has exactly one duplicate. The duplicate also happen to correspond to the first letter of the tree owner’s name. Angel for Amit, Ice-cream for Ivan, Elf for Edison and Raindeer for Rakesh.

We were looking for Manea’s and Giovanni’s tree and among the four choices below there’s tree #1 with two (m)istletoes and tree #3 with two (g)ingerbreadmen. Sorry, Salih!

11 submissions were received throughout the holidays. And the winner is…

Congratulations to James McGowan from New Zealand!

He will receive Nikoli no Penpa 2019 to enjoy throughout the year.
James’ encore of perfect 60 is remarkable. He has now swept the last three Holiday Quizzes. But the competition is definitely fiercer. Amit was only one question away from tying. Salih was virtually close to perfect as well.
Credits to Freepik for the lovely images used in question 9.

I’ll be spending 2019 looking for nuggets to make a tougher Holiday Quiz next time!

Due to the lack of hurdles last year, I owe you 2 Nikoli Hurdles, the first of which is coming up next. Near the end of January, if nothing goes wrong I’ll be competing in the Asian Sudoku Championships in the Philippines. So if you’re also attending do come say hello.

Thanks for playing the quiz.
Wish you all a happy 2019!

# SOTR Holiday Quiz 2018-19

Merry Christmas wherever you are around the globe. Wish you a safe and serene holiday season! 2018 has been the least productive year SOTR has ever seen. Hopefully the semi-finished planned events in my scrapbook can be showcased next year. As for now, we have the usual SOTR Holiday Quiz.

Tie-Breaks: If the highest score is achieved by multiple entrants, the entry that scored the highest in Wish Lists (question 7) wins. If the tie remains unbroken; the entry that scored the highest in Mashed Puzzles (question 4) wins. Rock-Paper-Scissors will decide any further ties.

Happy Quizzing!

Q1: David and Goliath [2 points]
One month before the 2018 WSC/WPC, another world championship was held in Prague. This 11-year old won and set a new record by being the youngest world champion at what?

Q2: Another David [2 points]
In that same month, a 16-year old dethroned a seven-time world champion at what?
Look at their immense concentration in the finals!

Q3: Secret Santa [3 points]
Ho! Ho! Ho! Have you been good? Who is this person dressed up as Santa Claus?
Q4: Mashed Puzzles [3,4,4,3,4 points]
Which two puzzle names combine to give the anagrams below?
For example, PAXON MONORAIL gives Nanro and Maxi Loop.

ORCA WAVERS
THAT PAINKILLERS
SETTING SLAM
CLUMPED PLAYBOOKS

Q5: Another Scrabble Controversy [3 points]
There was a controversy at this year’s World Scrabble Championship and it was caught on camera. What do you think is going on in this precise moment?
Q6: Excelling at Art [4 points]
Not wanting to buy expensive drawing equipments, this 77-year old Japanese artist came up with an unorthodox way to produce and sell drawings at his home. How does he do it?Q7: Wish Lists [2,3,2,3,3,3,3,3 points]
Dashing through a village of puzzlers, Santa needs to deliver the most appropriate puzzle type for each of these well-behaved children. What do you think would be the most suitable puzzle present for each house?

Q8: Sequence [3 points]
Which puzzler would follow this sequence; Dai Tantan, Liane Robinson, Galina Titova, Zuzana Hromcova, Tejal Phatak, _____?

Q9: Christmas Trees [1,2 points]
A group of friends have decorated their personal Christmas trees. Due to a mix-up while transporting them, two of the trees have been lost in the mix. Can you figure out which tree belongs to Manea? How about Giovanni’s tree?
Choose the two trees from the four choices below.

Submission form:
[Submission closed]

Thanks for playing!

See you in 2019!

# Results of SOTR Holiday Quiz 2017-18

Happy 2018 everyone!
I still had to work throughout New Year’s but because of that, I’m currently enjoying my share of break (albeit a week later than everyone else) back home. As per tradition, we find out our first winner of the year by announcing the results of the SOTR Holiday Quiz!

Q1: Bonjour [2 points]
The 2015 French Scrabble Championship was held in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. What was especially peculiar about that year’s championship?
It was won by Scrabble god Nigel Richards who spent nine weeks memorizing the French lexicon and he doesn’t speak a word of French. Back in 2015, he won the Classic Match Play division and just last year he beat Thierry Chincolle of France in the finals of the Elite division. Woah!

Q2: Secret Santa [4 points]
Who is this person dressed up as Santa Claus?

Only two of you recognized South Korea’s number one sudoku solver, Seungjae Kwak. He won the 2017 Grand Prix final held in Bangalore, India. To be fair, the picture on the left does look somewhat like Hideaki Jo (which a lot of you submitted).

Q3: Puzzle Spy [3,2,2,3,2,3,3,3 points]
Shh! Take a peek at these grids. Can you name these puzzles?
Some of these maybe debatable, but since these pictures were taken from actual puzzles, no points were given to different answers.
1 is Visionary Tapa, I didn’t accept Colour Tapa (my creation!) because the clues aren’t arranged in an arc.
2 is Odd-Even-Big-Small Sudoku, I tried covering up the Kanji but most of you still got it.
3 is Hidato, also accepted Hidoku. I’ve also seen another name for it: Mazuko. Are there any other puzzles with numbers this high?
4 is It’s Yours, created by Ko Okamoto.
5 is Slovak Sums, which was also the inspiration for this question. I was solving Slovak Sums and couldn’t get over how awesome the layout looks.
6 is Tight-Fit Killer Sudoku, a tricky one. Killer Sudoku is not accepted because there is a slash that separates a single cell.
7 is Sums Fillomino, another personal favourite.
8 is Pills, taken from the Swiss Puzzle Grand Prix. If you look carefully, the dots aren’t uniform.
Only James McGowan and Giovanni Pagano identified all 8 puzzles. Well Done!

Q4: Yokai [4 points]
An invisible Japanese monster who appears in front of passersby to block them from traveling, gives its name to which puzzle?

The pictured yokai is Nurikabe, whose name means “painted wall”. Legend of the Nurikabe dates back since the Edo period, the much younger Nurikabe puzzle was created in 1991.

Q5: Anecdote [2 points]
In 2006, a journalist tried competing at a particular national competition for the first time and won. He later recollect how he won the finals:
“…At the front door, I saw my friend Liz vivisecting a pig. Just inside, the Incredible Hulk rode a stationary bike while a pair of oversize, loopy earrings weighed down his earlobes… In my brother’s bedroom, I saw my friend Ben urinating on Benedict XVI’s papal skullcap…and at the foot of my parents’ bedroom door, myself moonwalking with Einstein…”
What on earth is he talking about?

In Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer chronicled his adventures practicing for, and later winning, the 2006 U.S. Memory Championship. The excerpt above is a common technique mental athletes use to memorize a deck of cards. An image is assigned to each card and multiple images combine to form weird scenarios that stick in your mind, hopefully long enough for the competitor to recall the entire deck.

Q6: Cryptic Crossword [3 points]
This crossword appeared in the Guardian back in 2013. What was so special about it?

Reverend John Graham, crossword writer for the Guardian under the byline “Araucaria”, announced in a crossword that he was terminally ill. The crossword ran in January 2013 before the 92-year old constructor passed away in November the same year. He had been providing cryptic crosswords for the Guardian since 1958.

Q7: Infographics [3,2,4,2,2 points]
Below are five graphs, each depicting some information. Can you decipher what each diagram represent? A short sentence briefly explaining each graph will be acceptable. (Click to enlarge).

A: Individual WPC titles won by each country.
The 11-title German slice were all from Ulrich Voigt, while America’s 6 titles were between Wei-Hwa Huang (4), Ron Osher (1) and Palmer Mebane (1). I predict that in the next decade Japan’s slice will grow due to the arrival of Ken Endo.
B:
Count of different cell shapes in a standard Battleships puzzle. There are 20 ship segments in Battleships. 4 are submarines (circle), 4 are squares (middle segments) and the rest are the curvy ends of the ships.
C: Progression of the 3x3x3
Rubiks Cube world record. The current record stands at 4.59 seconds by SeungBeom Cho (South Korea) during ChicaGhosts 2017 held last October. Competitively-speaking, cubists duel it out over 5 attempts and taking the average time, while excluding the fastest and slowest time. In that case, the current record is 5.80 seconds by Feliks Zemdegs (Australia) – who is also the record holder of several other Rubiks disciplines.
D: Letters that are also pentominoes. The standard set of 12 pentominoes have letter labels. There is actually an alternate labelling proposed by mathematician John Horton Conway which uses 12 consecutive letters from O to Z. Puzzlers will no-doubt prefer the original labels because of the resemblance to the letters.
E: Reinfeld values of chess pieces. Chess clubs all over the world will teach you not to swap rooks with a knight or bishop and that the King is worth 200. However, there are endless debates and other proposed values to chess pieces but let’s stick to the basics for now.

Q8: Cryptogram [8 points (1 each)]
Can you work out what these 8 entries are?From top to bottom: PIXEL PUZZLES, OEKAKI, KARE KARALA, PI-CROSS, PIC-A-PIX, PAINT IT BLACK, HANJIE and NONOGRAM. These are different names for the same puzzle depending on where you get your puzzles. Online cryptogram solvers could not decipher this so if anyone hacked their way through this, please share your experience!

Q9: Sequence [3 points]
What comes next in the following sequence?
Masyu comes next. The original type was called Shinju no Kubikazari (Pearl Necklace) and had only white circles. Black circles were later added and it was renamed Shiroshinju Kuroshinju (White Pearls Black Pearls). Nikoli president, Maki Kaji, misread the kanji as “Masyu” and the name stuck.

And the winner is….!!
Congratulations to James McGowan from New Zealand!
With this win, he breaks two records!
The perfect 60/60 is obviously the highest score we’ve ever had in our Holiday Quiz and he also becomes SOTR’s first triple winner! Balloons! Celebration! Applause! James will receive the Nikoli Penpa 2018 issue for winning.

Each year I always think this quiz is harder than the last but the scores indicate otherwise. I wasn’t aiming for difficult non-Google-able questions but I tried to make sure that you have to earn these points. Was the quiz too easy? Did anyone wing through this without Google? Had fun?
Anyway, hope you enjoyed the quiz and I wish everyone a fantastic year to come. Subscribe to the mailing list on the right hand side to not miss any future events.

Happy 2018!

# SOTR Holiday Quiz 2017-18

Puzzles from Nikoli Hurdles 5 have been added to the PAST PUZZLES tab above. I’ve also attached links to the previous Holiday Quizzes and the answers at the same place. This will be the last post for 2017, the year flew by didn’t it? As per tradition, we cap off the year with the SOTR Holiday Quiz!

Tie-Breaks: If the highest score is achieved by multiple entrants, the entry that scored the highest in Puzzle Spy (question 3) wins. If the tie remains unbroken; the entry that scored the highest in Infographics (question 7) wins. Rock-Paper-Scissors will decide any further ties.

Here we go!

Q1: Bonjour [2 points]
The 2015 French Scrabble Championship was held in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. What was especially peculiar about that year’s championship?

Q2: Secret Santa [4 points]
Ho! Ho! Ho! Have you been good? Who is this person dressed up as Santa Claus?

Q3: Puzzle Spy [3,2,2,3,2,3,3,3 points]
Shh! Take a peek at these grids. Can you name these puzzles?

Q4: Yokai [4 points]
An invisible Japanese monster who appears in front of passersby to block them from traveling, gives its name to which puzzle?

Q5: Anecdote [2 points]
In 2006, a journalist tried competing at a particular national competition for the first time and won. He later recollect how he won the finals:
“…At the front door, I saw my friend Liz vivisecting a pig. Just inside, the Incredible Hulk rode a stationary bike while a pair of oversize, loopy earrings weighed down his earlobes… In my brother’s bedroom, I saw my friend Ben urinating on Benedict XVI’s papal skullcap…and at the foot of my parents’ bedroom door, myself moonwalking with Einstein…”
What on earth is he talking about?

Q6: Cryptic Crossword [3 points]
This crossword appeared in the Guardian back in 2013. What was so special about it?
Q7: Infographics [3,2,4,2,2 points]
Below are five graphs, each depicting some information. Can you decipher what each diagram represent? A short sentence briefly explaining each graph will be acceptable. (Click to enlarge).
Q8: Cryptogram [8 points (1 each)]
The letters in the 8 entries below have been substituted with another letter. All substitutions are constant throughout the list. Can you work out what these 8 entries are?Q9: Sequence [3 points]
What comes next in the following sequence?

[Submission closed]

Thanks for playing!
See you in 2018!