The Zotmeister

solving the puzzle of life one entry at a time

Aug. 18th, 2007

11:06 pm - Puzzle 49: Smullyanic Dynasty

See Puzzle 4 for instructions. This one took me less than five minutes to make the graphic for, and over two hours to test solve and repair! It originally lacked the center given, which I put there when I realized the original solution was not unique. Thankfully, that didn't sequence-break the puzzle at all.

One peculiar "feature" of this puzzle is that it has a particular weakness to metalogic, the use of which I of course discourage, but I must admit that this puzzle makes for an interesting study because of it. I challenge you to NOT use advance knowledge of a unique solution (metalogic) as a solving aid; once you've solved the puzzle, try to find the metalogic shortcut (if you hadn't already). - ZM

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Current Music: "Inchworm", Charles Aznavour
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Jun. 15th, 2007

06:48 pm - Puzzle 48: Seeking Syren

See Puzzle 14 for instructions. The astute may have noticed that the file names for my previous two Seeking Syren puzzles seemed to skip a number. This is the one that was missing. It was constructed primarily to challenge my greatest critic - [ profile] ralphmerridew, who apparently finds my puzzles so easy that he tries to re-solve them with fewer rules. (Why neither e nor [ profile] glmathgrant participates in the USPC is beyond me.) The groundwork for the puzzle was primarily constructed during a series of lunch breaks at Burger King, a practice I no longer employ due to the incredible mess this puzzle originally turned out to be. I built it in an entirely wrong fashion, and had multiple solutions up the yin-yang. Eventually I tried to revisit it and get something solvable while still keeping the main theme going; I lack the inclination to test this puzzle missing a rule at this point, but I do really like how Syren is revealed in this one, so I feel it's a good puzzle regardless. As usual, email me your solutions, and while you're at it, tell me your favorite eighties video game. - ZM

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Current Music: "Talking Out Of Turn", The Moody Blues
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Jun. 14th, 2007

05:32 pm - Puzzle 47: Polyominous

See Puzzle 7 for instructions. This was the first puzzle I created in a new graph-paper notebook I acquired specifically for puzzle construction. I rather like this puzzle; it's fairly pretty, and has an interesting solving theme. Comments, questions, and emailed solutions are welcome as always. If you submit a solution, tell me what your favorite number is. - ZM

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Current Music: "The Voice", The Moody Blues
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Jun. 13th, 2007

03:51 pm - Puzzle 46: Ciphers in the Stream

There are probably a dozen different things I'd like to write about here in my journal this very moment - how Funspot went, the Disgaea hardcore I'm chronicling in [ profile] disgaea, how the PBEM game of SMAC is NOT DEAD, beverages, work, playing cards, Xbox Live Arcade games, programming and game design, stuffed animals, Shinobi and the MAME Decathalon, Snoopy vs. the Red Baron, fiction in general, fiction in specific, Twenty/Zero - well, that's over a dozen right there, and I could keep going - but given that the USPC is this weekend, and I know plenty have come visiting my journal in the hopes of practicing, I figured I would not be fulfulling my civic duty [places fist over heart] if I did not provide some additional training material in this crucial time.

So here you go. Thursday and Friday will have puzzles as well.

See Puzzle 1 for instructions to Islands in the Stream, of which this is a variant. It's solved the same way, only the numbers denoting the islands and their area have been replaced with letters. The letters and the values they represent have a one-to-one correspondence. For example, if you determine that an 'X' in the grid must be a '5', then all 'X's must be '5's, and all letters other than 'X's must be some value other than five.

Cipher versions of puzzle designs are nothing new, but as far as I know this is the first time anyone's done this with Nurikabe. Be warned - it's fair, I promise, but it's tougher than it looks. I tackled it pre-deciphered to see how it would have stood as a regular Islands puzzle, and it was quite tough even without the code. It was fun to build, so expect more in the future. You may want to invest in studying the design to try to find tricks and techniques.

I suppose you can email me with your solutions if you like; I do read and appreciate them, even if I don't respond right away (I have messages in my inbox over a year old I still intend to reply to eventually). I'm not sure what I could offer in terms of prizes at the moment, but... I know, tell me what you'd like me to talk about in my journal with your solution, and I'll see what I can do. - ZM

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Current Music: "Gemini Dream", The Moody Blues
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Mar. 15th, 2007

03:52 pm - Puzzle 45: Magnetic Field

See Puzzle 8 for instructions. The largest instances of this variety of puzzle I'd seen before building this one were ten-by-ten grids; those lacking any cells already filled in had fifty dominoes to define. Weighing in at two hundred nineteen dominoes, this may well be a world-record construction, larger than any other instance by a factor of more than four:

As usual, emailing me your solution may result in a gift.

Reports of my having abandoned this journal are entirely false. I've simply been pre-occupied with other creations as of late. In fact, I have some pretty big plans in store for the hopefully-near future. At any rate, I do expect to update more frequently. I feel like I should make up for my four-month absence. My puzzle fans should be happy to know that I have the next four puzzles already composed; my fiction fans (if I have any) should be getting an "episode" or two within the next month. I'm also hoping to provide updates of other natures as well; time will tell.

One slightly off-beat thing I've decided to do: I'm actually going to start filling in that "Music" field on my entries. My two-and-a-half-track mind has a song stuck in it more often than not, and it's often something almost completely random; frequently I have NO idea what made it come to mind. This is one of those times. Consider it a possibly meaningless insight into how my brain functions (if that is the proper word for the operation of its virtual CD changer). - ZM

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Current Music: "No One Is To Blame", Howard Jones
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Nov. 2nd, 2006

05:49 pm - Detritus

I am slowly but surely excavating myself from beneath the detritus that was my life last month - not that I'm depressed or have been wronged or anything; it's just that I felt I was largely lacking in momentum, and I'm taking the initiative to remedy that. I have officially started dieting and exercising again; my not-so-secret podcast project is underway; I've started refamiliarizing myself with game design and programming; I'm making significant strides in my gaming and especially in my Xbox Live Gamerscore; I updated my LiveJournal user profile. I'm hoping that I can carry some of this momentum into fiction before it fizzles out, but I don't want to push myself too hard (I can only do two-and-a-half things at once, after all). Perhaps once my Disgaea hardcore (see my profile) has been completed, I'll write some stories.

...Don't laugh. I'm on Episode 11.

Anyway, I'll soon be sorting through the email backlog I've accumulated. Puzzle 45 is coming along, but I am, as perhaps you've figured, prioritizing other things.

Amongst the detritus are some truly valuable bits I thought some of you may appreciate, being puzzle afficionados and all:

- ZM

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Sep. 27th, 2006

05:29 pm - Puzzle 44: Archipelago

See Puzzle 20 for instructions. What can I say, Otto Janko is the man. I decided to go with majority rule on Magnetic Field for my extra-challenging Puzzle 45, but I wanted to give the man a shout-out in honor of the experience es website has provided me with. E voted for Archipelago, hence this middle-weight warmup for the main event. Send in your solutions and maybe I'll offer to send something back (I'm still running thin on funds, but I'll see what I've got). - ZM

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Sep. 22nd, 2006

04:22 pm - Puzzle 43: Polyamory

See Puzzle 25 for instructions. My originally planned Puzzle 43 is postponed due to excruciation. Besides, it freed me up to make this for [ profile] jdllama's birthday (sorry it's late). It's an easy puzzle, but hopefully still interesting. Assisting slightly in that regard is the presence of non-symbol cells in the grid, an original addition of mine to the design. Note that they're not absences from the grid (they'd be solid black if they were, like the rules state), so they have to belong to blocks; note also that they don't alter the rules any, so they can piggy-back onto any kind of block. Yes, the puzzle still has a unique solution; yes, I could use this mechanism to make a Number Link and call it a Polyamory, something I've been secretly plotting for awhile now. Be afraid. Be very afraid. But I digress:

"Steverino" is an inside joke. I suppose I could explain it, but then it wouldn't be inside anymore. No prizes for this one in the short term, I'm afraid - I'm not exactly rolling in dough at the moment - but send me your solutions anyway and perhaps I'll apply them towards enhancing future rewards. - ZM

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Aug. 8th, 2006

08:38 pm - Puzzle 42: Room Reason

See Puzzle 21 for instructions; the coloration of some rooms is for aesthetic purposes only. In concluding the Puzzle Japan collection, it seemed a notable farewell was appropriate. I said these would get harder as they went along, and in test solving it would seem I succeeded - this one's a good challenge. - ZM

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Aug. 7th, 2006

10:36 am - Puzzle 41: Totally Rooked

When [ profile] glmathgrant beat me to a clever retitle for Nikoli's Light Up - namely Process of Illumination - I felt defeated. E offered to let me steal it from em, but I didn't want to do that. It was just recently that I came up with not only a name I liked, but in fact an entire reskinning of the design. It quickly occurred to me that I didn't need to stop there; here I present an original generalization of Light Up, complete with my signature work-around-the-exception mechanic.

The grid on the left - and the text beneath it - are an unsolved Totally Rooked puzzle; the grid on the right shows the solution to same, rendered in gold. (Technically, the light yellow crosses are not part of the solution, but you know me, I hate to leave anything completely blank in puzzles like this - I like to know when I've finished.)

Every cell of the grid is either a "wall" (blackened in, possibly with a numeral) or "open" (left blank). Surprise - the object is not to determine which is which♥ In fact, that knowledge is all given. The object is to place the chess pieces listed below the grid, each in their listed quantities (some of which may be unknown), such that every open cell is either occupied by exactly one piece or is attacked by at least one piece. No piece may attack any other. Walls block the attack ranges of the pieces as if they could not be moved through (which of course doesn't affect knights); multiple pieces in cells orthogonally adjacent to a single wall must all be the same type. If a wall has a numeral, exactly that number of pieces must be in open cells orthogonally adjacent to it.

Sometimes the simple puzzles have complex-to-phrase rules. Let me see what I can do in terms of clarification:

1) All the open (white) cells of the grid need to be "rooked" in order to solve the puzzle. To rook a cell, one needs to either put a chess piece in it, or have it be attacked by a chess piece in some other cell. Think of the pieces as painting the cell they are in and every cell they attack - paint all the open cells without violating the following rules, and the puzzle is solved! I suggest crossing out rooked cells as you determine them, except of course for those that hold a chess piece (which makes the crossout redundant).
2) Walls (the black cells) block the (theoretical) movement of the pieces, just like a friendly piece does in chess. For example, the sample puzzle solution has a rook in the upper-right corner; it only rooks two cells, its own and the one to its left; it can't attack beyond the walls to any further left or down. Naturally, just like in chess, a wall between a knight and its destination doesn't block the knight.
3) Only the chess pieces listed below the grid must be used for this task, and their usage must match the exact quantities given for each. Often, some quantity will not be known in advance, but don't worry - to obey all the rest of the rules, the quantity will be forced, and the puzzle will still have a unique solution. For example, the sample puzzle must have exactly one queen and exactly one knight, and no other pieces but rooks. One cannot use pawns, bishops, kings, amazons, grasshoppers, marshalls, cardinals, dragons, cannons, or any other kind of piece. As for the rooks, I haven't given how many will be needed - could be a dozen, could be zero - but as the solution shows, four works, and its the only value that does.
4) Open cells can't hold more than one piece. Chess only allows for one piece per square, and so does this puzzle. Walls can't hold pieces at all.
5) Some walls have numbers in them; exactly that many open cells that share a side with that wall must have pieces in them. For example, the sample puzzle has a '2' on the top row, so exactly two of the three cells next to that wall must have pieces in them.
6) This is important: pieces cannot be allowed to attack any others. As you might imagine, close to the whole sample puzzle could be flooded with rooks otherwise. This means that once a cell is rooked, a(nother) piece can't be placed on it. (So if the rooked cells are crossed out - as I suggested after Rule 1 - they help show where pieces can't be placed.)
7) This is also important: If there are any pieces in cells that all share a side with a single wall, they must all be the same kind of piece. For example, that '2' on the top row must have two identical pieces next to it; since there's only a single queen and single knight for alternatives, those two pieces must both be rooks. Note that this rule applies whether there's a number on the adjacent wall or not. For example, the sample puzzle solution shows a knight next to the wall in the leftmost column and a queen next to the wall in the bottom row; neither of those walls could also have a rook next door.

It's really not as bad as it seems. As a matter of fact, the offering below only involves one type of piece - the rook - so Rule 3 isn't terribly useful for it and Rule 7 can be ignored completely for it. By all means, if you have a question about my rules, feel free to add a comment and ask. That goes for any of my puzzles. I'd rather help an interested person learn than scare them away.

Yes, I know "rooked" doesn't seem to apply when, say, a knight is used, but 'knighted' is definitely not the word for it. :) I use "rooked" consistently both to maintain the pun and also as a tip of the proverbial hat to Nikoli's original Light Up design, which is equivalent to Totally Rooked with only rooks (of unknown quantity). The implementation on Puzzle Japan was beautiful: click on an open cell, and not only would a light bulb (rook) be placed there, but the whole row and column or parts thereof it illuminated (rooked) would automatically be shaded green. This made the puzzle not only decidedly non-tedious, allowing concentration on logic, but also the fastest and most entertaining to solve on the site. It was definitely the most popular: I figure the average Light Up had twice the solvers of the average anything-else.

Helpful hint: I suggest putting a dot into open cells deduced to not hold a piece but aren't rooked yet - for example, any cell that starts next to a zero. Once the cell becomes rooked, place the crossout right over the dot. (The dot is redundant at that point, due to Rule 6.)

The sample puzzle probably isn't the best of introductions to this puzzle, but I have a lesson to teach with it:

How to solve the sample puzzle )

My muse for this puzzle is hopefully immediately obvious. As this is part of the Puzzle Japan memorial collection, only rooks grace this grid, making the puzzle identical in function to Light Up as noted. Enjoy. - ZM

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Aug. 6th, 2006

02:31 pm - Puzzle 40: Singularity

Among the Nikoli dynasty puzzles, Hitori reigns supreme with a brutal iron fist. Its logic is harsh; its observational requirements are far uglier. It took me quite a long time to figure out how to even try to make one of these, especially given the unwritten rule that there cannot be more cell values than the side length of the grid. It's very tempting to overhaul the design for the sanity of myself and my solvers - lift that restriction, only put values in cells that need them for deductive purposes, that sort of thing - but as this is part of the Puzzle Japan series, such tweaks shall have to wait. I did go ahead and use letters instead of numbers so that I wouldn't need multiple characters in a cell, but it doesn't change the puzzle in any functional manner (just like To Each Their Own, you don't even need to know how to read them). At any rate, my Singularity has the same rules as Nikoli's Hitori, and these two have the same format. If you wish to run away, now may be a suitable time.

Still here? Okay, but, to quote Garth Marenghi, "don't say I didn't specifically warn you, because I just have and that means you'd be lying":

The grid on the left is a Singularity puzzle in its unsolved state. The grid on the right is its solution.

The object is to eliminate cells from the grid in such a manner as to leave each row and each column with no duplicated symbols within; no two orthogonally adjacent cells may both be eliminated, and all non-eliminated cells must be orthogonally contiguous.

The rules are simple. The logic isn't. But just in case you disagree with me about the rules part:

1) Every cell of the grid is either to be eliminated or left intact. To give them names, I will call eliminated cells "quarantines" and non-eliminated cells "open cells"; quarantines are to be shaded in and open cells are to have circles placed in them (around any symbol within). Mark every cell of the grid as one or the other following the remaining rules, and the puzzle is solved!
2) You cannot have two open cells that are both in the same row or column that have the same symbol in them. For example, the sample puzzle has two 'E's on the top row; at most one can be open. (So if you find a cell must be open, shade in any cells in the same row and column that have the same symbol, as they must be quarantines.)
3) You cannot have two quarantines that share a side. They can touch at corners, but can't be right next to each other. (So if you find a cell must be a quarantine, put a circle in the cells on each side of it, as they must be open.)
4) Every open cell of the grid must be part of a single polyomino - a group of quarantines connected through their corners can't be allowed to sever the grid (either by forming a loop or a chain that touches the outer border twice or more). For example, if the cell in the bottom-right corner of the sample solution were a quarantine, the cell above it would be (orthogonally) disconnected from the other open cells, which is illegal.

Why I didn't simply cut and paste rules from any of the previous dynasty puzzles (namely Smullyanic Dynasty, Echolocation, Room Reason, and even Ariadne's Lament if you think about it) is something I'm not entirely sure of. Anyway, I thoroughly expect most of you will need this if you haven't tackled a Hitori before:

How to solve the sample puzzle )

I don't consider myself very good at making these; I strongly believe there's some part of "the memo" I didn't get, some tactic that eludes me. This was a pain to build - not in generating the logic chain, but in enforcing it while still putting a letter in every cell and restricting myself to 'A' through 'L'. I may never put myself through that again, and just make any future puzzles of this design my way, but time will tell. - ZM

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Aug. 5th, 2006

11:46 pm - Puzzle 39: Islands in the Stream

See Puzzle 1 for instructions. Wow, it's been a long time since I made one of these! Yes, I was trying to render the kanji for "Japan" in givens; yes, it does mean a lot gets filled in quickly. But I packed a few tricks in there, so it's all good. - ZM

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Aug. 4th, 2006

11:45 pm - Puzzle 38: The One Ring

See Puzzle 3 for instructions. No gaps, no special dots - just numbers on this one, just like a Nikoli Slither Link. - ZM

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Aug. 3rd, 2006

11:43 pm - Puzzle 37: Cross Sums

See Puzzle 22 for instructions. Yes, this is my first non-square puzzle aspect; this is a standard size Nikoli used on Puzzle Japan. In fact, all but one of the remaining puzzles in this series will be non-square. I was originally intending for a medium difficulty puzzle, but I may have gone slightly overboard in that department, so I apologize if you find this excessively frustrating. No, really, I do. I'm not changing it, though. - ZM

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Aug. 2nd, 2006

11:48 pm - Puzzle 36: Chromapraxia

In the same way that a phobia is a fear and a philia is a fetish (like my own kosmemophobia and kamiphilia), a praxia is a competency or skill; 'chromapraxia' is the ability to paint, something I decidedly lack. However, it's logic that will get you an image here, not artistic skill.

This puzzle design actually has quite the history, starting with controversy over who created it first. My money is on Non Ishida, who won a design contest with it, inspired by the patterns of lights created by skyscraper windows at night. It became very popular for a period, being the subject of several books, websites, video games, and a still-running regular column in GAMES Magazine. Non certainly appears to have done more for dissemination of the puzzle's popularity; it's accumulated dozens of names, but "Nishiogram" is not one of them and Nonogram is. Other names include Paint by Numbers (the GAMES Magazine title, and the title of its Wikipedia article), Griddler, Tsunami, and Logic Art; the Nikoli name is Edel.

The left is an unsolved Chromapraxia puzzle; the right is its solution. "Si, señor - it is the number two." Zorro the Gay Blade is a genius film that was ahead of its time, but I digress.

Some cells of the grid are to be colored; the objective is to determine which, and what color each is to assume. (The end result is to be interpreted as an image.) The numbers to the left of each row are the lengths of all contiguously monochromatic groups of cells within that row, the left-to-right order of those numbers matching the left-to-right order of the cell groups they refer to as they appear in that row; the numbers above each column are the lengths of all contiguously monochromatic groups of cells within that column, the top-to-bottom order of those numbers matching the top-to-bottom order of the cell groups they refer to as they appear in that column. The color of each number matches the color of the cell group it refers to.

A numbered list of rules probably won't help much, so instead, here's a casual explanation of the sample:

  • First of all, all the numbers outside the puzzle are black. Both the sample and the full puzzle below are only a single color. So basically, all you have to do is figure out whether any cell of the grid is to be colored black (shaded in) or left blank (I'll put a dot in those to mark them as uncolored).

  • See how the bottom row of the sample solution has '5' to the left of it? That means there need to be five black cells all in a row to the right of it. Of course, the whole grid is only five cells across, so the whole row is black.

  • Now look at the center column: it has '1 1 1' above it. This means that it needs three separate black cells - they need to be separate because you'd have a '3' above the column instead if they all ran together. In other words, there needs to be at least one space (uncolored cell) between the first and second cells, and at least one space between the second and third. (Note that if they were different color numbers, they could be right next to each other, but all the numbers here are the same color, so a space is the only thing available for separation.)

  • The second column from the left reads '1 2'; the '1' is above the '2'. This means that the single black cell must be higher up in the column than the two next to each other. Basically, the order of the numbers matches the order of the groups.

  • Once you've shaded in the cells needed to make all the numbers outside the grid accurate, you've not only solved the puzzle, but made a picture! For the sample, it's just the digit '2' in my pixelled style - not exactly Picasso, but hey, it's a start.

  • If you understand the instructions, the sample puzzle is really easy. If you don't, I'll accept the blame and try to make it up to you here:

    How to solve the sample puzzle )

    In keeping with the Puzzle Japan theme, this puzzle is monochromatic - all black cells, no other colors, just like the Edel formerly of that website. In Nikoli style, I'll also provide a small hint for the image: "Puzzle champion". I'll still be pretty impressed if you can tell me what it's supposed to be, though. - ZM

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    Aug. 1st, 2006

    05:01 pm - Puzzle 35: Quadrum Quandary

    Puzzle Japan
    died July 31, 2006
    requiescat in pace

    Apparently Nikoli is working on something similar to their previous online puzzle-service, but it will be quite some time, and I doubt it will be quite the same. Puzzle Japan was the portal that brought me my experience with the type of puzzles I've been presenting here in my journal. I would not have the skill I have today in creating and solving puzzles were it not for that website. I feel like I've lost a friend.

    Over the next eight days (including today), I'll be presenting eight puzzles - one of each type (sans Japanese crosswords) that Puzzle Japan used to provide. Think of it as a memorial service.

    See Puzzle 2 for instructions (as if you're not already sick to death of Sudoku). I hope you'll forgive the non-symmetrical givens, but under the circumstances I think this should be acceptable. You'll likely find this easy, but I plan for this eight-puzzle series to get more challenging as it proceeds. You can email me your solution if you'd like me to verify it, but I will not be offering prizes for any puzzle in this series. - ZM

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    Jun. 14th, 2006

    08:48 pm - Puzzle 34: Seeking Syren

    See Puzzle 14 for instructions. With the USPC being this weekend, I wanted to offer up extra practice. This is my first four-color Seeking Syren; I intentionally built it that way. For an extra puzzle, try to determine whether it needed to be four-color or not. Feel free to email me your solution, but I can't promise I can grade it before the championship. - ZM

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    Jun. 13th, 2006

    11:40 pm - Puzzle 33: Ariadne's Lament

    You've probably seen one of these before in a toy store:

    They're universally called "Labyrinth", and they are a game of skill: rotating the knobs on the sides tilt the playfield, the task being to maneuver the marble from "Start" to "Finish" in only that manner and without the marble falling into any of the myriad of holes along the way. They're manufactured in many sizes and difficulty levels by a number of different companies. Microsoft Windows XP Plus! comes with an excellent computerized version.

    Anyway, Nikoli has this clever and very entertaining puzzle (my absolute favorite among their offerings!) named Yajilin - "arrow link", or Arrow Ring for those who "attended" last year's United States Puzzle Championship - whose solutions look so much like one of these to me that I decided to break the ring and put in a "start" and "finish" to get the logic-puzzle version of the classic game. Throw in a title that alludes to 'labyrinth', and the metamorphosis is complete - without further ado, I bring you Ariadne's Lament:

    Unsolved sample on left, unique solution on right.

    Condensed instructions would, like The One Ring, not be terribly condensed, so I'll skip straight to the list:

    1) The objective is twofold:
    - 1a) determine for each dot if it is a "pit" or if it's "open" (I suggest shading in pits and marking open dots with a smaller dot);
    - 1b) to create a linear path of "edges", each edge connecting two orthogonally adjacent open dots, that travels from the 'S' (start) to the 'F' (finish) and uses ALL open dots EXACTLY ONCE and NEVER uses a pit. I call this path the "thread", and it's essentially the way out of the maze - like the black path on the labyrinth game, it connects start to finish without encountering any holes.
    2) The dots marked 'S' and 'F' are open (natch).
    3) The thread may not touch or cross itself at any point. This means the 'S' and 'F' dots will have exactly one edge incident on them, and all other open cells will have exactly two edges.
    4) All the edges must be unit-length (so you can't draw an edge through spots where dots are "missing" from the otherwise evenly-spaced grid).
    5) Number/arrow pairs - "signs" - appear where dots are missing. Each number is the quantity of pits pointed at by, and directly aligned with, its arrow. These signs, not unlike the arrows in Stargazers, "see" right through each other, straight on through to the edge of the grid.
    6) No two pits may be orthogonally adjacent to each other (that is, one edge-length apart).

    The sample serves the job of introduction rather nicely; if you're finding it a bit tricky, I'll show you what to look for:

    How to solve the sample puzzle )

    This is my first attempt at creating one of these - I actually made this before the sample - and I must say, I really like how it came out. It's fairly challenging. I ran into a few snafus putting it together, but it was educational. I'm glad I can pull these off. Any questions or comments about the rules or design can be posted here; email me your solution and whether or not you own a working NES and I'll check your solution and maybe offer a prize. Maybe. - ZM

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    May. 27th, 2006

    12:10 am - Puzzle 32: To Each Their Own

    See Puzzle 18 for instructions.

    In case it weren't immediately obvious, the last puzzle was a joke gift, albeit a rather clever one if I do say so myself. You see, [ profile] glmathgrant also once said in a comment to one of his puzzles:

    I wish somebody would make me a puzzle that spells out MG or something.

    Yes, I do like being able to meet requests.

    For those who don't know, the 'l' in 'glmathgrant' is for 'labyrinth', hence the other names in the grid below. This is a moderately easy puzzle, but there is maybe one little trick in there. Hey, the Funspot tourney is in less than a week - what do you want from me? Anyway, I hope you all enjoy it, not just the birthday buddy. - ZM

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    May. 26th, 2006

    06:39 pm - Puzzle 31: Polyominous

    See Puzzle 7 for instructions.

    So [ profile] glmathgrant emails me and says:

    I know this is short notice, and you have a bunch of video games and stuff to concentrate on right now, but if you could make a puzzle and post it on your blog on May 26, it would feel really special. I don't care what kind of puzzle it is. It can even be really easy, like a 2x2 Sudoku puzzle, or a Hashiwokakero puzzle with just two islands, or a Slither Link puzzle with the number 4 in it! (Ridiculously easy puzzles are so underrated; I'm glad Puzzle Japan has an archive of its April Fool's pranks where some "ultra hard" puzzles would be posted on the site, because some of those easy puzzles are sheer artistry!)

    Now I may not be a rich man, but I am a man of many treasures, and I do so much enjoy being able to give people exactly what they ask for.

    Happy birthday. - ZM

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