The Zotmeister

solving the puzzle of life one entry at a time

Apr. 22nd, 2015

03:50 pm - Puzzle 68: The One Ring

See Puzzle 3 for most of the instructions. I've added two additional elements here (and I lack the time to properly update the full rules to include them right now): when the loop is completed, all green checkmarks must be inside the loop and all red 'X's must be outside the loop.

I was a year late with my "35" puzzle, so I figured I should be a year early with this one. Of course, some of you may have seen this a year even earlier, as it was a perk in my IndieGogo campaign for my upcoming book. That was, in fact, the reason I crafted it in the first place - otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered. Although I suppose I'm thankful to have endured yet another twelve months, I'm finding little celebratory in this number steadily increasing. Don't expect another one of these six years from now… - ZM


Tags: ,
(Leave a comment)

Apr. 30th, 2012

11:58 pm - Puzzle 60: The One Ring

See Puzzle 3 for instructions.

When Palmer Mebane "paid homage" to my 30×30 The One Ring (Puzzle 30) with es Loop of Death not long before my thirty-fifth birthday, e inspired me to start work on a 35×35 follow-up. Apparently, I missed my original deadline by about a year. This last year of my life has been one of the strangest, most tormenting, and downright freakiest I've yet endured, and good riddance to it. Despite the tremendous size on display here, the puzzle is largely smooth sailing; my hopefully-obvious aesthetic restrictions guided the design rather than any desire to make a particularly challenging puzzle.

I'd also like to take this serendipitous opportunity to wish a happy 35th birthday to my most distant closest friend, Robyn O'Neil. I create all my puzzles first as graphite on paper, and some (myself included) may refer to them as artful, but I daresay my most complex works are doomed to pale in comparison to what Robyn accomplishes in the medium. - ZM

Tags: ,
Current Music: "Say You Will", Fleetwood Mac
(Leave a comment)

Sep. 13th, 2010

08:03 pm - Puzzle Zero: Masyu

Why does this sort of retarded crap always seem to happen to me?

This puzzle may look familiar to you:

It's the only pure Masyu I've ever published (as opposed to whatever The One Ring happens to count as), and it's one of only four puzzles I've ever published (and likely ever will) under the GNU Free Documentation License. I created it in order to have a meaningful sample puzzle for the Wikipedia article on Masyu, and it has served that purpose for five years now. It's there now, again, but check its history, and you'll see that in July, it and its solution were replaced.

Now, I know what you're saying: those look like the same images to me, right? Well, they're the same puzzle, but the images are very much different. They are in a different format for starters - SVG instead of PNG - but that's not the real issue. Look at the attribution.

It claims it was created by one "Life of Riley".

And that it's es own work.

And that it's in the public domain.

Just so there's no ambiguity here: I composed that puzzle, and I did not surrender it to the public domain. It remains licensed by the GFDL. This is a copyright violation, and the proof lies on Wikipedia itself: my original is still there.

I posted a polite (...) message on that user's talk page, the most forceful word I used being 'insist'. Given this same user made SVG versions of my Heyawake puzzle and solution but DID attribute and license those properly, I'm hoping this was just a stupid oversight and will be remedied in short order, but I'm not about to take any chances that may result in the sacrifice of my rights. If I lose one puzzle, who's to say about the rest...

For someone more knowledgeable of Wikipedia policy than I am: I looked through the various copyright-violation-tagging methods available, but none seemed to be properly phrased for this situation. Could someone tell me how I should be marking Life of Riley's versions of my Masyu images to correctly demarcate them as license violations that need to be repaired or deleted (or, if you're an editor yourself, mark them for me)? It would mean a great deal to me.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I'd be perfectly happy if all copies of this puzzle - legit or otherwise - disappeared from all Wikimedia properties. It doesn't need to be there. I certainly don't mind it being there - after all, I put it there in the first place - and I don't mind it being spread around and used for other purposes, just as its license reads. The problem is that it's my work, it means a lot to me on a personal and professional level, and this is essentially theft. If it's going to be exposed, then my name should be on it, for better or worse.

I'm not happy I had to sign in to my Wikipedia account for the first time in four years in order to deal with this. I very much wanted to be DONE with Wikipedia. But if I don't defend this... - ZM

UPDATE: The user has recognized es mistakes; e claims it was unintentional, and I have no reason to believe otherwise. However, e also claimed to have fixed them. E hasn't. A license tag was added to only one of the two images, and neither has yet to be properly attributed (note that this also means one of the files in question hasn't been changed at all). I pointed this out to em and reiterated my request. At least I know e's working with me on this. - ZM 2010-09-14 09:35 EDT

P.S.: For those who just want to solve the puzzle but don't know the rules: it's a The One Ring where the white circles are angel dots, the black circles devil dots, and the rest of the grid cells plain dots. Or you can view the instructions on

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: pissed off
(12 comments | Leave a comment)

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

Tags: ,
(1 comment | Leave a comment)

Apr. 22nd, 2006

11:10 pm - Puzzle 30: The One Ring


Echoes are fun.

Today I celebrate my thirtieth birthday - a fitting day to publish Puzzle 30, which happens to be a 30×30 grid with another rather auspicious '30' in it. Before anyone asks, yes, I tried scaling this one up to 600×600 like all the others; trust me, it wasn't pretty. What lies below is the actual original image in its native size - 475×475.

See Puzzle 3 for instructions. This may well be the most challenging-to-solve puzzle I've yet presented here. Hopefully it will make up for the last two and then some. I pulled out practically every trick I know. This puzzle can be solved purely deductively without guessing (structured or otherwise - put that thread away), but it will take a solid understanding of the design's mechanics to do so. Actually, I'm disappointed: the particular technique I was happiest to utilize turns out to be unnecessary - sequence-broken, to borrow the videogaming term. However, it could still be found and serve to speed things up, and there are plenty of other tricks to go around, so I'm happy with the puzzle as a whole. Your mileage may vary; by all means, let me know what you think of it. I await your solutions, and I have a rather fitting prize in mind I may be awarding... - ZM

Tags: ,
(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Sep. 29th, 2005

04:54 pm - Puzzle 17: The One Ring

See Puzzle 3 for instructions. This was also the focus of requests, so I hope you enjoy this one. This one is definitely extra crispy as opposed to original. I thought of smoothing out the edges of the larger numbers, but I couldn't bring myself to do it - I've been writing these numbers the exact same way since the first puzzle. Actually, one of the puzzles on my back burner is based around that fact... but enough about future puzzles, here's the present one:

Email me your solution if you want your answer checked, and perhaps you may even receive a gift if you're correct. - ZM

Tags: ,
(1 comment | Leave a comment)

May. 24th, 2005

06:16 pm - Puzzle 10: The One Ring

See Puzzle 3 for instructions. Cute, aesthetic, simple, amusing endgame - I made this some time ago and have been holding it for when I'd like to put something fast up. It seems some solvers have been tormenting themselves a bit lately; although I prefer to try to make these puzzles difficult, the occasional short-and-sweet teaser is fine, especially when it's pleasing to my eye like this one. Don't expect this to be too common, though - I have a reputation to develop♥

As always, make comments about the puzzle itself here in my LiveJournal, and email me your solution when you solve it. I'm always interested to find and hear from new solvers, no matter how long ago I posted the puzzle. - ZM

Tags: ,
(3 comments | Leave a comment)

Mar. 15th, 2005

03:53 pm - Puzzle 3: The One Ring

A common theme among puzzles is the creation of a single, uncrossed loop; there are at least four variations of such puzzles in popular existence. It occurred to me that there need be no reason whatsoever for these to exist as separate puzzles, and by creating the concept of the Force dot, I have merged all these very compatible puzzles together into the single one they should have been all along. The title is therefore quite fitting in multiple ways. Whether I could be said to have designed The One Ring or not is therefore debatable, but this is certainly the first of its kind.

Yet again, the left grid is an unsolved puzzle; the right grid is the unique solution. (The purple crosses are not part of the solution - only the green loop is.)

I'm going to go straight to a numbered list of rules for this one:

1) The objective is to create a linear loop of "edges", each edge connecting two orthogonally adjacent dots.
2) 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).
3) All edges must be part of the loop (so any you're given at the onset must be used).
4) There must be only one such loop.
5) The loop may not touch or cross itself at any point (which means that any dot used in the loop must have exactly two edges on it - coming and going, as it were).
6) Where numbers exist in the grid, the exact number of edges around the area the number appears in must be used as part of the loop.
7) Force dots, Angel dots, and Devil dots must be part of the loop.
8) Angel dots make order out of chaos: the loop must pass straight through Angel dots, but must bend at the next or previous dot in the loop, or both.
9) Devil dots make chaos out of order: the loop must bend at a Devil dot, but must travel straight through both the next and previous dots in the loop.

Here's a legend of my crappy pixelated dots:

So, how does one solve this? Well, it isn't tough, but it is tricky to describe, so I've buried it here if you really need it:

How to solve the sample puzzle )

What lies below may look like four puzzles at first glance, but it wouldn't take long to show that none of them could be individually solved. For this first The One Ring, I decided to honor the puzzles I've united by giving each of their formats their own quadrant of the grid. Rest assured, however, that it is a single puzzle. Can you find The One Ring?

As usual, the comment page is open for comments and my email inbox is open for solution verification. Of particular interest to me is what corner of this puzzle you most enjoy solving. - ZM

Tags: ,
(1 comment | Leave a comment)