The Zotmeister

solving the puzzle of life one entry at a time

Nov. 18th, 2011

03:42 pm - Puzzle 54: Smullyanic Dynasty

See Puzzle 4 for instructions. This being my first one of these in the new font, I figured I'd take the opportunity to also switch over to the Singularity template for the grid so that my suggestion of circling knights can actually be followed. Go figure.

Normally I'd never make a solving suggestion for a non-sample puzzle of mine, but I can't resist for this one: try to start with the center cell. It's illuminating. You don't have to - there are other break-ins - but that's where I started, and I daresay it's a pretty neat effect if you can find it. I'll leave the rest to the solver's own faculties as usual.

I'm currently wrapped up in making puzzles for a secret project, but I should have a batch to release here on my journal shortly thereafter. - ZM

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Current Music: "Frontier Psychiatrist", The Avalanches
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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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Dec. 29th, 2005

04:33 pm - Puzzle 24: Smullyanic Dynasty

A quick note: those of you that read my journal strictly through the "puzzles" tag may want to break rank and read yesterday's article; it pertains to all readers of my journal. It's safe, I promise. Links to other articles in that one, however, are followed at your own risk.

See Puzzle 4 for instructions. The recent offering of one of these on [ profile] glmathgrant's new journal made me realize that I didn't have enough practice with this original design of mine; apparently, all that Heyawake I'd been working on taught me things I could apply here if I translated them correctly. Now that I've made another, I realize I still need more practice. Hmph. Oh well - enjoy this one, and let me know what you think of it, especially if you've solved it; my email address is on my User Info page. I'll get around to reading the email eventually. There may even be something in it for you. - ZM

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Jul. 18th, 2005

07:49 pm - Puzzle 13: Smullyanic Dynasty

See Puzzle 4 for instructions. I decided I haven't been doing nearly enough lately with my own original puzzle designs, and this is my first offering towards a remedy. Frankly, I'm not terribly happy with the way it came out, but I guess it's okay - I think it's good enough to share; I just don't think it's as good as I'd hoped as I built it. Oh well. I do have a few more original designs I'm toying with, trying to iron out how they work, and hopefully you'll be able to see them soon enough.

REMINDER: The deadline for entries to Puzzlesmith 1 is this coming Saturday EDT. Those that have been viewing my journal strictly via the "puzzles" tag may want to check out the "contests" tag, and fast. Oh, and don't let this puzzle distract you too much from that one: this one isn't worth fifty bucks.

As usual, comments about this puzzle are publicly welcome (go ahead, tell me it's weak, I understand) and emailing me your solution might get you something more than satisfaction. - ZM

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Apr. 19th, 2005

11:30 am - Puzzle 6: Smullyanic Dynasty

See Puzzle 4 for instructions. At first I left the numbers just inside the upper corners out - I didn't seem to need them in making the puzzle. I thought about putting them in anyway to make the grid multisymmetrical, but then I figured "nah, why make the puzzle easier". Then I discovered a very good reason to make the puzzle easier: multiple solutions! Oops. Note to self: test puzzle first, then post to LiveJournal. Shame on me. Okay, this one has a unique solution, and is much more aesthetically pleasing to boot. Enjoy - it's only a seven-by-seven grid, so how hard can it be, right? ...Right?!?

As usual, comment about the puzzle here, and email me the solution when you find it. - ZM

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Mar. 22nd, 2005

06:17 pm - Puzzle 4: Smullyanic Dynasty

It started with the name. I have always admired Raymond M. Smullyan, and one day the thought flashed across my mind: there should be a high-quality logic-based pencil puzzle named "Smullyanic Dynasty". I sort of let the idea just sit and brew in my head, bouncing around a few ideas as to what such a puzzle would look like, what sort of rules it would employ. I knew it needed to have something to do with either binary logic on a grand scale or functional string manipulation. With nothing else better to concentrate on than the sidewalk when walking from a parking lot to an arcade recently, I gave it careful consideration, and I had the gist of it just before I entered the front door. What I had was obviously inspired by all the Nikoli puzzles I'd been solving recently as well as Smullyan's works; I had a grid of numbers and a binary-logic rule for determining which are to be shaded in. However, when I started experimenting with the puzzle, I found that it didn't really work. It was missing something; it needed another rule to make uniquely solvable puzzles.

I came to realize that my unintended inspiration provided the perfect answer. Nikoli has no fewer than three different puzzles that all have one ruleset in common (no, not the single, uncrossed loop); Hitori, Heyawake, and (the atrociously-named) Where is Black Cells have different mechanics but one unifying concept that they all adhere to. I tried applying it to my puzzle design, and it did the trick - it worked beautifully. It was purely an afterthought that I found 'Dynasty' is an ideal name for this concept, bringing the design process full circle.

The result is part Hitori, part Smullyan, part Minesweeper, and part something-all-its-own. It is my great pleasure to debut this original puzzle design. I would like to think Mr. Smullyan himself would be honored by this.

You guessed it - before and after. Puzzle on the left, unique solution on the right.

Each cell of the grid is either a "knight" or a "knave". The objective is to determine which for all cells. Knaves never share a side, and all knights are orthogonally contiguous - that's the "Dynasty". A number in a knight is the number of adjacent knaves, including diagonally; a number in a knave is not the number of adjacent knaves, including diagonally and itself - that's the "Smullyanic".

...Okay, fine, be that way - I'll give you a numbered list:

1) Each cell (unit square) is either a "knight" or a "knave". Mark them all to solve the puzzle. (Rather than colored pencils, I recommend simply shading in knaves and putting a circle in knights. For cells with numbers, either circle the number or shade lightly - you'll probably need that number to stay legible!)
2) The Knaves Stand Alone Rule: Knaves are never orthogonally adjacent - that is, they are never side-by-side. They can touch at a corner, but can never share a side in common. (This means that whenever you find a knave, you know all orthogonally adjacent cells are knights.)
3) The Dynasty Rule: All knights are orthogonally contiguous - just like the water squares in Islands in the Stream [see rule 6].
4) The Smullyanic Rules: Each cell is said to have a "domain", consisting of itself and all adjacent cells, including diagonally. When a cell has a number in it...
- 4a) Knights always tell the truth: ...and the cell is a knight, the number MUST correctly state how many knaves are in its domain.
- 4b) Knaves always lie: ...and the cell is a knave, the number MUST incorrectly state how many knaves are in its domain. (Remember that this includes the knave itself.)

So how can one even start a puzzle where none of the given information can apparently be trusted? Well, there are a few ways. I'll give you two of them in my walkthrough of the sample problem:

How to solve the sample problem )

Neither of those two rules will help you with the puzzle below. You should be able to find another rule or two to give you a place to start, however. This puzzle is actually rather straightforward, although I've put a little bit of trickiness into its endgame. For this first challenge, I decided to simply be kind and put a number into every cell; don't expect this to always be the case in the future. I hope you enjoy solving this; as always, tell me what you think on the comment page, and email me the solution if you solve it. - ZM

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