Wednesday 23 December 2009

I Might Be Wrong

And so as one mind-numbingly large mass sweeps out the last remnants of the approximately planar elliptically shaped space in the heavens above, with the other even more mind-numbingly massive – er – mass squiggling about somewhere in the middle, the year fades away with a festivity induced stupor; a stupor one might add that has consequences that aspire to be swept away as once more the point of something resembling periodicity is reached. All that might tell you that for the next coming weeks, Friday Puzzles is going to be on hold.

Although, I might be wrong. Well, not about Friday Puzzles being on hold, because it is. The subtle implication in using the words “on hold” however suggests that it might be back in the new year, but at this point I’m not sure that it will – or at least that it’ll be back in a hurry.

Now this is not because I’ve suddenly become massively disillusioned with puzzles, or even writing them. That said, I can’t claim to be the most varied, nor prolific, nor even author of the highest quality puzzles out there – not be a long shot on all three counts – but they are pretty decent and I’m sure people enjoy them. Indeed, according to Google analytics which I set up at the end of September, I have had 854 visits (albeit a few of those will have been me) from places that range as far as Los Angeles, Lima, New York, Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, London, Sofia, Berlin, Shanghai, Melbourne, Delhi – and – Kenilworth (it must be said at this point that I’m still a little befuddled by being referred to by Google via the search terms “girl from glamorgan barrel organ”). There is then, some worth to what I have been doing over the past year.

No, the reason for the pause is just the need for a break. Burning yourself out, and especially burning yourself out whilst chasing arbitrarily self-imposed deadlines, doesn’t make much sense to me. Not that there is much concrete evidence of this immediately apparent to my own eyes, it’s more just a feeling I’ve got of impending staleness. How terrifying!

Despite the self-indulgent nature then, of my series, I am in danger of making this post a little too self-indulgent for its own good. Puzzles will appear on this blog in the future, and I hope that they do so in the Friday Puzzles format – but perhaps not for a while, and perhaps not before I try my hand at a more traditional use for a blog (did I say I STILL hate that ugly ugly word) – that of writing. Although, to end on a suitably sardonic note, many blogs out there on the interweb wouldn’t know writing if it came up to them, engaged them in a duel and then lopped off their heads.

Adios, a merry Christmas to you all, and a happy new year!

Friday 18 December 2009

Friday Puzzles #28

Another sudoku puzzle this week – I’m not sure why I’ve done two in a row as sudoku tend to be harder work to write than other puzzles. Or at least that’s what I find anyway. This ought not to be as tricky as last week, but I think it’s a pleasant enough solve.
    #033 Sudoku – rated medium
All puzzles © Tom Collyer 2009

Friday 11 December 2009

Friday Puzzles #27

Apologies for the delay, I’m sure you all know what things are like as Christmas approaches.

This week, I’ve decided to write a sudoku. After much experimentation with a certain pattern, I’ve grudgingly had to modify things a little in order to avoid either an impossibly (well not quite impossible, by definition, but you know what I mean) difficult puzzle, or a puzzle with multiple solutions. Still, after a quick check with scanraid (which actually appears to have renamed itself “SudokuWiki” which IMO is more than a little pretentious and misleading in its current form) to get an indication of the difficulty, it would appear to be on par with a Times fiendish puzzle and so I get the satisfaction of writing a puzzle which ought not be solvable in quite so much of a hurry as my previous efforts.

Another point of discussion is that as sudoku puzzles increase in difficulty, the more guessing strategies become useful if you want to go for the quickest times. This is where hand-made puzzles can come in – the cunning trick to crack the puzzle ought to be more obvious to the solver than a standard puzzle out of the generator. This is purely because the human eye is better equipped to pick up subtle clues as suggested by the aesthetics of the puzzle because said aesthetics are a big deal for the author of sudoku puzzles by hand. I’ve left that statement intentionally a little vague, because I hope dearest reader, that you’ll see exactly what I mean whilst solving. Enjoy!
    #032 Sudoku – rated hard
All puzzles © Tom Collyer 2009

Friday 4 December 2009

Friday Puzzles #26

Today I’m a little tired, having stayed up far too late last night discussing the merits of what a championship should and shouldn’t be with Thomas Snyder. The discussion became almost tediously technical – e.g. if a championship’s “goal” is to find the “best participant”, then we’d better have a sound definition of what “best” really is, before attempting any sort of statistical analysis of whether a particular format really does find the “best participant”. I claim that no championship can reasonably hope to have that “goal”.

Anyhow I don’t wish to carry on that discussion here, I merely want to excuse my laziness: being tired means that I’ve had to take a little inspiration again, rather than come up with anything properly original. Any puzzle lover should be made aware of MellowMelon’s (aka Palmer Mebane) blog – an incredible site where he puts out some high quality logic puzzles on a daily basis. I can’t claim to have had a go at all of them, since there are only so many hours in a day but I have to say I’m hugely impressed.

One such gem is this nurikabe puzzle: I’ve tried to put my own (incomplete) twist on his theme today – together with a few ideas previously seen in my own puzzles. Enjoy!
    #031 Nurikabe – rated medium
All puzzles © Tom Collyer 2009

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