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


  1. Nice work; fitting 8 of them in a puzzle this small is nothing easy, I would think. Makes me wonder how easy it would be to do all 12 in an 18 by 10 (quarter of the size of mine), although the U wasn’t in this one and that one is extremely hard to force.

    Thanks for the props, too.

  2. Hmm, Palmer, I didn’t get it when I solved your puzzle, then I deleted the solution but I’m guessing the point was similar?

  3. I was originally aiming to have only islands of size 5 – I got as far as I did before copping out and sticking in the 1 and 2 at the end. The way you got the U in was very nice – the terribly intricate nature of the logic was beautiful disguised by the fact you were half-expecting that to be the last shape at the end anyway. I think it ought to be possible to get all of them in an 18×10 sized puzzle though – was never going to happen today though, my brain isn’t working at all…

    I call it as I see it – your site is amazing! You are both prolific enough and creative enough to be seriously thinking about getting in touch with a publisher and earning yourself some cash!

  4. Georgi: Yes, it was. The puzzle I made has exactly twelve 5s, each a different pentomino very roughly arranged and oriented in a solution to the 6 by 10 packing problem.

    I have no idea how to get started publishing, and I’m not sure how much of a market there is for the kind of puzzles I put out. But it sure would be nice to make some money from this. If you have any idea what I should do for first steps, I’d be happy to hear it.

  5. This is one reason I’ll be starting my own e-publishing place for puzzle solvers and writers in 2010. I’m hoping to set up a system that rates solvers and also rates constructors. I’d imagine a nominal fee paid out for a given size puzzle, and then incentives if people like your work. Maybe solvers vote on their favorites, and some percentage of the take for an issue is split to the authors that are the best. Maybe 50% of solver dollars go into “virtual bucks” they spend on the authors they love or the puzzle types they love. Getting puzzles for such an enterprise is the easy part. Having a good web infrastructure, and then getting an audience over there, is the harder part. This is what I’m focusing on in the next couple months.


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