Friday 24 May 2013

Friday Puzzles #210

The good old non consecutive constraint provides at once both great delight and pain for the aspiring puzzle designer.  Perhaps what I originally had in mind for this puzzle will become slightly more apparent when you have solved this.  With the aid of a program, I started with my gimmick and a few randomly specified clues and I found a valid solution grid.  Whilst trying to maintain the gimmick and carefully manipulating the givens to yield a bona fide puzzle I found I either ended up with something that was either too hard (by which I mean tediously so) or else too easy.  So the gimmick went, I got a little creative and eventually Dearest Reader I arrived at something which was to my satisfaction.

In lieu of last week's puzzle I have also decided to give my difficulty ratings a little rethink.  From now on "easy" is going to be applied to puzzles which can be solved with standard and well-known steps.  These will generally take experienced solvers no more than 5 minutes to solve.  "Medium" will be applied to puzzles with perhaps a novel step or two or else a couple of bottleneck steps which definitely need to be resolved before further progress can be made with the puzzle.  There will be some variability in the times here, with solving times encroaching both below into easy territory and above into hard, reflecting the increased variance in solving inevitably introduced by novelty.  "Hard" will be largely be reserved for innovative puzzles requiring involved non-standard steps or with a solving process with several bottleneck steps.  These will generally take even experienced solvers (at least) a good 10 minutes to solve.

Please note this will mean a great deal of formerly "medium" puzzles will be downgraded to "easy,"  and ditto many "hard" puzzles will become medium.  Although there will of course be some puzzles in both categories that survive the cut!

I'll possibly retrospectively go back and edit the difficulties in the archive of previous entries at some point.  In more generality it's something I need to start doing at some point so that the image files are hosted on blogger rather than at warwick.  I might even start tagging them!
    #247 Non Consecutive Sudoku – rated medium
All puzzles © Tom Collyer 2009-13.

Friday 17 May 2013

Friday Puzzles #209

After UKSC duty, I'm back to the daily league.  I'm going to sit down and do a bit of an update of all PDF related stuff tomorrow.  In case you were wondering, we are up to Week 19 now - and scattered through the facebook group are links to the PDF's up to week 17.  Week 18 will come tomorrow as well, honest!

So I was up til about 4am tweaking this puzzle until it was just right.  In case you were wondering whether I can do hard puzzles, here's an extra regions puzzle which will push your geometric understanding of the added constraints quite far.  Let me warn you now, until you work out exactly what is going on, you aren't going to make much progress.  Puzzles like these where there are no freebies at the start, and where every given plays its own crucial role both by itself and in ensemble are very hard to come by, and I think this is probably as good a puzzle as anything I saved for the UKSC.  If not better!  And whilst I'm here blabbering on, I'm also going to take this opportunity to also point you towards Bastien's wonderful 16 given Diagonal

    #246 Extra Regions Sudoku – rated hard
All puzzles © Tom Collyer 2009-13.

Friday 10 May 2013

Friday Puzzles #208

Sorry, I've been busy with other things today/this week.  Expect another yajilin puzzle in the not-too-distant future!

Sorry for the delay.  Easier than last week, but watch your step!
    #245 Yajilin – rated easy
All puzzles © Tom Collyer 2009-13.

Friday 3 May 2013

Friday Puzzles #207

I'm fairly sure, Dearest Reader, that you won't have seen many yajilin puzzles like this before.  Enjoy!

EDIT: Original posted puzzle had multiple solutions; please see the comments below for the discussion.  First "correction" had a counting error!
    #244 Yajilin – rated medium
All puzzles © Tom Collyer 2009-13.

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