Tuesday 19 January 2016

Chinese Sudoku #1

One of the joys of being a member of the international puzzling fraternity is the variety of people from around the world that you get to meet.  Whilst at the World Championships held in Sofia last October I was very pleased to make the acquaintance of some of the Chinese team, a formidable group of solvers whose brilliance is all the more remarkable given their young age.

I was even more pleased to receive a thick wad of printed monthly tests that the BEET "Brain Extremely Exhausted Time" Puzzle Club have put together.  There really seems to be no end to the number of puzzles I could be solving before we all meet again.

Anyhow, we have maintained correspondence and I'm very pleased to have been given permission to share a recent monthly test with a wider audience.

The title of the contest is:
The 16th CSOC - Zodiac
- LINK -
With thanks to YangPei for authoring and Righthand for testing.  It's a lovely set of puzzles with an interesting challenge at the end to tie everything together.

Finally, whilst it seems a little fruitless to provide a link given that I'm sure the majority of my dearest readers won't be able to understand the website, and indeed my would-be dearest readers in China have various issues trying to reach any link on Google's blogger platform, I will do so anyway out of politeness:




  1. I'm having trouble with the Leo (which is my sign, ironically enough). I'm hoping it's due to a wonky translation. So could you reiterate the rules?

    Also, the clues going into the final puzzle are kinda scattershot. Some don't rely on solving the sign puzzle at all, and some give up their hint with only the first couple of deductions. Ideally, none of the questions could be answered until the associated puzzle was mostly solved, or maybe as little as 40% solved.

    Also also, is the answer for Sagittarius's question 6 or 7? There's the six arrow *clues,* but the sign itself is arrow-shaped.

  2. Yes - I needed some clarification on Leo as well. I would state the rules as follows:

    Place a number from 1-9 into cells in the grid such that each row, column and marked 3×3 box contains each number at most once. Exactly one cell in each row, column, marked 3×3 box and shaded region (orthogonally connected groups of cells) must be left blank. Numbers placed in cells adjacent to blank cells must either all be even or all be odd.

    I found I needed all the clues before I could start solving the final puzzle, so whilst some of the questions are a little quirky I don't think there are any shortcuts to be had.

    Sagittarius has 6 arrow clues - the shading is only there for artistic effect

    1. You forgot that blanks can't touch diagonally, but thank you. Having *exactly* one blank in each row, column, box, and yellow polyomino makes the puzzle much less ambiguous.

      But I think we're talking past each other on what counts as a "shortcut." I will postulate that one needs to answer all 12 questions before solving the final puzzle. But questions 1, 2, 7, and 9 can be solved by looking at the unsolved grid alone, question 12 could be the solver's very first deduction, and even question 5 can be solved without determining any digits. Fully half the puzzles can be mostly ignored.


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