detuned radioMy blog is called "detuned radio" because I am a big fan of Radiohead, and really enjoyed a particular lyric from their song Karma Police:
Karma Police, arrest this man, he talks in maths, he buzzes like a fridge, he's like a detuned radio.Since launching my blogging career, I've taken the moniker "detuned" to represent myself online. It's kind of stuck now, and I don't really envisage changing it.
Puzzle Solving Career
I started taking part in competitive puzzle competitions from 2006, when I entered the Times newspaper's Sudoku competition. I tried the puzzle early on in its renaissance in the UK when Wayne Gould unleashed the global craze. The story I like to tell is seeing the puzzle in the newspaper on my way up to my first year at the University of Warwick in the autumn of 2004, thinking: "how hard can this be?"
When I read about the first Time competition in 2005, my bravado stated I'd have won if I'd been invited. When I entered in 2006 and came 4th, I was surprised as anyone. Actually, I'd have been 3rd if it wasn't for a minor error made on flip-charts, and maybe 1st had I not gone one-on-one with my good friend and deadly rival David McNeill in the semi final.
Whilst the 1st placed prize of a £1,000 cheque and shiny trophy eluded me that particular year, the 2nd and 3rd placed prize of a Times atlas of the world thankfully also eluded me, leaving me to console myself with a bottle of champagne and an unforgettable triumph later that evening in the field of Monopoly. Anja, it was a pleasure doing business no matter what alternative opinions Richard ever had.
Since then, the Times prizes have not improved, but I have:
- Regularly represented the UK at the World Sudoku Championships (since 2007);
- Won the Times title (2007, 2009, 2015);
- Won the nikoli.com time trial (Sudoku x4, Shikaku x1, Masyu x1)
- Won the UK Sudoku Championship (2011 - most years I organise it)
- Regularly represented the UK at the World Puzzle Championships (since 2011);
- Won the UKPA Open Sudoku Tournament (2013, 2016)
Puzzle Writing Career
There weren't too many puzzle bloggers at the time, so I like to think I made a genuine contribution to the online puzzle community.
My Friday puzzles series was shortly followed by Thomas Snyder's Friday puzzle series. He has a rather more successful puzzling careers than me, having had several books published and founding the rather wonderful Grandmaster puzzles company. I have since become a "Contributing Puzzlemaster" for Grandmaster Puzzles, and my published puzzles can be found here.
Aside from that I have also been involved with both the World Puzzle Federation and the UK Puzzle Association. I regular organise the online UK Sudoku Championships, and I have previously been the Competition Director for the 9th World Sudoku Championships, held in London in August 2014, and the 2016 WPF Sudoku Grand Prix.
I've also authored a few other online puzzle contests, contributed to the occasional nation qualifying competition, and playtested/offered general advice to plenty more.