So! Silicon Valley Puzzle Fest was last weekend. I had a great time as usual. For my seminar this year, I talked about acrostics and diagramless puzzles. That went quite well, except I didn't leave any spare room in the grid I drew on the easel for my diagramless demo, resulting in an improvised wrap-around sorta deal. Oh well. Other talks' subjects included a new pentomino-placing puzzle, Thomas Snyder's solving technique, and the Litsoft founder's opinions of the future of puzzle presentation. Check out the website for more!
As for the competitions, prepare yourselves for a shocker: Eric Maddy won the crossword tournament, continuing his unholy reign of terror through the nation's smaller tournaments. On the sudoku side, Eric fell just short of the double victory, as James Wilson took the regular competition and Canadian puzzle team mainstay Derek Kisman captured the killer sudoku crown. Heartiest congratulations to them as well as to the many youths who won prizes in the kids' competitions.
With Morgan Hill behind us, it's time to look ahead to yet more contests. Logic Masters India is furnishing a test this weekend consisting of variations on Tapa, a puzzle type well-known to World Puzzle Championship competitors. They're fun; I'm looking forward to see the rule-bending.
If sudoku is more up your alley, you may wish to turn to this weekend's SudokuCup. This is always a good, challenging set of sudoku, with plenty of variety to be seen. I hope to free up enough time to participate for real in at least one of these two competitions, but I'll enjoy all these puzzles at some point regardless.
Lastly, my fellow Onion puzzlemaker Francis Heaney has a good-lookin' new puzzle book called Sudoku In Space. In this book, you'll find hand-crafted puzzles with yet more clever twists on the conventional sudoku. And not only can you check out a few samples, but you can win a copy of the book by doing so! (Yes, I am decreasing my own chances of winning by telling you about this, but oh well.)
Whew! Tons going on, and I haven't even previewed Iron Puzzler yet. Keep it tuned here!