The puzzle calendar sure has been full lately! Let's run things down with some trusty bullet points:
- Logic Masters India continues to bring the tests; this time it's Melon's Puzzle Zoo. This guy's puzzles are very creative and pose a stiff challenge; looking forward to trying them.
- This weekend, I did the next part of Games of Nonchalance, a delightfully immersive, trippy, and unique experience. If you can free up a couple hours, try it out.
- When I was done with Nonchalance, I joined my team for Iron Puzzler. I wasn't quite prepared for the amount of work involved in creating two puzzles; I didn't get home until after 1 AM. The next day of solving was fun; it's great to see the directions teams took with the secret ingredients. My team (I joined up this time with coedastronomy) did quite well! Our solving prowess, combined with the points other teams awarded us for our puzzles, put us just off the podium in fourth place.
- Time flies; the Equinox Puzzle Party is upon us once again. If you're in Berkeley on Saturday, join us!
The good news: I finally figured out how to get WordPress's automatic updates to work. The bad news: The buttons next to Home on the top of the page have vanished for no apparent reason. That's what I get for upgrading, I guess. Anyway, I'm working on it.
Starved for a themeless puzzle on this middle day of the long weekend? Well, you shouldn't be, because the Post Puzzler is a great one. But if your thirst remains unquenched, I authored today's CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge.
Also, Logic Masters India is at it yet again, this time with another Tapa Variations test. Had trouble with a few puzzles in the last set; we'll see how I do this time.
I'm back from my visit to RPI! I had a lot of fun despite the continued incompetence of ECAC officiating. The Engineers are 1-12-2 in the last fifteen games I've attended, and not all of those teams were bad. At what point do I conclude that it's me? In any event, back to the puzzling!
If you're a reader of Wired's Decode blog (and you really should be), you know about the Ring of Dishonor. Induction into this exclusive cabal will take place this week. I have a hand in the proceedings and will be present at the ceremony. Details will come later, but for now, use the blog and the February issue of Wired to try to find your way into the circle.
In Logic Masters India news, a sudoku test called Double Delight was released; this packet contains puzzles that each have two extra constraints (diagonals, consecutive digits can't touch, etc.). I haven't gotten to them yet, but connoisseur Thomas Snyder spoke very highly of them, so check them out.
It's been literally DAYS since I've had a puzzle published. Fortunately, the drought ends with today's CrosSynergy puzzle.
As for this past weekend's logic puzzle competitions, it should not surprise anyone to learn that I failed to enter. Oh well; I prefer to savor the puzzles.
In other news, I'm going back to school this week! No, not to study, but to represent Google! Looking forward to visiting my fraternity, seeing the Engineers in action, and getting back to a favorite restaurant in addition to interviewing and career-fairing and such. Should be a fun, if relatively puzzle-free, few days!
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!
I am the constructor of this week's Onion crossword. I'm quite pleased with the theme, especially considering it broke a bizarre multi-week drought in which I couldn't come up with any decent theme at all. Hope you enjoy the solve! (Edit: Thanks to Brendan for suggesting the inclusion of 53-Down.)
I'll post a recap of Silicon Valley Puzzle Day soon, but first I have some very exciting news to announce: I'm publishing a puzzle book, and I have the privilege of doing it with the experts over at Puzzlewright Press!
What will be in the book, you ask? Well, in high school and college, I made a whole bunch of 13x13 crosswords for student publications, as well as a few year-end 25x25 puzzles in the style of The World's Most Ornery Crossword in GAMES. I'm going to be cleaning those up and putting them together for your enjoyment, along with possibly a few new ones depending on how many I end up with. In addition, I'll include plenty of tips to make my solvers better and faster.
It will be quite a while before this work hits shelves, but you can bet you'll hear about it when the time comes. I'm looking forward to carrying out this project!