Puzzle No. 116 and Tapa Season Recap

This is long. If you’re bored, just go to the puzzle at the end. No issues. 😛

I’ve already noted on the LMI forum that this was in some ways my first TVC. Last year, I didn’t even realize much of what was going on and all, just gave the tests whenever I could because Rohan told me to. Since then, I’ve become more and more regular in LMI events, so while I was really looking forward to the full 2 months of Tapa coming up, I didn’t really know what to expect. This meant two things, one being I had no clue what kind of performance level to target, and I was utterly naive when it came to strategy during 75 minute tests or single puzzle contests. So anyway, now its all over, I just thought I’d share my experience.

TVC IX 

Before this one, Deb told me to send Serkan a few ideas. I’d like to think I went one better when I created a few Tapa variants on my own and posted them here. Coming into TVC IX, I’d kept my expectations pretty safe : Try coming in the Indian top 3 by the end of it.

As it happened, me and Rohan were testing this one before the test officially started. We both did it around the same time Friday evening. I did a typo while submitting the Tapa Restoration and misunderstood the Tapa Shape rules a bit, meaning I went back to it thrice during the test, and even once after the test to make sure it was solvable. We almost messaged Serkan that it wasn’t when I finally got my misunderstanding and solved it 😛 So anyway, when I was done, and asked Deb mine and Rohan’s scores, and when he replied, I think I asked him, “you sure you didn’t switch them? “. Quite a surprise it was that I’d beaten Rohan, albeit by a slight margin.

My favorite puzzle of this one – Tapa Line(big) [there’s a whole story behind that one, but I’m not telling it 😛 ]

TVC X 

By this time, along with my erratic progress in CTC, I’d become aware of two things. 1) I have the potential to beat Rohan on my day. 2) Its almost never my day.

Going into TVC X, I was quite proud to see that my Anglers Tapa idea was chosen as one of the variants. This was a first for me, so thanks for that Serkan 🙂 Me and Rohan were testing it again. I remember that he was unwell, and neither was I. Not the best state to give the test for India’s two top rankers of the previous TVC, but I think we both were quite certain we wouldn’t get the time over the weekend(at least, that was my reason!).

In this one, my favorite puzzle was Tapa Difference. I went back and solved it after the test and liked it a lot.  During the test, it was my undoing. I had raced to whatever score I had in 52 minutes, and then for 23 minutes I blanked out and stubbornly tried the Tapa Difference and repeated the same counting mistake over and over again. Needless to say, I was angry with myself for this when I finally came back to my senses.

The scores were put up, and I had beaten Rohan again, bigger shock. But it was quite obvious that we’d both performed far below par, and the scores during the test proved that.

TVC XI

Going into this one, I think everyone was dreading the prospect of bombing it after going through the IB. Some very fidgety variants, and some scary ones. After my previous TVC’s 23 minute gaffe, I’d noted that I should just move to the next puzzle when I’m stuck. As luck would have it, thats exactly what I shouldn’t have done in this one :\ Again, extremely naive when it comes to solving strategies.

Anyway, I was testing this one alone, since Rohan didn’t have the time and would give it over the weekend. I was again giving it purely because of the certainty that I couldn’t give it during the weekend. So yea, I started and I hadn’t really taken the high points per puzzle into account while thinking up the strategy of not waiting on one I’m stuck in.

This is my stupidity, but honestly I wasn’t really that happy that almost all the puzzles had 100+ points to their name. A little typo or mistake here and there, and you lose a lot. So anyway, I got stuck on almost every big pointer, and moved on, started to panic, and just lost it for about 5 minutes in the middle. I then got back, solved some, and felt I did ok. Then I realized after the scores came up, I’d done a slight error on the Mad Max big(130 odd points) where the optimization was required in the bottom left. This made my mediocre score into a really poor one, and ended up being the only one that cost me in my bid to be the highest ranked Indian over the course of the 4. Rohan outscored me by some 227 points, which was way too big a deficit to recover.

My favorite puzzle in this one was the Power of Tapa. I should’ve solved it during the test, but I felt intimidated by the 192 points. As it is, it was a really enjoyable puzzle with a smooth solve, but maybe thats just because I was doing it outside the competition scenario. I will say that after the feeling I had seeing the variants, I do agree with most of the top players that Serkan managed to make some excellent logical puzzles out of them.

TVC XII :

Coming into this, I had to beat Rohan by around 152 points. I practiced more than the other ones for this, and it helped that there were a whole lot of practice puzzles this time from Bram, Palmer, Thomas Snyder, previous TVCs, Takeya, Nils, etc.

I couldn’t test this one before time as I had an exam the next day. I gave it on a Saturday night, and it went very well. Only glitch during the test was that I took a whole lot of time on Tapa Like Loop, and could’ve probably done others in lesser time. Still, I was quite confident of getting an excellent score. But again, my carelessness cost me, and in the Make Room For Tapa, I’d not seen that I’d re-marked a cell that I’d erased previously. This one cell cost me 104 points, and as I see the standings now, I’d have been 10th for TVC XII. As it is, I ended up 19th, with Rohan just behind me at 20th.

1) This was the first time that an Indian/s were in the top 20 of this year’s TVCs, so I’m pretty proud to be one of the 2.

2) This wasn’t enough to overturn the deficit and overall, Rohan beat me. Congrats to him for this. You better up your game though Rohan, coz I’ll be back better than ever next year 😛

My favorite puzzles were Make Room For Tapa, Borders, Compass, Sweeper, Tapa Tapa. Yea, lots of favorites on this one.

CTC :

In this competition, again, going in I was targeting probably 3rd ranked Indian. Then we did the practice puzzles and it was quite a competition between me and Rohan. I still didn’t up my expectation too much though, because who knows in the competition scenario, and plus the puzzle difficulty might be different.

Once it started, on the first day I got a top 20 time. The next two days were utter disasters as I got around 150s on both days, and moved really back in the overall standings. By this time, I thought, yea my reasoning was true, I’ll have to fight for 3rd ranked Indian. Then on the wonderful Valentine’s day puzzle, I ended up being 4th. Then I started believing that maybe I could get back. These first 4 days proved to be quite descriptive of my inconsistency throughout the competition.

I kept getting the odd World top 5 timing, but there were also pathetic 100th rank type timings. So around the halfway stage, Rohan and me had almost the same score, and we were both around 30s in overall rankings. Then I went on a string of top 5s, where I got close to getting the top timing many times, only for it to be taken away from me late in the day.  So by this time, I was easily ahead of Rohan, and had two goals. At least keep the top 30 overall, and try for a top timing for at least a day.

Finally, after many tries, many screw ups, many random idiotic moves later, I got what I wanted. On 30th March, I got the top time, 104 seconds compared to mrowen’s 114, and Melon’s 122. Melon was surprisingly the first person to congratulate me, with 23 hours left in the day 😛 This turned out to be a good luck charm of sorts as I ended up holding on finally, so I’m thanking him again for that.

Just when it was looking like I’d finish strong and maybe break back into the top 20(as I’d tied with Melon on 3rd place for the very next day), I started messing up again. The last two days were extremely poor, and I ended up 27th.

So all in all, 35th in TVC(2nd Indian), 27th in CTC(1st Indian) is far beyond my expectations at the start, but IMO below my potential during. Still, the whole experience has taught me a lot, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it(you know I have when its got me to get over my laziness and write such a long recap on it 😛 ).

Thanks again Serkan, Deb, Bram, Palmer, Rohan, Swaroop, Fred, Aga, Byron, etc. for all the puzzles, the discussions, and the general fun on each day.

Coming to today’s puzzle now, I’ll say one thing. I have no idea how to make a ” Y”  in one of these. This is meant to be T(Thank) Y(You) S(Serkan) Y(Yürekli) . Ignore the coloring while solving.

Since I started this whole thing with a LITS way back in puzzle 41, I thought I’d end it with the same genre.

Rules.

Rated : Medium.

Solution here. Password – TS

Enjoy!

Puzzle No. 116

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