Puzzle No. 225-226 : I’m seasick!

The WPC starts, and I fall sick. This happened last year too. Last year I was unofficial and it didn’t matter much so I’ve forbidden myself from looking for patterns. But this time it did matter, and I’m pretty annoyed with it. But anyway, its no excuse in the first round where I botched up a Domino hunt puzzle by drawing a horizontal line where a vertical should be and stuff like that.

The 2nd round was a 21 themed big round. It was during this round that I started having a sneezing fit. I coughed or sneezed every time I was about to enter a 3! It took me about 40 minutes to enter all the digits into the X-Kakuro, which I was solving much faster than that. Bram says I should’ve thought I was entering 4 while entering 3 or something, which I may need to use in future. I’m gonna learn mind tricks in preparation for WPC 2013. Anyway, the round went ok apart from that, except that I got out some 6 tentacles of the Giant Octopus, and got no points at all because I couldn’t finish off the other 2. This felt a little bad but I put it down to my own inexperience of going for a big puzzle at the end.

The 3rd round was twisted puzzles. I got stuck on about 3 of these, forgetting the twisted part in one and almost reaching a solution anyway! The next round, the ABC variants, went well, until I ended up making one of the ABC Snakes bite itself. I’m happy I got out all 3 ABC Crosswords though, as that was seemingly a weak point before the Championships. I maybe should’ve tried Hexa, but I’m prone to errors in that so did the other two variations instead.

The 5th round was the Black and White round, which had a series of painting puzzles and I considered this to be my scoring round. I rushed the big point Tapa out in 3 minutes like I said in an earlier post, and then the Battleships in 2 minutes and the Nurikabe in 2 minutes. I was going really strong and had attempted upto 66 points at the halfway point. After this began a series of broken puzzles. I think I attempted every puzzle in there, and broke every one of them. White Pentomino is one I broke thrice. I ended up having attempted 66 points, and later found I’d left all of 1 cell unshaded in the Paint by Sequence puzzle and so got just 59 points from my “strong” round.

Things weren’t going great and there was the Team round to come. The Marina round was an optimizer round. We had to place boats along the harbor following plenty of rules so that they all get out safely. We among Team India basically divided the big chart into our own separate quarters. We glanced at each other’s to check from time to time, but mainly concentrated within our own areas. At the end we hurriedly placed a few boats touching the harbor just partially. Once the results were out we saw we were last. We’d missed that the partial touching won’t get us points, so all those last minute boats didn’t give us points. Also, in one quarter, the turning constraint wasn’t followed and this was the biggest area of lost points. It could happen to anyone, but I’m thankful it didn’t happen in my quarter, as that’d have put me in an even worse mood for the next day.

So coming to the next day, I was still sick. I started the 7th round, Lines and Arrows, at a slower pace than the previous day’s rounds. The key for me was to try not to have a repeat of Round 5, as that could get ugly if it happened in the other rounds. The 7th, 8th (Assorted puzzles) both went alright. Slow, but I wasn’t extensively stuck at points. I maybe started to fall behind Amit and Rohan at this stage, or maybe that started in Round 5 itself. Rohan had a particularly great Round 8.

Round 9 to Round 11 were, I think, my best rounds in the entire WPC. Which is weird since at this point I had a headache too added to the list. I seemingly do better with headaches. In the Metropolis round, I squeezed out the Tokyo variant at the last minute. This gave me a grand total of 4 small pointers and that was alright. Round 10 was the one where I was most methodical. No errors, barring a 1 point error in the Picture puzzle. I finished with 99 points which was pretty much the highest gain I’d had the entire tournament. Round 11 was a tricky one. There was a 28 point Easy as ABC Skyscrapers Sudoku, which was really difficult. Many people got stuck in this for a long time, a lucky few left it and concentrated on other puzzles and an even luckier few saw the solve path and finished it in around 30 minutes. Rohan was in the 3rd category. I was part of the first group. I wasted the first 15 minutes on it, and saw I wasn’t making much progress so moved to the others. I finished quite a few of the others, and amounted to 41 points which was a good showing. But, typically, I’d made an error in the easiest 4 point Farms puzzle, having a 11-9 combination of region sizes in one place, instead of all 10s.

The last individual round was Half Dominos, and I think it was a very enjoyable WPC till this point. At this point, it was a bit crazy. The Half Dominos round featured one puzzle, with a difficult break-in, but once you got it it was easy. Half the people were left staring, and half of them were screaming finished all over the place. Amit finished from India and scored 101 but he admitted later it was mostly luck. Rohan had a big dip in this one getting just 12 points. I got 32, and Rakesh 42. Really poor round for all Indians except Amit. This round had way too much variance compared to the other rounds, just like the TNT round in the WSC.

The only one left after this was the team round with linked instructionless puzzles. We did pretty well in this round. I got out a Coded Tetromino pretty quickly, but we had to slightly change the solution later based on the linked part. Other than that it was mostly helping each other and discussing the links. At the end, I got out the Icebreaker, but then realized that its non-unique so I must have missed an instruction. I had, and I think I had missed 2 instructions. This cost the Indian team technically one rank, and I’ve been kicking myself about it since.

So thats all for today, and I won’t be covering the play-offs extensively. I with Palmer and some of the US Team during the play-offs, so I don’t think I’d have seen anything he’s missed in his own play-off write up. Tomorrow will mainly be about “the good times” after the Championship. 😛

Todays puzzles are 2 Fishermen puzzles. The need was for quick puzzles, so forgive the X marks here and there. These are dead cells where the fishing lines and boats cannot go.

Rules – Place boats (rectangles of size 1×2 cells) in the grid so that no two boats touch each other, not even diagonally. Each boat has to contain a number which represents a fisherman(all numbers are already written). Draw a line starting from each fisherman so that each fisherman catches a different fish with a line whose length is indicated by the fisherman’s number. The lines cannot cross boats and they cannot cross or overlap each other. Numbers outside the grid indicate how many cells are occupied by boats in the corresponding row/column. Every cell in the grid has to be used, except cells marked with X. (Careful : Xs are a bit light in the 1st puzzle)