Puzzle No. 500 – 9 Shady Masterminds [Special] [Marathon]

I thought quite a bit about what I wanted for my 500th puzzle here. There was a stage when I thought I’d just ignore the milestone and post something normal. Then I got a bit of an idea of a simple theme which might still give out a nice solve path with different logical deductions combining.

The puzzle that resulted from this idea is pretty narrow and quite difficult, according to my and Swaroop‘s test solving experiences. Still, I think its ended up being quite varied in the thinking required and I like how it turned out.

Unlike my usual approach of posting a single image, for this puzzle I am attaching a PDF instead. This PDF has 4 pages. The first page contains the puzzle. The 2nd and 3rd pages contain the rules (The length is just because there are 9 different puzzles to cover, but most of them are familiar and should just be a quick read-through). There are two newer puzzle types, and one variant which I couldn’t immediately find an example for, so I have added 6×6 examples for these three rule-sets. The remaining are all classics, so I’ve just linked to the respective page where I got the rules from, and you can visit these links if you want an example. If you are new here and haven’t seen those sites before, I suggest visiting them anyway for more great puzzles.

Here’s the PDF:

9 Shady Masterminds

Please let me know in the comments or by mail (prasanna16391@gmail.com) if you have any queries regarding the rules or any other issues.

Announcing: LMI Sudoku Mahabharat

This August, the Indian team was in London for the World Sudoku and Puzzle Championships. I have been recapping my personal experiences there, and I will continue to do so, with two parts left in the series. However, it is now time to draw attention to one of the ideas that came up during our discussions in London.

A little background first. In 2012, the Indian Sudoku team was decided by the Times Sudoku Championship (A National-level event conducted by Logic Masters India and The Times of India) for the first time (Previously, it was decided by the Indian Sudoku Championship, organized solely by LMI).  Though I would definitely do things differently on the publicity side, and I think it could’ve been a whole lot better, the partnership did cause a substantial increase in participation, going from hundreds to thousands.

The problem is, there aren’t that many new regular Sudoku enthusiasts coming out of it. Especially now Rohan Rao, Rishi Puri and myself seem to be, without doubt, the best three players in India, switching orders in different competitions over the last two years. Sumit Bothra, Jaipal Reddy, Gaurav Korde, Rakesh Rai, Ritesh Gupta etc. are all great Sudoku solvers who are regularly in the top 10, but there aren’t many new faces.

There are many opinions on why this is the case, but for the purpose of this blog post, I’ll put my own out there: It is quite simply because, at the stage where there is highest participation, there isn’t any exposure to the level at which the Sudoku regulars practice. By the time the National Finals with higher variety and difficulty takes place, only the old guard make it. However, this isn’t a problem with an easy solution – you cannot make the earlier round hard as that would demoralize newcomers pretty quickly, and you want a fun event first and foremost. The only solution seems to be to increase the numbers that make the finals, and since it is the sponsors who will need to make added expenditure to transport the finalists, the final decision in this case has to be theirs.

Either way, for any enthusiast thinking it is too difficult to step up into the top Indian ranks, well obviously it isn’t (and shouldn’t be) easy, but it is very much possible to make a quick ascent. Just look at the most recent climbers – myself around 2012, and Kishore Kumar now. The path for both of us has been similar in the sense that we both were regular in online competitions which mimicked the standards of the World Championships. We may have been bad at the new variants at the start, but that’s definitely the level to practice at, and will mostly help to break into the top ranks.

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This is where Sudoku Mahabharat comes in (quick clarification – depending on the success of this event, we DO hope to have a Puzzle Mahabharat as well in future years). Is this the only plan to give an opportunity to new talent? No, and there will be other projects announced. But the novelty of this tournament does address some issues. First and foremost, this tournament is organized by some of the regulars of the Indian teams that have been going to the World Championships in recent years. This means most of the top solvers are not competing. The aims of the competition, in relevance to the issues above, are as follows:

1. A competitive format is offered here, and the importance of this can never be understated. Solving a single Classic on a publication or website is different from solving a group of them in a timed format. There is a challenge in both areas, but the National and World Championships are built on a competitive multi-Sudoku timed-round environment. In such an environment, there is room to improve even in Classics for a Sudoku enthusiast.

2. This tournament will provide a look into the variations that appear at higher levels, in a categorized format to help in understanding them. It will also provide both an easy sample of the variant and a more difficult, regular sized version of the variant. The newcomers will have a chance to try out new variants in the easier format, and later move on to the harder levels of the same variants. This structure ensures that every participant has a fun challenge to look forward to.

3. To give new talent the chance to shine in a National level competition. There is hope that this will further encourage the winner to participate more regularly.

So here’s an invite to all Indian Sudoku enthusiasts to a great opportunity. Please visit the following pages to know more about the event, which will also feature an offline final in 2015.

The main Sudoku Mahabharat page: http://logicmastersindia.com/SM/2014-15.asp

The Sudoku Mahabharat Discussion thread: http://logicmastersindia.com/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=868

The first round, with Standard Variations, by Rishi Puri, which starts on the 20th of September: http://logicmastersindia.com/SM/201409/

Also, if you want to support LMI in its various projects, please consider being a patron to the group. To know more, please visit this page: http://www.patreon.com/logicmastersindia

Announcement: Indian Puzzle Championship 2014 on May 25th

The Indian Puzzle Championship will be held on Logic Masters India this Sunday at 14:00 IST. I won last year’s edition, and went on to be the highest ranked Indian at the WPC, which gives me a wildcard into this year’s Indian team. Therefore, I decided to step back into organizing, and have collaborated with some fine International authors to prepare what I think is a really fun Puzzle set for the Competition.

So I’d encourage all Indians reading this post to participate in this Championship. Please note that for Indians, it is a limited time-slot to participate, as only submissions before 16:45 IST will be considered for official scoring. The top 3 from this competition will be invited to join me in the Indian Puzzle team for the World Championships this year, and the winner of the competition will be the Indian Puzzle Champion for the year 2014. You can check the relevant discussion thread for practice links and other information.

The competition will be open after official time, for International competitors to enjoy the puzzles.

All the best to everyone participating!

Puzzle No. 495 : Arrow Sudoku [Daily League]

Update: Puzzle had 2 solutions. Fixed now. Apologies.

Just about got in a Wednesday post.

Remember that you can solve the puzzles from the League online on the Sudokucup Guest League page with a 24h delay.

Rules – Follow regular Sudoku rules. Additionally, the number in a circle is the sum of the digits which are covered by its arrow. For circles with multiple arrows, apply the rule for each arrow separately, where some arrows can have some cells in common. (e.g., 1-2-3 and 1-2-1-2 are valid sums for a 6 in a circle, with the starting 1-2 being common).

Enjoy!

P495

P495

Update – Parallel Universe II – Inversion Invasion

So just a quick update for those of you who haven’t seen it yet – My second contest in two weeks at Logic Masters India. Last weekend it was Parallel Universe, the Sudoku Contest. This weekend its Parallel Universe II – Inversion Invasion, the Puzzle Contest. You can participate anytime within the next 40 hours (ends at 4/29/2014 5:29:59 AM local time | 4/28/2014 11:59:59 PM GMT).

Btw, the other Universe’s Prasanna prepared some PracticeFromTheirPSv1 (These are the same as the ones on LMI). He told me they are prepared in a rush so he didn’t have time to work up almost-symmetry in a lot of them. Even so, I think they’re good for practice of the newer types.

Puzzle No. 494 : Inner Tripods Sudoku [Daily League] [Invasion]

Greetings from another universe! After the Prasanna from your universe wrote a contest for LMI based on a few variants from our universe, the Inter-Dimension Puzzle Wizard notified me of the same. I decided to launch a translation of your wacky variants and a clarification of what you call our normal variants, for the people of my universe who might want to solve these Sudokus. The Prasanna from your universe was kind enough to include this as a separate “TheirUniverse” PDF.

That gave me an idea that I should probably write a Sudoku for something, featuring another one of our variants that has the same name as one of yours. Me and the Prasanna of your universe went through the list of variants in my universe, and he liked our version of Tripod (Again, your version is so wacky, but interesting), so I wrote a Tripod that we decided to use for the Daily League!

Your universe’ Prasanna got a chuckle out of this fact, but in our universe, “almost” symmetric puzzles are considered as having better aesthetics than fully symmetric puzzles. Maybe someone is interested in this fact, and in the Sudoku I wrote.

Remember that you can solve the puzzles from the League online on the Sudokucup Guest League page with a 24h delay.

Rules – Rules for Sudoku. Additionally, in the grid there are “tri-pods” with a “seat” and 3 “legs”. The seat, and the “feet” of the legs are denoted by dots. The “seat” of a tripod must have a digit thats greater than each of the “feet” but the sum of the “feet” must be greater than the “seat”. Digits can repeat in a Tripod.

Enjoy!

InnerTripod

P494

Puzzle No. 493 : Maxi Loop + LMI Patreon Update

Hello, dearest readers! Its… been a while. Sorry about that. I feel I’ll have more time for this place come May. For now, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that Logic Masters India has started its own Patronage system. Please check out our page on Patreon and on LMI itself. The Puzzle pack rewards are currently all written by me, but future ones will definitely have other Indian authors involved too. If you like the hosting features LMI has to offer and/or find the rewards enticing enough, please consider supporting us. I’ve taken up a few things on behalf of LMI here in India, all towards making our group more recognized in the country. Funding certainly helps this.

Anyway, I feel a little bad that I’m only making a blog post when I want to promote something, so here’s a Maxi Loop puzzle to go along with it. I hope you enjoy it!

Rules for Maxi Loop.

Rated – Easy with a slight pause.

Solution.

P493

P493

Puzzle No. 490 : Descriptive Pairs Sudoku [Daily League]

I was supposed to post this yesterday but I fell ill and didn’t access the internet at all (which folks who know me should realize is a really big deal!).

Anyway, I’ll probably edit this post later with PDFs, but for now, just hurrying through the post.

Remember that you can solve the puzzles from the League online on the Sudokucup Guest League page with a 24h delay (though I’m not certain whether this is too late to be put up today).

Rules – Follow regular Sudoku rules. Additionally, for every pair of outside clues X and Y, at least one of these cases is true :

1) X is in the Yth position in that direction.

2) Y is in the Xth position in that direction.

P490

P490

Puzzle no. 489 : Thermo Sudoku [Daily League]

Check this post for reference on this blog’s 3 main types of posts from now on.

First, PDFs!

The League of Extraordinary Ladies and Gentleman_week04_2014

The League of Extraordinary Ladies and Gentleman_week05_2014

Remember that you can solve the puzzles from the League online on the Sudokucup Guest League page with a 24h delay.

This is also Ex-Championship but, I changed it a little to make it easier for the Championship. This is the original hard version. There’s a few challenging spots.

Rules – Follow regular Sudoku rules. Additionally, some thermometer shapes are in the grid; digits must be strictly increasing from the round bulb to the flat end.

Rated – Hard.

Enjoy!

P489

P489

Puzzle No. 488 – Fillomino [Instructive]

Check this post for reference on this blog’s 3 main types of posts from now on.

The instructive post-type is (for now) mainly a way to “rehearse” my way of explanation for a certain target audience, while also giving the general puzzle solvers an easy puzzle to solve. I will not cover any complex techniques here, because the end result I’m looking at is designing a curriculum with more detailed explanations. I will mostly just hint at the starting point and a basic technique that’s necessary to solve the puzzle in question.

The instructive PDF’s definitely just for complete newcomers to the puzzle type, so I’m posting the puzzle image below the PDF anyway, so the experienced solvers can solve it directly.

PDF – Fillomino_Instructive

Enjoy!

P488

P488