Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

For the discussion of daily/weekly puzzles.
dickoon
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by dickoon » Sat 07 May, 2011 12:25 pm

Congratulations to Tom (on fire today; the 1800 rating area is looking extremely interesting for British puzzlers, and I think it's only going to become more so over time!) and commiserations to Steve; it doesn't get much closer than that. Fingers firmly crossed for further extremely tight and exciting matches up and down the ladder to follow.

I shall edit my original rules post accordingly to make the implicit explicit.

detuned
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by detuned » Sat 07 May, 2011 12:29 pm

Good game Steve!

That 5 day time difference is pretty remarkable - who was it in favour of?

drsteve
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by drsteve » Sat 07 May, 2011 6:54 pm

Me, unfortunately. Despite a 40 minute magnets on Monday...

There'll be a rematch soon. Watch out. :)

dickoon
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by dickoon » Sun 08 May, 2011 3:54 pm

The seventh week's matches are as follows:

CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
detuned (C) vs. rodders
Winner becomes (or remains) champion and defends the championship next week, loser descends to the #1 contender match next week.

#1 CONTENDER MATCH
drsteve vs. ronaldx
Winner becomes #1 contender and gets a championship match next week, loser descends to the #2 contender match next week.

#2 CONTENDER MATCH
afcwarren vs. puzzlemad
Winner becomes #2 contender and gets a #1 contender match next week, loser descends to the relegation match next week.

RELEGATION MATCH
dickoon vs. PuzzleScot
Winner survives and gets a #2 contender match next week, loser relegated from the ladder and replaced by whoever's at the top of the waiting list.

As it happens, a complete repeat of week five, but certainly matches to look forward to! It'll be interesting to see whether a different weekly assortment of puzzles leads to different results to last time. For instance, I have a suspicion - completely untested! - that last week probably had rather shorter puzzles, on balance, than most weeks we've had. Very short puzzles will always split the audience down the middle, for good reason, but I enjoy being able to manage my participation and balance it with the rest of my life.

As ever, if you know in advance that you won't be able to take part on any particular weekday, please speak up as far in advance as you can and book yourself one or two bye days.

detuned
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by detuned » Sun 08 May, 2011 6:56 pm

With my group theorist's hat on, the permutations of the ladder from week in to week out seem to be stabilising to something which isn't transitive. Basically, the fact that a result sends someone up as well as down seems to be trapping people into a distinct set of cycles - you could look at it in terms of repeated match ups, or you could take an alternative view that given some initial conditions, there are some matches which seem very unlikely to happen.

dickoon
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by dickoon » Sun 08 May, 2011 8:04 pm

detuned wrote:Basically, the fact that a result sends someone up as well as down seems to be trapping people into a distinct set of cycles
It's a fair point, and you and I are specifically to blame; you are because you keep defending your title at the top of the league and I am because, walkovers aside, I keep losing the relegation match at the bottom of the league! When someone fails to defend their championship or their, er, relegationship then it causes them to swap "cycles" with the other person they beat. Other than that, you're going to keep facing people from either the odd cycle or the even cycle.

Colin MacLeod pointed it out on the reflections thread, and Steve (and others) have come up with a reasonably simple potential solution. This solution has disadvantages - not least that the champion only defends their title in alternate weeks, and it's possible for the champion to face the same opponent several times in a row, should there be a clear champion ahead of a clear #1 contender who can beat all other comers. This is probably a fairer reflection of ability, though I'm not sure it's as interesting to participate in. Certainly something to come back to and seriously consider at some point down the line, and if I had thought of both solutions before the start of the league then I'm not sure which one I would have preferred.

The best way to solve the problem is to have new UK players join the ladder and shake things up! :)

ColinMacLeod
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by ColinMacLeod » Wed 11 May, 2011 10:31 pm

dickoon wrote: For instance, I have a suspicion - completely untested! - that last week probably had rather shorter puzzles, on balance, than most weeks we've had. Very short puzzles will always split the audience down the middle, for good reason, but I enjoy being able to manage my participation and balance it with the rest of my life.
After Wednesday's 13-minute median solves, we get two nasty Inequality Sudoku and Rundwegs (haven't looked at the puzzles myself, just noting the early results). I wonder how these two days will shake up the ladder, if at all.

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by PuzzleScot » Thu 12 May, 2011 8:20 am

It seems like Berni was annoyed with the sub-60s solve times, so upped the difficulty level just a tad.
Given Tom and David took over 30m today, I'm not sure I'll find the necessary hour to do today's vergleich!

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by berni » Thu 12 May, 2011 8:44 am

PuzzleScot wrote:It seems like Berni was annoyed with the sub-60s solve times, so upped the difficulty level just a tad.
I didn't change anything. It's just random.

detuned
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by detuned » Thu 12 May, 2011 1:59 pm

PuzzleScot wrote:It seems like Berni was annoyed with the sub-60s solve times, so upped the difficulty level just a tad.
Given Tom and David took over 30m today, I'm not sure I'll find the necessary hour to do today's vergleich!
I could have halved that time on paper I think, at least. For one thing, although knowing about the # interface makes things easier, it's still much less useful than scribbling in your own pencil marks, and for another, I wouldn't have accidentally keyed in a 1 which led to a 10 minute wild goose chase. Agree with the general sentiment on this week's puzzles though. The slitherlink was an absolute [edited out, but go look at the high score table. You get the idea.]

drsteve
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by drsteve » Thu 12 May, 2011 7:57 pm

Ugh. Two hours of my day spent in total on the Croc - not sure I'd have done that if it wasn't for the ladder.

Weirdly, even with 21+1 Fehlver and 1 hr 24 mins, my score today is still +1,+1

dickoon
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by dickoon » Thu 12 May, 2011 8:27 pm

Honestly, I'm skipping today's puzzles, mostly because I reckon there's a very high chance that I wouldn't enjoy them; good luck to Alan for managing to slog through them, he well deserves his victory over me today in our match.

What's the longest any of you have actually spent on a croco-puzzle puzzle, as opposed to the longest time you have recorded? I have a few that are two hours plus recorded, but they're (almost?) all occasions where I've abandoned an attempt and come back to it later, with the clock running in between. (One of them is, off-hand, something preposterous like 21 or 23 hours. It's been the only time I've actually come last, though I think I've had about ten second-lasts.) The longest legitimate time I think I've had has been somewhere in the 80-120 minute range, and it may have been a nasty incomplete information magnets puzzle. On the other hand, I have a suspicion Nick once racked up a legitimate three-hour solve (possibly on another Inequalities sudoku? Not sure...) and if Alan's four-hour solve today represents four hours real time then it would be the longest of which I know. Unless, of course, you know otherwise.

Blame the ladder if it's appropriate, but another thing that you may want to watch out for is if you are perfectionist about your "percentage of solves" ratio - especially if you enjoy having a big 100.0% up there. I never solved the second puzzle I started on croco-puzzle, which was a Rundweg that I started accidentally before I properly knew the interface. After that, I completed 200+ in a row that I started, until I admitted defeat to a tricky Doppelstern that I posted about in the other thread. (I'm enjoying that the percentage is now well back above 99, and I don't want to miss another puzzle before I get to 300 right so it drops back below 99%, rounded or otherwise...)

The Ue-ratsel metagame is lovely and addictive and joyous as a result - you feel that you are levelling up, or belting up, so to speak not because your character is getting better but because you are getting better - but there are many ways in which the Crack-o-puzzle croc can get its teeth into you.

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by drsteve » Thu 12 May, 2011 8:45 pm

To be honest, I only started the Sudoku because Ronald had a score on the board on his rating of -15 (I presume that means started and didn't finish) and I'm playing him on the ladder.

It was very satisfying when I finished it though, although 1 hr 24 is, I think, the longest that I've been continually solving a puzzle - after 45 mins though, I printed a screen capture and went to finish it in front of the telly. I think I found the Rundweg more frustrating today, as it seemed like I was bifurcating all over the place with that one.

Croco Puzzle is a wondrous thing, but the next time it throughs up two monsters on the same day, I hope it's a day when I've got significantly less marking to do... Back to it!

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by PuzzleScot » Thu 12 May, 2011 9:42 pm

dickoon wrote: if Alan's four-hour solve today represents four hours real time then it would be the longest of which I know.
There were a significant number of breaks of varying length in there, but probably spent about 2 hrs altogether on it. I must have bifurcated most of the options possible. I had the central column of numbers, plus 3 other digits placed reasonably quickly. Stared for ages at it, then guessed at a 5 in R8C3, as it led to quite a few immediate cells filled. That logically led to over 80% of the puzzle, before being proved incorrect. When I finally mustered the will to give it another crack, I knew the 1/2 pair went in C1 or C3 spanning rows 5/6. Fortunately I tried the right one first, and it led to a solution. I think there was a further branch half-way through that quickly resolved itself. Evil. :twisted:

I got that lovely satisfaction buzz from finishing a fiendish puzzle ;)

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by PuzzleScot » Thu 12 May, 2011 11:49 pm

Relatively easy today - Managed to complete both puzzles in under an hour! :?

ronald
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by ronald » Fri 13 May, 2011 8:37 am

To be honest, I only started the Sudoku because Ronald had a score on the board on his rating of -15 (I presume that means started and didn't finish) and I'm playing him on the ladder.
oops! tactical error! :D

This is my actually the first puzzle I've started and not finished... I couldn't keep my eyes open for the time required!

detuned
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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by detuned » Fri 13 May, 2011 10:19 am

PuzzleScot wrote:
dickoon wrote: if Alan's four-hour solve today represents four hours real time then it would be the longest of which I know.
There were a significant number of breaks of varying length in there, but probably spent about 2 hrs altogether on it. I must have bifurcated most of the options possible. I had the central column of numbers, plus 3 other digits placed reasonably quickly. Stared for ages at it, then guessed at a 5 in R8C3, as it led to quite a few immediate cells filled. That logically led to over 80% of the puzzle, before being proved incorrect. When I finally mustered the will to give it another crack, I knew the 1/2 pair went in C1 or C3 spanning rows 5/6. Fortunately I tried the right one first, and it led to a solution. I think there was a further branch half-way through that quickly resolved itself. Evil. :twisted:

I got that lovely satisfaction buzz from finishing a fiendish puzzle ;)
There was definitely a clean logical path to that puzzle, maybe I'll do a walk-through of it later today...

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by nickdeller » Fri 13 May, 2011 12:27 pm

dickoon wrote:On the other hand, I have a suspicion Nick once racked up a legitimate three-hour solve (possibly on another Inequalities sudoku? Not sure...)
According to my statistics page, I've had two solves in the 2-4 hour range. From memory, one of them was a Dominoraetsel where I took a half hour break for brain food, and the other was one (possibly a Rundweg?) which took about 90 minutes to solve and then I got caught in the "puzzle didn't register as completed" trap and had to go round and solve it again.

Oh, and good news - I'd like to apply to join the ladder starting next week please, if I may? I've been holding off because I knew that these two weeks while I'm out of the country would probably result in a precipitous drop! :-)

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by dickoon » Fri 13 May, 2011 1:39 pm

Excellent! Glad to have you, Nick. This means that the relegation match will actually see a player get relegated.

...oh.

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by sknight » Fri 13 May, 2011 2:39 pm

detuned wrote:
There was definitely a clean logical path to that puzzle, maybe I'll do a walk-through of it later today...
I definitely agree with that. I did not have to bifurcate on the vergleichssudoku. It took me about 37 minutes, mind you, and there was a lot of fiddling around with the "#" notation involved, but no bifurcation, multi-colored solutions, or the like. My biggest problem was I broke something slightly somewhere along the way, but was clearly on the right track, so I worked through to a false near-solution and then hammered it into shape for 5 minutes. On the other hand, I bifurcated like a boss on the slitherlink from that day.

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by motris » Fri 13 May, 2011 3:12 pm

There have been worse Vergleichssudoku; that one had a path but it was hard to see (having an error early on didn't help). The most critical and difficult thing for me to see was row 6, where there is near the start just one place for a 1, and after that just one place for a 2 that has a > to a 1. I will agree with Tom though that my "hard" sudoku solving in a web applet is hideous. Printing out the puzzle and solving on paper should have shaved about 30 minutes from my horrible time.

The Rundweg the same day was possible to solve logically (it took me about 10 minutes that way) but I used uniqueness a lot the first time to get the sub 5-minute time I posted. The upper-right, for example, could have either a lot of solutions if it went one way, or exactly 1 if it went the other. So I short-circuited the logic. Did others go about it this way?

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by detuned » Fri 13 May, 2011 3:13 pm

ditto, although I was at least guided with some vaguely intuitive avoiding what looked like they might be contradictions and/or uniqueness situations. it was almost as bad as one of those bloody kwontomloop puzzles...

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by PuzzleScot » Fri 13 May, 2011 3:18 pm

dickoon wrote:Excellent! Glad to have you, Nick. This means that the relegation match will actually see a player get relegated.

...oh.
:lol: ... and welcome to the ladder Nick!

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by dickoon » Fri 13 May, 2011 8:35 pm

Here's exciting: EXTRA TIME in the championship match, for a second week in a row!

Tom took a 3-0 lead at the start of the week, but Roderick pulled things back by the end of Wednesday, and the last two days have been 1-1 draws. Accordingly, Saturday's results will determine the fate of the title. Rodders, you have an uphill struggle here; Tom has form in these, plus you didn't solve the Rundweg on Thursday, so that counts as a humungously large time and thus you are't going to win if Saturday ends 1-1. Nevertheless, you beat Tom 2-0 on Wednesday, so you definitely have a real chance here.

Good luck to you both!

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Re: Any interest in a UK croco-puzzle ladder?

Post by rodders » Sat 14 May, 2011 8:21 am

Aaargh! Just missed out. Well played Tom. I managed to sneak the Hochauser which I did first but was a minute to slow on the Japanische Summen. Good game though.

My nemesis (Rundweg) counted me out of any tie-break as you say Chris, otherwise total time might have been quite interesting. My biggest disappointment this week was actually the Kakuro on Monday, which Tom gave me a real chance in by having a Fehlversuch, but I made a bit of a mess of it towards the end and was alas too slow.

Still, a better performance than my last championship match!

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