LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

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sknight
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LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by sknight » Mon 09 May, 2011 6:25 pm

LMI has posted the details on the May Puzzle Contest (MAYnipulation) scheduled for this coming weekend (May 14-15).

The test page, where you can download instructions is located here: MAYnipulation test page

The theme is "All puzzles in this test have some form of diagram manipulation, e.g. rotation, superimposition, symmetry."

(I assume y'all in the UKPA are still using this for qualifying, so I figure some of you need to know this info)

PuzzleScot
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 09 May, 2011 7:37 pm

Thank-you.
I have posted an announcement, which will appear on the main website's front page.
An email notification will be sent shortly to remind all UK residents of this important contest.

debmohanty
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by debmohanty » Sat 14 May, 2011 7:00 am

Contest has started.

dickoon
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by dickoon » Sat 14 May, 2011 12:06 pm

Very, very elegant puzzles, though they really play to my weaknesses. :-) (Not too hard, considering how many of them I have!) My performance will not give the selectors much to worry about - or to use a colourful phrase I once heard, "could suck an elephant through a straw". I was out of puzzles that I could solve in little over half an hour. Recommended, particularly if you like loop-y, drawing-y puzzles.

At the same time, I want to really express admiration at the LMI set-up. Their Indian puzzle championship this year has thirteen regional face-to-face qualifying contests and an online qualifying contest generating sixty qualifiers for their domestic final. That's brilliant! The UK would kill to have close to that many people interested in taking part in qualifying. Particularly considering the country's strong educational and mathematical traditions, it really will be a matter of only a few short years before India becomes a force to be reckoned with on the world stage.

drsteve
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by drsteve » Sun 15 May, 2011 4:30 pm

A hint to future contestants - assuming there will be enough ink in the printer isn't always the best plan - you can waste an awful lot of time and energy drawing the swearwording puzzles out by hand...

detuned
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by detuned » Sun 15 May, 2011 5:13 pm

Hah. I wish I was Polish.

drsteve
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by drsteve » Sun 15 May, 2011 5:22 pm

detuned wrote:Hah. I wish I was Polish.
Was it easy?

detuned
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by detuned » Sun 15 May, 2011 6:46 pm

Easier than LMI. Although I did admittedly somewhat freeze up :(

drsteve
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by drsteve » Sun 15 May, 2011 7:21 pm

detuned wrote:Easier than LMI. Although I did admittedly somewhat freeze up :(
Ouch. I've just seen your result. Still, it's best three out of four...

detuned
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by detuned » Sun 15 May, 2011 7:45 pm

haha well, I sort of stuffed up the first one too. I hold out approximately just slightly less than no hope for me in this puzzle league, all things considered, but I will hopefully be ready to give the UKPC and the USPC a good kicking. What with a house move and other less than ideal circumstances on the day of last year's USPC, I have plenty of room for improvement :)

drsteve
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by drsteve » Sun 15 May, 2011 9:17 pm

Congrats to rodders - top UK score so far.

PuzzleScot
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by PuzzleScot » Sun 15 May, 2011 11:07 pm

Yeah, well done rodders!

I spent the last 2 minutes checking answer keys as usual.
Spotted a type typo on one of the keys on the 90 point last puzzle with 5 seconds to go.
By the time I clicked submit, it decided I was too late. Have appealed, but aaaarrrrgghhhh!

Excellent puzzles :)

debmohanty
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by debmohanty » Sun 15 May, 2011 11:31 pm

Alan - you get 90 and you are very close to rodders.

Ronald and David M are participating as I type this.

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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by PuzzleScot » Sun 15 May, 2011 11:40 pm

Thank-you very much Deb! (It doesn't affect the UK team selection, only my pride was affected) :)

david mcneill
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by david mcneill » Tue 17 May, 2011 9:04 am

Great turnout from the UK. Quite disappointed with my score. I think some others will also be disappointed. Choice of questions proved critical as the points allocation was suspect and no-one finished everything. Luckily I chose to do the Corral Rotator, Deformable Kropki, Masyu and Symmetric Loop first. These were all OK, although I made a stupid error in the second Symmetric Loop. Then I made the ill-fated decision to tackle the Diamonds. It took me about 50 minutes to solve this. I know that's hopeless but I still think it was a lot harder than the 88 points available. With time running out, I solved one of the Persistence of Memory, had a half-hearted attempt at the Disjointed Tapa and finally solved the second Persistence of Memory, but just too late to type in the answer.

Annoyingly, I subsequently discovered that the Ambigram Skyscrapers was solvable in about 5 minutes, the Superimposed Loop in under 10 minutes, the Disjointed Tapa in just over 10 minutes and the Clone Battle in just over 10 minutes (provided you get started - bottom right hand corner for me). The Spiral Galaxies puzzles were the only other ones I found really tough.

GarethMoore
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by GarethMoore » Tue 17 May, 2011 9:31 am

I thought it was a fun test (I love loop puzzles) but I do agree with your comments on the points allocation, that the points don't necessarily reflect the amount of time needed to solve a puzzle. Although that said it may just be down to different experience - for example I did the Superimposed Loop puzzle and it was perfectly logical but also extremely fiddly and time-consuming. Since you need to cross off every single line you've used on the superimposed grid as you go, there's no speedy short-cut to solving this while being sure you're correct - and of course it took ages to do that. It would have worked better if it had been a bit smaller I think - same difficulty, but less of it. Conversely other puzzles are worth as many points but can be physically done much, much faster (eg Persistence of Memory could easily take just a few minutes to solve for 60 points). But then I see you say you did it in 10 minutes... so perhaps I was just super slow at it.

Symmetric loop I messed up the second one slightly too - I broke the bottom shape during the test probably because I was guessing and didn't check carefully enough when I finished, but looking at it logically afterwards I did it almost immediately.

I thought the first Spiral Galaxies puzzle was much harder than the second one (40 v 85 points) - you had to be really logical and careful, whereas the second one had far more areas to place and therefore far more immediate contradictions so you could really just hammer it into shape pretty quickly (easiest 85 points I've ever had!). This technique failed completely on the first one although I solved it logically afterwards eventually.

I hadn't read the rules for Corral Rotator carefully enough - I think these were relatively easy but without all the constraints I couldn't solve them during the test. I do think having the two puzzles in one is very clever!

I didn't try the 4x4 Diamonds at all during the test because I thought it might be a nightmare, but I found it entirely logical afterwards and a surprisingly rewarding puzzle when NOT done against time - but it still took me at least half an hour. I solved bottom-left to top-left to top-right and then the last third or so of squares all solved via the requirement to have 16 mines in each puzzle. I think this turned out to be one of my favourite puzzles on the test, to my great surprise (given no time limit, that is!).

I gave up on the Disjointed Tapa, even afterwards. I must have incorrectly eliminated an option somewhere, since I managed to "prove" it was impossible...

Ambigram Skyscrapers struck me as a puzzle that could be done relatively quickly if you'd taken the time to think about it beforehand. Looking at possible fits for the likely "9<->6" clue in advance would have given you a big speed boost for example. I say this having not actually solved it successfully. :)

Clone battle and Kropki puzzles I didn't dare try (the Kropki example put me off, although I was pleased to read it had multiple solutions!), and Clone battle I usually find too tricky even in normal form.

motris
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by motris » Tue 17 May, 2011 2:21 pm

I definitely had the same issues with point allocation overall throughout the test and would echo some of the comments above such as SG1 versus SG2 based on how the path to the answer occurs. To maximize my score, I should certainly have not done the Deformable Kropki 1, my last submitted puzzle, and instead finished the Clone battle first (which I had at 103 minutes). As a 2 hour test I would have finished, so perhaps the play-testing was sort of off/fast or they didn't like the symmetry of 121 minutes which also rotates to be exactly 121 minutes or something else.

My other complaint is I felt some entry submissions were a step back from recent improvements. Entering the exact counts of every row of the Snakes took some time to do and check. And I never like counting turns so having to do that twice on the superimposed loops was disliked too. I greatly prefer steps, like in the Tapa entries, that directly enter information you see in the grid, and do not have to do large counting steps.

That said, while the "testing" components weren't what I'd want them to be, the puzzles were very enjoyable, and despite its challenge I really liked the 4x4 Diamonds. But maybe I was just happy to have a non-loop puzzle for a change.

dickoon
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by dickoon » Tue 17 May, 2011 3:16 pm

It seems an odd thing to root for, but I'm quite disappointed that the negative Masyu got such a low score when people were rating the puzzles! OK, a 10x10 Masyu is a 10x10 Masyu, and I don't think there were any great insights from solving one that helped you solve the other. Nevertheless - and I stand to be corrected by at least two or three occasional Masyu creators who read this, for this may demonstrate that I may pay insufficient attention - I was really tickled by the cunning that went into creating a Masyu that is soluble in both its original and negative formats. (Or is this a property of the puzzle in general that could be applied to many Masyu designs

Very impressed by the 4x4 Diamonds as a puzzle and also - though I didn't try it - the final puzzle. Admittedly the two remind me of a DUBROVNIK puzzle at the WPC in Croatia in 2004, but (a) that was my favourite puzzle of that entire championship, (b) neither one is quite the same as that one and (c) that was seven years ago.

PuzzleScot
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by PuzzleScot » Tue 17 May, 2011 3:25 pm

Agree with the points disparity. The inverted First Seen Corral was much easier than the non-inverted one (almost trivial).
Astonished to see that only 7 of us ( 8-) ) finished the Clone Battle in time. Not that hard really. Didn't like the look of the kropki at all.
On my printout, I couldn't see the very faint lines in spiral galaxies, but still got one out easy enough despite this.
111 minutes might have been fairer, to keep that rotational symmetry theme. (121 <-> 131, so that doesn't work!)

debmohanty
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by debmohanty » Wed 18 May, 2011 12:21 am

Don't have much to add, but 101 minutes was purely based on test solvers' timings, and not because of rotational symmetry.
We were thinking between 90 and 100, then decided 100, and then I suggested why not 101.

motris
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by motris » Wed 18 May, 2011 1:43 am

dickoon wrote:It seems an odd thing to root for, but I'm quite disappointed that the negative Masyu got such a low score when people were rating the puzzles! OK, a 10x10 Masyu is a 10x10 Masyu, and I don't think there were any great insights from solving one that helped you solve the other. Nevertheless - and I stand to be corrected by at least two or three occasional Masyu creators who read this, for this may demonstrate that I may pay insufficient attention - I was really tickled by the cunning that went into creating a Masyu that is soluble in both its original and negative formats. (Or is this a property of the puzzle in general that could be applied to many Masyu designs
Speaking up as one of the low raters (6's on both), I was very much evaluating the enjoyment to be had from the two puzzles, which felt decidedly average. That there was a larger constraint between the two grids did not mean as much to me, as it did not affect the solving experience. I would give the same blah score to a crossword that was a pangram (had all letters A-Z) when that feature doesn't leave behind fun/interesting words and clues. I'm not sure it's particularly tough to pull the white to black transition off (at least compared to some of the other changes that the test had), but I would be rather interested, perhaps as a future Friday Puzzle, to make a Masyu with fully unshaded circles repeated in two grids and have the shading of black in one force white in the other. If it is a sufficiently constrained criterion, it could make a reasonably cool variation. What this test offered is the end result of that process, two independent puzzles that themselves are Easy Masyu.

A Carton Mutant
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by A Carton Mutant » Fri 20 May, 2011 7:07 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I appreciate all of you taking your time writing the above comments, hopefully they'll help push me in the right direction. This was my first time ever authoring a competition, sorry for inconveniences. I'm no good at determining relative difficulties of puzzles and test-solvers' times are off when compared to the feedback (Who can blame them, personal experience is different for everyone), it seems there was an unsatisfactory distribution of points. I've nothing to say to defend myself. :roll:
Still, I hope the puzzles were enjoyable and you had a decent competition. Thanks for participating!

Best wishes,
Murat
Last edited by A Carton Mutant on Fri 20 May, 2011 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Janix
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by Janix » Fri 20 May, 2011 7:24 pm

David, I couldn't agree more. It certainly adds a new meaning to 'Diamonds are Forever'.

I too spent an inordinate amount of time on Diamonds. I started it with 45 min to go (time of last submission) and was just getting stuck into the last bit in the bottom right hand corner of the four diagrams when time ran out. It was a very pleasing puzzle to do though.

It was for this section that I recognised I would need to invoke the extra instruction regarding the equal number of diamonds - where at this stage, one diagram had (theoretically) too many, and the others too little.

I've had an incredibly full week so have not had one chance to review and complete. Will look forward to it over the weekend.

I was also put off by the high number of points for Ambigram Skyscrapers, and I'll see if I can do it in 10 minutes or so.

And, Deb - you could also have considered 111 minutes! The scores would have been a lot higher...

Ken

Janix
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Re: LMI May Puzzle Contest (14-15 May)

Post by Janix » Fri 20 May, 2011 7:31 pm

Oops - I'm very tired.

Just noticed, and read Gareth's (yes - bottom right and around the top - then back to the middle - great fun!) and Alan's comments - 111.

But perhaps It's just as good to write the same thing fresh as confirmation of what we all found. I certainly found the whole set of puzzles an interesting development (well done Murat) and forcing through puzzles types with a theme is the way to go (just like writing music for a movie - Titanic theme anyone).

Ken

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