US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

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PuzzleScot
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US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by PuzzleScot » Wed 29 Jun, 2011 3:24 pm

The date for the USPC has finally been announced: 27 Aug 2011 1pm ET
This is 6pm (GMT+0100) in the UK. For other timezones, see the link above.

See here for more info: [updated:] http://wpc.puzzles.com/uspc11/

NB.
1) As mentioned in the 2011 WPC team qualifying procedure, a place in the team will be offered to the highest scoring UK participant in this contest.

2) This is a static window contest. ie, no flexibility at all! If you start late, tough luck.

3) You must visit the USPC home site and pre-register.

4) Get some vital practice in with the Puzzle Cruise contest this weekend (The best mock USPC you will ever see!)

Alan

sknight
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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by sknight » Mon 15 Aug, 2011 7:16 pm

So, the website says:
Everyone who has pre-registered (including all 2010 USPC registrants) will receive email confirmation on August 14.
Anybody actually get the alleged email? I actually don't particularly expect the USPC folks to meet their own deadlines any more, but I thought I'd at least ask if it went out. I know I didn't get mine, and I participated last year.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by sknight » Thu 18 Aug, 2011 1:47 am

Looks like the emails went out and the site is getting updated and ready.
Here's the content of the email (plus user name and password) with a few details about the contest:
Thank you for your interest in the 2011 U.S. Puzzle Championship. Since you have either registered for the 2010 championship or pre-registered for 2011, you are ready to go! The championship will start Saturday, August 27, at 1 PM, EDT (UTC-4) and last for 2 1/2 hours.

The procedures for taking the test are exactly the same as last year. You must log in with username and password in order to download test files or submit answers. The answer page will confirm your submitted progress so far by showing a score that assumes all of your answers are correct.

(username stuff goes here)

As before, there is a practice test that you can use to run through the entire process: download PDF, get the password, decrypt the file, print, solve, and submit answers. One day before the championship, you should download the encrypted test file, and separately download the puzzle instructions (so on Saturday you are ready to solve, not just read).

If there are any last-minute announcements or instructions, they will appear on the USPC11 home page (at the URL given above), and on the password page.
Be sure you know what the start time is in your time zone -- there's no flexibility in scheduling. It should be noted that the "practice test" is generally culled from old tests, and is not going to give a detailed breakdown of puzzle types and points. You will get a pretty good (but not 100% detailed) idea of the puzzle types from the puzzle instructions, available one day before the contest. Even with some of the variant puzzle types (like say the Hex Masyu last year), there are sometimes good examples to try out there on the internet, or you might try constructing a small puzzle yourself to see how the logic works, if you enjoy puzzle construction.

PuzzleScot
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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by PuzzleScot » Thu 18 Aug, 2011 8:17 am

sknight wrote:Be sure you know what the start time is in your time zone -- there's no flexibility in scheduling.
The Date/Time link the first post (ie, 27 Aug 2011 1pm ET ) will tell you exactly what local time the USPC is happening.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by detuned » Thu 18 Aug, 2011 9:45 am

Cheers for the heads up on this one, I got that same email this morning - just as well really as I'd forgotten that the username wasn't what I thought it might have been!

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by PuzzleScot » Thu 25 Aug, 2011 8:03 am

If you go to the contest page and log in, you will find the rules and practice puzzle test now available!

willwc
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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by willwc » Thu 25 Aug, 2011 2:45 pm

I'm still seeing "Under reconstruction" when I access the Rules page (even after clearing my browser's cache). Is this just me, and if so, could someone summarise whether there are any differences from last year's rules?

PuzzleScot
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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by PuzzleScot » Thu 25 Aug, 2011 5:09 pm

willwc wrote:I'm still seeing "Under reconstruction" when I access the Rules page (even after clearing my browser's cache). Is this just me, and if so, could someone summarise whether there are any differences from last year's rules?
It's not just you - I'm not seeing anything there either. I'm sure they will appear shortly, along with the Puzzle Instructions Booklet (hopefully!)
I presume the rules will be pretty much the same as last year though.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by dickoon » Thu 25 Aug, 2011 9:07 pm

NB I have just done a cheeky little plug in a comment to the Guardian's crossword blog. Seems almost appropriate given that other people in the comments talk about sudoku from time to time. (Can't help feeling I could have worded it better, though...)

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by detuned » Thu 25 Aug, 2011 9:43 pm

So this is going off-topic, but what utter drivel re the crossword snobbery towards sudoku. For such an apparent triviality, it doesn't seem to be below the likes of three of the finest crossword solvers in the country...

...back on topic (sort of), I've been having a look at last year's USPC again. What a beast! But the Sudoku included was absolutely brilliant. You simply don't get computer generated fare to solve like that, and I can easily imagine enough guile and craft going into making that puzzle as someone might do with a particularly nice crossword.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by emma » Thu 25 Aug, 2011 10:39 pm

Argh. There's a problem somewhere between my laptop and our printer. I hope it's at the laptop end - we have multiple computers but only one printer...

Update:
We seem to have a solution - using Foxit reader instead of Adobe.
Last edited by emma on Fri 26 Aug, 2011 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by motris » Fri 26 Aug, 2011 12:42 am

detuned wrote: ...back on topic (sort of), I've been having a look at last year's USPC again. What a beast! But the Sudoku included was absolutely brilliant. You simply don't get computer generated fare to solve like that, and I can easily imagine enough guile and craft going into making that puzzle as someone might do with a particularly nice crossword.
It's easy for crossworders to think there is no such thing as a "beautiful 4" in a sudoku puzzle, but I can vividly describe a lot of the steps of memorable puzzles that actually are human constructed (ie "Wow! What a beautiful naked single!")

Last year's USPC Nikoli Sudoku is a good example, with great pointing pairs giving a slow but satisfying solution process that marked many pairs before many sure digits. The one benefit of getting Nikoli puzzles on the test is more chance for a really nice design. The continued presence of Erich Friedman puzzles and others though means computer generated slogs will be there Saturday again I'm sure too.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by dickoon » Fri 26 Aug, 2011 7:39 am

Mmm... this is why I am liberal about what I would like to see the UKPA encompass and why I would prefer to see the UKPA welcome discussion of puzzles of all types, not just WPF puzzles. (There's also the small matter of trying to raise participation numbers...) I'd also hope that the Guardian could be liberal enough to recognise the art of (logic) puzzles, either capitalised or not, in its crossword blog some day, but this may not be an issue worth pushing straight away.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by PuzzleScot » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 8:54 am

In case you hadn't noticed...

http://wpc.puzzles.com/uspc11/download.asp - contest instructions/examples + USPC pdf available

http://wpc.puzzles.com/uspc11/rules.asp - rules & rewards.

sknight
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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by sknight » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 12:35 pm

Also, for anyone who doesn't read Thomas Snyder's blog regularly, check in there for some very helpful practice resources.
He annually runs a poll to determine which of the more obscure variants puzzles he's going to do a sample practice puzzle for, and this year he has done both the Dynasty Sudoku and Hopper.
In addition, the thread discussing the instructions/puzzle types has links to prior art on Crack it On, Jumping Crossword, Corral Crates and Hungarian Tapa, if you want to practice any of those types.

The Art of Puzzles

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by PuzzleScot » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 4:14 pm

Hmm. 5 word grid placement puzzles (not counting Word Connection). Seems unusual...
I won't be wasting any time on #19/#22!

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by PuzzleScot » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 7:35 pm

I claim 142. I didn't seriously get a chance to look at anything after #13 (corral). Time ran out during the very doable #14 (Word Connection).
Lovely puzzles! - Will enjoy finishing them off later. For now, beer...

Interested to hear other people's scores/claims. I guess the stories will have to wait another 20 minutes until overtime is done.
Quick sweep - how did Tom do? I'll punt at all done with 15min spare...

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by dickoon » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 7:41 pm

Very enjoyable, as ever. One that I thought I should be able to crack but didn't, one that took far too long, one that I spent quite a while on but couldn't crack, one that I almost embarrassingly brute-forced the heck out of, a not-very-confident counting puzzle answer (no penalty FTW!) and a couple of solves that I didn't expect to be able to see through to completion but with which I am rather pleased. Time left over to check my answers and to spot three differences. The British way is to downplay your achievements; I don't expect my performance to rank at all highly, but I'd be delighted if I came up with 103 and perfectly pleased if my efforts have garnered me as many as 88. We'll soon see if there are lots of errors that I didn't spot, though it's interesting to note how other countries have managed to raise the bar when it comes to displaying answers to online puzzle contests and providing initial marking...

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by detuned » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 7:46 pm

Anyone else not check their printer ink beforehand and end up having to do it in paint? :lol:

180 submitted, I'm fairly confident (touch wood) that's all good. Might have been more on paper, but that's life,

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by sknight » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 7:49 pm

My possible points (adjusting for the fact that I only spotted 9/10 differences) is 169. Pretty confident of those points modulo screwing up on counting/entry of answer keys.
Respectable, but probably missing the top 25 by 20 points would be my guess.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by dickoon » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 8:01 pm

Unrelated sidenote: the WPC can be used as a metric to indicate how well the UK is doing at putting together a WPC team, reflecting the strength of, broadly, its top participants, modified for the "can the UK get its top participants to attend the WPC?" factor. Can UK performances in the USPC, which can be tracked from year to year for, ooh, at least ten years now, be used as a metric of any worth or interest to provide a broader measure of the strength of UK puzzle solvers?

Dr. Snyder: put me down for "all but one", please.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by puzzlemad » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 8:15 pm

PuzzleScot wrote:Lovely puzzles! - Will enjoy finishing them off later. For now, beer......
I'll second that!

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by emma » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 8:18 pm

detuned wrote:Anyone else not check their printer ink beforehand and end up having to do it in paint? :lol:
Ouch!

I submitted 173: I was quite lucky with timing, picking the right puzzle to attack with 24 mins to go.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by dickoon » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 8:22 pm

Thomas reckons he got 354-364, but check the comments; Palmer (MellowMelon) reckons he might have AAA'd the test with almost eight minutes spare. Whoa.

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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by detuned » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 8:28 pm

dickoon wrote:Thomas reckons he got 354-364, but check the comments; Palmer (MellowMelon) reckons he might have AAA'd the test with almost eight minutes spare. Whoa.
Whoa!

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