US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

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

Post by PuzzlerNickG » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 8:51 pm

A max of 154 for me, which I felt was not bad as this was my first competitive puzzling in ages.

I particular liked #14 Blocks and #16 Word Connection and, of course, I had to do #1 Battleships even though it took me three goes to get it right. I stared at #20 Jumping Crossword for a while because the long words suggested it should be easy, but I couldn't make any progress.

I always save the spot-the-difference for the last few minutes when I think I won't solve any larger puzzle, and I always seem to get 9/10 on it.

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

Post by nickdeller » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 9:28 pm

I claim 92, and am cross with myself - looking back at my wad of paper, I have 4 solves, a partial solve (on the Spot The Difference), 5 other attempted and unfinished - and TWELVE puzzles that I never even glanced at. I think this fully justifies my inclusion in the cheering squad back at home. :-)

sf2l
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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by sf2l » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 10:30 pm

IF I counted the squares correct (without fear for penalties, thanks Thomas)
IF I did not make any mistakes in solving the puzzles or in digiting in the solutions (in consideration of my recent performances on LMI this is a very big "if")

well I should have scored 226, but i do not want to write it too loudly. So far I could not find any other squares I haven't counted, but you never know.

Left blank the last 2 puzzles, the two upside down expressions, the hexa crossword, the kakuro and the hopper. The hungarian tapa was a beauty and (discovered late) easily solvable but I preferred to play safe this time (for a change)

stefano

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

Post by Ours brun » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 10:58 pm

190 max, since I just realized that I had screwed up the... classic sudoku. :roll: Provided that I did not make any other mistake or typo, which is anything but sure.

Some very nice puzzles : Kaku rogue was very good; so good, in fact, that I did it 4 times. The Tapa was a typical Serkan tapa - fantastic. Got stuck for a while because I don't have eyes, but I could still solve it before the limit. Blocks was well designed too, a fun loop variation; and thanks to Adam for the Corral crates and Dynasty sudoku which were not too hard and excellent. Not to forget a phenomenal masyu.

Disappointing performance because of the huge amount of time lost on a few puzzles and of this stupidity on the sudoku, but it was worth participating.

Congrats to Palmer for solving the whole set ; I hope he will avoid mistakes.
http://enigm-attic.blogspot.com --> sudoku variants and other handcrafted logic puzzles.

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

Post by dickoon » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 11:12 pm

The solutions have been posted. I think I have been fehlerfrei other than on the counting puzzle and thus might just have a 93. Definitely happy with that! Now to look at the others I didn't try...

Best USPC yet? Can't say for sure, but no better one immediately springs to mind!

sf2l
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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by sf2l » Sat 27 Aug, 2011 11:51 pm

For me, definitively the best. My score is confirmed and I beat my best performance of 2008 by some 30 points
The mixture of puzzle was excellent as usual.

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

Post by Ours brun » Sun 28 Aug, 2011 8:15 am

From 190 to 175 since the masyu is lost for me...

First USPC for me. Overall, several excellent puzzles but also some that I am really not a fan of (of their types, at least). Still a good competition, all in all.
http://enigm-attic.blogspot.com --> sudoku variants and other handcrafted logic puzzles.

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

Post by rodders » Sun 28 Aug, 2011 9:21 am

My first USPC and very enjoyable, although a rather disappointing performance. I think I scored around the 120 mark, but started 5 or 6 puzzles, panicked and then didn't have time to go back and complete any of them. My key error was not reading the last rule for Kaku Rogue - 'exactly one negative number in each full row and column' - I estimate this cost me at least 20 minutes before I was sure I must have missed a rule and re-read them! If only I'd had time to read the instruction booklet beforehand ....

Some really good puzzles though. Incredible performance if Palmer has completed them all error free.

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

Post by detuned » Sun 28 Aug, 2011 10:29 am

Balls! I've erred slightly on the dynasty sudoku, and made (one) typo on the kakarogue. Maybe I'll get some leniency on the latter, but can only blame paint solving for the former. That as well as a transposition of row/column, and a cyclic permutation of the corral. Well that's 115 for me then, and only possibly 140. Balls.

Bloody printer ink :(

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

Post by furudo.erika » Sun 28 Aug, 2011 8:53 pm

Doh! Completely forgot about operator precedence on the Flash Cards and somehow managed to miss the smallest square size entirely on Square Count. Looks like 110 for me.

Still at least I actually managed to show up on time unlike the Nikoli Puzzle Championship which I thought was at 2PM :x
Last edited by furudo.erika on Tue 30 Aug, 2011 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by PuzzleScot » Sun 28 Aug, 2011 9:14 pm

I've started a walkthrough guide to the USPC here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=386&start=0

If anyone wants to add one, improve one, or request a particular puzzle be done, fire away...

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

Post by kiwijam » Mon 29 Aug, 2011 4:44 am

Might post a comment too while waiting for the results.
Printer ink is something I'd never consider to check before starting a competition - you deserve bonus points for doing it in Paint! I've run out of paper before, but a bit of scrambling solved that.
Anyway my personal obstacle this time was the fixed nature of the times. Being on the far reaches of the planet meant I had to start at 5am here. Ouch! Of course I wasn't going to miss it, but by the time I stayed up past midnight doing practise puzzles (ever had that just-one-more-puzzle-before-bed feeling?) it's fair to say that I never got up to full speed.
In particular was the Hungarian Tapa, which I was over 90% through when I found a contradiction. This happened to me in the LMI tests too, so I threw the paper away and moved onto another puzzle. Only afterwards did I discover my mistake had been in the final deduction, and if I'd been slightly more awake I could have rechecked that and claimed my 35 points less than a minute later.
I was scared off trying the flash cards by the big example, with 4 numbers it shouldn't take too long by brute force. The KakuRogue I found the negative numbers with half the others still unentered, so according to the answer key I could stop (I wonder if the top puzzlers use answer keys to know when to stop early?). I was pleased I left the Spot The Difference until last, because with the partial scoring system it's a great way to fill in the final four minutes when you don't have enough time to try a full puzzle.
Comparing my answer page with the solutions gives 212, hopefully they're accepting of my interpretation of entering the number of squares 'in decreasing [size] order'.

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

Post by dickoon » Mon 29 Aug, 2011 11:03 am

detuned wrote:
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!
Palmer has since had NIck Baxter confirm to him that Palmer did, in fact, solve all the puzzles correctly, even including counting the squares, but only entered the overall number of squares rather than breaking them down as required.

Upgrade the Whoa to a Gulp.

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

Post by MellowMelon » Mon 29 Aug, 2011 1:55 pm

kiwijam wrote:(I wonder if the top puzzlers use answer keys to know when to stop early?)
In most cases I go ahead and finish as a checking mechanism. Criss-crosses are an exception, and I remember on the last puzzle of LMI's Magic Cube rushing to complete the marked rows/columns and finishing with half the bank unused. It's always a decision to be made though: on Nikoli Selection 2011 I had divided the Kakuro into two halves linked by a digit, used global sums to determine what it was, and then realized the marked rows/columns only needed digits from one half, so I left the other one blank.

I did not have your experience on the Kakurogue at all, even though I was keeping in mind the possibility of short-cutting it. My last negative digit was in the top left with ~10 digits left to fill in, and there was little to be gained from trying to be tricky.

I should also note that this did not used to be true. Last year on Four Square I left a significant amount unsolved, and I read on motris's blog later that he had a similar experience but finished everything to be sure.

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

Post by motris » Mon 29 Aug, 2011 3:09 pm

kiwijam wrote:(I wonder if the top puzzlers use answer keys to know when to stop early?)
I've never once stopped a puzzle early to just submit the answer key. However just like using uniqueness on any puzzle, I've been torn by the thought many times particularly on tests where I feel the clock is working against me. I suppose I try to solve all the time as I would at the WPC, where full puzzles are what is graded, and also these contests are nominally supposed to be fun and about solving puzzles so that is what I do. That there is an answer entry afterwards is secondary to the goal of solving the puzzle.

As Palmer notes, it also is a check that you didn't mess up. Most often in a sudoku you could target those rows and leave about 10 other cells blank. But it is a good check on the whole solution if you can get those last digits in and confirm the last constraints.

But I certainly notice when the answer entry is broken and I could have saved five minutes. My first email to Palmer after Magic Cube went like this:
"I realized after the test that I could have shaved a lot of time (5-10 minutes?) by simply entering answer rows when I had them instead of completing puzzles. On the crosswords for example. I'm wondering if this was a tactic you used this time or if you simply are now also solving that fast. I certainly didn't notice any puzzles I was particularly inefficient on so your time, even with one error, is pretty stellar."

Obviously, as we now see for sure, he is "now also solving that fast". Palmer is absolutely correct in his recollection of my thoughts re: Four Square in the last USPC as well. I had a distinct feeling I just wasted 2+ minutes by solving something fully, when even 2 minutes is valuable in a test that long.

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

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 29 Aug, 2011 6:50 pm

Just spotted this on MellowMellon's blog:
Further update on 8/29/2011 2:13 PM: Confirmed score of 414.67.
Congratulations Palmer! Outstanding!! (and other superlatives I won't list)

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

Post by emma » Mon 29 Aug, 2011 7:50 pm

hopefully they're accepting of my interpretation of entering the number of squares 'in decreasing [size] order'
Ah - not just me then. It's going to be clear enough that we got it right.

I did abandon Takeout with an answer key but about three words left.
I seem to remember doing a Four Square without doing the snake at all - it was sufficient to use parity checks, much to my relief as I'm bad at snakes.

I'm another person who left Spot the Difference until the end (got 3), and who was put off the Flash Cards by the example.

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

Post by PuzzleScot » Wed 31 Aug, 2011 7:25 am

Results are out! http://wpc.puzzles.com/uspc11/results.asp

UK results look like this: [edit: revised to include missing players]

Code: Select all

1	David McNeill	 229
2	Murray Hughes	 221
3	James McGowan	 212
4	Neil Zussman	  200
5	Emma McCaughan   173
6	Gareth Moore	  166
7	Liane Robinson   155
8	Nick Gardner	  144
9	Alan O'Donnell   132
10  Michael Collins  130
11  Pip Jones	     125
12  Tom Collyer	   115
13  Thomas Powell	 110
14  Roderick Grafton 109
15  Nick Deller	    93
16  Chris Dickson	  93
17  Hugh Proctor	   85
18  Nick Mitchell	  82
19  Anna Pajor	     75
20  Kenneth Wilshire  72
21  Frances Evans	  66
22  Alan Cantrell	  63
23  AJ Moore	       40
24  Andrew Brown	   25
Glad to see Murray back, and some new names there doing very well too! Contrats to David in topping the group - well done!!

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

Post by dickoon » Wed 31 Aug, 2011 7:32 am

Exciting news! The results are now online. (Well, most of them, at least; for some reason, the UK results skip from 14th to 24th. My score of 93 is confirmed, though my place isn't.) Congratulations to the UK winner! (Who, teasingly, I shall not name.)

The really exciting and impressive news is how good the UK scores look; our top eight scores beat their counterpart scores in Italy, obvious typo aside, and we're really not far from having the strength in depth to match up with Canada, who are habitually pretty mighty.

Possibly the best news is the appearance of a couple of names that I'm really not familiar with. Perhaps the word really is getting out and about? I hope we can get in contact with more and more of the hitherto unknown best UK solvers!

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

Post by PuzzleScot » Wed 31 Aug, 2011 8:29 am

dickoon wrote: our top eight scores beat their counterpart scores in Italy, obvious typo aside
Once Byron's Italian passport is officially revoked, make that "13 of our top 14" scores beat their Italian counterparts. (It was me that spoiled the 100% record)

sf2l
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Re: US Puzzle Championship (27 Aug 2011 1pm ET)

Post by sf2l » Wed 31 Aug, 2011 9:10 am

Last year I played with Canada, so initially I thought that this year Byron will play with Italy...
But I have just noticed that the table has been amended.
And yes, we still have to catch up a little bit....
stefano

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

Post by drsteve » Wed 31 Aug, 2011 1:59 pm

Have skipped to the end of the thread to avoid spoilers - I'm going to try and do it "properly" this weekend - as I can't go to Hungary, it wasn't a priority, but it'll be interesting to see how I get on with nothing to play for.

As Chris said, there are a good few new names on that list - excellent news.

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

Post by Nilz » Fri 02 Sep, 2011 6:22 pm

Congratulations to David on being the highest UK participant. I found it was a really enjoyable set of puzzles, the solutions to many of them just flowed so nicely, in particular Crossed Countries and both Corrals.

It's hard for me to be too disappointed with my own performance (considering my lack of experience of online competition, I'd never even seen most of the puzzle types before until about 15 minutes before the test, and I had to solve it in Paint). But it would've been nice to be able to represent my country- I checked last year's results and saw that my score was higher than the top UK score last year, so I was a tad excited, until my brain reminded me that everyone had probably been practising a bit. I should've got more points, since (a) I 'found' all the squares but miscounted them and (b) I 'solved' the blocks puzzle, but didn't realise that blocks couldn't overlap walls, so I arbitrarily placed the square South West one square of where it should be. However, with the extra points, I'd've scored 225, which still wouldn't have been enough (and would've been a bit galling to miss out by 4 points!). I'm sure others have similar hard-luck stories anyway.

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

Post by david mcneill » Fri 02 Sep, 2011 10:10 pm

Great job Neil. You came very close. Glad you enjoyed the experience. I still remember the first time I discovered the USPC. Couldn't put the puzzles down. There's so much more practice material available now, but this particular USPC was of top quality. I'm sure you will soon be putting in even stronger performances.

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