2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

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PuzzleScot
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2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by PuzzleScot » Tue 21 Aug, 2012 11:38 am

http://wpc.puzzles.com/
The official US Puzzle Championship will take place on Saturday August 25, at 1pm EDT, and last 2 1/2 hours. You must be registered to participate. All registered participants will receive a reminder email by August 21.

Unofficial participation is open to all puzzlers world-wide, who may start the test any time before 3:30pm ET on Sunday August 26, and are still limited to 2 1/2 hours for answer submission.
BST (GMT+1) Start/End times in the UK are Sat 25/8/12 18:00 to Sun 26/8/12 20:30 (for completion by 23:00 BST)

A reminder that the the top UK competitor is eligible for a place in the UK 2012 WPC team (details).
If you are not yet registered for the USPC, you should do so asap. Good luck!

edit (25/8/12): "Your time starts when you load the password page." ie, There's no start button - the timer will just start ticking from that point.
This means YOU MUST FETCH THE INSTRUCTIONS PASSWORD BEFORE 6PM (UK) TODAY, since they are on the same page! Otherwise the site will consider you to have started the test.

detuned
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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by detuned » Fri 24 Aug, 2012 10:07 pm

Instructions and competition pdf are ready to download, for those who haven't already...

sknight
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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by sknight » Fri 24 Aug, 2012 10:11 pm

Also, check over on Thomas Snyder's Blog The Art of Puzzles for a thread with
1) a poll where you can vote on which two puzzles you want motris to make example puzzles for tonight.
2) comments on that thread where there are already some good links to "prior art", and likely more as the thread develops.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by PuzzleScot » Sat 25 Aug, 2012 12:28 pm

Just noticed this on the USPC contest page: "Your time starts when you load the password page."

ie, There's no start button - the timer will just start ticking from that point.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by GarethMoore » Sat 25 Aug, 2012 12:31 pm

And as a corollary to that, this means YOU MUST FETCH THE INSTRUCTIONS PASSWORD BEFORE 6PM (UK) TODAY since they are on the same page! Otherwise the site will consider you to have started the test.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by GarethMoore » Sat 25 Aug, 2012 7:51 pm

Actually this isn't true - when the test started a new page with just the instructions password on appeared.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by dickoon » Sun 26 Aug, 2012 10:12 pm

PuzzleScot wrote:BST (GMT+1) Start/End times in the UK are Sat 25/8/12 18:00 to Sun 26/8/12 20:30 (for completion by 23:00 BST)
...aaaaand breathe. :)

Enjoyed the test, as usual! Thanks to the US puzzle structure. I'll be happy if I've exactly matched last year's 93, with the possibility of 103. I spent a long time on the Gapped Kakuro and managed to complete the answer key rows without filling in the whole puzzle, so submitted at that point, but I think I've erred and am not counting those 30 in my total.

I have learnt the hard way that I don't think it quite works to go "mmm, I did five hours of puzzles in a day at the in-person UK Puzzle Championship, so I can do five hours in a day again" and treat the USPC as a warm-up for the UKPC, but more of that on Tuesday.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by PuzzleScot » Sun 26 Aug, 2012 10:22 pm

Unmitigated disaster. Now, where's my shredder under all this paper?

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by nickdeller » Sun 26 Aug, 2012 11:56 pm

I'm claiming "mitigated disaster". :-) Possibly 113, assuming no unnoticed silly errors. Wish I'd made a serious stab at Magic Order (which turns to be not too bad, given a should-have-been-blindingly-obvious insight) instead of wasting a lot of time messing up some of the standards.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by sknight » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 1:54 am

I think I got 146, which I'm classifying as respectable but disappointing.
I honestly think I could have gotten 1-2 more puzzles and been up around 175-185, which would have been a nice strong showing (not that it would get me anywhere near Croatia, but I'd have felt happier).

There are some walkthroughs going up on the LMI forums, but it might be nice to compile another set here (you had a complete set last year, if I recall).

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by puzzlemad » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 6:43 am

For once - not a "mitigated disaster" - just one answer key put in back to front - fingers crossed there. If OK, then 195.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by PuzzlerNickG » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 7:42 am

Not good for me either. 121 assuming no answer typos. As often happens, I felt like I wasted too much time on puzzles I didn't complete.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by sf2l » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 8:27 am

there are always ways to improve and reasons to be disappointed about some time wasted (the musketeer sudoku took me way too long to complete), but I am happy enough for my 201 points. Submitted the last answer after 2:30:00 so hope not to be a fraction of a second over and to avoid penalty. Do not know if this will be enough to grant me the title of Italian champion (which was at stake) but certainly is good enough to qualify.
The solutions are available now so anyone unsure about his/her score can check the correctness of the entries.
stefano

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by dickoon » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 10:24 am

puzzlemad wrote:For once - not a "mitigated disaster" - just one answer key put in back to front - fingers crossed there. If OK, then 195.
I've seen it suggested that one Roger Barkan, who has finished third at three WPCs, got a provisional 194 this year, so 195 is spectacular!

The solutions are now available, and I reckon I'm down to a 73. Ah well. Happy to get the Fences Variation, at least; I regard myself as terrible at regular quadrilateral Fences / Slitherlinks / Rundwegs, but really enjoy ones on Penrose and irregular tilings. Definitely a case where Croco-Puzzle experience pays dividends!

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by emma » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 10:47 am

I bombed on both this weekend, I think. Too many re-starts. 140 on this one, if they're all right.

rodders
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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by rodders » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 11:29 am

Complete disaster for me I believe. That's the last time I get up ridiculously early on a Sunday morning just to prove my brain doesn't work at that hour!

Haven't checked the solutions yet, but believe that the 40 or so minutes I spent on the gapped kakuro likely to result in 0 points as I hurriedly tried to fix it once I realised an error at the end and finished up with a bit of a guess. I also forgot to note down what time I'd started so no idea whether my last answers were submitted in time or not. Should have stayed in bed!

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by GarethMoore » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 11:38 am

dickoon wrote:
puzzlemad wrote:For once - not a "mitigated disaster" - just one answer key put in back to front - fingers crossed there. If OK, then 195.
I've seen it suggested that one Roger Barkan, who has finished third at three WPCs, got a provisional 194 this year, so 195 is spectacular!
The pre-appeals top US results that Nick posted on the LMI forum are:

Thomas Snyder 395+26
Palmer Mebane 328
Wei-Hwa Huang 321
Will Blatt 317
Jonathan Rivet 265
Dan Katz 238
Zack Butler 238
Todd Geldon 210
Anderson Wang 208
Jonathan Mendelson 202
Roger Barkan 194

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by GarethMoore » Mon 27 Aug, 2012 10:56 pm

Just had a look at the solutions and saw how many I got wrong, including just a tiny corner of the fences variation and even one of the spot the differences (didn't mirror the hippo's foot correctly so entered wrong cell). Might end up with less than 100. Oops. Mistakes with the rules too, such as I didn't notice the rule in the math flip about not repeating digits so have those wrong too. Oh well.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by emma » Thu 30 Aug, 2012 9:43 pm

Bah. I had problems with timing, in that the timer didn't work at all, and I managed not to open that in a new tab so that I lost the original start time as well (even if I could have correlated that to my watch), so I only had a rough idea of when my time was up. The rules said that we would only be able to submit answers for 2.5 hours from the start-time, and so I rather assumed that it might stop me submitting when time was up. So I've probably lost almost my entire score in time-penalty.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by PuzzleScot » Thu 30 Aug, 2012 11:15 pm

emma wrote:I've probably lost almost my entire score in time-penalty.
I believe Nick looks at late submissions such that if a submission nets less than 0 (points-penalty) it is ignored. You should have had your personal score breakdown now anyway.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by detuned » Thu 30 Aug, 2012 11:17 pm

I got an e-mail from Nick B today with provisional results. As predicted, there were some timing issues which led to a 30 point time penalty, which seems a little harsh but then again due to my own lack of organisation I had no idea when my two and a half hours was actually up. Only one silly mistake on the snails puzzle, which is a plus given the 70 points I threw away on the UKPC. What might have been a score of 191 is now 141...

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by emma » Fri 31 Aug, 2012 6:03 am

PuzzleScot wrote:
emma wrote:I've probably lost almost my entire score in time-penalty.
I believe Nick looks at late submissions such that if a submission nets less than 0 (points-penalty) it is ignored. You should have had your personal score breakdown now anyway.
I've asked - if that's the case, mine got missed, because I promise you that I had more than 6 points on time!

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by emma » Fri 31 Aug, 2012 9:47 pm

Fixed - hooray.

Shame about the 40-pointer I got wrong though.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by dickoon » Tue 04 Sep, 2012 8:08 am

The full results have now been posted, and the top-end British scores are looking very impressive on a global scale, which is well worth celebrating. Congratulations to our strongest half-dozen scorers!

By way of a very rough, unscientific strength-in-depth metric, I've looked at where the 4th, 6th and 8th placed UK scorers would have finished on the US list in recent years:

Code: Select all

Year UK4th UK6th UK8th
2012 11th  17th  42nd
2011 16th  32nd  54th
2010 48th  89th  103rd
2009 62nd  107th 191st
2008 51st  53rd  53rd (literally!)
2007 19th  45th  130th
2006 51st  74th  98th
2005 68th  170th 231st
What does this tell us? Well, I'd suggest that it tells us that I probably have too much time on my hands. It also reflects each nation's development and ability to get its best solvers out to take the test. It means that the UK is doing better relative to the US than it has done in previous years, though before we get too cocky I suspect it reflects a relatively poor year for the US, based on US participant numbers, as well as the best one yet for the UK. (I haven't checked to see whether it's the case that the usual US there-or-thereabouts suspects were still taking part despite overall numbers being down, which would speak more favourably about the UK performance.) 2007 and, despite appearances, 2006 were very good years for UK participation; I do hope that all the strong UK participants from those years are still on the UKPA books, rather than being lost to the years.

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Re: 2012 US Puzzle Championship (USPC)

Post by sknight » Tue 04 Sep, 2012 12:14 pm

As far as the usual US suspects participating, I did a quick comparison of last year's top 40 or so with this year.
All the top 19 competitors from last year were back this year, mostly in the official time slot.
From 20-40 it thins out a bit, with a little under half of those not returning.
So while it is probably not any easier to get 10th place compared to other years, it's probably easier to be in 30th or 40th.
Certainly that fits with my experience -- had what felt like a strong year last year to be 28th in the US, and what felt like a mildly disappointing year this year to get 26th (counting unofficial US as well).

I wanted as a personal goal this year to get on that first page of results, and I did (barely), but this isn't quite how I hoped it would happen.

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