Puzzle Competition Update
I got the top result in the Tapa Variations V. By 22.5 minutes. My best puzzle types are probably Sudoku and Nurikabe. Tapa is a lot like Nurikabe - make a lot of logical deductions and then visualize what might be required, try it out, and advance with logic and intuition. Tapa is very similar in style and is certainly one of my better types. I really enjoyed these puzzles, and look forward to the next one in two weeks where maybe I can break the three way tie for first place (although I'd gladly take .1 points per minute early to have a small 2.25 point lead!). I hope "adding more puzzles", as Serkan promises, doesn't mean too many more as the test was well timed for everyone else and upping the incomplete percentage for most solvers could be discouraging.
I also got the top result in SudokuCup V, with a close second by Jan Novotny of the Czech Republic. I didn't intend to take this test, but found a little extra time this morning after I was kindly asked by Karel to try it. There were a few really good puzzles, particularly the Surprise (a really elegant design that worked perfectly for an instructionless type) and the last Killer and Arrow variants. However, far too many puzzles seemed to use K1Z as if that is a meaningful theme. Yes, it's the authors' group, but overuse that theme in the Instructions and not in the puzzles itself where more novel things would shine. My two big stumbling blocks on the test were the Coded Sudoku (I wish I'd seen that it was making letter-forms to resolve the middle quicker - had to work from a bifurcation) and the Roman Sudoku, which wasn't hard, but where having to write over the letters made a messy paper that I mis-copied the first time. Fortunately, I fixed my entry during my check but I lost 5 minutes from when I was actually done. Still, my time held up and I was first there as well.
For those that think I need some humble pie, simply request more Sternenhimmel and Laser puzzles on Crocopuzzle. That's the only thing that's been tripping me up lately.