motris (motris) wrote,

Croco-Puzzle Update

Time for my 60 puzzle update on croco-puzzle, this time the "month" also covering my first extended time away from the site (and what a good time that was). I've had a pretty solid 20 days back, with a tagesrating above uvo -- save for one ugly fehlversuche yesterday and a much better score of 2662 before it -- as I (slowly) close the gap to first.

But I still don't view myself playing these puzzles long-term once I reach my 2700 target. I run into pretty familiar frustrations whenever I play because this is really a site for me about competition and not fun and the puzzles are rarely noteworthy given the computer-generation.

Foremost amongst the frustrations is the "crushing" feeling of losing a 1st in the last hours of the day. And the most crushing of these is when the steal is not from a top player, but from either (1) someone (anqu) I view as having cheated in the past, and therefore not worth giving full credit now, as happened on the Sternenhimmel on 20/9/11 or (2) a completely unknown player. In his first two days, gorogoro stole a first from kirarin on an insanely fast Masyu that I cannot replicate by trackball for either solver, and then on his second day stole a first from me with a very fast Bahnhofe where we were both 20% ahead of everyone else.

Now, we often run into the "new Japanese" solver effect, with a quick announcement of skill, as first happened when kirarin and then xevs arrived, and having a new crowd at the top of the Masyu and Heyawake is not unexpected. gorogoro's "bests" suggests familiarity with Japanese styles as is common with the "new Japanese" solver effect. But Bahnhofe is originally a Canadian puzzle type that isn't in as many places. And while I'm horrible at computer entry at loop puzzles, so I know the perfect me with adequate mouse control can shave off the seconds that gorogoro did, it's harder to accept such a performance on a player's second day when no one else, even good loop solvers, was close to me. His performances have fallen a little back to earth in his second week (and he's learning a new word - Fehlversuche!), but my introduction to this solver was a rough one to say the least as I spent a whole week fearing gorogoro whenever I topped a puzzle.

I should also note "jano87" just started in this month too. Based on his birthdate, and the first half of his nom, I'm confident this is Jan Mrozowski/janoslaw. The field gets tougher and tougher. If only the puzzles were better.

And this is my second frustration. I have absolutely no confidence in the puzzle generator for about 6 of these types. As a result, I often have to make a choice between thinking and guessing in the middle of too many solves and suffer from playing the wrong side of this coin at times when on human-constructed puzzles I would never jump to "guess". On the guessing puzzles, uvo and I and others most often lose time to the "lucky" solvers. On the thinking puzzles, we almost never do. I don't mind types (Schlange) that are almost always guessing, as I know what to do from the start and I think everyone agrees the results are a lottery at times. But I hate hate hate Thermometer where some of the grids have no logical path where others certainly do even if it's a bit harder to see. I've overthought my way to bad times, and overguessed my way to mistakes. I'd place Doppel Block in the same category where the generator almost always is too sparse in clues so that there is no "logical" way through, but you can't necessarily know. I managed a first this week in one where I saw the needed contradictions rather fast simply because they were finally intuitable. But it's still not a type I ever want to see on croco-puzzle.

The only nice change in the last month is the end of the ligasystem which I voted down in the German forum as well as about 2/3rds of the others. The voting system suffered in my opinion for two reasons: first having + and - votes is never the right way to conduct a ranking - either let people vote for or against something but don't give both powers - and second the vote was public and you could change your vote as often as you wanted up to the final day. So it seemed to at times resolve to a kind of internet "flame war". You'd see a puzzle (ie Japanese Summen) jump to the top of the rating system one month then get 8 instant no votes on day 1 the next month, to try to sink it before other votes came in. In full honesty, I was one of those 8 instant no votes when that situation arose, but generally because I think there are way too many almost identical arithmetic puzzles on the site and I use my 1st rate percentage by type to prioritize my voting. Here is the data I looked at to start my voting:

# of 3000 scores:
Hashi - 13 of 19 (68%)
Fillomino - 12 of 19 (63%)
Pillen - 6 of 13 (46%)
Schlange - 4 of 9 (44%)
Heyawake - 6 of 15 (40%)
Magisches Labyrinth - 5 of 14 (36%)
U-Bahn - 5 of 14 (36%)
ABC-Box - 5 of 19 (26%)
Rundweg - 4 of 18 (22%)
Gebietssummen - 4 of 18 (22%)
Sudoku - 3 of 14 (21%)
Masyu - 4 of 20 (20%)
Japanese Summen - 5 of 26 (19%)
Vergleichssudoku - 2 of 11 (18%)
Buchstabensalat - 3 of 17 (18%)
Killersudoku - 2 of 12 (17%)
Doppel Block - 2 of 12 (17%)
Hitori - 2 of 13 (15%)
Magnetplattenratsel - 3 of 20 (15%)
Hochhauser - 2 of 14 (14%)
Doppelstern - 5 of 37 (14%)
Tapa - 5 of 37 (14%)
Pyramidenratsel - 2 of 15 (13%)
Kropki - 2 of 17 (12%)
Thermometer - 2 of 19 (11%)
Domino - 1 of 10 (10%)
Zeitlager - 1 of 12 (8%)
Kakuro - 1 of 13 (8%)
Bahnhofe - 0 of 4 (0%)
*Sternenhimmel - 0 of 8 (0%)
ABCD-Ratsel - 0 of 10 (0%)
Slalom - 0 of 13 (0%)
Laser - 0 of 13 (0%)
Arukone - 0 of 15 (0%)

* This will equal 1 of 8 if anqu is expelled again.

Now, there are types where the new make-up of the field makes these percentages unreliable. Heyawake is now more often a sure second or third for me and never a first given kirarin, melon, and xevs (and gorogoro I guess). But my votes would almost always start with Arukone and Slalom and Laser down, Hashi and Fillomino and Pillen up, and I have to admit that almost all Hashi and Fillomino puzzles on croco-puzzle are boring. So I'm not voting to make the site a better place to play puzzles. I'm voting to make it a better place for me to have a high rating. It turns out most of my "best" puzzles are on list 2, and none are the list toppers that get 5+ puzzles a month. So I never really liked the psychology of the voting or the results. Now that it is gone, and random choice will take its place, I hope the "surprise" factor can return and some types we rarely see start popping up more consistently as I'm more interested in the less common types usually. And I'm curious to see what the "harder" puzzle 2 will consistently look like. Obviously just changing the grid size limits for that puzzle will mostly steer the difficulty in the right direction, but I find the 2-3 minute puzzles best at segregating the top solvers, provided they are thinking puzzles and not guessing puzzles.

Onto the stats (last "month"'s stats in parentheses):

Current Rating: 2646 (2623), 2nd of 758 (2nd of 728)
GT7D: -54 (-77)
GTU: -58 (-89)
200D: 2472; 4-Dan (2338; 3-Dan)
Total Puzzles/Solved: 540/540 (540/540)
Top Ranking: 111/540; 20.6% (101/480; 21.0%) - with 1 new double tops (8/9/11) for 12 total
Top 5 Ranking: 299/540; 55.4% (267/480; 55.6%)
Fehlversuche: 41 on 35 puzzles, 6.5% of puzzles (39 on 33, 6.9%)
Categories led: Hashi at 2828, Magisches Labyrinth at 2762, Rundweg at 2757 (Rundweg at 2771, Magisches Labyrinth at 2708, Hitori at 2641)
All-time records: Hashi at 2828 (none)
Tags: croco-puzzle
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