Ok, now that I'm done with that, I thought I'd update to basically say that I will likely not be posting much to my blog for the next week or so. I have an annual group meeting coming up next Wednesday to report on my projects and am very very busy trying to get some experiments completed before then as well as making a new batch of slides/figures appropriate for it. I should probably get around to applying for postdoc positions soon thereafter so I will likely not be writing puzzles for the next couple weeks. Then, I will probably start with another Mystery Hunt puzzle before finishing another new idea I have for here.
I did finally finish (while watching baseball) another Giants volume from Nikoli (#17, from 2004) and have been pleasantly finding that my kakuro and slitherlink times are fairly consistent with the 4th and fastest (expert-level?) time-rating. I did the fold-out kakuro in 64 minutes and change (rating is 74 minutes) and I did the fold-out slitherlink - which had a very, very interesting module-like nature to its solution - in 62 minutes and change (rating is exactly 62 minutes). This book came out before Nikoli started to post solving times for the Masyu puzzles in their publications (although I've always been beating those times). Puzzle Japan used to post Nurikabe solving times online but I've never seen these in the publications and sometimes wish they would be. Anyway, my recent kakuro and slitherlink times suggest I am in pretty good shape heading into the WPC as this is as fast as I've ever been on these puzzles. I will be doing more "speed" puzzles in the next month or so, and hitting some puzzle sets I haven't done yet like the 24 hours competitions and, if I can get some copies of them, other old WPCs. Look for Team USA to represent.