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24 August 2012 @ 08:20 am
2012 USPC preview  
Who is this Thomas Snyder that wrote so much about the USPC last year? I'm not sure I recognize him. He offers such great notation tips but I struggle to remember to use them all. And he seems to have so much time to document the history of a test when I'm not sure I'll find time to read the instructions until late this evening.

Still, I'm quite excited for this year's test. Some snooping gets me the list of puzzle names even if I lack the instructions right now. Test is out of 395 points so I need to finish 2 minutes early to reach my goal of 400. 8 minutes early to equal Palmer's scoring record, but I'll also have to beat him on this test for that to matter.

I'm seeing lots of 20 pointers which have always been my sweet spot on this test except for when one of them is a "Dot Triangles" or equivalent that ends up taking 80 point equivalents. 2 Sudoku, and 50 total points on them. Many obvious Serkan types I tend to do pretty well on. The big Kakuro variation returns, as well as a Fences variation which I hope does not involve wolves in sheep's clothing but if so I've already gone there. Pretty comfortable with the test from just the titles.

Anyway, the snooping means I can set up today's poll now. I think this will let you vote for every option if you really want to, but try to do just 1 or 2 from each list.

ETA - The poll is finally closed as of 7:30 PM PDT. I was hoping more would go for Math Flip, so I could prove my ability to "predict the puzzle". But the popular choice, and what would otherwise have been my choice, Multiplicative Corral will be the first puzzle I write. Pentahouses will be the other, based on absolute votes counting splits as 0.5. But it was a very very close race.

This poll is closed.

What USPC puzzle(s) from 1-12 do you want to see before Saturday's test?

1 - Battleships
0(0.0%)
2 - Complementary Domains
4(23.5%)
3,4 - Shadow Boxing
0(0.0%)
5 - Corral
0(0.0%)
6,7 - Math Flip
2(11.8%)
8 - A Crossword
1(5.9%)
9 - Pond Scum
0(0.0%)
10 - Masyu
0(0.0%)
11 - Multiplicative Corral
7(41.2%)
12 - Packing for Croatia
3(17.6%)

What USPC puzzle(s) from 13-23 do you want to see before Saturday's test?

13 - Sudoku
0(0.0%)
14 - Tren
2(9.5%)
15 - Pentahouses
3(14.3%)
16 - Space Probes
2(9.5%)
17 - Tapa
1(4.8%)
18 - Magic Order
3(14.3%)
19 - Frozen Pentominoes
4(19.0%)
20 - Snail's Nest
1(4.8%)
21 - Gapped Kakuro
2(9.5%)
22 - Fences Variation
3(14.3%)
23 - Musketeer Sudoku
0(0.0%)
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MellowMelonMellowMelon [wordpress.com] on August 24th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
No word search or counting puzzle this year, huh? Actually we're extremely light on word puzzles when compared to 2011.

Here's a start at pointing out practice material for types which I know past examples of.

6,7. See last year's USPC (10, 11) for a similar but not identical type at http://wpc.puzzles.com/uspc11/.

12. Packing for Croatia: See USPC 2006 puzzle 13 at http://wpc.puzzles.com/g6/summary.htm.

14. Tren: See two old OAPCs at http://oapc.wpc2009.org/. Sorry, don't remember the number, and I found the ones in question through an old email.
15. Pentahouses: See http://wpc.puzzles.com/history/tests/2001wpc/index.htm.
16. Space Probes: See http://www2.stetson.edu/~efriedma/gap/. Warning: probably much less logic to these than the one the test will have.
17. Tapa: This one's everywhere, but for a ton by the same author, see the PDF linked to at http://logicmastersindia.com/CTC/.

20. Snail's Nest: Several recent Akil Oyunlari issues had these; don't know of any online off the top of my head but there must be some.
21. Gapped Kakuro: See Serkan's Puzzle Jackpot at http://logicmastersindia.com/lmitests/?test=M201101P. If you have some recent issues of Akil Oyunlari a lot of them will have one too.
motrismotris on August 24th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for gathering these links.

Serkan's new blog has really good links for the relevant puzzles that also describes their history and gives examples and links. His Tren page, for example - which gives link to OAPC 3 as one of the first places he wrote them. As I'm 99.999% sure Serkan wrote the Tren here and on this weekend's UKPC as well, my big question is which country got the better puzzle?

Also Gapped Kakuro from there.

Edited at 2012-08-24 08:35 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on August 25th, 2012 09:42 am (UTC)
I dont know if it is because i have barely tried solving skscrapers in the past, but I found the skyscrapers by Serkan at UKPC no short of exceptionally sweet solves.Those left me hungry for more.I cant wait for the USPC Tren,and all other turkish puzzles.
Bram de LaatBram de Laat on August 24th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
Note: the Pentahouses puzzle in the 2001 link doesn't allow for reflections, which this years puzzle does.

I made one for last year's 24 hour championship under a different name, which does allow reflections.

http://puzzleparasite.blogspot.nl/2011/11/puzzle-55-penta-pair-and-penta-line.html
motrismotris on August 24th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
Also, your comment on Math Flip reminds me that you coded up a look at these possibilities before last year's test. I figure I'll be doing the same over 20 minutes tonight.
MellowMelonMellowMelon [wordpress.com] on August 25th, 2012 12:18 am (UTC)
Last year that turned out to be a total waste of time. Though with the slight change in rules, it will probably be much more beneficial to do so now.
willwc on August 25th, 2012 12:21 am (UTC)
There are a few Snail's Nest puzzles on the 2009-2011 24-Hour WPCs in Nikola Zivanovic's puzzle sets (though credit may also lie with his co-authors, Milovan Kovacevic in 2009 and Dragan Tolomanoski in 2010). I'm not sure if/where the 2009 puzzles are still available, but the 2010 puzzles are available here (2010_24HPC_Nikola+Dragan_puzzle.pdf) and the 2011 puzzles are available here (Zivanovic_24HPC_2011_Puzzles.pdf).
MellowMelonMellowMelon [wordpress.com] on August 25th, 2012 02:31 am (UTC)
As I suspected the material I provided for #16 (Space Probes) is not good practice. I also felt uncomfortable with #18 (Magic Order), and neither of those look like they're winning, so I've gone ahead and made/posted one of each here (http://mellowmelon.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/uspc-practice-set/).

Apparently thedan one-upped me on #18 though.
thedan on August 25th, 2012 03:19 am (UTC)
The Space Probes is an interesting solve, although if that were the actual USPC puzzle, I suspect the answer submission mechanism would be very different. (On this one, you can flip a coin before you solve the puzzle.)