This time I'm posting the competition puzzles from somewhere in the middle of the Pacific and don't have my test-solving times with me but these puzzles were all noticeably harder to me by say a half minute than the puzzles last year. One of the puzzles was, by design, meant to reach a somewhat hard sticking point immediately, but you'll find I tried some varied techniques around the different concepts. The exception to the harder trend is the final puzzle, which I always aim to be an easier puzzle because the stage makes everything feel harder usually. With this one, I ran into a "problem" I see with particular sudoku patterns from time to time. Some patterns are almost necessarily harder just based on geometry and some patterns are almost necessarily easier and the Who's #1 theme fit into the easier category. Still, I got a version that took me between 2 and 2:30 on paper and am proud to have read that the overall champion, Brian Kulman, finished in four minutes. Very well done! Congratulations also to Tara McLaughlin for the best time on the youth puzzles.
Onto the puzzles: