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Contest 1 Results: Attack of the Four Puzzles!

The deadline for Attack of the Four Puzzles! has now passed. I received 31 entries -- apparently, it's significantly easier for my readers to solve puzzles than to make them. 23 entries contained the correct answer, which can be seen here. (To avoid depriving readers of the chance to solve the puzzles themselves -- even though the contest is over -- I have chosen to link to the image rather than embed it.)

I have numbered the correct entries from 1 through 23, and used to select the winner. The winner is. . . James Marshall! An email has been sent to James Marshall to inform him of this. Congratulations, and stuff! Many thanks to all who entered!

More detailed results (which include spoilers) can be found in a comment I've made on this post.


Grant Fikes said...


Of the 31 entries received in Attack of the Four Puzzles!, 23 contained the correct final answer of RSORSDV. Of the incorrect entries, two contained TSORSDV (which is the result if one answers 4 [DELTA] instead of 3 [CHARLIE] to Question ii), two contained RSOSEDV (18 [ROMEO] instead of 19 [SIERRA] for Question iii), and two contained RSIRSDV (10 [JULIET] instead of 11 [KILO] for Question i). One entry had RSIRSLV (9 [INDIA] instead of 11), and one contained the most inaccurate answer of RSISELV (which requires an answer of 9 for Question i and an answer of 18 for Question iii).

Notice that, as demonstrated by the incorrect answers above, you need to solve Parts i, ii, and iii correctly in order to obtain a correct answer in Part iv; an incorrect answer in any of the first three parts can lead to Part iv having a different, but still unique, solution. In fact, Part ii can also be incorrectly answered by 1 [ALPHA], 2 [BRAVO], or 5 [ECHO], and yield a unique solution with a wrong first letter, although none of the entrants did so (and frankly, I'm surprised no one made the mistake of forgetting to shade in a black cell, and yielding too low of an answer).

Interestingly, one entrant decided to send an entry despite not having solved Part ii yet; the first letter was "a guess based on what would make the nicest fourth puzzle", adding, "If I get around to solving the second, and it's not 3, I'll correct myself. :P" As it turned out, 3 was correct, although I can't help but think that if he'd applied the same approach to the other parts, he'd've gotten 10 instead of 11 on part i. :)

Creating the puzzles in this contest was quite a fun and different challenge for me, and I hope to possibly do so again! :)

Unknown said...

Heh, I was wondering whether you had made it solvable with the wrong results, good thinking :)
I got TSORSDV... Apparently I was solving a puzzle I had rewritten wrong in the first place - I missed the first 1 on the second row... It was still solvable, though I think I did some guesswork and I'm not sure about uniqueness. Hope you do another one of these some time, even without a reward :)

jesternl said...

very well thought out. I'm amazed that even with two wrong answers there was still a way to find a unique solution for the 4th puzzle.

Grant Fikes said...

Thanks to both of you!

I've seen a number of four-puzzle contests by Nikoli, and they're always designed to prevent you from skipping ahead. I wanted to try my hand at my own. Mainly, I wanted to see if I could incorporate a Seek and Spell into such a contest. It wasn't entirely easy, but it wasn't too hard, either. :)

If I make another contest, you can count on this: you won't be able to skip ahead, and there will be a prize. (Somehow, it'd feel too gimmicky for me to post four interconnected puzzles like this without a prize. :) )

Jim said...

As I noted before on the contest puzzles, I thought these were fun to solve and I liked how they linked up in the fourth part. I agree with jesternl about the wrong answers giving a unique final answer. I wouldn't have expected that, but it's probably better that you did have that feature. If wrong answers didn't give a unique solution, we'd be able to figure out that we made a mistake somewhere. Very well done!

Anonymous said...

Well, he couldn't account for every goof. I ended up with the right answer in the end, but that was after correcting a miscounting mistake in the Akari puzzle that caused bogus things to happen in the final puzzle. (guess I got lucky)

Scott said...

Oh No! I got RSIRSDV because I somehow missed a 1 when I counted them.

Still, I suppose that being able to answer the JULIET version of problem iv makes up for everything. Great puzzles, as always!

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