Support charity, get puzzles!
Patron Puzzles for Philanthropy

Puzzle 379: Process of Illumination 28

In this Process of Illumination puzzle, the given numbers haven't been replaced by letters. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is for you to decide.

6 comments

Anonymous said...

It is easily solvable also with the numbers replaced.

Are any of the "reasonable" such puzzles which are unsolvable when replacing the numbers with letters? There are obviously some simple constructions such as:

{--A},{--,-A} - simple pair of solutions

{--,AB} - simple pair of solutions

{---,A-B,---} - pair with solutions, but also another pair with multiple solutions

{A-B,---,B-C} - pair, one letter is solvable

{---.-A-.---} - 3 possible numerical placements having 1, 2, or 4 solutions. If you interpret the rules that the number placement must create a legal puzzle, this is solvable.

Grant Fikes said...

"It is easily solvable also with the numbers replaced."

Yes, but is it better that way? The two cipher Monday Mutant puzzles were specifically designed to employ the cipher gimmick, whereas this one wasn't. If a puzzle with such a gimmick isn't properly designed, the gimmick can feel more like an extra step rather than a significant enhancement. The normal rules and the gimmick rules should interact more. :)

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add the second section of my comment:

Can you make reasonable puzzles where the cipher gimmick is more than a gimmick? In the two MM puzzles, the gimmick was nice, as I think it may have been in this puzzle assuming two followup puzzles, but was still a first step before completing the puzzle normally.

What I wonder if it is possible to make a reasonable puzzle where you actually can/have to solve part of it without knowing the numbers. It may be easier using some other variations such as the queen variation.

mellowmelon said...

I think the queen variation wouldn't work too well on a cipher simply because except in special circumstances you can only have three different numbers.

Personally I solved parts of both cipher puzzles without completely determining the numbers before hand and I think that was intended, so I don't understand your comment about finding the numbers being a first step.

Grant Fikes said...

As the author of the puzzles in question, I can confirm that it was intended for the solver to have to alternate between solving a little of the puzzle and solving a little of the cipher, and I second mellowmelon's expression of confusion at your comment, Anonymous. I'm very glad that mellowmelon posted, in fact, because I wasn't sure what I could say without sounding arrogant. :)

Anonymous said...

I just repeated the puzzles slowly, and I see what you mean.

When solving quickly, In MM3 the additional steps required between identifying 0 and 4, and identifying 1,2,3 can rightfully be called alternating between solving the puzzle and the cipher. I still wouldn't call it deep, but it has much more to it than the speedsolving process.

MM4 has a similar step within identifying 1,0,2. MM4 has additional depth because you need to continue solving in order to find the last cipher, though I didn't find this as alternating, since it is quickly possible to prove you do not need to know what the last letter is.

Note to self: Solve puzzles, especially variants, a second time slowly before commenting on them.

Blog Archive