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Contest 3 Results: Four-Puzzle Derby!

The deadline for Four-Puzzle Derby has now passed. Here are the results!

Warning: the following results contain spoilers (obviously)! If you wish to solve the contest puzzles yourself, please do so before reading on!











I received 42 entries, of which 40 contained the correct answer of 5, 1, 1, 3, 8 (see below; click to enlarge). With only two wrong entries, and a record number of correct entries, this was apparently my easiest contest ever. Have you guys caught on to my tricks more, or have I merely run out of tricks? :)


Before I reveal the winner, here are some of my favorite entries:

A penguin, Bobness McFluff, enters from gate 2. The bookies laugh and give him 5113:8 odds.

I honestly wasn't sure what to do with this one at first. While it was clear that 5113:8 was a reference to the correct answer, I was at first concerned that interpreting it as the entrant's answer when not labeled explicitly as such would be some kind of unfair advantage; I eventually decided that it could also be interpreted as me just being a butt and interpreting random digits as an answer, and if so, the entrant could always change the answer. Also, I figured that I'd do the same thing if the digits were obviously a close, but wrong, answer.

One entrant said:
It would help if I had the foggiest idea how many people read your blog. Instead, this contest was my first introduction to your puzzles. I followed a link from mellowmelon.

While I suppose this entrant can't be blamed for being new to my blog, all it would have taken is a simple click on the "contests" tag to see the results of the previous two contests (Attack of the Four Puzzles! had 23 correct answers out of 31 entries, and Attack of the Four Puzzles II! had 24 correct answers out of 27 entries). One could then attempt to extrapolate an estimate from there, although I suppose there's no guarantee that my blog hasn't suddenly spiked in popularity since the last contest, and this contest would have had a thousand entrants. (My decision to have 50 gates was based on such an extrapolation.)

My favorite entry, though, was from Zotmeister, who e-mailed not only to inform me that he'd soon be updating his blog (he has posted two puzzles since his entry was sent), but to say the following:

You may be interested to know that I did indeed try to circumvent the puzzle relay as much as possible, even using such tidbits as "B + W = 10, B < 6", but I still failed - I had to solve all four puzzles to get unique answers, so well done on construction.

I was very happy that Zotmeister had appreciated this. As in the previous two contests, I purposefully aimed to construct the puzzles such that all four needed to be solved, and a wrong answer in one puzzle can lead to the next puzzle still having a unique, but wrong, solution. For instance, if (I, O) is set to (4, 4), then Part iii's solution will yield a value of 4 for i, and Part iv's solution will yield a value of 1 for a; one person made this mistake. If (B, W) is set to (2, 8), (4, 6), or (5, 5), then Part iii's solution gives ii a value of 4; this has a much more drastic effect on the final solution to Part iv, causing b to be 5 and e to be 1. I was disappointed that nobody made this mistake. However, one entrant made an apparent transcription error, sending in a solution of 5, 1, 3, 3, 8. Since the value of c wasn't supposed to be affected by errors in the previous puzzles, this entrant wins the Most Inaccurate Answer award. (There is no prize for this.)

And now the results!

Gate 1: Captain Obvious, /dev/horse, Glue Stick, Up the Daddy
Gate 2: Bobness McFluff, Made of Win, Retuned Daddio, What
Gate 3: Aristides, Dye Sun’s Fear, FF Selector, Orange Lightning
Gate 4: Attack of the One Horse, Ferday Ferday Ferday, Hoof Hearted, Name That Eyebrow [DQ: 1, 1, 1, 3, 8], Sir Staightaway, Vicious Beauty
Gate 5: Das Ist Nümberwang!, muhorka
Gate 6: Horse, Knightmare, Paul Revere, Shunba, Tricera Narwhal
Gate 8: der Kluge Hans
Gate 9: Blitzen's Dirty Secret, Eman Esroh, Lady Ladybug [DQ: 5, 1, 3, 3, 8]
Gate 10: Omaha
Gate 12: Stumbler
Gate 13: Yellow Flash
Gate 14: Double Lucky, Ocean Cookie, Pegasus
Gate 17: Gary Oak
Gate 18: Pascagoula Puzzler, Sleipnir
Gate 21: Andor
Gate 27: Shantron
Gate 29: Days in the Fire
Gate 33: Dark Moon

Of the 40 qualifying horses, 9 finished the race. Gate 4 was the most popular, while nobody chose gate 7. If anybody had, the outcome of this race would have been slightly different!

First prize, consisting of Nikoli puzzle books imported from Japan, goes to Termital, the rider of der Kluge Hans!
The booby prize goes to Giovanni Pagano, the rider of Days in the Fire!
The winners have been e-mailed notifying them of their respective victorious accomplishments. Thanks for entering, everyone!

8 comments

james39562 said...

Well, shucks, I didn't win, but I'll send an invisible car to anyone who can guess why I chose gate 18 (I'm Pascagoula Puzzler). Do you hear that, Grant? A free (albeit invisible) car. Take that, homeboy! Haha.

Stumbler's Rider said...

A simple click on the "contests" tag...

*scrolls frantically*

Ooh...

Well, you learn something new every day.

Lady Ladybug said...

"Most Inaccurate Answer".
Sweet!!!! At least I wasn't the only one who picked #9, or then I would have just been really sad.

Ultimatepsi said...

Apparently, all of your readers know that when asked to random number between 1 and 10 most people will pick 7, and that's why we didn't choose that gate.

Tricera Narwhal(lolzertank)(ksun48) said...

omg picked 6

zotmeister said...

Man, when are people going to learn I always pick gate 14? Don't you want to have a chance to win? Seriously, though, thanks to Grant for running this and for the shout-out, and maybe he can now get on to that Logicsmith Exhibition I keep bugging him about. ;) - ZM

Anonymous said...

OK, so we all used reverse psychology and avoided 7. But next time, we'll all use double reverse psychology and PICK 7. So, I'll just have to use triple reverse psychology and pick 6 again! Unless...

- Jack

Δόλιχος said...

I'd like to thank mathgrant for the contest (and the magazines too). I had checked the number of past entrants, tracked comment count trends, considered heptaphilia, but what really clinched Gate Eight was the ugly alliteration. I'm considering switching my holiday celebrations to the Julian calendar (as observed by some Orthodox Christian churches), just so I can get my present on the appropriate dates.

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