Support charity, get puzzles!
Patron Puzzles for Philanthropy

Grant's Review Corner: Volume 11

From the same guy who brought you Dinner With Moriarty, the murder mystery where the murderer kills himself approximately 17.7% of the time, we get this computer game from 2011. Is the author of this game any better at writing stories since 1997? Juubi and I will find out together!

The incredible thing is that this guy's company Everett Kaser Software sells a CD with 32 games on it! At least he has the sense to sell it for a mere $99.95, as opposed to Action 52's price tag of $199. If the other 30 games are the same quality as these two games, then. . . well, you can immediately surmise whether to buy it or not.

ERRATUM: Dansk is actually Danish, not Dutch. I got the first letter right, at least.

Grant's Review Corner: Volume 10

For the tenth edition of Grant's Review Corner, this one's a video instead of a bunch of text! This review tackles a game that's haunted me since the early 2000's; I've felt it necessary to finally get my opinions on this game out of the way for all to see.


Perhaps I'll review more of this company's games in the future, but for now, I think my opinion on this one summarizes my opinion on virtually all of the games.

Puzzle 614: Process of Illumination 41

I'm trying to train my mother in the fine art of solving Process of Illumination puzzles; thus far, she's having some trouble with it, but desires more training to get stronger. I have a huge pool to pull from. . . .

Puzzle 613: Dominnocuous 8

My mother got a much-needed laugh out of my latest Grant's Review Corner, in which I recount our shared experience with a crossword edited by Timothy Parker for a "for Dummies" book. Also, with my gentle guidance, she solved her first Dominnocuous, which was also my blog's first Dominnocuous! Moms rock sometimes. :)

Grant's Review Corner: Volume 9

First, an update on the previous edition of Grant's Review Corner: the puzzles I was paid to write for Kakuro Conquest have not appeared yet in almost two years. However, I have signs of life from the other end, and have decided not to post the puzzles here, and instead to wait for them to appear on Kakuro Conquest for my readers to enjoy there. (Maybe I'll post them on here if said readers want to print them out.)

My mother, a breast cancer survivor, has experienced a phenomenon called "chemo brain" where one suddenly loses a great portion of one's mental faculties after chemotherapy. While she has been intending to get her brain active again using books like this one, it seems that her hectic schedule makes this impossible without my active involvement in encouraging her and finding puzzles she can actually do. I can't really gripe about finding this excuse to spend quality time with her; I enjoy watching light bulbs go off in people's heads from time to time, and some of the simpler puzzle types in this book have provided such experiences. Maybe I'll get a finger on how to write puzzles that she can enjoy and other people can enjoy, too (which will become easier if somehow I can train her to solve harder puzzles, such as easy Sudoku puzzles). However, my mother recently got herself a different book which, after working one puzzle together, I've felt the need to vent about. Hey, blog content!

Puzzle 612: Totally Awesum 23

A while back, I was commissioned to write puzzles for Kakuro Conquest, thanks to my impressive haggling skills and talking the other person up from "hey, promote this site". I even promoted them in a volume of Grant's Review Corner, praising their solving interface for its simplicity. As much as I would love to see my puzzles playable in said interface, so far this hasn't happened. In a couple of weeks, if Kakuro Conquest shows no sign of life (including replying to the message I sent via their contact form), I will release the puzzles on this blog so they don't go to waste (and so this blog has something happening on it). The puzzle below is not one of those puzzles, but I do believe it's representative of the quality you can expect.

Edit: I have now reached out to Perfomant Design via Kakuro Conquest's contact form, the e-mail address on their site, and their Twitter account, in the best good faith effort which I can muster to give them a chance to stop me from using these puzzles without their permission. I also reached out to Kareem Ahmed, who contacted me on behalf on Performant in 2011 back when he worked closely with them, and paid me to write the puzzles in the first place. If I am getting myself into hot water, I have at the very least done everything I can think of to test the temperature safely.

Grant's Review Corner: Volume 8

First, an update on the previous edition of Grant's Review Corner: the puzzles I was paid to write for Kakuro Conquest have not appeared yet in almost two years. If I don't get any signs of life from the site's operators soon, expect these puzzles to be released slowly on this blog. Some of these puzzles I've written are, in my not-so-humble opinion, very good illustrations of what an artisan can do with handmade Kakuro puzzles, and absolutely need to be seen.

As longtime fans already know, updates on this blog have been more sparse due to the fact that I'd rather focus my efforts on writing puzzles for Grandmaster Puzzles and getting paid for it. However, I got an e-mail recently from someone who wants me to review their upcoming smartphone app in exchange for promoting my blog. I have to admit that this is sorely tempting, given that not only have I broadened the focus of this blog's posts to allow for said blog not to be completely dead, but if I rearrange the sidebar, I could promote Grandmaster Puzzles very heavily and direct incoming traffic there (or better yet, make arrangements with the app's publisher to promote Grandmaster Puzzles directly). Ultimately, I feel that I must entertain these kinds of offers very sparingly, as I do not want to become a forum for people to bribe me into publicizing them (they can do that on JayIsGames or something), but somehow, I don't feel like I can dismiss this one right off the bat.

Magic FreeCell

Here's an optimization puzzle. I was tempted to make a contest out of it, like the optimization contests Games Magazine has had in the past, but eh, I just want new blog content, and making a contest would require thought about what to actually give away.

Almost everyone is familiar with FreeCell. It is a solitaire card game in which a standard deck of cards is dealt into 8 columns (four of which have 7 cards, and four of which have 6 cards). Here's a layout:
(If this deal doesn't look very random to you, that's because it's not; I got the deal from this video. Note that there is no "What the hell?" card in FreeCell, as surprising as that may be. Also, I got the card graphics from here.)

A move in FreeCell constitutes one of the following actions:
  • Moving the bottom card of any column in the tableau to one of four "cells". Each cell can hold only one card.
  • Moving the bottom card of any column, or a card in the cells, to the bottom of another column. An empty column can accept any card; otherwise, you can only place a card on top of a card of the opposite color and the next higher rank. (Ranks are, from lowest to highest, A 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K.)
  • Moving the bottom card of any column, or a card in the cells, to the foundations. An Ace can be played to the foundations at any time. Any other card can only be played if the next lowest card of the same suit has been played.
The goal in FreeCell is to move all 52 cards to the foundations.

For this optimization problem, your goal is to win the game using as few cells as possible, and then in as few moves as possible using that number of cells (so 200 moves with 0 cells is better than 100 moves with 1 cell). To make the game more challenging, and to stymie automatic FreeCell solvers as far as I am aware, I am adding one additional constraint: all four cards of a particular rank must be played to the foundations in what magicians call "chased" order (Clubs, Hearts, Spades, Diamonds). Almost any software implementation of FreeCell will automatically play the Ace and Two of Spades and Ace of Diamonds to the foundations after the first move; this is no longer allowed, as the Ace of Spades cannot be played to the foundations without the Ace of Hearts, and the Ace of Diamonds cannot be played to the foundations without the Ace of Spades.

Edit: Here's a solution I found to get the ball rolling. It uses 4 cells and 114 moves. Can you do it using fewer cells, or in fewer moves using 4 cells?

My father's medical bills. (My most serious blog post ever.)

Warning: You are about to read some depressing crap. [Now with an edit at the bottom!]

In 2011, I alluded to the tradition of getting Nikoli books for my birthday. While not also alluded to, I used to also get them every year on Christmas. However, my family is in much more dire financial straits now, to the point that I skipped the Nikoli books on Christmas and have decided that I want nothing more on my birthday than a lunch at Genghis Grill using a birthday coupon I got. The biggest cause of my mother's stress and financial difficulty is currently my father's very recent hip replacement, which has an infection and is stymieing the doctors by refusing to grow a culture so they can know which antibiotic to administer. I even heard that they're thinking of sending him to Fort Worth, which would really throw a wrench in the works. I'll have my mother help me write a much more detailed and maybe even more accurate description of what's going on, but suffice it to say that I'm desperate to help her as much as I can. I've pledged to help her around the house as much as possible on Sundays, and occasionally find it within my heart to help her on other days, but money is really, really, really important right now to pay the medical bills and the other types of bills we have. I'm sorely inclined to seek aid from the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. I mean, I'm part of the gaming community, kind of, and my father's hip is a personal hardship for the entire family. However, it causes me such grief to beg after my efforts to raise money for the same organization less than a year ago, and really, there are at least a thousand people in the puzzle community who merit more financial aid than me, aren't there?

I am very much considering trying to sell a bunch of crap to help my family out (perhaps an auction Geeklist on BoardGameGeek?). I also plan on redoubling my Grandmaster Puzzles efforts in the hopes that maybe writing puzzles will merit more money. If you want to help out and get almost nothing in return except humble gratitude and maybe a mention on this blog alongside a custom puzzle, contact me at glmathgrant at gmail dot com. You can send me money via PayPal via that address, but for payments above $12 or so, please send the money to ginger dot fikes at gmail dot com, my mother's account, where a smaller portion will be eaten by fees.

I'm sorry if this sob story is a waste of everyone's time, but my mother seriously needs the help.

Edit: I followed through with the auction Geeklist idea, and raised over $100. I have also received generous donations from many people, and I thank you. To avoid overloading my blog with serious posts, all updates on my father's condition will be posted as comments on the auction Geeklist. There are two things I want to say publicly, though.

Number one, I used my birthday money to buy some Nikoli puzzle books for my birthday, because my mother refused to use it for her own purposes. Two out of the eleven books I got, Fresh Shikaku 3 and 4, are already retired. Shikaku puzzles are so easy. :)

Number two, I am going to maintain my wishlist on BoardGameGeek. If you want to give me one of these board games as a gift instead of donating money for my father, you now have that option. I will try to save portions of my Grandmaster Puzzles paychecks to do this, but I'm so reluctant to spend money on myself that my logic puzzle book collection would never have expanded if my mother hadn't been so obstinate that my birthday money needs to be used on myself, and my game collection is currently in the same state where nothing short of "hey Grant, here's a game" or "hey Grant, here's some money, and if you don't buy a game with it, I'll be very sad" will expand it. [Minor edit: my mother is so loath to take my money except when it's necessary that I'm less reluctant to buy my own things. Donations of all kinds are still appreciated.]

Puzzle 611: Room and Reason 41

This puzzle was written for Joe Huber (huber) of BoardGameGeek, who recently won some of my possessions in an auction and paid enough to also have a custom puzzle written for him. Having bought a lot of four copies of my board game Battle of LITS and a lot of all four Game & Watch Gallery games, I can only assume Mr. Huber has an affinity for the number 4 (and who doesn't?). The centerpiece of this puzzle is a 4x4 room with a 4.

Puzzle 610: Polyominous 55

This puzzle was written for P. Kellach Waddle (GustavMahler) of BoardGameGeek, who recently won some of my possessions in an auction and paid enough to also have a custom puzzle written for him. Given the eclectic range of his interests (including a major presence in the Austin classical music scene, whose existence I am only now aware of), a single puzzle can't really do him justice; nonetheless, I hope that seeing his initials in this puzzle somehow makes his participation in my auction a little more worthwhile. :)

Puzzle 609: Tetra Tirma 43

A shout-out to Cy Reb, Jr., who was observant enough to notice that this puzzle was contained in puzzle 608.

There are still a few days left in these auctions I'm holding on BoardGameGeek. You can support my father's medical bills by bidding, and get stuff from it. Of course, if you want less of your money to be eaten by shipping costs and more of it to be eaten by my father's hip replacement, donations are happily accepted.

Puzzle 608: Dominnocuous 7

Yesterday, I received Norinori 1 and a handful of other Nikoli books as a belated birthday present. As expected, the puzzles in Norinori 1 range from 10x10 through 20x36, and a few of them are very pretty to look at.

Puzzle 607: Tetra Firma 42

At 11:59 PM (Central) on May 26, I will hold a drawing to see who wins a copy of Battle of LITS! If you have a BoardGameGeek account, tip some GeekGold to earn some raffle entries and potentially win! The tips have reached 400 GeekGold, so here's a puzzle! Can I get 276 more in less than 11 hours? Probably not, but one can always hope.

Also check out today's Sunday Surprise on Grandmaster Puzzles for another opportunity to win Battle of LITS!

Puzzle 606: Quad-Wrangle 27

In just a few days, on May 26, I will hold a drawing to see who wins a copy of Battle of LITS! If you have a BoardGameGeek account, tip some GeekGold to earn some raffle entries and potentially win! The tips have reached 300 GeekGold, so here's a puzzle! Will they reach 400, 500, 600, or even 676 in such a short period of time? I doubt it, but you could always surprise me.

Puzzle 605: Straight and Arrow 43

In just a few days, on May 26, I will hold a drawing to see who wins a copy of Battle of LITS! If you have a BoardGameGeek account, tip some GeekGold to earn some raffle entries and potentially win!

My family's finances haven taken a sharp downturn due to my father needing surgery. For more details, see this Geeklist (the header and the comments), where you can also bid on board games and video games I am selling to raise money. I am also grateful to the individuals so far who have donated funds without expecting anything in return (including a few readers of this blog). You are amazing.

Puzzle 604: Streaming Content 39

On May 26, I will turn 26. To celebrate, I'm giving away a copy of my board game Battle of LITS! Got a BoardGameGeek account and some Geekgold? Tip this Games for Geekgold entry, and on May 26, you will have a chance at winning! Oh, and if the tips reach 676 Geekgold, my readers will be treated to the biggest LITS challenge I've ever created!
(Edit: Send me your solution to this puzzle via e-mail or Geekmail; for every correct solution received before May 26, I'll roll a 4-sided die and knock off that many Geekgold from the 676 Geekgold threshold, up to a maximum of 100 Geekgold!)

A brief manifesto.

I am affected by what is known as Asperger's syndrome. I know this not because I have diagnosed myself as having the condition like many on the Internet do, but because multiple professionals independently diagnosed me as having it, long ago when my mother was desperate for answers on how to raise me, years before I was mature enough for the gravity of the diagnosis to hit me the way it does now. Those with Asperger's have a reputation for being extremely skilled in a particular field despite otherwise being very deficient (especially regarding interacting with people), and this has perhaps blessed me in regards to my puzzle-writing abilities. Nonetheless, I sometimes wish I could trade some of the honor that my talent has brought me (including having co-written two tests on Logic Masters India with World Puzzle Champion Palmer Mebane) with a life that more closely resembles that of a normal human being, because Asperger's has made me a magnet for bullying.

Bullying upsets me so much that I could write a very whiny piece about bullying that nobody will ever actually read. Instead, I shall provide this summary: I was bullied in school. I was cyberbullied within the puzzle community. I was cyberbullied within other communities. The result was low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and a hardened misanthropic heart. Having experienced bullying and the awful consequences firsthand, I have decided to write out a few tenets that I deeply believe in, and which I hope that we as the logic puzzle community can embrace. Perhaps these tenets could be borrowed by a bazillion other communities, too, but the puzzle community is the one in particular I care about.

The puzzle community must be welcoming. People on The Grey Labyrinth bullying me over my Christian faith nearly cost me my life and my eventual puzzle-writing career. While I accept that maybe I wasn't a mature person then, and absolutely wasn't a skilled puzzle author, I still wish I could have been welcomed with a more constructive type of criticism. My vision for this community of ours is that newbies can be treated with a great deal of respect. Gentle guidance, not name-calling, is what will bring newbies into the fold. On that note, I must applaud Art of Problem Solving, a community whose focus is on mathematical competitions more than the logic puzzles that are the focus of this blog, for being as PG-rated as it is. My life might have been on better footing sooner had my first online puzzle community been more like AoPS than the GL.

The puzzle community must be united. I envision a haven where numerous individuals who are like-minded regarding puzzles can set aside every other difference they have and talk about puzzles. Anything that might threaten to divide us (like differences in religious or political views) should be kept very separate from the joy we derive from puzzles. Does that mean we have to keep our views bottled up completely? No, not necessarily. While it isn't advertised very much, BoardGameGeek has an entire subforum for Religion, Sex, and Politics (RSP for short), designed to allow rational discussions to occur while not letting the discussions creep into the board game discussion, which everybody expects to be pure fun. With the RSP discussion and board game discussion thus separated, the quality of both kinds of discussion is improved. Nobody who wishes to avoid the drama that politics tends to bring in has to worry so much about it sneaking into their fun. (I suppose that maybe my early stay on The Grey Labyrinth might have improved with such an idea, instead of "Off Topic" encompassing things like time-wasting Flash games and politics alike.) [Edit: I have learned that people in the RSP section of BoardGameGeek aren't any more civil and tolerant than anywhere else on the Internet. But then, having them segregated from everything else, including other off-topic discussions which are less controversial, is still probably a good idea.]

The puzzle community must be philanthropic! Every other freakin' community has some sort of philanthropic thing. Video gamers seem to have a marathon for every franchise and for every occasion. Whovians have a really geeky book. Even bronies have something! While I have met some awesome people within the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fandom who don't make me feel like a sinner for daring to have different tastes from theirs (shout-outs and bro-not-hooves to Corran Horn and Subido of BoardGameGeek, and to Facebook follower Adam Placencia!), my point remains that I feel the puzzle community has the potential to do better. This was what drove me to do that one thing last year, and I am determined to find a way to do the same thing, but more successfully.

I was recently alerted of the existence of American Red Crosswords, a set of crosswords written by multiple talented cruciverbalists to raise money for the American Red Cross. This is great! But what about the rest of the world? People in India whose English isn't all that fluent won't be into crosswords written by Americans designed to challenge people whose native tongue is English. However, some of those residents of India are more adept at logic puzzles than most Americans. They deserve a chance to participate in something that's both philanthropic and related to their hobbies, too. Let's give them an opportunity they'll never forget.

I close with a snippet from a reader e-mail: One of the things that makes the puzzle community meaningful to me as a *community* is the amount of generosity in it -- how many wonderful authors give away their works for the enjoyment of all, and how many top solvers give their advice to help others learn to solve better.  I think the next step in that generosity is things like your fundraising drive. Whenever I feel like ChipIn for Children's Charities was a failed experiment, words like these embolden me to find the time to experiment again. I promise that when that experiment rolls around, it's going to be awesome.

Puzzle 603: Tetra Firma 41

I failed to raise 603 GeekGold on GeekStarter. Here's a consolation prize for all five of the individuals who supported me: Barliman, n_r_a, Pawndawan, WrongWrongWrong, and zefquaavius.

Back me on GeekStarter, and I'll make a super giant Tetra Firma!

Today, BoardGameGeek unveiled a new service called GeekStarter, wherein you can pledge your virtual GeekGold to fund various projects. Crowd-funding is fun! Right?

Anyway, if I can raise 603 GeekGold, puzzle 603 on my blog will be a 64x50 Tetra Firma behemoth! Remember that time when I made a 64x50 Polyominous behemoth? And when I made that 31x45 Tetra Firma puzzle with a guy's name in it? Your support will let me combine the size of the former with the tetrominoes of the latter!

Watch me on SpeedRunsLive!

I'm aware that this is a bit off-topic from this blog's usual topic, but since this blog's usual topic (logic puzzles) has been deferred to Grandmaster Puzzles, I figured I need to post something here.

SpeedRunsLive is a place where video games get raced. Why should my blog's audience care? Well, as the title of this post suggests, I race there. Some of you may remember ChipIn for Children's Charities, wherein I raced Super Mario World as part of a deal with one of my donors. My performance was terrible, but what few viewers I had were entertained enough that they donated more money than they pledged they would, which probably constitutes my favorite memory of the fund-raiser. However, I feel most in my element when I am racing puzzle games! People in the puzzle community like puzzle games, I trust? :)

If you'd like to watch me succeed and fail at puzzle games, please follow me on Twitch, where I stream my footage. You'll get an e-mail every time I start a stream; hopefully the quality of the gameplay will make up for the lack of quality of my footage. (Maybe I'll be able to start investing in better equipment thanks to my Grandmaster Puzzles work, though. . . .) If I perform particularly well or something interesting happens, I might even make a highlight of it so you can watch it forever; for instance, here's my personal best time for rounds 1 through 20 of the highly underrated Tetris 2 (15 minutes 42 seconds).

Don't just watch me, though. I would also like to invite the smart minds of the logic puzzle community to race against me! Here is a great video tutorial on how to use SpeedRunsLive; it's as easy as using an IRC channel and streaming yourself. No matter how well or how poorly you perform, I promise that you will have fun pushing yourself to achieve new personal bests. Below is a list of all of the puzzle games I have raced so far. If you spot me in the IRC channel, you can challenge me to one!
  • Dr. Mario (SNES and Wii)
    • For a short race, it's common to race levels 0-10 or levels 16-20; a long race will entail levels 0 through 20. If you get a game over, continue from the level you lost on. Unless the goal specifies a speed (like Hi), you are allowed to switch to a different speed if you get a game over.
  • Tetris (SNES)
    • A race will often entail clearing a specific number of lines (100 is common, but I've also raced 200). Be careful! If you get a game over, you start over from 0 lines! Another idea I've entertained is to race B-type (clear 25 lines) a specific number of times; this creates checkpoints where getting a game over doesn't erase your entire progress.
  • Tetris 2 (SNES)
    • A severely underrated "match three" color-based puzzler using tetrominoes, released on NES, SNES, and GB. Clear the flashing blocks at the bottom of the well to beat the level. Some of the tetrominoes have detachable pieces, adding to the possibilities for skillful play; when one piece locks into place, the others can still be moved separately. I've raced rounds 1-20 and rounds 1-30; a masochist with a lot of time available might be able to race to round 80. Be careful! After 30, only every fifth round is a checkpoint (so if you game over on round 45, you start over from round 41). You cannot change your speed after round 30 without starting over from 30, so if you get the opportunity to race beyond 30, make sure you're very, very comfortable with your starting speed!
  • Tetris Attack (SNES)
    • One of my favorite puzzlers of all time; I own Pok√©mon Puzzle League (N64) and Planet Puzzle League (DS), as well, but cannot stream them at this time. The cool gimmick of this game is that you can continue manipulating the blocks even while they're clearing, actively building the next steps in a chain reaction. Race goals include 99,999 points in Endless, completion of Stage Clear mode, and completion of Vs CPU on a specific difficulty level.
  • Yoshi (NES)
    • A simple Mario-themed puzzle game about matching falling Bloopers, Boos, Goombas, and Piranha Plants with each other. Eggshell halves also appear; bottom halves clear in the same way that enemies do, but if a top half lands on a column with a bottom half, they turn into a Yoshi egg, clearing any enemies in between. The goal in a race is to beat levels 1 through 5 of mode B; while there is a certain amount of skill in keeping yourself one move away from victory as much as possible, you'd better hope the random number generator cooperates.
Games I'd like to race:
  •  Wario's Woods (NES or SNES)
    • An underrated and difficult to master game where you play as Toad, picking up and dropping monsters while attempting to arrange them with falling bombs of the same color to make them disappear. I'd like to race Round Game.
  • Yoshi's Cookie (NES or SNES)
    • A cute little puzzler from Bullet Proof Software. A race would entail beating a certain number of rounds from the single player mode (or Action mode in the SNES version, since it has two single-player modes). Maybe rounds 1 through 10? Or maybe round 99 by itself (yes, it is that much harder to clear a round when you have a cookie that can only be cleared by earning a wild card).

Follow me on Grandmaster Puzzles!

For over four years, I have derived a significant amount of pleasure from writing logic puzzles of all kinds, sizes, and difficulty levels, and posting them for free on this blog for readers to enjoy. During this time, I have achieved much more than I ever thought possible: this blog has hit the number 6 rank on a blog directory with over 300 blogs on it (putting me in the 98th percentile, if my calculations are correct), I have gotten praises from some big names in the puzzle community, and I have even established relationships with said big names in the puzzle community. When I think about my humble beginnings as a kid with Asperger's Syndrome and the object of a certain amount of bullying and cyberbullying, I feel so utterly undeserving of these blessings which my puzzle-writing talents have allowed me to attain. However, the blessings certainly haven't stopped there, and I am now ready to make an announcement that I hope will excite you, dearest readers.

Some of you are aware that Thomas Snyder has founded Grandmaster Puzzles, a publishing company devoted to changing the logic puzzle climate in the US (where cheap computer-generated puzzles have flooded the market and left little room for logic puzzles to be seen in the public eye as a craft and not a mere hobby). Yesterday, the Grandmaster Puzzles blog teased at having a new guest author, and today, my first post as Contributing Puzzlemaster for Grandmaster Puzzles went up for all to see. As Grandmaster Puzzles is offering to pay me more money than this blog makes me (namely, any money), expect updates on this blog to slow down significantly. Updates will not, however, stop entirely; Grandmaster Puzzles obviously cannot use all of the puzzles I send in, and some of the rejects will appear on this blog (and in fact already have as early as January).

I would like to express many thanks for my loyal readers who have made operating this blog a blast; without you, I wouldn't be where I am today. If you haven't already, please bookmark Grandmaster Puzzles to see where my puzzle-writing journey continues to lead me. In addition to the puzzles that will be made available for free on the Grandmaster Puzzles blog, expect to see my puzzles (among those of other excellent authors) in the upcoming book The Art of Puzzles. If you would like to help Grandmaster Puzzles pave the way for handmade logic puzzles in the market, please buy this book when it comes out. I will do my best to ensure that the prospect of being paid money does not cause me to sacrifice the quality of my puzzles or of my character. :)

Puzzle 602: Dominnocuous 6

Remember that contest where you raised enough money for some charities that I was able to make puzzle 602 giant? Your giant has arrived! Fans of dominoes, rejoice!

Just as an advance warning, tomorrow will have no Monday Mutant. I figured these big things need some time to shine. :)
(click to enlarge)

Puzzle 601: Proof of Quilt 11

Remember that contest where you raised enough money for some charities that I was able to make puzzle 601 giant? Your giant has arrived! Fans of right isosceles triangles and rectangles, rejoice!
(click to enlarge)

Puzzle 600: Tetra Firma 40

Remember that contest where a guy named Jeff won a book of LITS puzzles? Well, he already had that book, so here is his substitute prize! Thank you, Jeff (or Jangler, as you prefer to be called), for being an awesome reader.
(click to enlarge)

Puzzle 599: Proof of Quilt 10

Remember that contest where you voted and decided that I can't post puzzles with more than 289 cells until puzzle 600? Well, this is puzzle 599! Look forward to some giant fun soon!

Puzzle 597: Straight and Arrow 42

Joshua Zucker took me up on my recent offer to throw in a free re-gifted calendar with 365 handmade Sudoku puzzles with the $25 purchase of my amazing board game Battle of LITS. In deciding what type of puzzle to make for him, I looked at his initials and immediately thought of "Party in the USA" ("And a Jay-Z song was on. . ."). Then I thought of the oft-neglected J and Z tetrominoes, which are really just mirror images of L and S, and therefore given no special treatment in Battle of LITS. These tetrominoes are the stars of this puzzle. Would you like to see what kind of puzzle your name inspires? I still have extra copies of Battle of LITS. . . . :)

Puzzle 596: Fencing Match 52

No comment.

Puzzle 595: Crowd Nine 12

Does anybody want a 2013 Sudoku Calendar with 365 handmade puzzles by Nikoli? I got it as a belated gift earlier this month, and I'd rather work on the puzzles in my unsolved volumes of Gekikara Sudoku than catch up. Don't forget that I'm selling my extra copies of Battle of LITS, my two-player board game based on one of my favorite Nikoli puzzles, for $25 apiece; I'll throw the calendar in for free as a sweetener! But remember: my supply of the calendar is even more limited than my supply of the game. . . . :) [Edit 2013-03-07: This offer has been accepted!]

Puzzle 594: Polyominous 54

A beginner-friendly puzzle. You know, just in case people who are new to puzzles still read my blog.

Monday Mutant 130: Cross the Streams (domino)

Shade in dominoes such that the black cells are all connected to each other through their edges, and no 2x2 cell area within the grid contains all black cells. Numbers to the left of a row or above a column represent the groups of consecutive black cells which are in that row or column. For example, a clue of "3" means the row or column has three consecutive black cells, and a clue of "3 1" means that the row or column has a group of three consecutive black cells followed by a single black cell, separated by at least one white cell. A question mark (?) represents a group of consecutive black cells whose size is unknown; an asterisk (*) represents any number of unknown groups of black cells, including none at all.
Inspired by this Nurikabe puzzle.

Monday Mutant 129: Streaming Content / Tetra Firma

Shade in tetrominoes in simultaneous accordance with the rules of Streaming Content and the rules of Tetra Firma. (As the grid isn't partitioned into regions, the rule of Tetra Firma that every region contains one tetromino is waived.)
Is it possible to create a 10x10 puzzle with these rules and only 4's as givens? I don't doubt it, but I lack the patience to do so at this time. Maybe one of my clever readers can accomplish it. :)

Monday Mutant 128: Cross the Streams

Shade in some cells black such that the black cells are all connected to each other through their edges, and no 2x2 cell area within the grid contains all black cells. Numbers to the left of a row or above a column represent the groups of consecutive black cells which are in that row or column. For example, a clue of "3" means the row or column has three consecutive black cells, and a clue of "3 1" means that the row or column has a group of three consecutive black cells followed by a single black cell, separated by at least one white cell. A question mark (?) represents a group of consecutive black cells whose size is unknown; an asterisk (*) represents any number of unknown groups of black cells, including none at all.

Monday Mutant 127: Cross the Streams / Tetra Firma

Shade in tetrominoes such that the black cells are all connected to each other through their edges, and no 2x2 cell area within the grid contains all black cells. No two congruent tetrominoes may share an edge, even if they are rotated or reflected versions of each other. Numbers to the left of a row or above a column represent the groups of consecutive black cells which are in that row or column. For example, a clue of "3" means the row or column has three consecutive black cells, and a clue of "3 1" means that the row or column has a group of three consecutive black cells followed by a single black cell, separated by at least one white cell. A question mark (?) represents a group of consecutive black cells whose size is unknown; an asterisk (*) represents any number of unknown groups of black cells, including none at all.

Monday Mutant 126: Bridged Series (prime/composite)

In this Bridged Series puzzle, the prime numbers 2, 3, 5, and 7 are represented by P, and the composite numbers 4, 6, and 8 are represented by C. The rules are otherwise unchanged.

Rules -- Bridged Series

Bridged Series was invented by the Japanese puzzle company Nikoli (under the name Hashiwokakero).
1. Draw horizontal and vertical bridges (diagonal bridges are not allowed) between the islands according to the following rules.
2. A number on an island indicates how many bridges are connected to that island.
3. At most two bridges can connect a pair of islands.
4. A bridge may not cross over an island or another bridge.
5. All of the islands must be connected via the bridges. (It must be possible to get from any island to any other island using the bridges.)

Monday Mutant 125: Streampunk / Tetra Firma

Shade in tetrominoes such that the black cells are all connected to each other through their edges, and no 2x2 cell area within the grid contains all black cells. No two congruent tetrominoes may share an edge, even if they are rotated or reflected versions of each other. Numbers in a cell indicate the sizes of the orthogonally contiguous groups formed by black cells sharing a corner or an edge with that cell. For example, "3" means that the cell shares a corner or an edge with three black cells, and they form a single group, whereas "1 3" means the cell shares a corner with four black cells which form a group of three cells and a single separate cell. Cells with numbers cannot be black.

Monday Mutant 124: Streampunk

Shade in some cells black such that the black cells are all connected to each other through their edges, and no 2x2 cell area within the grid contains all black cells. Numbers in a cell indicate the sizes of the orthogonally contiguous groups formed by black cells sharing a corner or an edge with that cell. For example, "3" means that the cell shares a corner or an edge with three black cells, and they form a single group, whereas "1 2" means the cell shares a corner with three black cells which form a group of two cells and a single separate cell. Cells with numbers cannot be black.

Blog Archive