List of works from Opalka’s 1965 / 1 – ∞

Breaks indicate places where I couldn’t find (by Google search) details between the gaps. Some errata may exist, as a result of imprecisions in online sources. Any additions are appreciated!

1 – 35327

132485 – 132769

143362 – 185085

218303 – 252314

336249 – 358364

407817 – 434714

511130 – 512739

532359 – 534860
534861 – 537178
537179 – 539664

676783 – 680349
680350 – 707495

731451 – 734918

816708 – 843801
843802 – 868148
868149 – 893746

943055 – 967865
967866 – 993459
993460 – 1017875

1044019 – 1063435

1085066 – 1108739
1109739 – 1113472
1113473 – 1117329
1117330 – 1120956
1120957 – 1124220
1124221 – 1127687

1194480 – 1215202
1215203 – 1236684

1370001 – 1373095

1194480 – 1215202
1215203 – 1236684

1249460 – 1252560

1264514 – 1267439

1321805 – 1324784

1370001 – 1373095

1378724 – 1398917
1398918 – 1420223
1420224 – 1441898

1503485 – 1520431
1520432 – 1537872
1537872 – 1556342
1556343 – 1574101
1574102 – 1591529
1591530 – 1602182
1602183 – ? [book to 1728670]

1608287 – 1618104
1618105 – 1621531
1621532 – 1624649

1660846(5?) – 1664205

1679590 – 1682025
1682026 – 1684725
1684726 – 1687479
1687480 – 1690403
1690404 – 1693932
1693933 – 1697228
1697229 – 1700551
1700552 – 1703939
1703940 – 1707151
1707152 – 1710048
1710049 – 1712981
1712982 – 1715966
1715967 – 1719141
1719142 – 1722513
1722514 – 1725526
1725527 – 1728670
1728671 – 1750248
1750249 – 1771723
1771724 – 1793883
1793884 – 1815785
1815786 – 1837737
1837738 – 1857708
1857709 – 1877588
1877589 – 1896175
1896176 – 1916613
1916614 – 1940089
1940090 – 1965011
1965012 – 1987107
1987108 – 2010495
2010496 – 2032877
2032878 – 2053278
2053279 – 2074916
2074917 – 2094929
2094930 – 2115706
2115707 – 2136351
2136352 – 2154452
2154453 – 2173183
2173184 – 2194426

2322817 – 2325573
2345774 – 2347926

2350770 – 2353697
2353698 – 2356422
2356423 – 2373709

2389630 – 2409346

2430581 – 2450736

2578759 – 2601103
[2601104 – 2828874]: 7 drawings
[2834989 – 2881886]: 15 drawings

2834989 – 2838298
2838299 – 2841542
2841543 – 2844736
2844737 – 2847807
2847808 – 2850825
2850826 – 2853920
2853921 – 285713 [sic]

2859870 – 2862955
2862956 – 2865927
2865928 – 2869122

2872397 – 2875544
2875545 – 2878714

2888142 – 2890943
2890944 – 2910059
2910060 – 2932295
2932296 – 2956570
2956571 – 2981420
2981421 – 3008116
3008117 – 3029180

3029180 – 3047372

3065461 – 3083581

3307544 – 3324387
3324388 – 3339185
3339186 – 3353469

3462537 – 3479346
3479347 – 3496667

3531681 – 3546420
3546421 – 3562392
3562393 – 3578633
3578634 – 3595782
3595783 – 3613343
3613344 – 3631949

3645992 – 3648792

3654966 – 3657831

3695418 – 3698109
3698110 – 3700675
3700676 – 3703241

3711571 – 3714651
3714652 – 3717790
3717791 – 3721122

3820343 – 3843981
3843982 – 3864277
3864278 – 3881551

3923102 – 3945738
3945739 – 3970846

3996082 – 4021853

4045225 – 4047928

4110987 – 4135701

4646034 – 4666039
4666040 – 4685660

4739782 – 4742554

4747972 – 4750669
4750670 – 4753558
4753559 – 4756286
4756287 – 4776968
4776969 – 4795472
4795473 – 48/480

4866285 – 4868805

4871403 – 4873701
4873702 – 4875811
4875812 – 4894230
4894231 – 4914799
4914800 – 4932016

4988006 – 5006015
5006016 – 5023628
5023629 – 5049738
5049739 – 5065512

5137748 – 5157846
5157847 – 5175777
5175778 – 5193062
5193063 – 5210330
5210331 – 5226270
5226271 – 5240851

5533044 – 5547368

Words which contain lots of repeated strings when written in unbroken Morse Code

I used enable2k for my wordlist. For certain word forms, I chose the base form only, when it doesn’t matter in terms of acceptance (e.g. cafeteria, when cafeterias would also work, or obsessive-obsessively). All segments are cyclic, so for instance .- 15 would be satisfied with -.-.-.-.-.-.-.- as well as .-.-.-.-.-.-.-. .

For segments of length <= 7:

. bakshishing / disseisin / obsessive / possessive 18
- bottommost 15

.- arcked / rocketry 15

..- cafeteria / counterraids / frenetic / sveltely 16
.-- skyways 17

...- affidavit 21
..-- unadmitted 17
.--- brownout 14

....- fibrefill 22
...-- mechanizable / melanization 18
..-.- ultrararefied 22
..--- bouzouki 18
.-.-- papyrology 15
.---- spanokopita 15

.....- agribusiness / reviviscent / positivistic 21
....-- clubable 18
...-.- avascularities 31
...--- imbosom / nimbostratus 17
..-.-- waxwings 18
..--.- extratextual 19
..---- orthodoxy 16
.-.--- meteorlogy 17
.----- onomatopoeia / tokonomas 19

......- insensibility / sensibilia 24
.....-- dipsades 20
....-.- curveball 23
...-..- overfastidious 25
....--- dosages 16
...-.-- handwringings / malapertness / springings / stringings / upbringings 18
..-..-- effeminately / ingratitude 19
.-...-- rimlands 19
..-.-.- tercentenary 23
...---- gumbotil 20
..-.--- agroforestry / profound 19
..--.-- gangway 17
..---.- gnatcatcher 20
.-.-.-- attractancy / heartwarming / reluctancy 16
..----- endomitotic 18
.-.---- rococos 20
.--.--- prosopopoeia 19
.------ nonmonogamous 17

24 Hour Puzzle Competition 2018 (aka Puzzles 4-15)

I did not participate in the 24 Hour Puzzle Competition (24HPC), as I’m nowhere near good enough at solving logic puzzles to really justify spending so much money to fly out and spend several days at an international (even if somewhat light-hearted) puzzling event. However, I was involved in helping write some puzzles, at the behest of chaotic_iak, the leader of our writing team (Puzzlers Club, a particular Discord server that I’m in). I’ve not really written that many logic puzzles, to be honest – there’s, what, 3 logic puzzles on this blog, I’ve written about 1 logic puzzle for a puzzlehunt once, ok I guess I wrote a decent number of “mini 5×5 logic puzzles” back at MOP (but that doesn’t really count, plus most of them were kind of trivial as intended), and I’ve written maybe 10 or so logic puzzles for various events at our Discord.

For this event, I wrote 12 (out of 33) puzzles, so more or less doubling my puzzle writing total. (More than 12, if you count the puzzles that didn’t make the test, plus some easy examples in the instruction booklet.) Surprisingly a lot, given that initially I had asked to “just be a testsolver”. (Turns out that (usually) I am far worse at testsolving for speed (especially since I wrote the puzzles for my strongest types), though I got some useful uniqueness checks in on certain hard puzzles.)

I guess now I’ll just talk about the puzzles that I’ve written. In order of the booklet:

Puzzle 3. Easy as ABC (12 points)

Place a letter in each cell so each row and column has the given letters exactly once. Letters outside the grid indicate the first letter seen when looking from that direction, ignoring empty cells.


In the end, we settled on all point values divisible by 3 (except the first observational puzzle, which was needed to end up with a total of 1000 points, not divisible by 3). Furthermore, chaotic_iak wanted the minimum point value for puzzles to be 10 points, so upon this change, the minimum point value is now 12 points. It probably overly weighs the easy puzzles now (I think a minimum of 9 would be fine, honestly), but that’s fine, the other solvers need all the boost that they can get against Ken Endo 😛 (Is Ken even competing this year? I hope he is, since a design goal was so that he wouldn’t necessarily finish the test. [He is not. RIP] If not… lol @ highest score (though one fairly strong full-test testsolver scored 480 points, so I think 600 points for non-Ken’s is probably doable. [After competition note: top score was 627. Still low, but within my expected range.] Probably 700-800 for Ken, which is about right I’d say.))

With that said, this Easy as ABC isn’t *that* easy, and 12 points is perfectly fine for this puzzle. The 3 theme only vaguely shows up here, you know, 3 letters and all. I don’t often see too many Easy as ABC’s that are 6×6 but still use 3 letters (most 6×6’s seem to go up to 4 letters). As such, the large amounts of empty space – 3 spaces per row/column! – may be fun to play with. Also, I tried to minimize the number of clues used, and the solvepath should be fairly tight and narrow. I’m happy with how this puzzle turned out, especially for my first construction attempt at this genre.

Puzzle 5. Fillomino (15 points)

Divide the grid into regions. A number describes the size of its region. A region may have zero, one, or more given numbers. Two regions with the same size may not touch orthogonally.


After several attempts at making a 3-themed fillomino, which ended up being far too easy, this was a fairly satisfactory attempt, noting how the diagonal strands of 3’s interacted with each other. This ends up being a little bit of counting at the beginning to determine how the center-bottom line of 3’s resolves, and then a funny global deduction with some tweaking to get everything right. So yeah – overall, very global fillomino in a genre that’s typically centered around local deductions. I’m happy that the tweaks didn’t end up being the immediately obvious solution, and also happy that none of this compromised the uniqueness of the solution. 20 and 18 are indeed to reference the year number; 18 and 23 are just for stabilization for a maximally interesting solution.

Puzzle 10. Walled Heteromino (21 points)

Divide the grid into triminoes. Triminoes of the same shape and orientation may not touch orthogonally. Some borders have been given to you.


It turns out that the base figure (without the 3 in the middle) is already quite difficult to tile, so I was initially frustrated when my larger-scale changes wouldn’t work out. Eventually, through bifurcation, I was able to find that the 3 (plus the edge to the side) could work to force uniqueness. Later, after it was testsolved, I was able to find a better deduction than simply bifurcating, so I’m happy with this puzzle.

As it turns out, walls aren’t actually standard in Heteromino (not that Heteromino is a terribly standard genre), but I think they are a natural addition.

Puzzle 11. Triopia (24 points)

Place some triminoes in the grid. No two placed triminoes may be identical, counting rotation/reflection as different. (That is, two congruent triminoes with different orientation may touch.) Triminoes may not touch, not even diagonally. If a cell has some directions, the directions point to all nearest directions where there are squares occupied by triminoes. (In other words, for each other direction, either there is no trimino in that direction, or the closest trimino is farther.)


What happens when you tweak the ruleset of Pentopia? You get this far less interesting variant. The decrease from 12 to 6 pieces and the loss of changing orientation really makes it hard to construct an interesting puzzle. The obvious thing to do here is indeed the correct thing – case work all the cases. Fortunately they resolve fairly quickly in all but two cases, one which is the mirror image of the other (disambiguated by the corner clues).

Puzzle 14. Tricept (30 points)

Draw a single closed loop in the grid, passing through all cells. The loop may only go horizontally and vertically, and may only turn on centers of cells. Among any three consecutive squares of the loop, the loop must turn at least once and must go straight at least once. Black squares are inside the loop. White squares are outside the loop.


I think the path mechanic originates from a Puzzling Stack Exchange post by TheGreatEscaper. I couldn’t think of a way to make the puzzle interesting (without clue overload) in the incomplete loop version (i.e. you don’t need to pass through every square), which was the original. And thus, I was able to make this pretty nice antisymmetric grid. In/out makes antisymmetric grids pretty easy to make – draw a grid, notice which places are inside and which places are outside, and tweak things to make unique. I was quite happy to be able to get rid of some of the clues, and I think this puzzle is now clue-optimal.

Puzzle 22. Akari (12 points)

Place some lightbulbs in the grid such that every cell is lit up. Lightbulbs light up all cells in orthogonal directions, until hitting a black cell or the border of the grid. Lightbulbs may not light each other. Each number indicates the number of lightbulbs in orthogonally adjacent cells.


Quick Akari that I whipped up after settling on the 3 formation. It was difficult to force uniqueness but with the addition of quite a few more blocks + some 0 clues, that was doable.

Puzzle 23. All-Three Akari (21 points)

Follow standard Akari rules (puzzle 22). All instances of 3 on black cells have been given to you.


This puzzle demonstrates the various clueless deductions that you can make in this variant (which I don’t think I’ve seen before). I’m a little miffed that I had to introduce some clues in the end, though. Ideally, I would have not needed to use any numbered clues at all, nor 1-size islands, but alas.

Puzzle 24. Slitherlink (12 points)

Draw a single closed loop in the grid. The loop may only go horizontally and vertically, and may only turn on the dots. Each number in a cell indicates the number of edges of the cells that are part of the loop.


I started with a bunch of 3’s in a pinwheel formation. Eventually I abandoned my idea of 000-111-222-333 in favor of antisymmetry adding up to 4 instead. Then it was a matter of stabilizing the puzzle with some more clues (including a fifth 3-triple). I like this moreso for the design than the solvepath, which is pretty straightforward, and yeah, some of the clues are unnecessary (except for design).

Puzzle 25. All-Three Slitherlink (45 points)

Follow standard Slitherlink rules (puzzle 24). All instances of 3 in the grid have been given to you.


This puzzle is also influenced by design. And All-Three puzzles without any 3’s are funny.  (also see – the All-Three Skyscrapers by chaotic_iak) I had to add three 2 clues in the end to force a unique solution, hence the big 2 looks a little weird. Unfortunately I could not find a purely logical solution for the right half of the puzzle besides caseworking.

Puzzle 29. Nonogram (36 points)

Shade some cells black. In each row and column, the list of numbers matches, in order, the lengths of consecutive blocks of shaded squares. If there are multiple blocks, each block is separated by at least one unshaded square.


Eh, this puzzle could be better. There is a theoretical global deduction that can be made exploiting the structure of the row clues, but this puzzle does not use that. Furthermore, the picture that you get at the end is a VERY dubious 24 HPC + additional junk in the left corner. Oh well.

Puzzle 31. Star Battle (60 points)

Place some stars into cells. Each row, column, and outlined region has the indicated number of stars. Stars may not touch, not even diagonally.

puzz31Whew. Some neat deductions here, I’d say. I also liked the layout and the idea of making the P and C double regions. (one interpretation – PC not only means Puzzle Competition, but also Puzzlers Club!) Region counting makes the two halves of the puzzle obvious. The bottom half should be relatively straightforward (although the fact that you immediately lose the left column plus an appreciable amount of the right lends to some decent deductions), and then the top half is harder – essentially how I constructed the puzzle, solve and tweak the regions. At the end I was frustrated at all the contradictions I was getting so I drew the last few regions to accommodate the stars, but I think it worked out well.

Puzzle 33. Kropki (84 points)

Place a number from 1-N into each cell, where N is the length of the grid. Each number appears exactly once in each row and column. If a white dot appears between two numbers, the two numbers must be consecutive. If a black dot appears between two numbers, the larger number must be twice the smaller. (There can be either dot between a 1-2 pair.) All possible dots are given.


This puzzle was basically constructed (after placing the initial 3’s, which leads to a decent number of digits being placed) by looking at all of the possibles, and doing a bunch of Sudoku strategies to ensure uniqueness. Then I had to add some more dots, spoiling the design a little. Ah well. I also thought I had an insane pointing quad but alas that was not to be (I accidentally erased a possible). Fortunately I had a spare rectangle flip (like swap the values of x/y;y/x) which could be easily clued with a few additional dots, and all was  good again. At least there should be a decent logical path now. Plus, I do enjoy the general sparseness of the clues, including the two empty columns side by side.


2018 MIT Mystery Hunt Recap

Disclaimer 1: Yes I know it is nearly 3 months after Mystery Hunt. Just clearing out some drafts.

Disclaimer 2: this sounds a lot more like a log because I “stuck to the script” of the Activity Log a bit too much. I’m sorry about the decreased readability of this post. But I don’t really want to edit this post much (read: at all), so here you are.

Disclaimer 3: [] are puzzle titles. If I were less lazy, I’d replace them with links to the site. Initially this was to give them time to port it to their static site. But they’ve done that and… I’m still too lazy.

This year, instead of hunting with Galactic Trendsetters as is usual, I decided to hunt with an offshoot/splinter group, teammate. There were several reasons – the main one was that neither of us wanted to win the hunt. Also, several teammate members felt that they didn’t get to see enough puzzles (which wasn’t a complaint of mine since 2017 was definitely of outlier difficulty). Ultimately the group ended up being approximately the teammate core, plus CMU, plus Black Fedora Group (another team I frequently hunt with) and notably not including Floorpi (as they would remain on Galactic). As such, it was fairly logical to hunt with the periphery. As it turned out, our team size was pretty optimal, as we spent nearly the entirety of the time (something like 65 of 69 hours) to eventually complete the hunt as the 12th and final team to do so. (Galactic Trendsetters finished 5th.)

Since this year I was remoting from the West Coast, puzzles unlocked a little after 10AM. (Since it’s currently break, I tend to get up a bit later than this.) So I woke up at 10:18 or so and dive into the puzzles. (Henceforth all times will be in EST, just mentally subtract 3 hours for my local time.) The first puzzle I worked on was [Yeah, but It Didn’t Work!], solving some of the minipuzzles there. Eventually someone else found the ACME Did You Remember guide and I proposed the extraction method. Finished 13:28. I pitched in a few Jumbles for [Let’s Get Ready to Jumble]. We extracted at 13:42 but I think we didn’t get that it was an instruction to do something until an hour later, so it was physically done and submitted 15:25.

I pitched in some work for [AKA] but not significantly. At this time I get breakfast or something. When I get back, [A Learning Path] unlocks 14:11 and I help fill out some grids and we solve it at 14:29. This unlocks [Cross Words] for which I help fill out some words. It is solved at 14:42 and we unlock [Word Search]. Someone figures out the cryptogram nature and we call in GONORRHEA at 15:04. I think that the puzzle is solved (who wouldn’t?) but when it ends up being incorrect I decide to decrypt the word and call in NECESSARY at 15:07.

This unlocks [Just Keep Swiping] and I help data collect (it ends up being extracted at 15:41), but end up switching over to [Good Fences Make Sad and Disgusted Neighbors] (unlocked 15:26) and solve a few grids. It is solved at 16:00 due to some grid confusion. Next up is [Roadside America], solved 16:25. I propose the extraction fairly early on when it was clear that the locations didn’t correspond to letters themselves, but someone else apparently backsolved the puzzle later. At this point I think we start to look at some of the emotion metas as well. I probably get lunch around here.

When I get back, Disgust was solved at 16:38, unlocking [Games Club], a math puzzle so of course I jump on it. We solve it at 16:53. Then I go look at the various metas, and turn wheels for [Joy]. Shortly thereafter [That Time I Somehow Felt Incomplete] was unlocked, so I get to that. Also around this time we start backsolving some of the emotion puzzles. I hit upon the correct extraction for That Time… eventually and solve at 18:19, shortly after we get enough brainpower to unlock the first island (18:17).

…and with some other solves, we unlock the second island as well at 18:25. There is some discussion over which islands to open. We take the Sci-fi Island and the Shiny Island first.

I start doing a few grids of [Fuch-sia] but leave extraction for the others. I also did a grid of [Shoal Patrol] but also end up leaving before it was eventually extracted. Instead I decided to focus my efforts on the last remaining emotion meta, [Fear], reading out the answer (19:34) and subsequently backsolving [Jeopardy!] at 19:45. Anyway. We unlock the Emotion runaround at 19:44 which obviously I can’t do due to remoting. Both of those puzzles ended up being solved around 20:01 and 20:07 respectively, giving us several more puzzles.

I immediately spot almost everything what to do on [Cash Cab], but end up shelving it temporarily once I spot [Lest You Be] which is was personally funny in part I was almost certain who the author was, and deduced some of the rules. Went back to almost solo-solve Cash Cab (with some help) on 21:20, and Lest You Be was solved 21:29. Next I jumped on [Hashiwokakuro (Count your bridges)] which proved to be rather hard. I did one and a half of the puzzles plus the final spherical puzzle, Herman did two of the puzzles, and with some clever Nutrimaticking we get the answer. I get dinner during this puzzle though. But before then Shoal Patrol got solved 21:34 which got a lot of groans when we saw the evolved puzzle.

Anyway, Hashiwokakuro was solved at 22:59. It started getting late at the east coast, so I went and looked for some potentially soloable puzzles. There were: [Disorientation] got soloed after some fiddling on Saturday 00:23. Ended up being Nutrimatic support for [Self-Referential Mania] solved at 01:37, which helped us bypass a lot of the work, unlocking [The Next Generation] which I solo’ed as well, solved at 02:20. I’m actually a little excited about the [Space Sounds TV] puzzle because I recognized it as SSTV, but ultimately I backsolved that one – we got [Voltaik Bio-Electric Cell] at 04:12. I ran a polyomino dissection search and found two possible configurations, and solved the relatively obscure cluephrase which was apparently resistant to Google (but was findable with DuckDuckGo!). Anyway this lets us backsolve Space Sounds TV at 4:09.

Next I go fix up other peoples’ work on [Laratel WF-15 Fusion Reactor] and get a solve at 04:54, allowing for a backsolve on [Bloodroots] eventually at 06:54. In the meanwhile the Pokemon front got some pretty amazing meta solves, first taking out The Taxonomist on 06:22 with 3/7 answer and then, ridiculously, getting a solve on The Advertiser on 06:48 – with only one puzzle answer (of 5)! However I didn’t participate on these. I figure out the main mechanism of [Flags o1 6ur 10the15] and get that solved on 07:52 after writing a Python script. With that as well as another emotions puzzle backsolve, we unlocked our third island at 08:18.

This turns out to be the hacking island, and at this point I end up going to sleep.

I next wake up around 13:30. Apparently we forgot to go to one of the events, which probably slows down our Buzzy Buck production a bit (we also couldn’t solve one of the other event puzzles…). I look at what other puzzles there are. [Voter Fraud] needed extraction and I decide to index. Probably Al being 2 letters dissuaded the rest of the members from doing so (it needed to be expanded to Albert). Solved at 14:00. Cue lots of groaning when [The 10,000 Puzzle Tesseract] was unlocked (eventually backsolved). Breakfast time, and then lunch, with much staring done and not much progress. We stare at [It’s Not Easy] for a long time (I believe I found the reverse trick) before chaotic_iak stumbles upon the answer. We never noticed the connection to the Green Building though.

[Worldwide Contacts] is unlocked on 17:52 with the completion of No Context. I hop in later, but first I’m working on [It’s Not Normal]. Eventually once we reach various cluephrases like “DOWNRIGHT CROSS” I noted that in the previous puzzle we ultimately ended up extracting by taking letters that read down-right from the X, and since there were an unusual number of X’s in these grids perhaps something similar should be done. However we never really got the Stata Center aha (probably because we never got the Green Building aha) so we never end up getting it. Instead I go back to Worldwide Contacts and with enough letters anagram to the correct answer at 19:56, unlocking [Texts From Mom]. I pull the source code of the page and get a very rudimentary cryptogram solving using Notepad. It’s probably too rudimentary and caused more confusion than it helped. Nevertheless it was solved at 20:48.

Later on, [Mass Aid] was unlocked from finishing some live events. Perhaps I should’ve gotten more context elsewhere first…

Scout meta was solved at 22:17. Oh boy, the Build round contains physical puzzles… That can’t be good for this remote solver. (As it turns out, I actually lead the charge for a few of the puzzles!) Pictures are taken for various things, and I start working on [Is There a Draft in Here?]. Then, we apparently get the Sci-fi metameta at 22:19.

With the Scout meta solved, several backsolves happen. We backsolve so much that HQ tells us to stop backsolving and that they are clearing our queue at 22:24. I later go back and retry several answers and acquire one backsolve, on [The 10,000 Puzzle Tesseract] at 23:21. We unlock [Lycanroc] at 22:47 and get a WTF moment (but very inventive!) Eventually we decide to buy [Under Control] after getting stuck on extraction at 00:58, which lets us make progress in the Pokemon round. This unlocks [X Marks the Spot] which is math, so I jump on it and we get it solved at 01:49.

Unfortunately most of the puzzles open at this time are not very well-suited for remote solving, so I take a look at [Go!] and do some work. I try to backsolve [Floor Drawing 305] from the AllSpark meta, and deduce that the second word is probably MICROGRAPHY (it is) but am stuck on the other word. (The actual answer is called in later at 09:12.) Anyway I decided to sleep relatively early today.

I wake up to see that the fourth island was unlocked at 09:15 and 2 puzzles have been solved from that round. I take a look and see that [Don’t Look]’s picture has been posted, allowing for a pretty routine extraction (solved 14:05). Meanwhile just before, all of the Pokemon meta pieces fell down, and we completed that island at 14:22. The solve on Don’t Look was enough to get us past the Build meta at 14:46, and I looked at [Zelma & Frank], and later [Ode to the Greeks] without much contribution. (The former gets backsolved, I think, and the later is solved at 16:40) However I worked with chaotic_iak to get [Studies in Two-Factor Authentication] squared away by 17:19, and shortly after hopped over to the [Deploy] meta which was solved at 17:25. I also looked at [L is for Library] for a bit but I think this was also ultimately backsolved.

At 17:58 all of the puzzles were unlocked, which for us meant that we got something like 15 unlocks in the Games Island. I immediately jump on [Pestered], since I had significant Homestuck experience. I get the genetic code very quickly, but then floundered with the message, thinking that maybe I needed to index each dead panel number into the message’s entirety. (I did notice that each speaker died once with a dead panel, but oh well.) I shelve it for later and work on some other puzzles, getting some crosswording down at [All the Right Angles]. Meanwhile [The Desert] was solved at 1:44.

Eventually I figure out that you needed to extract two letters from every line, getting yet another message. Yet another extraction! And I definitely was stuck trying to reorder the message at one point. However, eventually I finally solve the puzzle at 05:36 and decided to call it a day. (Meanwhile [Flee] had been solved at 04:31.) In the end, we were trying to get [The Robber], and through buying [Death From Aslant] we managed to get the last metameta at 06:44. We would’ve been able to get the grand finale at 07:22.


Most of the puzzles I worked on ranged from good to amazing – the only puzzle (that I worked on) that really felt like it didn’t reach its potential was [Cash Cab], really. (The way you acquire A-numbers is pretty inelegant as well as being somewhat cheesable, although I did like the final extraction mechanism.)

As a remote solver again, I found that it was very difficult to coordinate meta-meta solving (probably for the better). For example, I think I did notice that there was a unique Eulerian path for the first Hack bulletin board but wasn’t really able to communicate that.

I went ahead and decided to subjectively rate my contributions for the puzzles that I looked at – I had 3 solo solves, called in 3.5 backsolves, and maybe 4-5 puzzles where I probably had a majority of the insight/work.

[Yeah, but it Didn’t Work!] 30%
[AKA] 10%
[A Learning Path] 30%
[Cross Words] 10%
[Word Search] 30%
[Just Keep Swiping] 15%
[Good Fences Make Sad and Disgusted Neighbors] 30%
[Roadside America] 20%
[Games Club] 15%
[Joy] 10%
[That Time I Somehow Felt Incomplete] 30%
[Fuch-sia] 20%
[Shoal Patrol] 10%
[Fear] 30%
[Jeopardy!] backsolve
[Cash Cab] 80%
[Lest You Be] 25%
[Hashiwokakuro (Count your bridges)] 50%
[Disorientation] 100%
[Self-Referential Mania] 40%
[The Next Generation] 100%
[Space Sounds TV] backsolve
[Voltaik Bio-Electric Cell] 40%
[Laratel WF-15 Fusion Reactor] 70%
[Bloodroots] backsolve
[Flags o1 6ur 10the15] 70%
[It’s Not Easy] 30%
[Worldwide Contacts] 30%
[It’s Not Normal] 10% (eventually backsolved away)
[Texts From Mom] 40%
[Mass Aid] 2% (no pun intended)
[Is There a Draft in Here?] 30%
[10,000 Puzzle Tesseract] backsolve
[X Marks the Spot] 30%
[Go!] 5%
[Floor Drawing 305] backsolve (50%)
[Don’t Look] 75%
[Zelma & Frank] 10% (eventually backsolved away)
[Studies in Two-Factor Authentication] 50%
[Pestered] 100%
[All the Right Angles] 10%


Random teammate solving stats:

147 total puzzles – we solved all but 7 of them: Feeling Cross, Marked Deck, GRATIA PLENA, Little Passages, Middle of the Road, and two event puzzles. One of the event puzzles we apparently couldn’t figure out how to extract and the other event puzzle we apparently forgot to go to. Whoops.

Fastest solves: Kingler, 53 seconds, followed by Persian and Shelgon.

Fastest actual solves (the blank Pokemon ones kind of don’t really count):

Cross Words, 12:37.

What The…, 12:47.

Games Club, 17:36.

Roadside America, 18:54.

A Learning Path, 19:51.

Fastest non-Emotions round solve:

Studies in Two-Factor Authentication, 33:27. [11th overall] (fastest Hacking round solve)

Joyful Songs, 34:50 [15th overall] (fastest Pokemon round solve)

Stretching and Calisthenics, 39:38 [18th overall] (fastest Event)

The Next Generation, 45:31. [21st overall] (fastest Sci-fi round solve)

Deployment Challenge, 48:52 [23rd overall]

X Marks the Spot, 51:51 [25th overall]

Walk Across Some Dungeons 2, 1:38:58 [49th overall] (fastest Games round solve)

Slowest solves:

Blue Sun 6V4-178-B31 Compression Block, 60:53:05 (well, we bought it)

Floor Drawing 305, 38:34:13 (well, we backsolved it)

On the A Line, 37:46:07 (I think we backsolved it as well)

The Scouts, 31:19:24 (Ok, we didn’t backsolve this, but it’s a meta)




Puzzle #3: Akari


Akari rules: lightbulbs light up all orthogonal straight lines until hitting a black square. Place lightbulbs in some white squares such that all white squares are lit up. Lightbulbs cannot light up each other. Furthermore numbers indicate the number of orthogonally adjacent lightbulbs.

Counties that share a name with a U.S. President

Importantly, this is not counties named after a president. (For example, all of the Clinton counties were named a long time ago, either after DeWitt Clinton or George Clinton. This is generally true for the more recent presidents.)

I guess this blog will just host a miscellany of things now.

Mystery Hunt 2016

Spoilers below. Supposedly we came in 9th, which appears to be roughly in the ballpark of where Galactic Trendsetters normally gets (so around the second tier of teams who probably won’t win the hunt but might get reasonably “close” for some definition of close). I actually do want to win the hunt at some point though (preferably with this team). Being involved in the creation of a hunt sounds fun, if a ton of work. (However, unless we magically become significantly better, such a win is pretty much contingent on the at least 5-6 teams a tier above to not want to win the hunt (which apparently is very much a thing for winning teams a year or two after they host).)

Continue reading

Puzzlehunt released!

You can go do some puzzles here.

Puzzle 2 – Suraromu

Following the tradition of being too lazy to recodify rules, are the rules, don’t worry that Slalom != Suraromu, they are the same puzzle type.

Basically: Dotted lines are gates. You must go through each gate perpendicular to them. Numbered gates must be traversed in that order, i.e. the gate marked 3 is to be traversed third, starting and ending at the circled number. (the direction is up to your interpretation) The number in the circle indicates the total number of gates for convenience.


This is more of a proof of concept than a legitimately hard puzzle. This construction however proves that Suraromu is NP-complete though. Also very belated Pi Day imagery? Difficulty: Pretty easy.

(Spoiler: The heart of the puzzle is isomorphic to finding a Hamiltonian cycle in the trianglar prism graph, provided that you have to go through two particular edges.)

EDIT: Darn, I totally failed to capitalize on making the two gates 3-3 and 14-14. (antisymmetric pattern). Edited it slightly but it doesn’t affect anything besides aesthetics. If you’re an unlucky subscriber, you can count this one solved if you solved it through email.

Puzzle 1 – Heyawake

At first you’re like: hey look, a new post!!!

But then your reaction is either one of the following:

A) Darn, it’s a puzzle. I wanted a wall of text!

B) I like puzzles. Darn, this puzzle sucks/is too easy/whatever.

C) I like this puzzle. Darn, he’s not going to make them regularly.

Oh well, I can’t please anyone. (And yes, I can’t really crank out puzzles regularly.)

Puzzle 1

Puzzle 1

This is a Heyawake. Color small squares black or white such that:

  • Rule 1: Painted cells may never be orthogonally connected (they may not share a side, although they can touch diagonally).
  • Rule 2: All white cells must be interconnected (form a single polynomino).
  • Rule 3: A number indicates exactly how many painted cells there must be in that particular room.
  • Rule 4: A room which has no number may contain any number of painted cells, or none.
  • Rule 5: Where a straight (orthogonal) line of connected white cells is formed, it must not contain cells from more than two rooms—in other words, any such line of white cells which connects three or more rooms is forbidden.

(Source: Wikipedia, accessed 03-28-15)

Difficulty: Easy-Medium? Sounds like a good difficulty to start off with.

I will note that I did not have to specify every single number. (Random extra: figure out which boxes could remain unspecified!) But I did it anyway, because I’m nice, and it would look weird without those numbers.


EDIT: Speak of the devil, of course there was going to be something wrong with the puzzle. Fixed one part which makes the puzzle not have a contradiction, specifically the 1 in the room left of the center room is now a 3.