For the last couple weeks Sunday has been a day where we’ve seen a huge increase in page views, strictly because a new hint was released for the site’s first Hidden Contest. This led a few dedicated solvers to scour the site again looking for something out of place.
This Hidden Contest was an experiment in having “other” puzzle styles here; I’m a huge fan of puzzle hunts and secret codes and the like and was curious to see if my more observant solvers would catch onto something odd.
For this contest, the “something odd” was tied to each of the posted puzzles. The information needed for the contest was hidden in the filename of each puzzle (in both the .png and .pdf). Specifically, every puzzle posted in the first 60 had an extra four character string at the end of the filename. The first 6 puzzles, for example, were “GM-Sudoku1-Erbx”, “GM-TomTom1-lknM”, “GM-Sudoku2-zrAk”, “GM-TomTom2-Itrg”, “GM-Sudoku3-gpfL”, “GM-TomTom3-rAqv”.
Once the solvers’ attention is drawn to these extra characters, they should notice exactly one is capitalized in each puzzle name. These letters spell “EMAIL A PUZZLE TO HIDDEN CONTEST AT GMPUZZLES DOT COM THE FIRST THREE WIN”
We’ve now received four submissions, and will be giving a prize of a puzzle book to each of them despite the official count of “three” given in the message. One of our goals with the contest was to start encouraging interesting puzzle submissions to this site and each puzzle submitted by a contest winner was of very high quality.
The overall winner was FoxFireX. He was the first to communicate to me by email that he’d intuited that the initial contest announcement was for a “hidden contest”, but it took some time (and some of the Sunday hints here) before he caught on to where the contest was. He submitted a very cool sudoku he’d written as a gift for a family member’s birthday.
The other correct submissions, in order, were from Bryce Herdt, Giovanni P., and Scott Handelman. Their three puzzles will appear later today as our first Sunday Surprises. While this contest is now over, some more contests will certainly come in the future. Some will be announced, and others unannounced; we hope you find all of them to be fun. Congrats to our winners, and enjoy their puzzles when they get posted later today.