From the Foxger’s Den #38: Skyscrapers

Skyscrapers by Grant Fikes


or solve online (using our beta test of Penpa-Edit tools)

Theme: Symmetry and Logic

Rules: Standard Skyscrapers rules.

Answer String: Enter the 1st row from left to right, followed by a comma, followed by the 4th column from top to bottom.

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 0:40, Master = 1:00, Expert = 2:00

Solution: PDF

  • TheSubro says:

    I look forward to a nice week of skyscrapers. Thx.


    p.s. I ran through this into one in 1:24. No big deal. It does however compel me to share a comment that has been running around in my head for some time now. The Art of Puzzles was always the place (along with MellowMelon’s and a few others) where you could find well-crafted puzzles that made you just go “hmm” – from the solving path and/or their attractive appearance. Nowadays, it seems to all be about the time. It is as much the fault of the solver (in other words, my fault) as it is about the puzzle community’s. Would you ever see a clock on a restaurant website, or diners declaring “how fast they ate a great meal?” Of course not. And, other than Nathan’s hot dog eating contests, I get it that food is not a speed thing. At the same time the constant focus in the puzzle community on speed tends to push all of us to try to solve each of these puzzles as fast as possible, which has become for me at times not the most enjoyable way to solve these treats. Again, I get it that it is my fault as the solver, I guess I just feel a great deal of personal pressure and male machismo puzzle community peer pressure to compete each time. Not asking you or anyone else to do anything about it, just wondering if others feel torn as I do? Thanks. TheSubro

    • Avatar photo Grant Fikes says:

      Thomas Snyder has divulged that trying to solve a puzzle as quickly as possible does not prevent him from appreciating the artisanal qualities of said puzzle. This is convenient, because he can estimate the solving times of my puzzles and judge their worthiness at the same time. Gourmet food is probably much different from artisanal logic puzzles in this sense, because once you’ve eaten it, it’s gone, and your taste buds no longer have a chance to take it in, whereas with a puzzle, you can analyze it even after solving it if you have to.

      In any event, solve these puzzles at the pace that works for you. 🙂

      • Aaron Chan says:

        I don’t feel the dichotomy that you do, at least not on this website. Partly it’s because I never went for time when I am leisure solving. I despise using either bifurcation or uniqueness (with certain exceptions like Numberlink, weird mutants, or if I am really, really stuck), and I am fully aware that these tendencies will automatically make my time suboptimal.

    • Avatar photo drsudoku says:

      I do not have current plans to put solving times into our books — just our website puzzles — so you can stop and smell the roses without worrying about the clock when The Art of Puzzles comes out.

      Having hidden the times, I don’t know what else to do short of removing any difficulty rating to minimize your feelings of “guilt” or “pressure” which I do not intend to cause. I at least hope these puzzles still make you go “hmm” from time to time.

  • I feel a similar tension about solving speed vs enjoyment, not as totally distinct things, but solving for the fastest possible time definitely decreases enjoyment, and solving for the maximum enjoyment definitely increases my times (similarly to Aaron, I’ll refuse to bifurcate or use uniqueness when I’m hunting for enjoyment).

    Here, I tend to solve puzzles that look more “routine” aiming for the fastest possible time (like this one), but usually won’t use a stopwatch or anything, and notice what I can notice about the beauty along the way, and then the harder puzzles I’ll try not to worry about time (maybe even putting them down a couple times before finishing) and see what I can learn about the design and appreciate about the beauty.

  • Badir says:

    Okay, this is months late, but I solve this problem by solving each puzzle twice! I first solve for time and then solve it again, trying to think about it the right way and appreciate everything. That’s probably why I’m still months behind on the blog!

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