TomTomTom by Thomas Snyder

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Note: This puzzle is a contest puzzle. All correctly submitted answers (in the applet below the puzzle) before November 9th will be entered into the contest drawing. Two solvers will each get a Grandmaster Puzzles/Thomas Snyder puzzle book of their choice.

TomTomTom by Thomas Snyder

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

Theme: 200th Puzzle Contest Spectacular

Author/Opus: This is the 200th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: To be determined by solver. (Edit: the full rules are now available on this post.)

Answer String: Enter the final answer as a single string of twelve capital letters.

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 20:00, Master = 35:00, Expert = 1:10:00

Solution: PDF

Note: Follow this link for classic TomTom puzzles. If you are new to this puzzle type, here are our easiest TomTom to get started on.

  • Aaron Chan says:

    Brilliant, but easier than I expected.

  • Loren says:

    Beyond Spectacular!

  • Rob says:

    That was a lot of fun, thank you and congratulations!

    Thankfully, I didn’t try to time myself. I needed three attempts to get through.

  • skynet says:

    I have completed the puzzle naq bognvarq n frg bs 10 yrggre.But I have no idea on how to make the count 12 nor any idea about the sequence it is to be entered.I am not even sure if I am doing exactly what is supposed to be done?!Is there something in the puzzle which after completion which would help me align my thinking in the right direction?

    • drsudoku says:

      Because this is a contest, I’m going to ask that you wait to receive help until the entry period closes. I’ll write up a summary then if you are still stuck.

      • skynet says:

        Thanks a lot for the reply Thomas!Hope that I don’t need to wait that far to know the answer .Yes! I will keep trying to find the solution myself but currently, I feel that I am not even close to it. If only I get an idea of making something meaningful out of the clues that I have in hand……..

  • Snazzum says:

    What an extremely enjoyable puzzle! I’m amazed at how smoothly that solved.

  • Carl says:

    Easier than I expected too.

    In this case, the way to obtain the answer made perfect sense to me. I think the reason is that in puzzles have there are only few standard ways to go from digits to letters, which can be very hard to figure out if you have never seen them before.

  • James McGowan says:


  • Jack Bross says:

    I figured out the extra rules pretty quickly, but it still took careful work to get to the end (had to restart at one point). The whole thing flows along nicely, though, and it’s a brilliantly (and tightly) constructed puzzle.

  • Tamz29 says:

    I knew how the answer key will be extracted by just looking at the puzzle.
    The process of getting to the solution was more difficult.

    • skynet says:

      It was the exact opposite for me!!! I had no difficulty solving the puzzle but getting to the answer key was the problem….I was not sure how to get the answer key…

  • Carl W says:

    I’m hugely impressed with everyone for whom this puzzle went smoothly or easier than expected. I keep thinking I’m close to having induced the additional rules, but keep finding the puzzle almost, but not completely solved. So I’m probably still really far from the correct rules.

    I may need to set this aside for a while and come back with fresh eyes.

  • DGPArtist says:

    Wow! Great puzzle Thomas. Really enjoyed it, worked out the rules pretty quickly but still made silly errors along the way. Keep up the great work!

  • Carl W says:

    OK. Fresh eyes did help. I had the right insight tonight, and yes, the correct rules and answer derivation were *much* easier than the things I had been trying.

    Thanks for the fun, Thomas!

  • FoxFireX says:

    So the email said the deadline was the 15th, but the post says the 9th. Should I continue to flail against this one with thoughts of a contest entry, or just keep at it out of pure stubbornness?

    • drsudoku says:

      Because of this mistake in the patron email, I will extend the contest to the 15th.

      • FoxFireX says:

        Even with that bit of mercy, I’m still completely lost. Doesn’t help that this is probably one of my (if not the) weakest genres. Best of luck to those who got it, and I look forward to seeing what I’m missing. 🙂

  • Michael says:

    Bit late to the party, but spectacular act of construction, even though the extraction and mechanic were relatively obvious to me. Absolutely amazing creation!

  • SS says:

    Man, I suck at meta-puzzles. I have solved the grids but am stumped on the answer key. Any subtle hints?

  • drsudoku says:

    Svir bs gur ynlref unir ahzore pyhrf. Bar qbrf abg. Jung zvtug gubfr pyhrf or?

  • SS says:

    Argh, of course!! I should have deduced that. Thanks! Gubhtu V qba’g haqrefgnaq gur zrnavat bs gur nafjre?

    • drsudoku says:

      Vg vf n cha (onfrq ba gur zhygvcyr qvzrafvbaf bs gur chmmyr) bs nabgure jbeq sbe vaqvivqhny perngvir glcrf — abg zrnag gb unir gbb zhpu qrrc zrnavat guna gung.

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