Season 2 – Free Preview Week

We’re kicking off 2024 with the start of Season 2 of our subscription blog releases. This next week will be a free preview of what a subscription week is like. From Monday to Saturday there are 2 daily puzzles, starting with a warm-up puzzle on the easier end and then a regular puzzle (scaling difficulty through the week). We’ll also have something different for you each Sunday, either a larger or harder puzzle, experiments with new genres, and other things. All puzzles have digital solving options and PDF files, as well as solution animations to help you understand steps where you might get stuck.

The schedule for the free preview week is:
Monday: TomTom
Tuesday: LITS
Wednesday: Numberlink
Thursday: Star Battle (Hidden Double)
Friday: Consecutive Pairs Sudoku
Saturday: Araf
Sunday: Rossini Sudoku

Starting next Monday, we will have 12 more weeks of puzzles for our Season 2 subscribers, running from February through to the end of April. We encourage you to sign up early, as subscriptions to Season 2 will be discounted to $10 through the end of February (the $2 discount taken automatically in the cart).

Also, we’re discounting the original Season 1 to just $8 (from $10) for people who missed our first exciting season. New subscribers to Season 1 will immediately be able to get access to the 175+ puzzles, but without the same active discussion that happened when the puzzles first posted.

GMPuzzles plan for (early) 2024

2023 was a busy year for us at GMPuzzles, even if it didn’t always seem obvious from our publishing schedule. Setting up a new method to have a blog subscription service took some time, and we had a successful first season of web content and a good response to our new Discord platform for puzzle discussion for subscribers. We exceeded our first goal for subscriber numbers, but still need many more to make this a self-sustaining product. We also put together the World Sudoku and Puzzle Championships, which was a very rewarding experience although it took a lot of energy that we’re just now slowly getting back.

In 2024, we are going to continue the focus on subscription seasons as our main effort. This week we’re posting the last (delayed) week of Season 1 for subscribers; if you don’t see those puzzles but expect you should, please login again to the site using the subscriber login link at the top.

Then later in January when we have some site updates ready, we will have a preview week for the start of Season 2, free for everyone on the blog, which will show how we’re using warm-up puzzles, regular puzzles, hints and walkthroughs, new Sunday content, and Discord to make an interesting subscriber experience. After that Season 2 will begin and we’ll see how the 2024 plan evolves from there with the current goal for Season 3 to start two weeks after the end of Season 2. This allows us a break after 12 weeks of puzzles for some improvements to be implemented.

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In more personal news, many of you know that 2023 was a year I took off from working in science (and having cell phones interrupt me and other things) as I was focusing on my mental health and recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder. While I’ve learned a lot by reading textbooks about mental illness or memoirs written by people with mental illness, I’ve also learned that I can’t outthink my bipolar disorder and need to be diligent in watching my sleep, stress levels, and taking medication to stay healthy. My focus in 2024 is going to continue to be on my health and on reconnecting with science/bigger mission. So this year I’m going to be having a much diminished role in puzzles, including here. The GMPuzzles team led by Serkan has already started to take over web-posting and other tasks that I had done for 11+ years, and I am very happy to have their support so that we can continue to deliver great puzzles to you without any change in quality.

WSC/WPC puzzles – now available for purchase

We hope you enjoyed our two weeks covering the playoff puzzles from the 16th World Sudoku Championship and 30th World Puzzle Championship. Click these links for a single file PDF of the WSC playoff and WPC playoff.

These puzzles are just a small part of the championship though and those PDF file sets can now be purchased on our e-store. Check out the 30th WPC (November, 2023) and
61. 16th WSC puzzle sets in our store.

WPC Region Division Mini-Playoff 1/3: Cave by Thomas Snyder

The 30th World Puzzle Championship had five “mini-playoffs” to determine the top solvers in five different genres. Today we’ll be releasing the Region Division puzzles starting with this Cave Puzzle by Thomas Snyder with theme involving many ascending series.

Cave by Thomas Snyder

PDF

or solve online (using our beta test of Penpa-Edit tools; use tab to shift between shading mode and the linex mode where left click+drag draws lines and right click marks X’s)

Author/Opus: This is the 460th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: Standard Cave rules.

Estimated Difficulty: 2.5 stars

Solution: PDF for all Region Division playoff puzzles.

Note: Follow this link for classic Caves and this link for Cave variations. If you are new to this puzzle type, here are our easiest Cave Puzzles to get started on. More Cave puzzles can be found in these books in our e-store.

WPC Object Placement Mini-Playoff 2/3: Battleships by Thomas Snyder

The Object Placement playoffs continued with this Battleships puzzle by Thomas Snyder with a symmetric pattern of sea clues.

Battleships by Thomas Snyder

PDF

or solve online (using our beta test of Penpa-Edit tools; use tab to alternate between ship placement and shading modes. In ship placement mode, right click gives sea, left click gives circle/square, left click and drag for rounded ships.)

Author/Opus: This is the 459th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: Standard Battleships rules. Use the indicated fleet.

Estimated Difficulty: 2 stars

Solution: PDF for all Object Placement playoff puzzles.

Note: Follow this link for classic Battleships and this link for Battleships variations. If you are new to this puzzle type, here are our easiest Battleships to get started on. More Battleships puzzles can be found in Battleships and Variations, in The Art of Puzzles, and in our beginner-friendly collection Intro to GMPuzzles by Serkan Yürekli.

WPC Number Placement Mini-Playoff 1/3: TomTom by Thomas Snyder

The 30th World Puzzle Championship had five “mini-playoffs” to determine the top solvers in five different genres. The puzzles were designed to be on the easier side, able to be solved in marker on an easel, and sometimes themed with “trophy” shapes or important championship numbers like 30 and 23. Today we’ll be releasing the Number Placement puzzles starting with this TomTom puzzle by Thomas Snyder.

TomTom by Thomas Snyder

PDF

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

Author/Opus: This is the 458th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: Standard TomTom rules, using the integers 1-6.

Estimated Difficulty: 2-2.5 stars

Solution: PDF for all Number Placement playoff puzzles.

Note: Follow this link for classic TomTom and this link for TomTom variations. If you are new to this puzzle type, here are our easiest TomTom to get started on. More TomTom puzzles can be found in these books in our e-store.

WSC Playoff Puzzle 10/10: Sudoku by Thomas Snyder

The final puzzle for the World Sudoku Championship playoffs is a tricky classic Sudoku with a trophy theme by Thomas Snyder. It was designed to have a narrow solving path at the sticking point, although speed solvers might choose to “bifurcate” to go faster as happened in the competition.

Sudoku by Thomas Snyder

PDF

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

Theme: Trophy

Author/Opus: This is the 457th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: Standard Sudoku rules.

Estimated Difficulty: 3.5 stars

Solution: PDF for all playoff puzzles.

Note: Follow this link for other classic Sudoku. If you are new to this puzzle type, here are our easiest Sudoku to get started on. More Sudoku including variations can be found in these books in our e-store.

WSC Playoff Puzzle 8/10: Isodoku by Thomas Snyder

The eighth playoff puzzle for the World Sudoku Championship playoffs, reflecting the unusual grids of the “Grid-Breaking” round, is this Isodoku by Thomas Snyder.

Isodoku by Thomas Snyder

PDF

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

Author/Opus: This is the 456th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: Standard Isodoku rules, using numbers 1-8.

Estimated Difficulty: 2.5 stars

Solution: PDF for all playoff puzzles.

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

WSC Playoff Puzzle 7/10: Outside Sudoku by Thomas Snyder

Our World Sudoku Championship playoffs puzzle series continues with this “16”-themed Outside Sudoku by Thomas Snyder.

Outside Sudoku by Thomas Snyder

PDF

or solve online (using our beta test of Penpa-Edit tools; use tab to alternate between Sudoku entry modes and a shading mode to mark off clues.)

Theme: 16th WSC

Author/Opus: This is the 455th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: Standard Outside Sudoku rules: Insert a number from 1 to 9 into each cell so that no number repeats in any row, column, or bold region. Some numbers are given outside the grid. These numbers must appear in the first three cells in the corresponding direction.

Estimated Difficulty: 2.5-3 stars

Solution: PDF for all playoff puzzles.

Note: Follow this link for more Outside Sudoku puzzles. More Outside Sudoku puzzles can be found in Masterpiece Sudoku Mix 4.

WSC Playoff Puzzle 4/10: Diagonal Sudoku by Thomas Snyder

The fourth World Sudoku Championship playoff puzzle was this Diagonal Sudoku from Thomas Snyder with a “16” theme. All the playoff puzzles represented different themed sudoku rounds and this one represented the Extra Toppings round with extra-region-type constraints.

Diagonal Sudoku by Thomas Snyder

PDF

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

Theme: 16th WSC

Author/Opus: This is the 454th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: Standard Sudoku rules. Also, numbers cannot repeat on the marked diagonals.

Estimated Difficulty: 2.5-3 stars

Solution: PDF for all playoff puzzles.

Note: Follow this link for more variations of Sudoku.