Archive for the ‘Best Of …’ Category:

Best of 2018: Sudoku Puzzles

Here are our best Sudoku puzzles of 2018, selected from the 42 web posts in this category:

Visually distinctive puzzles were an important part of the top Sudoku from 2018. While posted in our last week of 2018, this Christmas Tree Sudoku by Thomas Snyder (that combines Sudoku with the popular Star Battle style) got a lot of FAVE votes in a rather short time.

Star Battle Sudoku by Thomas Snyder

While we have been avoiding “Pi” puzzles for a long time here — some of us assert there is a more fundamental mathematical constant around 6.283 — having some new editors involved on the web led to our first full week of “Pi” puzzles in March and some others later in the year. Two Pi sudoku stood out including this Consecutive Sudoku from guest contributor Fatih Kamer Anda.

Consecutive Sudoku by Fatih Kamer Anda

Another prize goes out to an Arrow Sudoku from Murat Can Tonta.

Arrow Sudoku by Murat Can Tonta

The best sudoku of 2018 goes to another Pi-themed puzzle, a Thermo-Sudoku by Serkan Yürekli with an incredibly elegant arrangement of its givens that still leads to a fundamentally interesting logical solve.

Thermo-Sudoku by Serkan Yürekli

Best of 2018: Number Placement Puzzles

Here are our best Number Placement puzzles of 2018, selected from the 50 web posts in this category:

We haven’t had many puzzles from Palmer Mebane recently (in part it seems he mostly constructs for World Puzzle Championship preparation), but this WPC prep puzzle — Skyscrapers (with Sum Baskets) — has a very elegant logical solving path that our solvers appreciated.

Skyscrapers (with Sum Baskets) by Palmer Mebane

Regular contributor and grandmaster Grant Fikes shared this Kakuro (Gapped) puzzle that also earned a good number of FAVE votes.

Kakuro by Grant Fikes

Murat Can Tonta won another best of award for this Thermo-Skyscrapers combination which, like some prior examples, avoided needing to give any given numbers to get its logical solution going. The presence of only three short thermos outside the grid was a cute new twist on this style.

Thermo-Skyscrapers by Murat Can Tonta

Our runaway winner in the category though, and the runner-up for Best Puzzle of 2018, was this TomTom (Mystery) written by Thomas Snyder as his 300th post here on the site. [Breaking third-person self reference:] While I haven’t had the chance to write as many puzzles this year, focusing more on editing, it was great to receive recognition from so many of you for this milestone puzzle.

TomTom by Thomas Snyder

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Best of 2018: Object Placement Puzzles

Here are our best Object Placement puzzles of 2018, selected from the 48 web posts in this category. This category features our puzzle of the year, and 3 of the top 7 puzzles overall! This shows us you all really like Star Battle, so we will be sure to include this in our set of new e-books for 2019:

Our first Best of Object Placement puzzle is this Statue Park from guest contributor Joseph Howard which has some very interesting logic to its solve connected to its theme of symmetric corners.

Statue Park by Joseph Howard

Serkan Yürekli won another award with this Connected Regions Star Battle, taken from his excellent Intro to GMPuzzles title which is a great way for beginners to learn about our styles.

Star Battle by Serkan Yürekli

Murat Can Tonta tied Serkan’s Star Battle with this “classic” Star Battle of his own design with a larger grid and more stars to place per region.

Star Battle by Murat Can Tonta

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The Best of Object Placement, and the Best Puzzle of 2018, went to another creative new challenge from Murat Can Tonta that allowed solvers to build their own Star Battle and then solve it. Can you JOIN ME in finding the unique answer to this extra special puzzle?

Star Battle by Murat Can Tonta

Best of 2018: Shading Puzzles

Here are our best Shading puzzles of 2018, selected from the 59 web posts in this category (our most common category, just barely). We had a lot of great Shading puzzles throughout the year and here the best choices were more closely grouped together:

2018 marked the start of Serkan Yürekli doing a lot more work editing and helping the site in other ways. One of these additions was bringing in a lot more puzzle authors including some of our youngest contributors to date. Guest contributor Yunus Emre Büyükkale received a best of prize for this 1ST-themed LITS on the site.

LITS by Yunus Emre Büyükkale

Serkan also continued sharing great puzzles including his original creation Tapa. This particular Two-focused Tapa puzzle that closed out a week with a lot of two-clue Tapa puzzles was one of our best shading puzzles of 2018.

Tapa by Serkan Yürekli

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This Outside Nanro by Carl Worth was a really fresh variation with a good solving path and earned recognition as well.

Nanro by Carl Worth

However, our best shading puzzle comes from Prasanna Seshadri with another take on the idea of Tapa and Two. Only in this “Twopa” it is that the given grid can lead to two specific answers if none of the clues have repeated shading around them.

Tapa by Prasanna Seshadri

Best of 2018: Region Division Puzzles

Here are our best Region Division puzzles of 2018, selected from the 56 web posts in this category (you’ll noticee that with our new publication schedule, the categories were more balanced in representation in 2018):

Looking across each month of posts, we find that the last couple months of the year always receive fewer votes. This isn’t that hard to understand when you consider we posted 311 puzzles in the year so some solvers will fall behind / catch up at different rates with our publishing scheduling. We take this into account by looking at relative FAVE rates towards the end of the year to identify any outliers. A few puzzles then stand out including this Spiral Galaxies with a hidden message from Grant Fikes that we posted a couple weeks ago.

Spiral Galaxies by Grant Fikes

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Two Cave puzzles received top marks this year, starting with this variation Formed Cave including pentominoes by Serkan Yürekli.

Cave by Serkan Yürekli

The other top Cave puzzle in this category comes from Murat Can Tonta where a logical theme might lead to a fun surprise at the end?

Cave by Murat Can Tonta

Our top puzzle in this category, and the 4th best of 2018 across the whole site by number of votes, comes from our “grandmaster” John Bulten who pursued another grandmaster-type theme with Chess. John probably has a few different hallmarks to his design style; one is to take a creative new theme idea and execute it to perfection. This Fillomino (Cipher) “A Novelty Against the French Defense” is a great addition to his overall body of work, which you can further explore on the web here and in collections like The Art of Puzzles 2 (just watch out for another hallmark which is high difficulty/Aha nature of the solves)

Fillomino by John Bulten

Best of 2018: Loop/Path Puzzles

Here are our best Loop/Path puzzles of 2018, selected from the 54 web posts in this category:

While we post bonus puzzles each week, only our subscribers get to solve them so it is very rare — even though these can be really great puzzles — for them to win enough votes for consideration for the Best of prizes. The challenging Roller Coaster by guest contributor Joseph Howard is the one bonus puzzle to win a Best of award for 2018.

This regional Yajilin by Murat Can Tonta got a lot praise from our solvers with an easy start that draws you into the variation style but a challenging conclusion.

Yajilin by Murat Can Tonta

Another gem from Murat Can Tonta came in the form of “Circuitous”, a large Slitherlink puzzle with no zero clues and a fun solving theme.

Slitherlink by Murat Can Tonta

But winning the category was the puzzle that posted the next day and was called an “Early candidate for puzzle of the year” by one of the commenters. This Slitherlink grid variant from Serkan Yürekli ultimately got the third most votes for all of our puzzles across genres. It is an incredibly original idea for a loop puzzle that has many of the properties of our best puzzles: visually engaging, to make you want to solve it, and then a complex and interesting logical path that rewards the time spent when you reach the solution.

Slitherlink by Serkan Yürekli

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Best of 2017: Sudoku and “Extra” Puzzles

Here are the two best Sudoku puzzles of 2017, as well as our best “Extra” puzzles. We only had 13 Sudoku posted this past year but will have many more in 2018.

One of our patrons requested this unique combination of Arrow, Shape, and Thermo-Sudoku by Prasanna Seshadri, and it was a fantastic puzzle.

Arrow Thermo-Sudoku by Prasanna Seshadri

The highest-rated Sudoku for 2017 was this challenging Killer Sudoku by Serkan Yürekli.

Killer Sudoku by Serkan Yürekli

In addition to our usual puzzles, we sometimes had larger combinations, hidden puzzles, or puzzle hunt style puzzles. Both of the below “extras” got top marks from our fans.

Prasanna returned for his usual “Birthday Surprise” on March 2nd with this combination of Yajisan-Kazusan and Tapa.

Birthday Surprise by Prasanna Seshadri

Our other best Extra puzzle was “Border Patrol” by Thomas Snyder, a puzzle hunt puzzle without any instructions.

Border Patrol by Thomas Snyder

With that, we’re done with the Best of 2017, and you can find all of the puzzles in this PDF.