Archive for the ‘Best Of …’ Category:

Best of 2019: Number Placement Puzzles

Here are our best Number Placement puzzles of 2019, selected from the 35 web posts in this category based on your FAVE votes:

We had a “pair” of Kakuro puzzles that were both on the higher end of the list for 2019 (admittedly the “pair” was more of an editorial connection given similar grid shapes but different solving paths; both were great puzzles and posted on back-to-back days). The second of the pair was this Nonconsecutive Kakuro from Grant Fikes that was a Sunday bonus for our subscribers. (Note: we are beginning to organize all of our web bonus puzzles into a new book so that those who missed these puzzles from 2014-2019 can see what they missed.)

Kakuro by Grant Fikes

In terms of variety Number Placement styles, this Smashed Sums by Michael Tang with a Binary theme got top marks. It is a great example of our “Grandmaster Puzzles” style: a compelling visual theme that also leads to a satisfying logical solve.

Smashed Sums by Michael Tang

We really enjoy TomTom puzzles and two TomToms from our contributing puzzlemasters stood out this year. Both highlighted reusing a small number of clue values to create an interesting solving path. Ashish Kumar brought us this “Three Thirty” TomTom where if you can solve the puzzle that fast you’d be breaking our grandmaster time.

TomTom by Ashish Kumar

Murat Can Tonta brought us this “Jackpot” TomTom with all sevens to sort out, and a lot of top votes to make it our second favorite in this category.

TomTom by Murat Can Tonta

Overall, our best Number Placement puzzle of 2019 was this Kakuro also from Murat Can Tonta, with a similar pattern to the first puzzle on this list and a challenging but fun solving path.

Kakuro by Murat Can Tonta

All of these best Number Placement puzzles are collected in this PDF file.

Best of 2019: Region Division Puzzles

Here are our best Region Division puzzles of 2019, selected from the 45 web posts in this category based on your FAVE votes:

We had two favorite Pentominous (Borders) puzzles. The first, from Murat Can Tonta, was an amazingly beautiful 12-clue puzzle with each pentomino letter appearing in “Alphabetical Order” in the grid. That this solves uniquely as a Pentominous puzzle is a true grandmaster’s touch.

Pentominous by Murat Can Tonta

The other Pentominous (Borders) that was a best of 2019 was from Grant Fikes, and had a more involved logical solve that went around the grid.

Pentominous by Grant Fikes

Guest contributor Michael Tang brought our favorite Cave puzzle of 2019 with another fun logical solving theme to discover.

Cave by Michael Tang

We had a few surprises in store last year, including a hidden January connection to the 2019 MIT Mystery Hunt when some Fillomino (Cipher) puzzles by Tim Marsden (anagrams to Mastermind) were posted in January. These puzzles were actually by Dan Katz, and linked as a final step in another puzzle, Connect Four, from that Hunt. This hardest Cipher puzzle, with full top and bottom rows, was a favorite of 2019.

Fillomino (Cipher) by Tim Marsden

Overall, our best region division puzzle of 2019 went to John Bulten’s Fillomino with some trademark Bulten-Aha moments to go from a seemingly impossible puzzle to something with a logical path.

Fillomino by John Bulten

All of these best Region Division puzzles are collected in this PDF file.

Best of 2019: Object Placement Puzzles

Here are our best Object Placement puzzles of 2019, selected from the 38 web posts in this category based on your FAVE votes:

Our first favorite puzzle was a bonus for our subscribers, a Star Battle from Murat Can Tonta with four interacting T’s framing the grid. (We are beginning to organize all of our web bonus puzzles into a new book so that those who missed these puzzles from 2014-2019 can see what they missed.)

Star Battle by Murat Can Tonta

Our next favorite puzzle came from Ashish Kumar, the most recent puzzlemaster to join the team. It combined Minesweeper and Battleship logic and required some outside of the box thinking.

Battleship Minesweeper by Ashish Kumar

For some reason I don’t fully understand, pi-themed puzzles are always popular on the site. Serkan Yürekli brought out a Digital Battleships puzzle that used the first 100 digits of pi and a nice series of outside clues to limit the grid.

Digital Battleships by Serkan Yürekli

Our top two puzzles both used the theme of “two” in different creative ways. Guest contributor Bryce Herdt made this challenging Pentopia puzzle with only two-way straight arrows as clues.

Pentopia by Bryce Herdt

Leading to our best object placement puzzle of 2019, this quite unusual and very logically interesting Battleships puzzle by John Bulten.

Battleships by John Bulten

All of these best Object Placement puzzles are collected in this PDF file.

Best of 2019: Sudoku Puzzles

Here are our best Sudoku puzzles of 2019, selected from the 31 web posts in this category:

Our first favorite puzzle was a very nicely themed Killer Sudoku by Serkan Yürekli with a rocket theme and a visual countdown in the grid.

Killer Sudoku by Serkan Yürekli

Guest contributor Chris Green put together a paired set of Tight Fit Sudoku with a really interesting challenge that stretched the way you tend to think about this style.

Tight Fit Sudoku by Chris Green

Our next two top Sudoku are both clueless varieties. First, from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku, is this clueless Arrow Sudoku.

Arrow Sudoku by Thomas Snyder

Ashish Kumar made a clueless Thermo-Sudoku in preparation for the World Puzzle Championship that was also one of our top puzzles.

Thermo-Sudoku by Ashish Kumar

But the overall best sudoku of 2019 goes to an unusual puzzle which was a Birthday Surprise Sudoku from Prasanna Seshadri that was a nearly perfect puzzle for his 28th birthday.

Birthday Surprise Sudoku by Prasanna Seshadri

All of these best Sudoku puzzles are collected in this PDF file.

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