Archive for the ‘Best Of …’ Category:

Best of 2020: Region Division Puzzles

Here are our best Region Division puzzles of 2020, in chronological order, selected from the 31 web posts in this category based on FAVE votes, web comments, and tester comments. All of these puzzles are gathered in this PDF file.

The Saturday challenge from our first week of web puzzles was a delightful Fillomino puzzle from guest contributor Elyot Grant.

As we reached the end of June, we posted what was one of the highest rated (and also fairly hard) puzzles of the whole year: a Pentominous by JinHoo Ahn, another guest contributor who surprised us with a lot of great submissions this year.

Puzzlemaster Prasanna Seshadri shared an Araf puzzle with different clusters of small and big numbers and a very elegant logical solving path.

November included a really great Cave puzzle from William Hu, with a beautiful all odd theme and clever logic to be found on the solving path.

And our last post of 2020 also got a good response from our solvers and closes out this Best of set: this Fillomino (Checkered) variation by Jonas Gleim.

Best of 2020: Loop/Path Puzzles

Here are our best Loop/Path puzzles of 2020, in chronological order, selected from the 26 web posts in this category based on FAVE votes, web comments, and tester comments. All of these puzzles are gathered in this PDF file.

A lot of our early puzzles as we were relaunching the website got a good number of FAVE votes. And we seemed to start out strong with this first regular post: an antisymmetric no-numbers Balance Loop by Murat Can Tonta.

Murat had another favorite puzzle with this “Parallel Universes” Slitherlink with an interesting logical path around the grid.

Serkan Yürekli put a little uncertainty into this Slitherlink variation with several missing numbers that must fulfill Sudoku-like constraints. The logical challenge got a lot of favorable comments.

Serkan delighted us again in September with a visually beautiful Snake (Cipher) puzzle that announces itself on the outside of the grid.

Our final best Loop/Path puzzle of 2020 comes from this November post from Tom Collyer, who focused on some less common patterns to give us a really challenging Slitherlink.

Best of 2019: Loop/Path Puzzles

Here are our best Loop/Path puzzles of 2019, selected from the 42 web posts in this category based on your FAVE votes:

A couple of our “Best of” in this category are variety puzzles, starting with this loop + word puzzle combination O’utcast from Serkan Yürekli.

Guest contributor Bryce Herdt created a quite unusual Castle Wall puzzle that got a fair number of FAVE votes.

Another guest contributor, Joseph Howard, put together this challenging Yajilin variation with some “false” clues that might be covered up. The solvers who found their way to end enjoyed the journey.

Another Castle Wall, this one by Murat Can Tonta, was our second best in this category, with a noteworthy solving path if you can find it.

The best Loop/Path puzzle of 2019, and also the top vote getter across all categories as the best puzzle of 2019, is an absolutely crazy variation by Yuki Kawabe. It combines some shading, object placement, and snake path genres into a hybrid called SSS (Sundoku Snake Shape).

All of these best Loop/Path puzzles are collected in this PDF file.

Here are our best Shading puzzles of 2019, selected from the 41 web posts in this category based on your FAVE votes:

Our first best shading puzzle of 2019 is actually two puzzles. As part of his debut week at GMPuzzles, Ashish Kumar created a set of puzzles that each had two different solving options from the same clues. With some help from editor (becoming co-author) Thomas Snyder, this Kurotto (and Cave) came together really well and got a lot of favorite votes.

Many of our “best of” puzzles get attention due to unusual clues and fun Aha moments, and the center of this Nanro by John Bulten certainly fits that description.

John Bulten also was the author behind this favorite LITS puzzle with a Pi theme and a fun easter egg for our regular solvers.

Our top two were both Tapa puzzles of different forms by Murat Can Tonta. This Tapa (Regional) puzzle combined some different ways of thinking about clues in a clever and challenging package.

And our Best Shading puzzle of 2019 was this classic Tapa by Murat. While on the easier end (usually our top vote getters are very difficult puzzles), the visual theme and smooth solve stood out for our voters.

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

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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

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