Archive for the ‘Best Of …’ Category:

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.

Best of 2017: Object Placement Puzzles

Here are our best Object Placement puzzles of 2017, selected from the 17 posts over the year. While this style did not feature as often as others in 2017, it includes our runaway vote winner for Puzzle of the Year.

One of the best object placement puzzles of this year was a gem that only our patrons got to see. Murat Can Tonta, practicing the art of Statue Park, made a memorable antisymmetric puzzle. If you want to see all our web puzzles, subscribe to GMPuzzles.

This Battleships by Thomas Snyder was not necessarily meant to have a long shelf life — it was constructed for one specific day — but our solvers enjoyed it and gave it several FAVEs to make the top list.

Battleships by Thomas Snyder

The best Object Placement puzzle of the year, and also the overall Best Puzzle of the year, goes to this Star Battle by Thomas Snyder, originally for the US Puzzle Grand Prix that Dr. Sudoku authored. The frame in the grid leads to a fun logical solving path in a medium-difficulty puzzle.

Star Battle by Thomas Snyder

Best of 2017: Loop/Path Puzzles

Here are our best Loop/Path puzzles of 2017, a style which was featured in 30 posts in 2017.

Puzzlemaster Murat Can Tonta brought us our first top loop puzzle, a Yajlin, with a fun logical solving path.

Yajilin by Murat Can Tonta

Guest contributor Walker Anderson picked up his third “best of…” award with this easy and elegant Slitherlink.

Slitherlink by Walker Anderson

The best “Loop” puzzle of 2017 pulled out a lot of the stops, as a super-sized combination of four different styles. Those solvers who were able to find their way to the final solution of this 4-Way Loop by Serkan Yürekli surely felt rewarded for the experience.

Four-Way Loop by Serkan Yürekli

Best of 2017: Shading Puzzles

Here are our best Shading puzzles of 2017, our most frequent category with 60 posts this past year so we’ve selected five total “Best of…” winners here.

Leading off our winners is this classic Tapa by Murat Can Tonta with a Four Squares theme.

Tapa by Murat Can Tonta

Murat brought another highly rated puzzle with this classic LITS with a patterned center.

LITS by Murat Can Tonta

However, our top three puzzles (all very close in votes) were minor variations on shading styles. Thomas Snyder brought us this Tapa (Different) puzzle that uses 15 different 2×2 blocks in different parts of the solve.

Tapa (Different) by Thomas Snyder

Tying for the best shading puzzle of 2017 is another Tapa variation, Visionary, from Tapa creator Serkan Yürekli that makes you look beyond the normal box to make progress.

Tapa (Visionary) by Serkan Yürekli

The other puzzle tied for Best Shading Puzzle was a challenging Nurikabe by John Bulten where instead of the usual 2×2 rule in a lot of our shading puzzles, there was a no five in a line rule.

Nurikabe (Line) by John Bulten