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Doctor’s Note: Update on our solving videos

Hi all,

I wanted to share some updates and other thoughts about our solving videos.

1) We have historically released the videos one day after the puzzles are released and still think this is the most rewarding approach so the earliest solvers can’t get help right away on a tough challenge. But we have been putting the updated links on the original posts the next day which make them hard to schedule and requires daily site maintenance. We will now instead be posting the solutions on the following day’s puzzle, but with quick links to those posts for people in the future to find.

2) Also, we are starting to get some other people making these solving videos and not just me. Yes, they will need some (helpful) feedback about microphones and clarity of words and pace of speech and other things, so please be constructive in your comments and not just complain. We’re all trying to share the language of puzzles and even if the words fail to be perfect in a video, the visual images should be enough to help guide you on where to look and potentially how to think to get to the next steps. That the language of a logic puzzle does not need any “English” is what excites me so much in communicating through puzzles.

3) Finally, if you are interested yourself to eventually become a presenter of solution videos for GMPuzzles, please feel free to reach out here. One great way to officially “apply” for this kind of job is to film a video for any of our puzzles that currently don’t have one. If they are good enough, we’ll add that video to our official post and channel and may consider adding you to the GMPuzzles team to do these videos more regularly. There are a lot of others using twitch or YouTube to make solution videos so the standards already out there, people using OBS or other streaming tools to make videos, is our starting point. Not where I was at in 2014 when I made the first video with just a cell phone camera and shaky video and bad lighting. I’ve enjoyed learning how to make more compelling videos without needing an editor and expect some of you might as well so I’m here to help.

Cheers,
Thomas

Sunday Update and Solutions

First, thanks again for all your thoughts and words of love as I’ve been working through my mental health (see past post here). I continue to feel better, but have been very disconnected from work and taking long hikes and walks and talking with friends and taking medication so I should be getting better. I don’t know if I’ve stabilized, but I did begin to apply the scientific method to analyse my breakdown and share it with the world and if you are struggling with things there may be some interesting ideas in this long video.

Our past week of Kakuro puzzles is in this PDF and the solutions are in this PDF. More Kakuro puzzles can be found in these books in our store.

The daily solution videos are on the posts and linked below:

The next week of puzzles will feature Statue Park puzzles with several great classic puzzles and a few variations. There will also be a challenging Sunday Stumper a week from today.

Update on Penpa-Edit

We just uploaded a new version of Penpa-Edit tools to the site. The major update with this version is the presence of solve histories which you can also share with others using the “share” button and then “Replay URL” choice. Here is an example link of me doing the Monday Kakuro puzzle. In Solve Path mode it will go through one entry step at a time and at uniform speed. In Live Replay mode, provided you had the clock on, it will show the exact timing of all entries and make the long thinking moments more obvious too. We’re still exploring this feature and don’t yet have an intention to have this replace our solving videos but think the ability to store and share your own solving paths will be neat.

There were also some minor fixes and other improvements that were part of this update. Please share any thought/feedback here as you begin to use the latest version of Penpa-Edit.

Sunday Update and Solutions

Our past variety week featuring the six styles in Grandmaster Puzzles Quarterly 3 is gathered in this PDF and the solutions are in this PDF. We will be releasing GPQ3 in a few more weeks.

The daily solution videos (including one from Cracking the Cryptic) are on the posts and linked below:

The next week of puzzles will feature Kakuro, with three classic puzzles and three variations. We will also have a Penpa-Edit tools update to introduce solution tracking / playback features (more details to come) as well as more details on Dr. Sudoku including a fundraising drive for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Dear GMPuzzles Family,

I haven’t been able to share more details with you on my mental health recently (not mental illness, although the first being in bad shape can lead to the other!). I wanted to give you all this update, possibly more to come later, as you all watch out for the site and for me.

Over my life, I have managed what I have called hypomanic states that can include (short) bursts of high productivity, creativity, the need to do extensive walking or running to control one’s thoughts, and diminished sleep. This past week, starting ~March 13th and provoked primarily from stresses at my scientific work, was the first time I had a full on manic episode that built over 3-4 days, including the release of an unusual amount of ideas in raw/vocal and short/tweeted form from usually dormant accounts. Over March 17th-20th, for reasons I won’t share here although they don’t involve self hurt/harm or trying to hurt/harm others, I was confined to a psychiatric ward in San Mateo for 72 hours of evaluation. I received both individual and group therapy, and have started to get better but am not yet well. Today, I was released from that facility and have my best friend watching out for me as I get resettled in my San Bruno home. I have an on-going treatment plan including on-going outpatient group/individual therapy and medications that I will be managing.

Most of the above is considered my protected health information, but I am openly sharing it because the discussion of mental health is very poor in the United States and possibly across the world. I’m not interested in hiding what I just went through, but learning more about it and making sure it doesn’t happen again to me and by proxy to others struggling with the borderline of hypomanic and manic states.

Over the coming weeks I will mostly be recuperating, and helping GMPuzzles a bit will be part of my recovery. This business is not profitable yet, but I view it as a big contribution back towards mental health given the numerous other authors and puzzle solvers who find comfort in the logic we put into the world each day. A community of both authors and solvers who may be on the autism spectrum or have dealt with depression, suicidal thoughts, or other challenging things, but been appropriately cautious to share them externally. I’m hopeful that in the coming weeks the visibility of my mental break will help us update how we all try to communicate together, by talking to people rather than talking at people, at least until we understand where they may be coming from.

I will probably be moving all of this discussion forward in other channels like my LinkedIn and not in our puzzle feed so you do not need to engage further if you do not want to.

Thanks for all your thoughts and support through the years but particularly these last few days,
Thomas (aka Dr. Sudoku)

Edited to add: Also see these videos: video 1 and video 2 for a little more commentary about where my head is at.

Edited again to add: Here is a self-contained video analyzing the week of the breakdown, some aspects of how I track my mental health, and more.

Sunday Update and Solutions

Our past Tapa-Like Loop week is gathered in this PDF and the solutions are in this PDF. More Tapa-Like Loop puzzles can be found here.

The daily solution videos are on the posts and linked below:

The next week of puzzles will be a variety mix in six different styles. All of these styles are part of the third issue of our Grandmaster Puzzles Quarterly series being completed soon.

Sunday Update and Solutions

Our past Araf week is gathered in this PDF and the solutions are in this PDF. More Araf puzzles can be found here.

The daily solution videos are on the posts and linked below:

The next week of puzzles will feature Tapa-Like Loop.