Archive for the ‘Surprise Puzzles’ Category:

Quintessence by John Bulten

(Note: this puzzle is like a Sunday Surprise with very high difficulty.)

Quintessence by John Bulten

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Theme: 14 Nisan, 2018 (Pasch 5778)

Author/Opus: This is the 45th puzzle from our contributing puzzlemaster John Bulten.

Rules: See PDF link above for complete rules as well as a solvable example by Thomas Snyder.

Answer String: The solution string is 3 words in ABC order, in all capital letters and separated by commas. (There are a total of 28 letters in this string.)

Time Standards (highlight to view): No time standard (GM time > 2hr).

Editor’s Note: The giant grid here is one of the hardest puzzles we have ever presented. If I knew in advance John wanted to make a puzzle like this, I would have said no because of the combination of so many kinds of rules, new puzzle styles, and my expectation it would take hours to solve (and it certainly does!). But there is something inspirational about the elements brought together here by John, many unexpected Ahas that will cure the headaches you’ll also get in the middle. While the giant puzzle was originally created to stand on its own, John added the four medium difficulty puzzles we posted earlier this week to introduce the four subgenres. Be sure to solve these as you prepare for this large test at the end of the week. -TS

Author’s Note: Thanks to Thomas and Grant for encouraging me to construct new puzzle types. Thanks to patron Randy Rogers for requesting 4-grid combination puzzles, which sparked this idea. Thanks to Prasanna for his giant 11/29/15, 3/2/16, and 3/2/17 puzzles, which directly inspired this puzzle. Thanks to Serkan for inventing Light and Shadow, because whenever I tried experimenting with shading puzzles I found myself trying to reinvent Light and Shadow. Thanks to Izak for inventing Surf, which has more potential than either of us realize. Thanks to God for this day. -JB

Schedule for Next Week

You can find all the slices of Pi from our most recent week of puzzles in this PDF.

This week we are featuring Pentominous, which is the style of our most recent puzzle e-book “Plenty o’ Pentominous” by Grant Fikes and Murat Can Tonta. If you enjoy this week of puzzles, please get this collection of 52 original puzzles including several 15×15 grids and one giant puzzle.

This week contains a few extras, including two extra puzzles on Friday and Saturday. There is also one easter egg hidden somewhere in this week’s puzzles which, if you find it, will tell you what word to enter here.

Master+ subscribers to the site are getting a bonus Pentominous by Thomas Snyder and a Cave (Pentominous) variation by Serkan Yürekli as well as images of the puzzle solutions. If you want to become a subscriber and get access to bonus puzzles, solutions, e-books, and other rewards, check out this page.

Hidden Puzzle by John Bulten

In honor of Kakuro’s past as Cross Sums and Cross Addition, John wanted to share this version of the puzzle with an older presentation style. This presentation may help you find a “hidden puzzle” that John left for solvers to discover.

Kakuro by John Bulten

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Author/Opus: This is the 29th puzzle from our contributing puzzlemaster John Bulten.

Answer String: Enter the fifth row and fifth column of the hidden puzzle solution in standard format, separating the entries with a comma.

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 2:00, Master = 3:30, Expert = 7:00

Birthday Surprise Puzzle by Prasanna Seshadri

(Note: This bonus puzzle is at a Saturday+ difficulty, and is being posted today to mark the occasion of Prasanna’s birthday.)

Birthday Surprise by Prasanna Seshadri

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Theme: 26 on 03/02

Author/Opus: This is the 152nd puzzle from our contributing puzzlemaster Prasanna Seshadri.

Rules: This puzzle combines Yajisan-Kazusan with Tapa with additional rules.

Left grid = Yajisan-Kazusan (No 2×2): Shade some cells black so that all unshaded number and arrow clues indicate the exact count of shaded cells in the given direction (all counts extend through gaps in the grid). Shaded cells cannot share an edge, and all white cells must remain connected as part of a single contiguous group. It is allowed to shade over some of the numbered cells; a shaded over clue may or may not be true. Also, no 2×2 area inside the grid can be fully white.

Right grid = Tapa: Shade some empty cells black to create a single connected wall. Numbers in a cell indicate the length of consecutive shaded blocks in the neighboring cells. If there is more than one number in a cell, then there must be at least one white (unshaded) cell between the black cell groups. Cells with numbers cannot be shaded, and the shaded cells cannot form a 2×2 square anywhere in the grid.

Additional rule 1: Clues in the middle of the grids indicate the sum or the difference of the number of shaded cells in that row between the grids (possibly both).

Additional rule 2: The shading of the green outlined regions is equivalent in the two grids in the shared cells (if the cell labeled “A” in the illustration below is shaded in one grid it must be shaded in both grids). Note that the 3 and 2 share all locations except for the bottom vertical stem of the numbers which is shifted.

Answer String: For each marked row, enter the length in cells of each of the unshaded segments from left to right in the Yajisan-Kazusan followed by the length of each of the shaded segments from left to right in the Tapa. Separate each row’s entry from the next with a comma (but do not use commas in between the Yajisan-Kazusan and Tapa entry parts in a given row). Enter both digits for any two-digit large segment in an entry.

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 30:00, Master = 1:00:00, Expert = 2:00:00

Sunday Surprise: 100th Puzzle Spectacular by Prasanna Seshadri

100th Puzzle Spectacular by Prasanna Seshadri

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(After solving the puzzle (or before, if you desire) look at this additional image for another challenge.)

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Theme: Clue Symmetry and Logic

Author/Opus: This is the 100th puzzle from our contributing puzzlemaster Prasanna Seshadri.

Rules: This puzzle combines styles that involve shading cells. All rules are standard for the given puzzle types (Tapa, Light and Shadow, Nurikabe, Kurotto, and Cave) which appear in the indicated spots of the grid (see below).

Tapa: Shade some empty cells black to create a single connected wall. Numbers in a cell indicate the length of consecutive shaded blocks in the neighboring cells. If there is more than one number in a cell, then there must be at least one white (unshaded) cell between the black cell groups. Cells with numbers cannot be shaded, and the shaded cells cannot form a 2×2 square anywhere in the grid.

Light and Shadow: Divide the grid into shaded and unshaded regions, each containing exactly one number and with an area equal to that number. Numbers in white cells are part of white regions; numbers in shaded cells are part of shaded regions. Same colored regions cannot share an edge.

Nurikabe: Shade some empty cells black so that the grid is divided into white areas, each containing exactly one number and with the same area in cells as that number. Two white areas may only touch diagonally. All black cells must be connected with each other, but no 2×2 group of cells can be entirely shaded black.

Kurotto: Shade some cells so that each circled number represents the total count of shaded cells in connected groups sharing an edge with that number. Cells with circles cannot be shaded.

Cave: (The inside of the cave with the numbered cells is shaded here!) Shade some cells to form a single connected group — the cave — with no enclosed, unshaded cells. In other words, all unshaded cells must be connected by other unshaded cells to an edge of the grid. All numbered cells must be a part of the cave, with each number indicating the total count of cells connected vertically and horizontally to the numbered cell including the cell itself.

Additionally, there are two diamonds made out of cells in each grid. Each cell in the smaller diamond corresponds to two cells in the same position in the larger diamond (see example below). The corresponding cells must differ in their shading (i.e., if a cell in the smaller diamond is shaded, both corresponding cells in the larger diamond are unshaded; if a cell in the smaller diamond is unshaded, both corresponding cells in the larger diamond are shaded).

Answer String: Enter the answer to the additional challenge in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS (no spaces)

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 25:00, Master = 32:30, Expert = 1:05:00

Sunday Surprise #13 – Gapped Kakuro by Serkan Yürekli

Serkan finished this “Giant” puzzle shortly after we started our break. We figured this Gapped Kakuro would be a fun, challenging Sunday Surprise that might take several Sundays to complete.

Gapped Kakuro by Serkan Yürekli

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Theme: Sum Time

Author/Opus: This is the 72nd puzzle from our contributing puzzlemaster Serkan Yürekli.

Rules: Standard Kakuro Rules. Also, some cells may remain empty but empty cells cannot share an edge with other empty cells.

Answer String: Enter the values in the white cells in the marked rows from left to right, ignoring all black cells, and separating the rows with a comma. Use a capital ‘X’ for any blank cell.

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 50:00, Master = 1:30:00, Expert = 3:00:00

Note: Follow this link for other Kakuro puzzles.

Sunday Surprise #12 – Palimpsest Puzzle Set by Nikolai Beluhov

For those who thought there would be no special puzzles on Sundays in 2014: SURPRISE!

This very creative submission comes from Nikolai Beluhov. And like his earlier Matryoshka Fillomino, this is a gift that keeps on giving. Starting with a challenging Fillomino puzzle, erasing all of the 4s leaves a Slitherlink. Then erasing all of the 3s leaves a Tapa. Then erasing all of the 2s gives a Simple Loop (treating the 1s as blackened cells).

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Fillomino

Fillomino by Nikolai Beluhov

Slitherlink

Slitherlink by Nikolai Beluhov

Tapa

Tapa by Nikolai Beluhov

Simple Loop

Fillomino by Nikolai Beluhov

Rules: Standard Fillomino rules.
Then standard Slitherlink rules.
Then standard Tapa rules.
Then Simple Loop rules (draw a single closed loop, without intersections or crossings, through all empty cells; cells with 1s cannot be visited by the loop).

Answer String: None for this puzzle; simply click solved if finished.