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Nurimino:

Here's another hybrid puzzle. In a sense, each solution is both a valid Nurikabe and a valid Fillomino solution.

All given numbers clues in the puzzle are Fillomino-style clues. Each bold number is also a Nurikabe clue (referring to an "island" of that many squares).

There's an additional dimension to the puzzle. Each island of size n needs to be filled with numbers from 1 to n, one square each. This aspect of the puzzle is similar to the Nurikabe Sudoku puzzle I published last year.

Incidentally, I was going to call this Nuri-Fill originally, but I decided it sounded too much like a cough medicine or something. :)

Hopefully, the sample puzzle sheds some light.. Note how there's only one possible place for 2-square in the 3-island given the 5 clue in the 4th column.

Sample Puzzle (4x4):

puzzle 3


On to the puzzles! Any feedback is welcome. These two are on the easier side and I think the logic required to solve them has a nice push-and-pull between the two puzzle types.

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Puzzle 1 (7x7, Easy to Medium): (Answer)
 
puzzle 1


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Puzzle 2 (13x12, Medium):
(Answer)


puzzle 2




 
 
 
 
 
 

Al-Heyawake:

This is another variation on Nikoli's Heyawake puzzle and assumes familiarity with those rules.

I wanted to create puzzles that incorporated some simple equations/relations, venturing out beyond the single operator logic used in puzzles like Ken-Ken and Futoshiki.

For instance, A (5 rooms) = 5 means that there are 5 "A" rooms whose sum of darkened squares equals 5. And, whenever there's a letter mentioned in an equation, say Q, it refers to the sum of squares for however many Q rooms there are (usually though in the puzzles below such letters just refer to a single room).

The name is a portmanteau of algebra and Heyawake.  The word Heyawake always sounded vaguely Arabic to me so it's an apt name I think.

Any feedback welcome.  Admittedly, these are on the harder side, especially #4. 


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Puzzle 1 (8x8, Easy to Medium): (Answer)
 
puzzle 1


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Puzzle 2 (11x9, Medium to Hard):
(Answer)
 
puzzle 2

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Puzzle 3 (13x13, Hard): (Answer)

puzzle 3

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Puzzle 4 (10x10, Widow(er)maker): (Answer)

puzzle 3


Thanks to motris for his feedback on the last puzzle.  The formatting has been updated a bit as well.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Kotak-Kotak:

This is a new 3-d puzzle type based on an earlier type of mine called Dervish Packing.

This puzzle consists of several square grids of the the same dimension that together make up a cube.  Future puzzles could be rectangular solids as well.

The solution requires that each block in the solid have a letter with the following constraints:                   
                   

  1. Each letter refers to a different polyomino* which is 2-fold rotationally symmetric (meaning if you rotate the shape 180 degrees about it's center, it appears the same as the original).   As polyominoes are planar, in the Z axis, there's a constant width of 1. 

  2. No two different letters map to the same polyomino.                   

  3. There are no hidden shapes.  So, each polyomino must be identified on the board by one or more of its blocks via a letter clue.               

  4. Different polyominoes of the same letter may have common vertices or edges but NOT faces.                   


Here's a sample point to illustrate the rules.  Note below that the leftmost grid is the top floor of the cube, the middle is the middle and the rightmost is the bottom floor.


Sample Puzzle (3x3x3, Letters: A-D, Easy) and Answer:
sample and answer

(The greyed blocks in the grids are just for illustration.  They just indicate the shapes that ended up being placed vertically in the puzzle.)


On to the puzzles!


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Puzzle 1 (4x4x4, Letters: A-G, Medium): (Answer)
puzzle 1

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Puzzle 2 (5x5x5, Letters: A-J, Medium to Hard): (Answer)


puzzle 2
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Any feedback is welcome.  Thanks for playing!
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dervish Hotel

Here's a somewhat larger puzzle of a type I came up with late last year. The original post (along with the rules and a walkthrough) is here

I think this is my first repeat puzzle on this blog.  I got some nice feedback on this type last year so I hope you enjoy it.

One hint in solving this puzzle (if you get stuck) is to remember that all the whitespace must be connected and this has implications for the edges of the puzzle.

Any feedback is welcome. 

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Puzzle 4 (16x16, Medium-Hard): (Answer)

dervish hotel puzzle 4

 
 
 
 
 
 
Steroid Masyu:

This is a variation of Nikoli's Masyu puzzle and the explanation below assumes familiarity with it.  Like normal Masyu, each puzzle has a unique solution in the form of a loop which does not intersect itself and satisfies all of its constraints (in the form of "pearls").

I wanted to create a version that makes uses of diagonals as well, which introduces two new clues.

Having line segments that could arbitarily move in 8 directions would be unwieldy. So, there's a 5th type of clue that works as a connector or bridge between the diagonal and orthogonal and (in its behavior) is like a hybrid  of black and white clues.

Here is the key and a bit more detail on how the clues can behave:

key


Sample Puzzle (8x8, Easy) and Answer:
 
sample and answer


Any feedback is welcome.  On to the puzzles!

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Puzzle 1 (8x8, Easy): (Answer)
 
puzzle 1

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Puzzle 2 (12x12, Medium):
(Answer)
 
puzzle 2

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Puzzle 3 (16x16, Medium): (Answer)

puzzle 3

Special thanks to cyrebjr  for his all too many corrections.  They all should have unique solutions now.  The 3rd puzzle in particular had quite a few changes and I downgraded the difficulty some to medium. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Heyawake Fences:


This is a variation of Nikoli's Heyawake puzzle where numbered squares indicate how many edges of the square border a colored square (unlike normal Heyawake, where a number would only occur in the upper left corner of a box and indicate how many black squares were within the box).

The colored squares follow the rules of Heyawake: at no point in the puzzle can a single file of adjacent blank squares span more than two boxes and all the white squares (the water) must be connected orthogonally.

Any feedback is welcome. (In particular, I'd be curious if anyone has seen this variation before.)

Incidentally, going forward, I'll be using site.google.com to store puzzle images.  Too many problems with my band's domain (and its ultra-flaky provider www.hostonce.com).


Sample Puzzle (6x6, Easy) and Answer:
 
sample and answer
 

On to the puzzles!


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Puzzle 1 (8x8, Easy): (Answer)
 
puzzle 1

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Puzzle 2 (10x10, Easy to Medium):
(Answer)

puzzle 2 ________________________________________________________

Puzzle 3 (15x15, Medium):  (Answer)

puzzle 3 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I have a new puzzle idea in the August issue called Factor Flowers.  It's kind of a sister puzzle to Serpent Factors.   

It's on the newstand.  Please check it out.  :) 

(cyrebjr  told me that it reminded him of something called "Eminent Domain")

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On a different positive front, my band Bosola's debut EP "RE" got a nice review here.





 
 
 
 
 
 
Tandem Puzzles: 

Tandem puzzles are pairs (trios, etc.) of puzzles that are related to each other by shared letter clues.  The cool thing about this idea is that the two puzzles don't have to be of the same type.  The idea is to alternate between puzzles making headway on one and using those solved clues to make progress with the other and vice-versa until all of the components are solved.

Within each pair, all clues of a certain letter correspond to the same number.  More than one letter however may refer to the same number and it's not necessary for a specific letter to appear in both puzzles of a pair.

The number value of letters can be determined by considering the constraints those letters are subject to in the different puzzles.

There is a no sample for this type but here's a couple of observations about the first puzzle: 

In the Sudoku half of the first puzzle, one could see that D, E, and F in column 3 must have different numerical values and that B, A, and D are different values because they occupy the same box in the upper left.  In the Nurikabe half of the first puzzle, one can deduce the value of B, E then A and then replace those letters with their values in both puzzles, and then make progress with the Sudoku side.

These puzzles are solvable by logic alone and have each has a unique solution pair. 

Any feedback is welcome.  Enjoy!

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Puzzle 1  : Tandem between a 6x6 Sudoku a 8x9 Nurikabe puzzle
(Easy to Medium)  
(
Answer)
 
puzzle 1

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Puzzle 2 : Tandem between a Sudoku 9x9 and a Heyawake 12x14 puzzle
(Medium to Hard)
  (
Answer)

 
puzzle 2

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Puzzle 3  : Tandem between a Nurikabe 9x9 and a Heyawake 10x12 puzzle
(Medium to Hard) 
(
Answer)

 
puzzle 3

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Well, it's been a long time since I posted.  I was laid off in November from a company that rhymes with Storgan Manley.   I was actually terminated oddly enough on inauguration day.   Since then, my job has been searching for one.   I have been spending a lot of time at  a "career resource network" place.  Companies often set up downsized employees with firms like this to help them get a job.  It actually turned out to be quite good: lots of practical advice and I have many people with the same bad luck from different walks of life and at different stages in life/career.  Anyways, I was set up with three months and that will end next week.  Time to write some iPhone apps.

I don't know if any readers of this blog noticed my name in Games magazine this month (May's issue is on the newsstand until the 24th).  If not, I got an original puzzle published called Serpent Factors.  First time published, yay!  In August, its sister, Factor Flowers will be published.  These are the first two puzzles sets that I wrote back in May of last year, "Flowers" being the first.

If anyone happened to work through the puzzles in May magazine, they likely noticed some of the puzzles don't have a unique solution.  Unfortunately, I noticed the problem after they were submitted and when I contacted them they had already gone to press.  They also said their tester hadn't noticed the lack of uniqueness in some of them.

So,  the first three puzzles are scrubbed versions of the problematic published puzzles.  Puzzles 4 and 5 weren't published in the article.  These fall on the hard side so hopefully the sample and tips will shed some light on how to do these.

Rules: Serpent Factors

1) Each number is the head of a serpent with one or more segments emanating from it.  (The exceptions are zero squares which have no "body").

2) Each segment can extend in a straight line horizontally, vertically or diagonally.  If it's connected to another segment it must not extend in the same or opposite direction.

3) The "lengths" of the segments must multiply to the number in the head. The length of the segment is defined as the number of squares it touches (i.e. if a segment touches halves of two squares, it's "length" is 2).

4) Each segment must have a length which is a prime factor of the number (for example: 20's prime factorization is: 2*2*5 so the snake must have segments of lengths 2, 2, and 5 in some order and orientation). Exception: When the number in the square is 1, the snake will have a single segment of length 1.

5) Each clear, non-numbered square requires exactly one serpent passing through it.                                       

Tips:   
                               

Primes below 20: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19
Factorizing numbers: If you need help factorizing numbers, I recommend this.  It factors big guys, too.
Getting started:  I would recommend breaking down the numbers when you start a puzzle and to try to place the longer segments first.  (Some of the techniques of Shihaku/Divide by Room can be used in this puzzle)
Extents:  If stuck, try checking individual squares to see what "serpent" can reach it.  If there is only one, you can then start to narrow down which arrangement of its segments can work for the solution.
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Sample Puzzle (6x6, Easy)                          and the answer:

sample puzzle                              sample answer

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On to the puzzles:
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Puzzle 1  (12x12, Medium to Hard):   (Answer)

 
puzzle 1

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Puzzle 2  (8x8, Hard):   (Answer)

 
puzzle 2

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Puzzle 3  (10x10, Hard):   (Answer)

 
puzzle 3

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Puzzle 4  (15x15, Hard):   (Answer)

 
puzzle 3

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Puzzle 5  (20x20, Hard):   (Answer)

 
puzzle 3

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Battleship Heyawake

As it sounds, this combination of the old favorite Battleships with the  more recent Nikoli puzzle Heyawake.  This idea was inspired by Thomas Snyder's great book:  Battleship Sudoku.

The solution must be a valid Heyawake solution while placing each of the ships specified so they do not touch each other, even diagonally. 

Unlike regular Battleship puzzles, in this variation, the ships are placed diagonally rather than vertically or horizontally.

Like Battleship, there are numeric clues outside the grid.  Because the ships are placed diagonally, the clues refer to the number of segments in the diagonals (which wraparound toroidially).  The arrows below indicate the two sets of diagonals for the same small sample (along with the segment counts outside the grid for each diagonal):
 
jut out

One more thing: due to the primitive tools at my disposal, you'll notice none of the "ships" have a head or tail.  So, none of the puzzles have ship segments placed in them as clues.


Sample Puzzle (6x6, Easy)                                                     and the answer:

sample puzzle                 sample answer

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On to the puzzles:
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Puzzle 1  (6x6, Easy to Medium):   (Answer)

 
puzzle 1

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Puzzle 2  (9x9, Easy to Medium):   (Answer)

 
puzzle 2

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Puzzle 3  (10x10, Medium):   (Answer)

 
puzzle 3

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