A puzzler’s life, Part 2

Just a few short paragraphs this time. The last two weeks have been somewhat busy for me, but there was just enough time to squeeze in two puzzle contests. My results were ok, given that I had mixed ambitions from the start. The one contest was the fourth round of this year’s Puzzle Grand Prix series, and the other was the German Sudoku Championship which was held as an online event. With the pandemic around, especially the latter should not be taken for granted, so here is a big Thanks to all the authors, organizers and helpers.

I entered the Grand Prix contest once again without any major preparation. Things started smoothly, but I must have lost track somewhere. In particular, my timing near the end was very poor; I was a few seconds late with a rather expensive puzzle. It is not that I had really deserved the points since there was a lot of guesswork involved. On the other hand, this is part of my approach anyway, and I remember a bunch of occasions where I wasted a couple of seconds during the 90 minutes window, so it was frustrating all the same.

The Sudoku Championship was quite different. I invested a substantial amount of energy on preparatory issues, such as practicing certain variants and making a game plan (a “comfort list” I mentioned in a post several months ago), and ended up in sixth place, which I considered satisfying because Sudokus have never been my specialty. All in all I had some good and some bad moments. Note to self: Read the instructions! For example, the words “non-consecutive” are surely there for a reason. At least I can comfort myself with the thought that the puzzles I solved were a bit harder than everybody else’s.

Apart from the solving experiences, I took some long walks, took a great many pictures for the next stages of my Puzzle Hunt, worked on some other projects (not all of them puzzle-related) and spent some time thinking about cheating. Cheating is, regrettably, a matter of increasing seriousness, but this seems be a good topic for another article. I also designed quite a few puzzles; among other things, I am putting together a new set for our Classics Collection and another Beginners Contest which I hope to host sometime in May. Stay tuned.

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