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lou
Kwon-Tom Addict
Puzzles: 146
Best Total: 2h 32m 49s
Posted - 2006.01.20 15:06:38
How are you guy's doing these things in one or two minutes.
I think I'm missing some basic rules or patterns - are there certain patterns for number combinations.....ie I know that if you have two threes next to each other, you have a bar at either end and in the middle...Please help
astrokath
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3093
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2006.01.20 17:55:14
Practice!

They can all be done reasonably swiftly, providing you don't run down too many blind alleys. Fast mouse fingers helps a bit there.
(Except today's puzzle, which I got horribly tangled up in.  It can be done in less than 5mins working logically... just not my day today)

There's another thread in the forum, titled "Tips" - you'll find a few more clues in there.

As well as the three parallel bars on the double-3 rule, you can also add some crosses above and below the centre bar.  That's just one pattern, but there are plenty more.
Last edited by astrokath - 2006.01.20 17:57:27
procrastinator
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1083
Best Total: 12m 56s
Posted - 2006.01.20 18:51:53
I guess you've seen the tutorial here, and there's also some useful patterns at the Puzzle Japan site. There are a lot of things missing from there, but I'm not sure whether it's kosher to discuss such things here? Are we meant to pool our ideas and try to improve everyone's times and the level of competition, or each develop our own repertoire to try to get ahead - is it more fun overall if everyone gets to discover each different trick for themselves?
Last edited by procrastinator - 2006.01.21 03:03:31
drnull
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 901
Best Total: 23m 25s
Posted - 2006.01.20 19:36:03
Personally, I enjoy finding new patterns.  When a puzzle kicks my butt, I often revisit it and try solving it again, putting off "fix position" as long as possible.  I usually find new patterns that way.  My favorite so far that I found that way was the

1
31

pattern.  It's amazing how often a complex pattern like that one shows up.

Although, it would be kinda fun compile a list.  However, that would turn any competition into more of a "how fast can you click" thing (of course, clicking fast helps, but on weekenders & very hards, click time is not that large of a percentage).  And then, there are so many patterns, and patterns based on other patterns, I'm not sure how we could ever stop adding to the list.

To the OP, I would suggest going through the archives.  Just keep track of the last puzzle you completed, and work your way through them.  One benefit of the archives is that if you are having trouble with a puzzle, you don't have to worry about trying to get a good time.  You can focus on technique, learning new patterns, etc.

Another note, "x" is your friend.  Use it all the time when you're learning.  I still use it almost everywhere.  It's amazing what your eyes don't see until the framing is put in place.

Hope it helps.
astrokath
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3093
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2006.01.20 19:36:43
I see nothing wrong with sharing ideas - certainly not as far as competetiveness goes, as there are plenty of us at the same level right now.

One tip which is sometimes very useful is the fact that, as the name implies, there can be only one possible solution to the puzzle.  In today's puzzle (Jan20), depending on how you place the bars, the loop could travel round the 3's on the right-hand edge in several ways... but in one set-up you were left with two equally good ambiguous loops. If you're left with a situation where you have two possible routes, both of which are logically correct, then the set-up that got you there is wrong - there can be only one solution.

As for the
1
31

pattern... that's a pattern?  Hmmm...!!!
Last edited by astrokath - 2006.01.20 19:38:13
drnull
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 901
Best Total: 23m 25s
Posted - 2006.01.20 20:10:47
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrokath
As for the
1
31

pattern... that's a pattern?  Hmmm...!!!

Well, it's not the most groundbreaking, but I started looking more earnestly when foilman pointed out that when you have a 3 over 2 with the bottom rung x'ed out, the top of the 3 is a line.  Once or twice, that complex patern (that doesn't give you much info on the surface) has provided tons more info because of the context.  This 131 pattern is similar.  It doesn't give you a whole lot (only a few x's), but sometimes, those x's really progress things along.
foilman
Kwon-Tom Admin
Puzzles: 1718
Best Total: 24m 8s
Posted - 2006.01.21 00:13:34
The key to getting good times is definitely practise!!

The more puzzles you complete, the more patterns you start to recognise, as everyone has said. I'm still discovering new ways to aid the solving even now. Stephen pointed one out to me just this week, so I'll pass it on to you. Occasionally it can help to look at an empty box and consider what number might be in it. Often only one number would make sense, and that can help move things forward. I don't recommend using that all the time (there are many easier things to try first!), but if you're stuck it can be helpful.
procrastinator
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1083
Best Total: 12m 56s
Posted - 2006.01.21 04:28:30
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrokath

One tip which is sometimes very useful is the fact that, as the name implies, there can be only one possible solution to the puzzle.  In today's puzzle (Jan20)...

I figured you - and everyone else - must have missed that. My run felt pretty slow, like top ten if I was lucky.

Along the same lines, let me present my favourite local pattern:

*  *  *  *
  ?  -  ?
*  *  *  *
  -  2  -
*X*  *  *
  ?X-  ?
*  *  *  *

The dashed squares have to be blank, the others don't matter. See if you can infer four lines from those two Xes.

I'll put it in fixed-width too, in case there are problems with my formatting:

* * * *
? - ?
* * * *
- 2 -
*X* * *
?X- ?
* * * *
astrokath
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3093
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2006.01.21 09:52:45
Quote:
Originally Posted by procrastinator
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrokath

One tip which is sometimes very useful is the fact that, as the name implies, there can be only one possible solution to the puzzle.  In today's puzzle (Jan20)...

I figured you - and everyone else - must have missed that.

Not missed, but it took me long enough to see...
drnull
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 901
Best Total: 23m 25s
Posted - 2006.01.23 14:38:55
Quote:
Originally Posted by procrastinator
Along the same lines, let me present my favourite local pattern:

I can't make heads or tails of that ascii art.    What exactly are you trying to present?

The way I understood it, you're looking at the following pic: (bottom left is a corner of the puzzle, top & right extend to the puzzle's edge out there somewhere)

* * * * *

* * * * *

* * * * *

* * * * *
   2
*X* * * *
  X
* * * * *
(that won't look right, but if you copy & paste it into notepad, you'll be able to see it fixed width.  I tried that with yours, but still couldn't make it out)


Then you have dashes adjacent to the 2, and question marks diagonal from the 2, is that right?

And you say that the dashed squared have to be blank, but I don't really know what that means.  If you just mean not a number, then how is that different from the rest of the squares?  And what do the question mark squares mean?  We're trying to find 4 lines, not 4 numbers, right?

me == confused. 
procrastinator
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1083
Best Total: 12m 56s
Posted - 2006.01.23 15:27:25
Quote:
Originally Posted by drnull

I can't make heads or tails of that ascii art.    What exactly are you trying to present?

And you say that the dashed squared have to be blank, but I don't really know what that means.  If you just mean not a number, then how is that different from the rest of the squares? And what do the question mark squares mean?

We're trying to find 4 lines, not 4 numbers, right?

Your diagram is right - it's the same as my fixed-width one, except I think the single spaces at the start of my rows got eaten up by the HTMLizer somehow. What's the HTMLizer, foilman? Does it have tags for fixed-width or unformatted sections?

Anyway: it doesn't have to be in a corner, just a 2 and two Xes anywhere on the board. The question marks can be numbered or blank, but the dashes have to be blank for the pattern to work. If that makes sense, can you find the four lines?

Nice work on the weekend by the way, looks like I'll have to watch my back this week after all. And now we've got an outside chance of a best-ever week.
drnull
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 901
Best Total: 23m 25s
Posted - 2006.01.23 15:44:00
Quote:
Originally Posted by procrastinator
Nice work on the weekend by the way, looks like I'll have to watch my back this week after all. And now we've got an outside chance of a best-ever week.

Thanks, your time on Saturday rocked.  I wonder what the all time low is for a "huge" puzzle? 6:13 has got to be approaching it.  As far as watching your back, unless you stumble really good, 2 minutes is a good enough buffer to get you through till at least Friday, where I had a 9 minute show stopper (compared to your 6 minute 2nd place)

And I'm still puzzled by your puzzle.  There are two possible situations:

And I don't understand how either of these possibilities can generate 4 known lines?
foilman
Kwon-Tom Admin
Puzzles: 1718
Best Total: 24m 8s
Posted - 2006.01.23 16:20:24
Quote:
Originally Posted by procrastinator
What's the HTMLizer, foilman? Does it have tags for fixed-width or unformatted sections?

There is no such thing! I strip out all HTML and only allow tags for bold, italic, underline, link & image... currently. I guess a "fixed-width" tag would be very easy to add, so I might give that a go.

Another idea I had was to add a simple "add puzzle here" button where you choose a width & height and put in some numbers/crosses/lines and a mini-puzzle would appear in your post at that point. That would make discussions like this a bit easier, but it's not the easiest thing in the world to implement.

On the subject of the 2 with two crosses, I can't see any definite lines either! Are you sure??!?
procrastinator
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1083
Best Total: 12m 56s
Posted - 2006.01.23 17:07:06
SPOILER WARNING: I'm about to give a hint to solving the pattern I posted earlier in the thread. It's definitely solvable without the hint, so stop reading now if you want the satisfaction of beating drnull at _something_ this last week. Or maybe you just wanna get the tip and try to beat him next week...

Quote:
Originally Posted by drnull

And I'm still puzzled by your puzzle.  There are two possible situations:

There are _never_ two possible situations.
drnull
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 901
Best Total: 23m 25s
Posted - 2006.01.23 17:21:58
Quote:
Originally Posted by procrastinator
There are _never_ two possible situations.

Hahaha, OHHHHH! 

Well, I don't have it figured out yet, but at least you have got me started.
That's why you said "have to be blank".

<edit>
Ok, yeah, got it.  That's a VERY nice little pattern you've got yourself there.  I've stumbled across that before and worked my way through it, but never thought there would be a general pattern.  Slick.

Out of curiosity, do you see that very often?
Last edited by drnull - 2006.01.23 17:24:42
foilman
Kwon-Tom Admin
Puzzles: 1718
Best Total: 24m 8s
Posted - 2006.01.23 18:49:06
I've just solved it too... very sneaky. I was sure there was nothing predictable from that situation, but you're right, 4 lines are definitely able to be deduced. Nice! (Thanks for the clue, btw)
procrastinator
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1083
Best Total: 12m 56s
Posted - 2006.01.24 03:54:02
Quote:
Originally Posted by drnull

Out of curiosity, do you see that very often?

I haven't spotted it in the last week, but there was one the week before - and two I didn't spot til too late on Jan 7. I only discovered it a couple of weeks ago and haven't got used to looking for it, so I'm sure I still miss most of them. It's not something that's going to occur often, but when it does, it's extremely powerful: it can give you a _lot_ of information in an area where you know very little.
astrokath
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3093
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2006.01.24 09:07:45
Quote:
Originally Posted by procrastinator
Quote:
Originally Posted by drnull

Out of curiosity, do you see that very often?

I haven't spotted it in the last week, but there was one the week before - and two I didn't spot til too late on Jan 7. I only discovered it a couple of weeks ago and haven't got used to looking for it, so I'm sure I still miss most of them. It's not something that's going to occur often, but when it does, it's extremely powerful: it can give you a _lot_ of information in an area where you know very little.

OHHHHH!!!!!

It took me FOREVER to see the exact scenario you were talking about (in fact, I had to find it in the Jan 7 puzzle and play around a bit), but yes, that's a lovely little pattern.

Didn't stop me making a complete F*&$-up of today's puzzle though... grumble.

I'm going to blame work. Too many deadlines & 12-hr days this month messing with my head.. or maybe I should just face up to the fact that I've been outclassed by the pair of you!
Stephen
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 2920
Best Total: 22m 33s
Posted - 2006.01.24 09:57:28
Good grief! That's elegant.  Well, now that I've worked it out that is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astrokath
.. or maybe I should just face up to the fact that I've been outclassed by the pair of you!

... or in my case by all four of you, plus several others, a long time ago. Damn it.
procrastinator
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1083
Best Total: 12m 56s
Posted - 2006.01.24 17:16:42
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrokath

I'm going to blame work. Too many deadlines & 12-hr days this month messing with my head..
or maybe I should just face up to the fact that I've been outclassed by the pair of you!

Nah: class, as they say, is permanent. You'll be back on top soon. Strange to see a whole week of best times without your name on it, though. And a shame your run of poor form happened while we're in striking distance of the best-ever time - if you'd won as many days as you had for the previous couple of weeks, we'd be right around the mark.
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