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February 24th, 2006


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01:19 pm - Puzzle events coming up
1. Seattle folk and potential visitors: static_zombie recently pointed to Team Sharkbait's SNAP Two puzzle event which will have five hours of puzzle solving and up to four miles of tramping on food around the Starbucks City on Saturday 1st April. There's a limit of 25 teams of exactly four players; I thought that the game would be filled up straight away, but apparently there have only been eight teams sign up so far.

2. March 10th and 11th sees the first World Sudoku Championship, in Lucca, Italy. Unfortunately I will be working the day shift both days so wild ideas about flying down there purely to blog the event must go out of the window. Presumably the Canadian team have tapped up byronosaurusrex already; it'll be interesting to see what sort of team the UK get together and how well they do.

3. The online qualifying test for the World Puzzle Championships, featuring the US Puzzle Championship, is set to take place on 17th June this year. Insert it into your diaries now. I shall start linking back to entries with lots of comments from people trying previous qualifying tests, saying how much they have enjoyed them even though they were only able to answer three puzzles, if you're not careful.

4. Finally, the Melbourne University Puzzle Hunt is taking place from Monday 27th March this year, so 4½ weeks away, and it looks really cool. Teams are limited to ten players and the rules explicitly state that there's no need for players to have a Melbourne University connection - though, naturally, I'm tapping my Melbourne University and Australian contacts for local knowledge, not least because it's essential to have someone on the ground to claim the hidden treasure once we know where it is.

The hunt will have five sets of puzzles, each one released at midday local time (2am British Summer Time, 8pm the previous day Eastern Standard Time, 5pm the previous day Pacific Standard Time - curse the vagaries of daylight saving) from Monday 27th to Friday 31thst. Each team gets a total of 100 wrong guesses per day, split over all the puzzles. The cleverest part is that if you don't solve a puzzle by midday the next day, you automatically get a clue for it and can still solve it for fewer points. Up to three clues will be given per puzzle and the third clue tends to be a pretty big hint.

The puzzles themselves are, as far as I can tell, in the MIT Mystery Hunt style but easier. You can see the 2004 puzzles (use the "Act #" links) and the 2005 puzzles and I note that this year's rules suggest "Teams should find that this year's puzzles will not eat up as much time as last year's." In short, this looks like the potential for a great deal of fun with a much more reasonable time commitment than the MIT Mystery Hunt - probably a couple of hours a day for five days. Who's interested in being part of an Internet-connected team? Who's interested and is willing to commit the time? :-)
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful

(15 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:quidditchmaster
Date:February 24th, 2006 01:57 pm (UTC)
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You KNOW I am up for playing in an online puzzle team with the likes of you, Chris. ;)

Send me more information, yeah?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 26th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
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As nobody else has expressed any interest, I'll probably be looking for another team to latch onto instead. Will let you know if I find a spot.

Other information? Can't think what more there could be, except going through and reading all the puzzles, then general Australiana research... :-/
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 28th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC)

Melb Uni Puzzle Hunt

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Hi,

I used to go to Melb Uni and am currently part of a 3 person team in the hunt. We breezed through Monday's puzzles but only managed to answer Poetry from today's offering. If you're still interested in joining a team then I'm sure we could accommodate you :) If you're interested email me at work, ben.winters@iasbet.com, if you manage to get answers for Colours, Issues or Silhouettes then please email them too! :)

Cheers,

Ben
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From:oinomel71
Date:February 24th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
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2. That would be me and Nina Pell. One of these people is the reigning The Times Sudoku Champion; the other, who isn't, has severe doubts about his ability to trouble the scorers. On the other hand, he is also unlikely to find a better opportunity to spend a long weekend in Italy on company time, so...
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 26th, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)
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Hmm. I'm really surprised that none of the newspapers want to have anything to do with this. Surely they must keep records of who came close in their competitions? If not, David Levy 'n' Tony Corfe will surely be able to put you in touch with people who placed in the competitions they ran on behalf of, er, whoever it was.
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From:oinomel71
Date:February 26th, 2006 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Quite the contrary, The Times is having a lot to do with this - to all intents and purposes, it's their show. For reasons I'm not entirely clear on, they decided they didn't want to field a big team - hence it's just their own Champion plus Muggins representing the WPF member.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 26th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
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How odd. I can't understand that.

I wonder if this might offer you a journalism opportunity within The Times? You certainly have the style, literacy and qualifications for it; additionally, I believe they pay rather well.
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From:oinomel71
Date:February 26th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
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Well, I'm led to believe that they very definitely didn't want any involvement at all from other newspapers - a bit harsh, but I can see the reasoning. For the "small team" thing, I can understand how half a dozen Italian hotel rooms and plane tickets could quickly mount up into a sum that Seems Too Much.

I was tempted to float the idea to the usual suspects about joining in as self-financers, but it's a bit late in the day for it now. I fly out a week on Wednesday, after all! One particular usual suspect (from Northern Ireland) was offered a place from the outset, but couldn't make the dates.

Journalism opportunities - mmm, can't quite see it myself (and I'm not sure I'd even relish the opportunity if one did come up), but as my entire career to date has been more "series of increasingly improbable accidents" than "meticulously planned career path"...
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 27th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
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Hmm. We need to get more Usual Suspects onto the list to increase the chance of there being sufficient barrels to roll out in a situation like this. One might have thought that Usual J. Suspect of Norbiton ought to be interested in attending as a business opportunity at the very least. We might be able to roll up more of said usual suspects, and you are looking not just usual but positively habitual here, for the likes of Melbourne University remote chicanery... ;-)

Journalism opportunity: I had envisioned that there would be a requirement for at least one article from the enterprise. You are a grammatical, stylish and accomplished writer, as discussed; even if Ms. Pell turns out to be a better writer than you, which is always perfectly possible though (I would have thought) highly unlikely, your five WPC finals ought to count for rather a lot.

Unrelatedly, I am now down to being the 358th best puzzler ever, apparently. Have I managed to give away your identity yet?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:March 6th, 2006 07:02 am (UTC)
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You get a name check in Thetimes today in rather a nice little piece on the World Sudoku Championship. The author of the article would, I'm sure, love it if you were to pitch a competitors' eye view of the championship at him - or, at least, would be able to tell you who the right person to pitch such a proposal at would be.
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From:lambertman
Date:February 24th, 2006 02:20 pm (UTC)
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that was a pretty good curling shot, BTW. I was the impressed.

(Watching our mens' match when I get home tonight)
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 26th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
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Well done, he said through gritted teeth :-)

I wonder if it's possible to find replays of that sixer end in the final on Youtube or the like?
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From:bopeepsheep
Date:February 24th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC)
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Cool Sudoku link - one variety there I haven't previously seen (circles/squares version), which is entertaining me now (slightly marred by the lack-of-ink-in-printer situation that has required me to redraw it all freehand on top of the printout, a less than optimum situation!).
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:February 26th, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
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Fingers crossed that it inspires the UK mags to introduce further variety into their puzzles.
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:March 6th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)
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Have another look. More sudoku variants than you can shake 81 sticks, each numbered between 1 and 9, at.

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