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Logicsmith Exhibition 5: Polyominous (RESULTS!)

The deadline for voting in Logicsmith Exhibition 5 is past, and I have received 24 votes. Using my amazing ability to count, I have determined the winner of the contest! In this post, I will not only reveal that winner, but I will do something I have only really done once before in a Logicsmith Exhibition: I will be unafraid to give my honest opinion!

Disclaimer: In the past, I have divulged that I like Justin Bieber's "Baby" unironically. I have also watched an episode of the overtly Christian-themed "BibleMan", and somehow find myself liking its cheesiness both ironically and unironically. Clearly, my opinions on logic puzzles should be taken with more than a grain of salt – particularly seeing as the contest is more about reader opinion than my own.

WARNING: There are 40 images in this post!

Puzzle 01: mellowmelon
mathgrant's comments: Appealing aesthetic. Solve was cute, but not overly so. The implied 4-omino in the upper left was nice, and the rest of the puzzle solved smoothly.

Puzzle 02: Bram de Laat
mathgrant's comments: Difficult, but not on the terribly tedious side of difficult, despite the fact that I kept messing up during verification. Author said the arrangement of the givens was inspired by my puzzle 10. Good use of implied polyominoes.

Puzzle 03: sc979
mathgrant's comments: This was the last entry received. Props for a 13(!)-omino, but the difficulty was far too extreme for my pedestrian tastes.

Puzzle 04: Valezius
mathgrant's comments: Holy crap, this one was rough. In fact, solving it reminded me of the Fillomino puzzles on PuzzlePicnic in terms of difficulty. I was therefore not surprised to learn that Valezius is an "experienced puzzler" on the site, a title that comes with having solved a sufficient number of puzzles. (In approximately 8 months of membership, Valezius has solved 1418 puzzles; in approximately 35 months of membership, I've solved a mere 429.)

Puzzle 05: motris
mathgrant's comments: The first entry received (motris would also be the first to vote). Had some difficult and clever parts, showing much of motris's trademark style. Counting is helpful in the end, but not dreadfully necessary. A mite too symmetrical with the 5's and 6's, and no implied polyominoes of which to speak, but nonetheless elegant enough that I'd expect this puzzle to appear if motris wrote a Polyominous book.

Puzzle 06: mathgrant
mathgrant's comments: It would not be fit for me to print my comments on this puzzle here.

Puzzle 07: Shvegait
mathgrant's comments: The author gets mad, mad technical props for working an implied 10-omino(!) into a design while fulfilling all of the contest restrictions, and kudos for the four-way rotational symmetry, but as usual for Fillomino puzzles constructed by PuzzlePicnic users, the difficulty was too far on the tedious end for my tastes.

Puzzle 08: detuned
mathgrant's comments: Yikes, what a saga. He posted his first construction on his blog in an effort to inspire other constructors to enter, but that puzzle had multiple solutions. The puzzle he actually sent me also had this error, as did his tweaked version, forcing him to begin anew. I found myself asking, "Will he manage to finish a construction eventually?" And he did! Puzzle's a little harder than I'm used to, but not overly so; compared to PuzzlePicnic, I found it smooth, elegant, and fun.

Puzzle 09: Stumbler's Rider
mathgrant's comments: TOO. MUCH. COUNTING. TOO. MUCH. TRIAL AND ERROR. TOO. MUCH. TEDIUM. TOO. MUCH. PUZZLEPICNIC. You know a puzzle has left a bad impression when I type in all caps.

Puzzle 10: Anderson Wang
mathgrant's comments: The upper-right 7 and the 8's were moderately tricky, but for the most part, a smooth solve that left me with a smile.

Puzzle 11: Paul Redman
mathgrant's comments: The puzzle came off as mostly droll to me, with the implied 6-omino being the greatest saving grace. Aside from that, the lack of use of the "no same-sized polyominoes can touch" rule was disappointing.

Puzzle 12: groza528
mathgrant's comments: The lack of implied polyominoes disappointed me, but the author gets mad technical credit for making opposite givens sum to 10.

Puzzle 13: chaotik_iak
mathgrant's comments: Approximately the first 40% was easy, but then the difficulty increased somewhat jarringly. Upper-left corner took some thought to get done correctly, and the upper-right even more so, especially the 2-, 6-, and 8-omino.

Puzzle 14: anurag.sahay
mathgrant's comments: Yuck, counting. Without it, it's near impossible to make real progress on this puzzle. With it, it's still difficult. Can you guess what puzzle website anurag.sahay frequents?

Puzzle 15: /dev/joe
mathgrant's comments: Obviously designed as a response to my clarification that symmetrically opposite givens need not be the same. Difficulty level forces me to classify it as an Evil Zinger. Probably the cutest possible puzzle that could be designed with the restrictions, and far less tedious but ultimately it feels like I'm solving only half a puzzle twice as opposed to one whole puzzle. I nonetheless enjoyed this puzzle more than some of the PuzzlePicnic creations. >.>

Puzzle 16: Rezyk
mathgrant's comments: I was dreading this puzzle; aside from R2C1-2 and R9C9-10, the givens are completely symmetrical. To my delightful surprise, though, the puzzle didn't solve symmetrically at all. Counting, as much as I try to avoid it when more than maybe 20 or so cells are involved, makes the puzzle doable more doable than some of the others that required mass counting. Fairly elegant.

Puzzle 17: Robert Vollmert
mathgrant's comments: Proving that great minds do indeed think alike, Robert Vollmert submitted this puzzle with the givens arranged in the same pattern as in motris's puzzle! The break-in (R6-7C3-5) was a little bit tricky to see, but otherwise fairly plain (in a good way, mostly).

Puzzle 18: ours-brun
mathgrant's comments: The sudden shift in difficulty between the first half and the second half of the solve was a little jarring; somehow, though, I can't bring myself to loathe it. I do admit that I'm a bit impressed by the use of the empty space in the middle; maybe that's why.

Puzzle 19: Paul Krueger
mathgrant's comments: The left half was mostly simple, but the right half required counting. To be fair, though, it wasn't as nightmarish as some of the PuzzlePicnic crap, nor was it as nightmarish as a certain other being surnamed Krueger.

Puzzle 20: Tristan Miller
mathgrant's comments: Very pretty, but the ending required too much trial and error for my tastes.

Before I reveal the winner, how about a selection of comments from the voters?

MellowMelon: I'm guessing there a lot of PuzzlePicnic people submitting for this one? Most of the solves felt rather unclean in a way that reminded me of that site. Also, I swear I will never again make a puzzle where an early step is to count up all the clues, unless the presentation makes it pretty motivated and easy to add up (e.g. the Zoo's NC Fillomino Adult, or my recent 36 puzzle). I am sick of it after doing all of these.

Guess that was awfully negative; seems all the gushing in the comments raised my expectations. Most all were much better than average for sure. Personally I hope people notice the symmetry in 16 and that it wins, although I wouldn't be bothered if I miraculously overtake it. It appears some people spent more time making these than my ~15 minutes...

Really? Very articulate, MellowMelon. I like how articulate you are. I like knowing I'm not alone in my weird opinions, especially when the other person who shares my opinion is articulate. I'm honored to have you as a colleague in the puzzle community.

If I had to guess 10 is yours. Whoops, never mind. Thanks for being confident enough in your ability to win that you sent me your mailing address with the puzzle; it'll make hiring a hitman sending you a completely harmless cake of friendship easier.

Paul Krueger: Just in case it provides you a gigantic ego boost, I'll mention that my clear favorite was 06 - after that, I had a 6-way tie for second (which I broke based on aesthetics). Knowing that my puzzles was somebody's favorite makes me want to cry. . . and then, when I'm done crying, sell my mucus-stained tissues in an online auction where people will pay a thousand dollars for it because I'm so famous and likable that anyone would do anything to have something that I've touched. Thank you, Paul Krueger! :)

sc979: a little something interesting about my solving experience. I mainly did them in random order and it just so happened that the last puzzle I finished was the only other puzzle that had a double-digit polyomino. Until that point, I was thinking to myself “Am I really the only one to do this? If my puzzle is unique in that aspect, I’ll surely attract lots of votes!” Well, you both got more votes than I did, if that means anything! :)

David Scherzinger: I loved all but 2 of them, but my starting lineup of choice ended up being:


This comment makes me wish I'd gotten at least 38 entries; it would have been beautiful to get a vote for "Ninetales". . . .

And the results?

Anderson Wang    : -- 02 03 -- 05 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 16 -- -- -- 20
anurag.sahay     : -- -- 03 04 -- -- -- -- 09 -- -- 12 -- 14 -- -- -- -- -- --
Bram de Laat     : -- 02 -- -- -- -- 07 -- -- -- -- 12 -- -- -- -- 17 -- -- 20
David Scherzinger: -- -- -- -- 05 -- -- 08 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 17 -- -- 20
detuned          : 01 -- 03 -- -- 06 -- 08 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 17 -- -- --
/dev/joe         : -- 02 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 12 -- -- 15 16 -- -- -- 20
groza528         : -- -- -- 04 05 -- -- 08 -- -- -- 12 -- -- -- 16 -- -- -- --
Jack Bross       : -- -- 03 -- -- -- 07 08 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 17 -- -- --
Matt Lahut       : -- 02 -- -- -- -- -- -- 09 -- -- -- -- 14 -- -- -- -- -- 20
Matthew Zinno    : -- -- 03 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
MellowMelon      : 01 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 10 -- -- -- -- -- 16 17 -- -- 20
motris           : 01 02 -- -- 05 -- 07 -- 09 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
ours-brun        : -- -- -- -- -- -- 07 -- 09 -- -- 12 -- 14 -- -- 17 -- -- --
Paul Krueger     : 01 -- -- -- 05 06 -- -- -- -- -- -- 13 -- -- -- -- 18 -- --
Paul Redman      : -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 10 11 -- 13 -- -- -- 17 18 -- --
Rezyk            : -- 02 -- -- -- -- 07 -- 09 -- -- -- -- -- -- 16 -- -- -- 20
Robert Vollmert  : 01 02 03 04 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 17 -- -- --
Sam Ettinger     : 01 -- -- -- 05 -- -- 08 -- -- 11 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
sc979            : -- 02 03 04 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 16 -- -- -- 20
Shvegait         : 01 02 03 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 17 -- -- 20
Stumbler's Rider : -- -- 03 -- -- -- -- -- 09 10 -- -- -- -- -- 16 17 -- -- --
Troy Schnabel    : -- -- 03 -- -- -- -- -- -- 10 -- 12 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Tristan Miller   : -- -- -- -- 05 -- -- -- 09 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 17 18 -- 20
Valezius         : -- 02 -- 04 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 17 18 -- 20
TOTAL            :  7 10 10  5  7  2  5  5  7  4  2  6  2  3  1  7 12  4  0 11

The clear winner is Robert Vollmert! Congratulations and stuff!


Shvegait said...

Woohoo! Congrats Robert Vollmert! Very smooth solve once you spot the opener. Ahh, personally I thought #2 was the most logically interesting, but #17 might have wider appeal.

It's quite interesting to see all the votes and who authored which puzzle. Thanks for providing all of that, Grant.

Interesting commentary, but what's with all the hate for PuzzlePicnic?!

mellowmelon said...

Same as what's with all the awkward not-very-logical solves from PuzzlePicnic. I think the similarity between the comments of mathgrant and me is telling, and I didn't even have any author names to go by when I wrote that. But the votes suggest we're in the minority here.

Grant Fikes said...

Don't get me wrong, Shvegait: I love the community on PuzzlePicnic. It's always nice to be part of a community of people who share my esoteric logic puzzle hobby, and I'm glad to be a contributor to it. I would not have participated in the 5th anniversary puzzle construction contest if I hated the community so much that I would avoid the prospect of owning a PuzzlePicnic T-shirt like the plague.

It's the puzzles themselves that I sometimes find unfun. :/

Like I said, though, take my opinions with a grain of salt! (Did I mention that I don't care much for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Doesn't that make my opinions on logic puzzles so much less trustworthy?)

rob said...

Wow, I'm floored. I was happy with my puzzle and hoped to get some votes, but never would have thought to win… Thanks everyone! (I'd also have had a chance to win the "guess which is Melon's puzzle" contest by the way.)

I share a general dislike of needing to sum up clues. On the other hand, among those that relied on counting, there were a number of really impressive constructions, that also eventually made for a very satisfying solve for me. Some comments, roughly in the order of how much my opinion differs from yours.

In Valezius' puzzle (04), just summing up is not enough: You need to notice that In the centre, a pair of 5s and 6s intersect. And also after that, it's impressive how barely the arguments work out.

I also liked anurag's submission (14). It's true that you need to sum up, but then it solves very elegantly in a way that's different from other Fillominos. It had a bit of a Nurikabe feel to me.

The only other puzzle I have down as "requires summing" is Rezyk's (16). I must admit that I didn't notice the symmetry in the clues. Not sure what I missed, but I really didn't like this one much.

I disagree with your harsh critique of Stumbler's Rider's puzzle (09). It's true that it's very difficult, but it's solvable logically and without summing up (according to my notes). I did mess it up quite a few times, though. There's a nice part where you can mark a tetromino that can extend to either a 7- or an 8-omino.

It's true that sc979's puzzle (03) is very tricky, but the solve is very nice over all. The implied polyominos are great, as is the way that central area with 1/2/3s works out.

Other than that, I tend to agree with your comments. There were a number of elegant puzzles that barely didn't get my vote: motris (05), mathgrant (06), detuned (08), groza528 (12) (didn't notice the clues summing up!), chaotik_iak (13), Tristan (20).

I wonder what the vote would have been like with less constructors and more solvers among the voters.

Anyway, thanks a lot for running the contest -- I don't think I'd have started constructing puzzles otherwise.


rob said...

By the way, did Paul Krueger really not vote for themselves?

The pretty layout deserved a few points, I think, though I can see that the puzzle didn't make anyone's top 4/5.

Paul K said...

I sort of felt like I was exploiting a loophole, but it didn't seem sporting to vote for myself. Besides, I evaluated the puzzles based on my personal solving experience and pretending to solve my own puzzle just isn't the same thing.

I'm a little surprised that I'm not offended by getting the duck ('cause I have as much ego as the next guy). But I had never made one of these before and only solved maybe a dozen, so I guess I can forgive myself for not hitting it out of the park.

That Grant got two votes is way more surprising to me than that I got none. As noted in his comments, it was my favorite of the bunch.

Of course, there is a 75% overlap between the four puzzles I categorized as "too hard" and the top four vote-getters. So clearly you people have no taste in puzzles .

#10 and #16, you were my honorable mentions.

Thanks for the fun, Grant.

Paul K said...

There was a grin after my "no taste" remark, but blogger thinks it's a bad html tag. No offense intended.

qzqxq said...

Oh wow, I didn't even notice the opposite givens summing to 10 on Puzzle 12. That plus 4-way rotational symmetry is impressive. If I had noticed that, it probably would have made my top 5 similarly to how 16 made my top 5 (I also thought for sure that 16 would win :P).

I'd agree with others that I generally disliked the puzzles that required counting everything up, though some (like 4) used it extremely elegantly.

Anyways, huge congrats to Robert, and thanks to Grant for running this contest! It was a lot of fun.

Also, Paul K., you're not alone in not voting for your own puzzle. I felt the same way about it not seeming sporting to vote for myself. :)

Para said...

Congrats Robert. I'm happy one of the puzzles I voted for ended up winning. I mostly voted for this one as I really liked the opening and also the general flow of it. I'm a fan of clever openings. There were 2 others I liked but couldn't vote for and those were #1 and #5. I actually at first thought that #1 would be mathgrant's.

I'm happy and a bit surprised I got 10 votes. My taste in design isn't always for everyone. I did find it interesting that Robert and Valezius ended up voting for mine for their activity on my blog.

As apparently it was brought up that this wasn't the best voting system, I didn't really think that was true. I would somewhat compare it with this article I once read about the best joke in the world. They said it was a joke that had something that everyone could relate too, that everyone liked something about. It didn't have to be the same part of the joke or for the same reason, but still many people liked it. I think that's what this voting system turns out to, that it's a puzzle where the most people find something interesting about. And that's usually what is considered the best when there is a vote.

motris said...

I don't want to get into a political science argument on a puzzle site, but when there are so many candidates (and voting on twenty at a time takes a big investment for a voter to rank as this one did), the vote will be better if done as an instant run-off vote or otherwise use a rank order preference among voters so that someone's favorite is worth a little more than someone's fourth favorite. But sure, you can get the "best joke in the world" with a vote like this, it just likely won't be the funniest for a majority of the people.

But the problem of fair voting is why I don't like construction competitions. What I did like here was many creative puzzles, and I'm thankful Grant organized this. Congrats Robert, I like your given pattern very much!

cyrebjr said...

I really enjoyed these puzzles. Sorry I lost my notes and didn't vote.

BTW, the link under Bram's Puzzle 02 is broken. It doesn't need the "" in there.

sc979 said...

Oh. I actually liked the difficult puzzles. You really need to get those brain cells working to solve them. Of course, being only able to vote for 5, it was hard to cut some of the medium-difficulty aesthetically pleasing ones for my final vote. I did put some consideration into mellowmelon and motris's puzzles. Unfortunately, I too missed the aesthetic used in puzzle 12, otherwise I would also have considered it more seriously.

I actually constructed my puzzle using a certain mindset from the beginning. I completely threw out aesthetic elegance in favor of putting in an implied double-digit polyomino because I thought I would garner more votes that way. Seems I was right. By the way, my puzzle was the very first puzzle I've constructed, so I'm glad I came out with 10 votes.

mathgrant posted one of my comments in this blog post. If I were indeed the only one with a double-digit polyomino, I wonder if I would've gotten some of the votes that went to puzzle 07. I did actually like puzzle 07 (slightly) better than my own puzzle since it had 90 degree symmetry and a symmetrical 10-omino. I even thought about voting for puzzle 07 in place of my own, but in mathgrant's post about voting rules, there is an "if (but only if)" in there, so I took it to mean "if you vote for 5 puzzles, one has to be your own".

While solving, I try to use counting as a last resort. I thought I would end up putting puzzles that needed counting lower on my list, but some that I did need it on (14 and 16 in particular) were interesting enough in their own way. Puzzle 16 had the near symmetry of givens, and as rob said, 14 had a nurikabe-like feel to it.

Lastly, after doing Logicsmith Exhibition 5, I went back into the past and actually "submitted" an entry for Logicsmith Exhibition 1 three years late. It's very difficult, so I'm sure some of you guys from Puzzle Picnic would enjoy it, though after reading this post, I'm sure mathgrant didn't. heh.
(It's okay to post this here, right? Although I already did it.)

Tom.C said...

Thanks everyone for some great puzzles. Aside from the ones I voted for, I could quite easily have added 9,5,11,4 and 20 to my list. I also marked down #6 as probably being Grants, which I suppose tells you something about how distinctive his style is. I was fairly sure Palmer's was either #1 or 2 as well.

I should offer my apologies again for the saga of the multiple solutions...I was trying to be a little too clever for my own good ut I'm glad I got something worthwhile out in the end. Given how good some of the other puzzles were I'm pleasantly surprised to see I got more votes than just my own for a type I'm not particularly experienced in constructing.

Congrats to Robert!

Anurag Sahay said...

Grant:I agree a couple of the entries were very low on solvability,but if more than half of the entries do not meet your standards,i think you should make an attempt to find pleasure in puzzles that you do not usually enjoy.

Grant Fikes said...

Anurag: Despite what my tone might have conveyed, I wouldn't say I hated any of the puzzles so much as I was meh about some of them. Generally, it takes a broken puzzle for me to truly hate it.

Trust me when I say that I do try to be open-minded about my tastes in puzzles, and I do believe I found an element of pleasure even in the puzzles that also had elements that displeased me. My main problem with counting is that adding up all those numbers is tedious (especially if the puzzle is larger than 10x10), and you might not get information which is useful at all.

Anuraag Sahay said...

Hmm..i understand.honestly,I didnt have to add up all numbers for most of the puzzles(including puzzle 12 and my puzzle) .I dont know if thats a flaw with my approach,or i forget to do that.the way i solve a fillomino is just filling up obvious places first,then applying "which numbers can you allocate to a particular cell" strategy and using the "no two areas of same size can share adjacent cells" rule.If all this doesnt work,i do trial-and-error.
Puzzle 12 really stands out,both for the solving path and the appealing antisymetry.I thought it deserved the most votes.
So was the 9th puzzle,though i had to work hard in the end between the 7 and 8 sized polyominos.
The winning entry was very well-made and a real good piece of work.
Congrats Rob!
Really awful voting system though.
The moment you are allowed to vote for the organizer's entry, it turn into a "guess who made what" contest.

miller said...

Thanks again for holding the competition. I'm excited and surprised to get second. I was worried that it would be too hard. And since plenty of the others were more difficult, it wouldn't even stand out as being hard. I didn't count on most of the voters having a taste in difficult puzzles.

Hmm, I vaguely recall looking at PuzzlePicnic in the past. The puzzles did get awfully difficult, though I never would have made the connection. Obviously the solution is to do more until I can recognize distinct styles.

Valezius said...

Hi All,

My only purpose was test myself, can I make a fillo with this rules. This isnt my maintype :)

My other condition was that I didnt want to use closed areas.

I managed to create this puzzle. I saw I should make a better, but after all I didnt have time. This puzzle is solvable without counting :)

The result couldnt surprise me, but thank you for the votes.

My favourie puzzle is the 2nd from Bram, and my favourite pattern is the spiral from detuned.

rob said...

Anuraag: Wait, you're saying I won because people though my puzzle is Grant's?

Anuraag Sahay said...

Heheh...If you trust me,Your puzzle was the first i picked up to solve,impressed by the pattern!However,the pattern was so familiar and used earlier a couple of times(i dont remember who ),i was not sure if i should vote for that.
I liked the opening as others did and you know very well they liked it for the solving pleasure :)

Anuraag Sahay said...

and those who have had enough experience with
grants work(which almost always has a clear entry point),i dont think would have thought it was his.

chaotic_iak said...

Apparently I got two votes. My target was around three votes when I submitted the puzzle, then down to one vote seeing the sheer (20) number of puzzles submitted (okay, I guess I say "sheer" because of the previous logicsmith competitions don't reach that many puzzles). It takes my average -_-

Congratulations to Robert Vollmert for winning, Tristan Miller to get the second place, and Bram de Laat and sc979 for tying for third place!

I didn't know what makes me so forgetful that I didn't vote. Since by now I haven't completed all puzzles anyway, I don't know who am I going to vote... Maybe later when I finished all...

P.S. My name is chaotic_iak, not chaotik_iak...

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