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User puzzle #411
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3086
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2009.12.02 15:47:56
Thanks Naivoj for a VERY challenging puzzle!  It only took an elapsed time of over 22d19h to reach the end...

Excuse me while I scrape what's left of my brain off the floor.
Kwon-Tom Addict
Puzzles: 314
Best Total: 33m 50s
Posted - 2009.12.07 08:25:23
I was kind of out of loop the loop puzzles, when about a month ago I was stuck at the office on a Saturday with networking problems. I couldn’t do my work, neither access internet. I needed something to kill time and I remembered that I have our puzzle solver/generator program on my C drive, so I started playing with it resulting in user puzzles 410 and 411. Btw, my elapsed time for 411 is 17d 23h.

I think that the key to make a puzzle really harder is to minimize the highlander pattern and highlander deduction opportunities, (mainly by avoiding contiguous white space area). A counter example is v_e_e_n_c_a puzzle #415 which is not hard if you only use one highlander pattern:  after applying the basic highlander 2 pattern in the bottom left corner the puzzle solves itself without any exploration or any other highlander deduction.
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 3086
Best Total: 13m 42s
Posted - 2009.12.07 10:51:21
Yes, I *really* felt the pain of the lack of easy highlanders in your puzzle.  I spent a lot of time working on chains of chevrons along diagonal 2's, frequently filling half the board or more before I could definitively rule out a single line or cross. Hard fought, those battles for the first handful of non-obvious marks!

There were a couple of highlanders that helped me rule out false approaches in some spots (I particularly remember a spot in the middle of the bottom row, where I had two horizontal lines spanning a 2 in what I seem to recall was the third row up - that gave me two routes around the 1's and 2's beneath it, and won me either an x or a line somewhere way off on the far side of the baord...) - I dread to think how nasty it'd have been if it was completely highlander-free like some of your other recent nasties!

I must give #410 a try next...
Last edited by astrokath - 2009.12.07 10:51:58
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 1989
Best Total: 22m 1s
Posted - 2009.12.19 19:47:16
I made it. Woohoo.

I did a restart at one point - so my time of 5d 22h is not the entire time I spent on it.

I did end up using quite a few larger highlanders - especially in the bottom left corner.

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