Sunday, 23rd June 2024
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Making so many mistakes
Kwon-Tom Fan
Puzzles: 19
Posted - 2020.11.24 19:25:21
Hi everyone!

I'm quite excited to have discovered this site. I played _tons_ of slitherlink in the loopy Simon Tatham app and I'm really interested to see that this site seems to have very challenging puzzles!

I especially love large puzzles but I tend to make mistakes. I don't understand how I end up doing these mistakes as I only apply sets of local rules that I know are true and of course when I detect that I've made a mistake there's no way of knowing where that was.

I'd love to try the beast of the month puzzles but I know it's useless as they're so big I'm bound to make at least one mistake and as a result I'll be very frustrated when I realise it much later.

I was wondering if anybody had had a similar experience and had found a way to get past this. I guess "pay attention" is the key factor here but I already feel like I'm paying attention... Maybe "sleep more" would also be a good advice.
Kwon-Tom Obsessive
Puzzles: 6159
Best Total: 7m 47s
Posted - 2020.11.25 13:27:37

A few thoughts.

On making mistakes:

1) First of all, mistakes are inevitable and universal. Personally, I click fast but also make lots of misclicks every puzzle; and very occasionally, I overlook one.
2) And conversely, some of the grids in the Variations puzzles are still unintuitive to me, so I mis-apply patterns. In a recent puzzle, I screwed up so often that I took longer for that one puzzle than I usually take for most of the week.
3) Maybe you're mis-applying patterns yourself, i.e. you make deductions that aren't actually logically valid. But you don't know which of your actions are mistakes. Which brings us to:

On dealing with mistakes:
4) Make sure you're solving the puzzles at a comfortable screen resolution. The default size of the puzzles is really small, but you can zoom in most browsers by holding CTRL plus + or plus mouse wheel.
5) Practice solving puzzles which have a solution available. If you make a mistake, compare your current state to the actual solution. For example, over the years I've recorded myself solving a few dozen puzzles on Youtube. You can try solving one of those puzzles yourself (they're all accessible via the Archives button on, and if you get stuck or make a mistake, you can check out the corresponding video. Or if you just need a solution without a step-by-step illustration, every old puzzle in the Archives has a link to the corresponding solution.
6) Check out this collection of tips.
7) On this site, there's also a cute feature called Kwon-Tom Wrong, which might be helpful to practice fixing mistakes: Whenever you solve a puzzle, you can choose "Do you want to go Kwon-Tom Wrong". If you do, one number in the puzzle is replaced, which makes your solution incorrect, and you have to find a new solution.
Last edited by MondSemmel - 2020.11.25 13:31:31
Kwon-Tom Fan
Puzzles: 19
Posted - 2020.11.25 17:26:43
Thanks for your answer!

It seems quite possible that I'm making incorrect inferences as you suggest. After I posted this post in the forum I tried an easy puzzle and going very slowly, and I noticed after the fact an incorrect application of a rule I know.

Thanks for the link with the tips but I'm avoiding lists of solving techniques as discovering the techniques is really part of the fun for me. I recently discovered shading half by accident on the KrazyDad website with his slitherlink variation Area 51 and I'm wowed.
I guess there are other techniques I still don't know about and I'll probably never know about it. :p

I took a look at your videos and I'm impressed by your solving speed. I _might_ take a look at them for hard puzzles when I get stuck (and I guess I will get stuck a lot because the hard puzzles here seem very hard for my current level!) because being given the next step without an explanation seems less spoilery than being given an inference rule I don't know.

Finally yes I have seen the Kown-Ton Wrong feature and find it really cool, though I am currently completely at a loss on how to go about it! But I guess you're right that correcting mistakes (if I can manage it) would be more fun for me than starting again.

FTR I've tried to do that in nonograms in which I also tend to make mistakes and in some instances I succeeded and felt very clever and in (most others) I went bersek because I was so close to the solution with only one line or column wrong and was completely incapable of figuring out how to solve this...

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