Nikoli Selection : LMI July Puzzle Test on 9/10 July


As regular LMI solvers will remember, there were two monthly puzzle tests in October 2010, in the build-up to that year's World Puzzle Championships. In the rushed madness leading up to the first of the monthly tests, indeed the first Nikoli Selection, several aspects of the test‟s preparation had no time to be addressed, and as such there were multiple problems associated with the test – there were two “puzzles” with no legal solutions, a further puzzle with multiple solutions, and yet another puzzle initially published with a misprint which also rendered it unsolvable. This reflected badly on me, but also on LMI, and I am grateful for the opportunity to try and put things right for the organization that has been the driving force behind the recent renaissance in puzzle solving.

Nikoli itself is a world-renowned puzzle publisher based in Japan. They are most famous for refining an obscure puzzle – which went by the name of Number Place - featuring in an American puzzle magazine, and thus providing the genesis of the all-conquering sudoku phenomenon. However, they publish countless other puzzle types, with each individual puzzle intricately handcrafted into works of beauty. In my eyes, they remain the gold standard in the world of puzzles and are certainly my greatest inspiration when it comes to making my own puzzles, (which incidentally, you can find more of on my blog, detuned radio).
In putting together this test, I have been indebted to the excellent advice of Deb Mohanty, with whom I have had many useful conversations. I‟d also like to thank Rakesh Rai and David McNeill for test-solving the puzzles.

The test is structured in a similar manner as before: there are two parts to the test. The first consists of 16 different Nikoli-style puzzles. Solvers finishing the first part of the test in time will be awarded a small bonus based on the remaining minutes left on the clock after the last correct submission time.

The second part of the test is the marathon puzzle section, which should be viewed as an additional bonus. It is highly recommended that you do not attempt solving the marathon puzzles before correctly solving the first part of the test! There is a choice of three different marathon puzzle types. It is not expected that any solver will be able to solve all three marathon puzzles within the time limit; rather the solver is expected to make a preferred choice between the three puzzles if and when they get to that stage.

The three marathon puzzles are Slitherlink, Heyawake, and Yajilin. The details of the first 16 puzzles are detailed below:

Puzzle Types

Ripple Effect
And 3 marathon puzzles

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