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Glenn Willen

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03:41 am: Puzzles, and hunting and writing.
In the aftermath of the KGB puzzlehunt (which my team "won"!) I have written an essay about puzzle-solving, and how information theory pertains to search space when solving puzzles. Problem: It's 1623 words and desperately needs editing before I can post it. Solution: Remind me to edit it tomorrow, and your reward/punishment will be getting to read it.

(What do I mean by "won"? We were third to complete the metapuzzle. First was a remote-solving team, which didn't do the interactive events or the final endgame puzzle. Second made it to the endgame puzzle, but couldn't solve it and got a "bad ending"; one of them ran away and the other three "had their brains scrambled". We were the first team to solve the endgame puzzle and get the "good ending" in which everyone is saved and nobody dies. Yay! I'll call that a win.)

Also, a reminder: You can follow my ongoing foray into lisp interpretation, doing 15 (down from 30) lisp interpreters in the month of November, at nalintmo. I have completed number 5, in Pike, which is a problem even at the 2-days-per-language rate, since it's the end of Day 12. I have a bit of catching up to do. ;-)

Comments

[User Picture]
From:platypuslord
Date:November 13th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
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I'm interested, mr willen.

Here is what I know about solving puzzles:
  • Every puzzle, from time immemorial, hath mapped to an English word. Therefore the solution to every puzzle must be converted into a word.
  • If thy solution hath a bunch of words in it already, generally it means thou must taketh one letter from each word.
    • Look for a number which thou canst use as an index into each word. Doth each word have a number associated with it?
    • Sometimes it sufficeth to taketh the last letter from each word.
    • Thou mayst be required to sorteth the words, ere thou taketh letters as above.
      • If thy words were not in alphabetical order, try sorting them into alphabetical order.
      • If thy words hadst alphabetical order already, thou might need to sorteth by something else.
  • If thy solution hath no words or letters at all, it means thou must interpret thy solution as a code.
    • The codes are thus: Numerical, Binary, Ternary, Morse, Braille, Semaphore.
    • Many hunts will generously give each team a code sheet, to remind of the codes and to aid in decoding.
    • If thy solution containeth sets, and each of five things can be present or absent in each set, that is a binary code.
  • When examining a puzzle, remember ye to counteth the number of everything.
    • If anything numbereth 26, then each of those things will correspondeth to a letter.
    • If two things numbereth the same, then there will be a correspondence between the two groups.
  • When a collection of clues each produceth a word, remember to checketh if the words are in alphabetical order. This can be a valuable confirmation in seeking the words, and also it indicateth that the words are not otherwise ordered.

Looking back, I would guess that your essay might have been more about those last two items, than the first three.
[User Picture]
From:gwillen
Date:November 13th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
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This is a pretty good list. My essay is more about the general structure of puzzles, and less about specific tricks for puzzlehunt puzzles. I am editing it now.
[User Picture]
From:lindseykuper
Date:November 14th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
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I'm so used to seeing "gwillen" that Glenn's last name looks naked sitting there all by itself.
From:aleffert
Date:November 14th, 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
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His name is Gwillen Willen
[User Picture]
From:lindseykuper
Date:November 14th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
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Are you sure it isn't Glenn Gwillen? You know, like Zachary Z. Zsparks and Jason C. Jcreed.
(no subject) - (Anonymous)
[User Picture]
From:lindseykuper
Date:November 15th, 2011 05:25 am (UTC)
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Oh, fine. *slinks away*
[User Picture]
From:DeMarko [wordpress.com]
Date:November 15th, 2011 12:36 am (UTC)
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pretty sure Akiva is right, he usually is anyway
From:aleffert
Date:November 15th, 2011 03:49 am (UTC)
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awww shucks.
[User Picture]
From:lindseykuper
Date:November 15th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC)
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It's true that Gwillen Willen sounds better.
[User Picture]
From:bubblingbeebles
Date:November 14th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
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:)
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