Tremendous set of puzzles. I kind of prefer this cropped format of PR with reduced time. I think the preference is because all puzzles were greatly attemperated for their difficulty to fit in the 60min slot. Even if one was very hard, the balance would have been disturbed and made the time look even shorter. So in that aspect, excellent work Prasanna !
I really enjoyed the set.
A big thanks to everyone who participated, and all the comments and feedback. I have some thoughts about the new format and the rest of the series, but before all that, congratulations to Freddie Hand, Ken Endo and Jeffrey Bardon, in order, for taking the top 3 spots here. The top times were very impressive.
Congratulations also to Swaroop Guggilam, Ashish Kumar and Rajesh Kumar, in order, for taking the top 3 Indian spots here. It is a bit disappointing to see some big names of the Indian scene missing from the leaderboard, but that should take nothing away from the top 3, who all finished all 22 puzzles within time. Its also nice to see some new Indians giving the series a go, and I wish them all the best for future rounds.
Some thoughts on the puzzles themselves - I wanted to keep things simple, partly because of the lead-in from PANFOPCWHTTAPA 2 and partly because the first round is always a bit of a rush to get ready. While keeping things simple though, I wanted to have some elements there that newer solvers could learn from, like the patterns in Slitherlink 2 and Star Battle 2, for instance. I'm happy that Sus-Shikaku got received well, because I like it a lot myself and plan to explore it more in other places. The S-title was a fun little theme that allowed me to explore Classic types that aren't usually included in PR like Slant. To end on the subject of puzzles, I encourage solvers who are stuck on puzzles to now post here with doubts so we can help you.
Now to some broader thoughts, this contest had 395 participants, 378 of them got a non-zero score and 98 of them finished all puzzles. There was still (a little) feedback that it'd be nice to have a longer time window. I'll re-iterate the point I made earlier - there is no limit to this argument. We can make the puzzles easier and have longer durations, there will still be participants who aren't able to enjoy all the puzzles within time. Where is the cap? 200 finishers? all 395? I do not think that is realistic. So instead of focusing on that, I want to move towards focusing on the question "how much time can people give to a weekend contest?" because that is probably the consideration for a lot more people who aren't high-level competitive solvers.
I also want to note that the number of finishers here is far more than the average GP or WPC where only the top 5 to 10 players finish all puzzles. This tells me that we can go a few notches up in difficulty and still have the makings of a fun contest for all. With normalization, with the ability to solve puzzles and submit them after the contest, etc. I do not think it is necessary for many people to finish all puzzles all the time, because everyone can access and solve them post contest and get graded. The point of a contest should be to optimize your points, regardless of number of puzzles or difficulty. All this is to say that this contest was easy even by Puzzle Ramayan standards, and while that was very much by design, I won't hesitate in allowing some of the later rounds of the series to have some more challenging puzzles, while still keeping a good number of easy ones for newcomers and beginners to sink their teeth into. I want to reinforce this new direction, especially for top Indian solvers to take note and approach things accordingly.
Hi, can you please help me with a hint for Star Battle 2? I solved 1 and 3 but I could not figured out the trick for 2.
Note the four L shaped corner regions. These must have 8 stars in total. The first and last rows and columns must also have 8 stars in total. This gives a few deductions, check it out. If you still don't have it I (or someone else) can explain further.
Prasanna mentioned that I should link my solve of this contest here, so if you're curious what a top-level perspective (I was third) of one of these looks like, I've got one. https://youtu.be/lDoMcZzE7gM