Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Virginia Is For Lovers -- Complete!

The contest is over!  You can find the answers at my puzzle "site"; and if you're coming late to the party, you will also be able to find a copy of the puzzles there as well.  I had 62 people request the puzzles, and they (you!) donated $602 to the cause, which is quite frankly very exciting.  I also received 41 correct answers, which is also very exciting.  The lucky winners drawn by received gift certificates to ThinkGeek (1st place a $50 gift certificate went to J.T. Williams of Pasadena, 2nd place $25 went to Giovanni P.).  This would normally be the place where I'd make a bad joke about "don't spend it all in one place", except of course you have to.

Some comments about the puzzles:
  • Probably the most common response I got was: "Didn't you kinda do the final metapuzzle backwards?"  The answer is: Of course.  I got stuck on doing the final puzzle in strict numerical order and forgot where I had gotten the idea from in the first place.  I think I was just so happy to get Postscript to draw a moderately-acceptable daisy that I wasn't thinking.  Still: Next time I will Do Better.
  • The Bogey & Bacall puzzle was one of the last puzzles actually completed, and it showed a bit.  The original inspiration is allegedly the card solitaire game Golf (you know the one, where you can remove a card that is one above or one below the card you just played) but it turned out to look a lot more like "One Away" from The Price Is Right.  More importantly, I was unable to spot the alternate answers that are all over the place in that puzzle, which is bad.  I had intended to write a little computer program to generate all the possibilities from a string to check, but didn't.  I will now as penance.
  • I know a lot more Crossword People than Puzzle People, so I was expecting a little bit of confusion from Skyscrapers.  I put the rules in the packet, but either I wasn't clear about it or people just weren't expecting me to actually explain the puzzle (or some of both), so a lot of people were a little bit stuck there.
  • The voting for people's favorite puzzle (at least as reported to me) was fairly spread out -- I think just about everything except Romeo & Juliet got a mention from somebody.  I guess that's a good thing.
  • The difficulty was deliberately easier (probably a lot easier than some previous work of mine), as the original concept involved two packs, to be solved in pairs, with the easier puzzles loaded into the "partner" pack.  That got dropped relatively quickly, but I stuck with the easier puzzles for a "general population" -- this isn't MIT Mystery Hunt, it's a charity fundraiser, and I knew that a fair bit of my audience wouldn't necessarily be expert at creative-type puzzles.  I think that some solvers got a bit less of an experience than they were hoping for, but I hope it was fun nonetheless.
  • We'll definitely do this again sometime!


tabstop said...

Also, I was inordinately pleased with the answer "Agent Orangutan". I don't know why.

Howard B said...

Liked that puzzle and answer too. I figured that it was an associate or underling of Grape Ape.

Skyscrapers was especially difficult for me, at least the visual logic aspect (not the Sudoku part) of it. That's just my weakness though.

Not an expert meta-solver, so this difficulty was in a nice sweet spot, a mix of difficulties, and I didn't have to research obscure coding algorithms or translate mirror-image semaphore in ROT-13 to Sanskrit to solve it. So yes, it was fun for a good cause. Thanks!