This post reports a second review of a Will Shortz “Beware! Very Challenging” collection, this one from his Trickiest Sudoku. When the first review of this series, presented as Shortz’ hardest, revealed the Bewares to be at the sysudokie basic solving level, I decided to do another review, just to be sure.
For this review, I selected every 10th puzzle, starting at the first “Trickiest Beware!”, # 101. Conventions of my review tables are detailed in the Reviews page.
For those seeking advanced technique challenges, the second review results are equally disappointing. Only one puzzle made it beyond basic solving, to produce a simple UR, and a XY-chain with two removing ANL. Four of 10 did not survive box marking.
The sole advanced solving opportunity was the sysudokie homework puzzle, Trickiest Beware 131. Here is the box marking trace:
Box marking leaves North and East boxes filled. The line marking trace is in the review table, and includes a naked single and a 5-wing that affects the remaining line marking.
The bv scan brings up another issue, with the discovery of a simple unique rectangle: can we trust the composer? The removal is based on an assumption that the solution is unique, and we remember Ferocious Beware 190 all too well.
Regardless, I think it’s best to trust the puzzle maker to guard against duplications based on simple number interchanges, and make the removal.
Next, we encounter a long XY chain that spawns two ANL removals. Both turn bv into clues, and these finish Trickiest Beware 131.
I can still recommend Shortz Beware! puzzles for a good workout in basic solving. They can overwhelm you with candidates if you don’t gather the low hanging fruit. The counts of marks in the box marking column suggest that ignoring slinks before candidate listing can make these puzzles very tough.
Next time I’ll include a trace of the box marking of Trickiest Beware 141, shown here, for Shortz fans who may not be ready to believe how readily a “Beware!” can be solved with sysudoku slink marking.
My next adventure will be much more challenging. I will be reviewing the KrazyDad Insane puzzles available on www.krazydad.com . The composer, my friend Jim, says these puzzles require guessing, but since sysudokies never guess, this will make for a friendly clash of wills. Or at least, a clash of definitions of “guessing”.
I’m starting next time with Insane volume 4, book 1, number 5 and going through the number 5’s book by book, through book 10. This selection was made before working any of the Insane puzzles. As in the case of Andrew Stuart’s Unsolvable 40, I expect that I will not get through this without developing new tricks out of sheer desperation (Yes, Miss Everett, I used the spellcheck), so the review will take time and patience. But I expect some rewarding revelations.
If you’d like to be there when I salt down my hat for lunch, you might do the box marking and line marking for next Tuesday’s post. I’m not going to post the original grids, or the final answers, only the solving landmarks. Get the originals and answers on www.krazydad.com . And if you like this kind of puzzles, enjoy the thousands I’m providing no hints about.