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Everything posted by Fonze

Daily Puzzle  Real Hitori  Extreme 20
I've been doing some more of these hitori puzzles to balance out the kakuro in my vain attempt to stretch them out and I've really been enjoying the different gears these get turning! Honestly I'm still not too experienced with these puzzles, but I think the lines between difficulty levels seem to be blurred in that the extreme level puzzles don't seem to be much harder than the challenging or even hard level puzzles, though on average they do tend to be slightly more tricky.
From what I can tell thus far, easy and most medium puzzles tend to be solved by the two main special cases:
1) two numbers of the same value with one space between means the space between must be open
2) two adjacent numbers in a row/column plus a third elsewhere in the same row/column means that the third (plus any more) must be closed.
These, along with the 3 main rules, usually lead to cascades of info in the easier puzzles while the harder ones tend to leave these at dead ends, requiring you to figure at least one, if not multiple steps for mini cascades of info later on. Some of these have genuinely stumped me to the point of having to guess and check a bit more than I would like, but all of these kinda require some guessing and checking to smaller degrees (at least to learn the pattern) so it's tough to draw a line on what's acceptable and what's not really helping me learn. Still, I think looking for the patterns is the key to solving these """legitly""" so hopefully as I get stumped more I'll also pick up more of the patterns to look out for; seeing the forest for the trees.
A weird thing to note: apparently the process of scanning these puzzles has begun to kinda mentally hurt my eyes and general nerves, like seeing an unclean puzzle is just that much of an affront to the senses or something... nah but seriously idk it's a weird observation that the beginning process of scanning the puzzle and marking off nonconflicting numbers edges on my nerves throughout even my body in a weird way (making me feel almost anxious) about around the 5's and 6's, sometimes earlier but usually letting off as more numbers are marked off and I get to the easiertospot 7's and 8's. Maybe it's the process of looking so thoroughly and as quickly as I can up/down/left/right at each number spotted as I move along row by row. Sometimes it helps to switch to column by column, or at the 7's to just look at the whole thing and spot them less methodically, something also easily done with the starting 1's. Changing screen brightness or nearby lighting doesn't affect it and it's usually after doing a couple in a row because I'm a helpless addict. Idk just something weird.
Today's puzzle has an intimidating name: "Extreme 20," but it's actually just a teddy bear deep down; a good feel good, example puzzle to show one of the powerful patterns of these types of puzzles. After solving it I figured it'd make for a good example to post, so I went through and solved it again while taking screenshots to post along. If you feel confident enough, try to beat my time, then check the solve :D
This solve assumes you've read my previous solve (to save time and copious screenshots) so if you feel lost I highly recommend that you try checking that out to learn some of the more basic stuff.
I will again briefly cover the three main rules of these puzzles:
1) No numbers can repeat in a row/column
2) Two squares which are crossed off, or "closed," cannot be adjacent to one another along the four cardinal directions, meaning that "closing" one square "opens" up to four squares around it.
3) All open squares must connect to each other along the four cardinal directions; no squares or sets of squares can be "cut off" from the rest. We're building a snek.
The goal is to eliminate repetitions in rows/columns, thus we only have to mark the squares we "close off" to solve the puzzle. Brown squares are used to mark squares which are "closed." White squares are unknown, but count as "open" for the solve, meaning they don't have to be specifically marked. Yellow squares are to definitively mark off squares as "open," but are otherwise treated the same as white squares and again are not necessary to fill in to solve the puzzle. Paper notations use X's and O's respectively but this app uses colors. Honestly I prefer the colors as they're easier to process as the puzzle fills in.
The first thing that I'm gonna start with (for the sake of cleaning a few things up, making things easier on the eyes and easier to explain) is cross off as "definitely open" all numbers that either have no conflicts, as well as processing the numbers which interact with our two special cases listed earlier: opening those that reside between two numbers which share the same value as each other (the one in question, the middle one, doesn't have to share this value) and closing those in the same row/column as two other numbers which are adjacent to one another and share the same value as the first. Basically the 1 in the bottom left between the two 8's is an example of special case one and we'll get to an example of special case two in a moment.
This is all going to leave us with this:
These numbers all do not conflict with any other number in their rows/columns and thus are definitely open. We don't have to mark these but it does clean things up and make further steps easier to spot/process.
From here let's address that special case two: the 6 on the bottom of the puzzle shares two more 6's, which happen to be adjacent to oneanother, in its same column. This means that this 6 on the bottom row of the puzzle is closed, as if this were open it would close both other 6's and two closed squares cannot reside by oneanother.
This leads us to a small cascade of information: the 3 adjacent to the closed 6 is now definitively open, which in turn closes the 3 to the far right. That closed 3 opens the 7 above it, which then closes the 7 to its left and above it. The 7 above it opens a 2 to its right which closes a 2 on the far left of the puzzle. That is the end of this mini cascade of info but we'll find some more good stuff quickly.
From here we've hit the first brick wall of the puzzle and nothing further is given freely; this is what separates the harder puzzles from the easier ones, however there are a couple places we can gleam some important info on that will help us to break this puzzle wide open. I'll first show the easier one to spot then spoiler the second one in case a random reader wants to try to find the second after seeing the first as an example. It's good practice :)
Let's start by taking a look at these two blocks in particular:
Or more accurately: the 6's beside them and to the right in the same rows.
This is a pattern that is good to learn to recognize: if either the redcircled 2 or 3 is closed, then both 6's adjacent to the closed 2 or 3 would be open, which would then close both of the 6's to their right:
This violates rule two that no closed squares can be adjacent to oneanother and thus it is safe to say that both of these squares (the 2 and 3) are open.
The newly opened 3 closes a 3 above it, which opens another 3 to the left of the nowclosed one. The 2 closes a 2 to its immediate left, as well as another down below it. The latter closed 2 (on the bottom) opens a 2 beside it, and that leaves us with another dead end:
From here, can you spot the second one of these?
If either of these 8's are closed, it would open both the 7 and the 9, which would then close both the adjacent 7 and 9 to the right, which cannot happen. Therefore both of the 8's must be open.
This leads us to a major cascade of info which will essentially solve the puzzle. The lower 8 merely closes an 8 below it, in the bottom row (you could then open the 8 in the far bottom left since it doesn't conflict with anything if you want to clean things up but I just wound up doing that later), while the higher 8 closes an 8 to its right and closes another 8 above it:
The last closed 8 (3rd row from top) opens a 6 beside it, which closes a 6 below that. It also opens a 3 above it which closes a 3 to the right of that:
This 3 opens a 2 beside it, which closes the adjacent 2. That then opens the adjacent 9, which closes the 9 to its far left in the topleft corner of the puzzle, as well as one below it:
This 9 in the topleft of the puzzle opens a 7 below it, which closes a 7 to its right.
The lower 9 in the middleish of the puzzle opens a 7 above it, which closes a 7 to its left, that in turn opens a 6 above it.
We can also go ahead and clean up the two remaining 8's which dont conflict with anything anymore, which finally leaves us with this:
From here we are so close to done! The bottom 9 has to be open or one of the snek's hands (the open 5 between the closed 8 and 6 on the bottom row) will be cut off from the rest of the puzzle. This closes the 9 above it.
The same thing applies to the rightmost 2: it must be open or the whole bottomright of the puzzle would be cut off. This then closes the left 2:
This finally clears up what to do about the two remaining 1's: at this point we can see that closing the bottom one would again cut off the bottomright of the puzzle, so that must be open, which closes the 1 above it, solving the puzzle! Great job if you've followed or solved along!
And a shot of my original time for a little lighthearted competition ;D
Allinall not too tough of a puzzle to do, despite the name. It was a pretty fun solve getting to see the same kinda logical pattern in play twice. I'll have to figure out what these are called, but for now I'll make up a fancy name... associated pairs? Good enough!
Hopefully this read hasn't been too dry and will be of some interest to some folk, or at the very least will showcase the fun these puzzles are, regardless of how crappy my writing is! I really recommend giving these a shot; they are cool to solve!
Find the apps I use here on the google play store:
These apps are amazing and I <3 their dev for making them. They control well, look aesthetically pleasing, and have thousands of puzzles to solve of varying difficulties. Really great apps!