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March 15th, 2005 - The Zotmeister

solving the puzzle of life one entry at a time

Mar. 15th, 2005

03:53 pm - Puzzle 3: The One Ring

A common theme among puzzles is the creation of a single, uncrossed loop; there are at least four variations of such puzzles in popular existence. It occurred to me that there need be no reason whatsoever for these to exist as separate puzzles, and by creating the concept of the Force dot, I have merged all these very compatible puzzles together into the single one they should have been all along. The title is therefore quite fitting in multiple ways. Whether I could be said to have designed The One Ring or not is therefore debatable, but this is certainly the first of its kind.

Yet again, the left grid is an unsolved puzzle; the right grid is the unique solution. (The purple crosses are not part of the solution - only the green loop is.)

I'm going to go straight to a numbered list of rules for this one:

1) The objective is to create a linear loop of "edges", each edge connecting two orthogonally adjacent dots.
2) All the edges must be unit-length (so you can't draw an edge through spots where dots are "missing" from the otherwise evenly-spaced grid).
3) All edges must be part of the loop (so any you're given at the onset must be used).
4) There must be only one such loop.
5) The loop may not touch or cross itself at any point (which means that any dot used in the loop must have exactly two edges on it - coming and going, as it were).
6) Where numbers exist in the grid, the exact number of edges around the area the number appears in must be used as part of the loop.
7) Force dots, Angel dots, and Devil dots must be part of the loop.
8) Angel dots make order out of chaos: the loop must pass straight through Angel dots, but must bend at the next or previous dot in the loop, or both.
9) Devil dots make chaos out of order: the loop must bend at a Devil dot, but must travel straight through both the next and previous dots in the loop.

Here's a legend of my crappy pixelated dots:

So, how does one solve this? Well, it isn't tough, but it is tricky to describe, so I've buried it here if you really need it:

How to solve the sample puzzleCollapse )

What lies below may look like four puzzles at first glance, but it wouldn't take long to show that none of them could be individually solved. For this first The One Ring, I decided to honor the puzzles I've united by giving each of their formats their own quadrant of the grid. Rest assured, however, that it is a single puzzle. Can you find The One Ring?

As usual, the comment page is open for comments and my email inbox is open for solution verification. Of particular interest to me is what corner of this puzzle you most enjoy solving. - ZM

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