Someway, somehow, I'd let over three years pass since I'd last posted a puzzle here - made particularly an asshole move given that I'd stopped at number 49. I had several things I was wanting to do with this journal around the time of Puzzle 50, and I ended up putting them off... for over three years, apparently. Well, I'm finally getting around to doing them, and so here's their harbinger; the puzzle itself is something of an homage to the way things were here, a final hurrah before pressing forward into the future.
A quick note before I get into the instructions here: despite the dearth of puzzle content here as of late, I never really stopped making puzzles - I just wasn't posting them here. I've had puzzles in the last four United States Puzzle Championships, including a Sudoku variant with no givens whatsoever and no special markings in the grid either (the region shapes alone define a unique solution - I was going for the Ripple Effect effect), which I believe is a world first and is regardless the best puzzle I've yet made. If for some unfortunate reason you missed it, it's in my gallery: Sukazu
And now for something completely opposite: a Sudoku variant with a given in EVERY cell.
A partial given, mind you, but a given nonetheless. As perhaps you've noticed, I've been using my own custom "font" for the numbers in my puzzles, drawing them the same way every time from Puzzle 1 to now. To wit:
There have been a wide variety of comments regarding this. Some love the retro appeal; some find it an eyesore. But the comment that really got to me was noting that the '3' and the '8' are distinguished by only a single pixel, which (especially in a Cross Sums) I agree is a problem. But of course, it also gave me the idea for the puzzle below, so I decided Puzzle 50 would be the five-by-five-pixel swan song, and from there I'd move on to something else - I mean, even Strong Bad upgrades his computer every now and then. As for what to upgrade my graphics to, well - I have an idea in mind, but I'd like to hear what my readers would like to see, so comment away.
There are going to be several other changes here soon as well. For starters, this will be the last puzzle I will be soliciting emailed solutions or providing a prize for. Sucks, I know, but I'm also hoping to make up for this by offering more contests. I should note, however, that I'm still not expecting to have a source of income until next month, so don't hold your breath. (Donations to my PayPal account would accelerate the process and, quite frankly, make me feel very appreciated and happy. Having half a face is still a downer. But I digress.) For this puzzle, however, feel free to email me your answer, and while you're at it, tell me if you own a Nintendo DS or not.
So, without further ado: what lies below is a Sudoku puzzle where I've given you one pixel of each solution digit, with the numbers as drawn above; as usual, each digit (in this case from ZERO to nine - I figured, why should zero be left out of the final 5x5 puzzle?) must appear exactly once in each row, column, and region. Note that the red and green regions are disjoint - those are both still ten-cell regions, the smaller segments connected through cell corners in a checkered pattern - but this doesn't change the rules one bit. [In retrospect, I probably should have used a different pair of colors for those...]
As noted earlier, I have lots of other puzzles already composed that were waiting for this one to come out. Now that it has, expect a steady flow of them to follow - again, my goal is to reach one hundred by the time I'm eligible for the United States presidency. There will be some other varied content as well, the vast majority of it (hopefully...) being creative exploits. So welcome back, glad to be back, and let's have some fun, shall we? - ZM