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This question is part of the best-puzzle award series.


What are your nominations for the very best puzzle of 2015?

Usual suggested rules as shown below.

Winning puzzle (as judged by total net votes) gets the coveted title "Puzzle Of The Year, 2015"

If you want to get ideas from the quarterly nominations (you don't have to), they're here:


Suggested guidelines for nomination:

  • Nominate each individual puzzle in a separate answer, so they can be upvoted/downvoted separately.

  • Not more than 3 nominations per person.

  • Don't nominate your own puzzles.

  • Before you nominate a puzzle, check to see if someone else has already nominated it. If they have then add to that nomination as a comment (or edit it), instead of nominating the same puzzle again.

  • In your nomination, explain what it is that (in your opinion) makes the nominated puzzle such a good one.

Meta-meta issues:

  • Is this kind of thing allowed on SE?

  • What's the point?

    • To highlight and encourage good practice in a way which goes beyond upvotes.

    • To work towards building a 'hall of fame' of some of the best puzzles on the site (perhaps to reside on a future puzzling.SE blog) - think of it as our 'greatest hits album'. :)

    • To prompt members to put forward their own reflections on what makes a high-quality puzzle.

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Others may differ with me, but IMO it does not seem right to compare all puzzles together.

For example, how does one compare a complicated problem with an interesting puzzle or even a one? People are usually biased to certain kinds of puzzles, even if they are unaware of it.

So we will end up finding, not the best puzzle, but actually the most popular and easy-to-understand-but-intuitive puzzle by this post. And that too, not the most popular puzzle among the Puzzling SE users, but in fact, the most popular puzzle among the Puzzling Meta SE users.

I think voting on puzzles itself is a better indicator of the popularity of a puzzle. And this practice might work on other sites because it is easier to compare different kinds of posts there than here.

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    $\begingroup$ "Not the most popular puzzle among the Puzzling SE users, but in fact, the most popular puzzle among the Puzzling Meta SE users.". I think that the fact that this post is featured will make a lot of difference. But I agree with you that there should be different categories. $\endgroup$ – wythagoras Jan 5 '16 at 12:30
  • $\begingroup$ PPCG are doing something similar with categories (although they are considering answers as well). I don't know how well it will translate here though. $\endgroup$ – Volatility Jan 6 '16 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ I agree categories should be involved in this popularity thing. As an added argument, I never even open number/math puzzles, and rarely cypher/cryptogram puzzles. But I really love visual, riddle, themed and sometimes enigmatic puzzles so I know those a bit more. $\endgroup$ – Spacemonkey Jan 21 '16 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ One I hadn't thought of was the gang meeting puzzle by Alconja because I never answered to it so it didn't appear in my list. But it's a reaaaaallly good one. puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/17862/… $\endgroup$ – Spacemonkey Jan 21 '16 at 21:52
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The Sands of Time by Tryth

A very unique visual puzzle that was well outside of the beaten path for PuzzlingSE - it had us all scratching our heads for quite a while, the only gripe I had with it was that I actually had written the answer on the puzzle and simply couldn't figure/notice what it spelled out. But there's honestly not enough of these.

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Self-Referential Sudoku by Steven Stadnicki

The puzzle last year which brought me the most joy when I first saw it. Some of its good traits:

  • Surprising. The fact that you can uniquely define a sudoku puzzle by arithmetic equations alone had never crossed my mind.

  • Elegant. Looking at the puzzle image for a couple seconds and reading a single sentence are enough to communicate what needs to be done.

  • Well-crafted, as there is a unique solution which can be arrived at by a series of logical deductions, yet

  • Challenging, as there aren't any obvious starting points (at least to me).

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Lepidopterology needed! by BmyGuest

I really enjoyed BmyGuest's hyper-modern art series (could've nominated any of them, but this was the one I spent the most time staring at). Clearly a lot of work went into them, and although they were all quite difficult, they were always well designed such that they naturally included hints and information that guided you in the right direction.

(Also an honourable mention to the related A treasure hunt for the magic artefact).

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Discover the meaning of life! by Bailey M

A very difficult, but cleverly designed cryptic word puzzle with a twist. Intriguingly written and layers deep, it took a team effort to reach the satisfying solution.

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Find the liar in the Library by LeGrandDODOM

One of the most challenging logic-puzzles I've seen on here, and quite entertaining too. It spawned so many answer attempts and comments in the answer. I think overall it had quite a few people involved actively attempting to solve it.

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Numbered Logicians near the Blue Eyes island by Tyler Seacrest

A very counter-intuitive logic puzzle, even for those familiar with blue-eyed islanders puzzles. The solution at the same time satisfying and bewildering, while the presentation itself is extremely clear. The expertly crafted puns are a cherry on top.

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