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Let's do fortnightly topic challenges once again!


What to Do:

If you have an idea for a tag or a theme of any kind to use as a topic challenge, post it as an answer below. (Do note, you can propose anything, not only a tag). Only one suggestion per answer, please. Here is a list of all tags, to help.

At the start of each fortnight, the highest-voted answer to this post will be selected as that fortnight's topic. Starting from today, users can propose their themes or topics. The selected answer will then be deleted to reduce clutter in the list.

After the selection, a new question will be created in this format. An answer will then be posted to that question with links to all the posts in the featured topic in the fortnight.

We'll again keep a list of all the topics.

Happy Puzzling!

Current Topic:

  • November 15th – November 28th, 2020
    Variety Crossword Grids suggested by bobble

Previous Topics:

  • November 1st – November 14th, 2020
    Wordless Connecting Walls suggested by Stiv
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    $\begingroup$ A proposal: If/when all remaining answers don't have 5 or more upvotes, then that should be taken as a sign that proposals have run out and the series should (temporarily) stop once more $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil 2 days ago

11 Answers 11

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- Current Topic -


Variety Crossword Grids

Normal crosswords has the entries go right-to-left and top-to-bottom, one letter per cell. Bah! That's too simple. The challenge here is to make a variety crossword where the words go in different directions and/or have variable letters per cell. Some ideas:

  • Words that go diagonally
  • Words that go "backwards" (left-to-right or bottom-to-top) in a grid with words that also go "forwards"
  • Words that go in circles
  • Words that don't go in straight lines
  • A grid where each cell contains 1, 2, or 3 letters.
  • A grid with triangular or hexagonal cells.

Examples of what I would consider variety grids are Around the Bend and Marching Bands crosswords.

The actual words and clues can be completely normal - or they can be "variety" as well. Just the grids have to be variety. Feel free to use currently-existing variety crossword types or make up your own.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could this also be extended to using individual cells differently, e.g. using more than one character in a cell? $\endgroup$ – Stiv Oct 22 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, I'll add that in. $\endgroup$ – bobble Oct 22 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Came here to suggest something very similar, although with a bit wider reach: "unusual" grid formats that could apply to a variety of different puzzle types from grid deduction to crosswords to checkerboard games etc. It's probably too similar to this one to propose separately, so have a +1 instead. $\endgroup$ – jafe Oct 22 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ also, triangular or hexagonal layouts $\endgroup$ – matt Oct 25 at 17:16
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Introduce a new grid deduction genre to the community

We already had two Fortnights related to : vanilla one as #24, and hybrids as #32. So this one will be the threrun in this topic. Then you ask, "Why the third time?"

I enjoy grid deduction a lot, but the same genre posted over and over builds up a "genre fatigue". Recently I introduced two new types of grid deduction puzzles:

  • Trichain, which I made up from scratch, and
  • Heteromino, which I found by randomly browsing the Internet (googling the title gives very few results).

There must be a reason to the fact that the two "introduction" puzzles are among the top 3 of all of my puzzles, and repeated posts of the same genre earn fewer and fewer upvotes, even though the quality gets better (at least IMO).

Therefore, the challenge is as the title says: Introduce a new grid deduction genre to the community!

Rules:

  • The genre must be unseen on Puzzling before the start of the Fortnight.
  • Only one puzzle per user per genre qualifies. (This is to account for the possibility of multiple users working on the same new genre.)
  • For mashups of multiple genres, at least one of the genres must satisfy the above. An existing genre with extra rule(s) or mashups of existing genres do not qualify.
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  • $\begingroup$ A suggestion to make it less strict: allow grid-deduction genres as long as no puzzle of that type has been posted for some set length of time (maybe a year)? That still keeps "fatigue" from setting in but opens up cool puzzle types someone posted a while back. $\endgroup$ – bobble Oct 23 at 3:04
  • $\begingroup$ I like this, but I think that since a decent grid-deduction puzzle takes a while to create there is a chance that someone's 'new' type might get 'sniped' in the creation process. I think we should be clear that it's still fine to post the same new puzzle type as another person during the FTC so people don't need to throw it away and start from scratch. $\endgroup$ – Stiv Oct 23 at 6:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv How about this compromise: A puzzle type that is not posted before the start of the Fortnight, but only one puzzle per user per genre qualifies. $\endgroup$ – Bubbler Oct 23 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ I'd say that seems fair. $\endgroup$ – Stiv Oct 23 at 6:56
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Flags

Quite simply, questions which use the tag (one of my favourites), which didn't get a run out in either of the last two FTC runs.

Take your pick from the usual candidates, nautical codes, semaphore, or any others you can think of!

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"Tales From the Cryptic"

I can't see any trace in past FTC's of or being used (or even suggested) as a theme, so I reckon its about time...

Specifically, this suggestion is a recommendation for combining one of these two cryptic tags with the tag, and making use of cryptic clues (or a full crossword) within a specific setting or further context (for example, as many of @jafe's more recent 'Gladys' puzzles have done very ably).

If the Cryptic Clue Chat Chains (CCCC) in The Sphinx's Lair chatroom are any indication, we have a flourishing group of very able (or at least very up-for-it!) setters and solvers hungry for cryptics - this should give them something to get their teeth into!

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Wacky Sudokus

In case you can't tell, weird variants are a personal favourite of mine. They have both been very enjoyable to make, but also rewarding in seeing the feedback and interest received.

I know a lot of people on this site are fans of the youtube channel Cracking the Cryptic, where many such wacky sudokus have been seen before

Wacky sudokus are sudokus that use rules or concepts that have yet to be seen before, or are very uncommon. They can pretty much involve anything, as long as it is not a normal sudoku.

Here are some examples of such wacky sudokus:

I think this would be a fun topic to see what the community can come up with!

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Pub Quiz Camouflage

The pub quiz is a staple form of entertainment in British culture, usually involving teams of patrons in a pub or bar competing against each other to answer trivia questions. Sometimes the rounds have clever hidden themes for which bonus points can be awarded (e.g. spot the connection between all of the answers...).

This challenge would use the concept of a pub quiz as its foundation, involving a set of questions (with allowance for even more specific trivia themes on this site like , or , for example). However, the twist is that there is another sub-puzzle to the quiz, dependent either on its answers, its layout/presentation, or the wording of its questions. However it is concealed, there is more to this quiz than meets the eye!

A straight-out quiz would not be the style of Puzzling.SE - but a quiz with a puzzly twist?? Surely!

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Cellular Automata

Here's a regular tag that doesn't seem to get much love:

This can involve puzzles about a well-known cellular automaton, like for example Conway's Game of Life, or a cellular automaton you've created on your own!

Get creative! Maybe we need to reverse-engineer something, try to produce a certain output with given starting conditions, or something entirely different! Crossovers are of course allowed and encouraged.

Great examples of puzzles on this site are Game of Life: Kill the Sun, Can you recreate this fractal I randomly made? and Checkerboard Infection

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Polyominoes

often goes with other tags, such as

but may also be a successful puzzle by itself, as in Polyominoes to construct alphabet.

Polyomino is a long-time subject of recreational mathematics, and its properties can be used for grid deductions in many creative ways. So the challenge is to create a puzzle related to polyominoes in a creative way. Of course it does not need to be polyominoes made of squares; it can be polyiamonds (made of triangles) or polyhexes (made of hexagons) too!

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On-and-onograms

Create a puzzle where the first step is a whose solution reveals further steps that must be taken. Crucially, the full puzzle is entirely self-contained within the nonogram and flavour text. (i.e. Not just using a nonogram as the first step in a long string of grid-deduction puzzles which require additional grids to be displayed in the post.)

Good examples from the past include these two puzzles by @jafe, one of which conceals a and the other a set of puzzles.

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Programming Puzzles

A programming puzzle most likely uses the tag and/or (weird flex, but okay).

Programming is my passion, but sadly I'm not seeing much (if any) programming puzzles lately, python programming puzzles to be specific. Yet most of the posts I do see tagged with don't involve actual coding.

This challenge is to create a good puzzle that requires a bit more coding and a little less story-riddle stuff. Stack Overflow is the biggest site on Stack Exchange, and it would be nice to be more welcoming to those users.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you provide an example of what you would consider a "good computer-science puzzle that requires a bit more coding and a little less story-riddle stuff"? $\endgroup$ – bobble Oct 31 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ I generally agree, because I love programming and the idea of programming puzzles, but I feel they are really hard to properly pull off. Programing is more art than science, and there's pretty much never just one single answer. It's also really restrictive; the number of people who can reasonably solve a computer programming puzzle is really limited $\endgroup$ – Anthony Ingram-Westover Oct 31 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ @AnthonyIngram-Westover That why it's a challenge :) $\endgroup$ – ention everyone Oct 31 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble Does this answer your question? puzzling.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7023/… $\endgroup$ – ention everyone Oct 31 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ No, I have seen that, I would like a link to a main-site question you feel is a good one. $\endgroup$ – bobble Oct 31 at 18:59
  • $\begingroup$ @bobble This is the only puzzle tagged computer-science that isn't mine that even mentions python. $\endgroup$ – ention everyone Oct 31 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ Also, that puzzle is not bad! $\endgroup$ – ention everyone Oct 31 at 19:04
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The Puzzles Around Us

Sometimes you are wondering: why the keyboard of your friend is very strange, how to change your baby's shirt while they're still drinking their milk, or what is the best strategy to go to the campus while also refilling your bottle.

Undoubtedly as human, we think and reason a lot. Tackling -life problems will be more fun and fulfilling if we consider them as puzzles!

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