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Printing error in Puzzle GP Round 3

We've been informed that there is a strange printing effect in the initial PDF release of Puzzle GP Round 3 -- Puzzle 6 appears correctly on screen, but some printers (not all) print the puzzle with an extra black cell, making the puzzle impossible to solve.

We think we have found the source of the error, re-did the PDF file, and fixed it, but we do not have a good feeling of how much this has affected the competition.

If you feel you were affected by this issue, please email us at, and give us as much detail as you can as to how much time you lost and any other issues that may have come up. We are still trying to decide how, if, and how much compensation to give for this error.

R9C14 looked a black cell on my printing, and I drew a loop that only don't pass R7C15. I was troubled for about 2 minutes, and thought that R7C15 changed from black to white by miss-printing (but didn't check the original PDF file) so my answer key was ABDCMLJGHFEIKNOA which is judged as a wrong answer. I want you to make it the correct answer.

I tried to make this puzzle twice but it was impossible to finish. After time ended I tried the third time, with the same result. Now I found out there was a mistake. I lost a few minutes because of this, I'm really disappointed...

Apologies to those of you for whom this decision has affected adversely; I was unable to come up with a solution that would be completely fair to all participants.

1. The intended-incorrect solutions of "ABDCMLJGHFEIKNOA" and "ABDCMLJGHFIEKNOA" for puzzle 6 are now graded as correct.
2. For any solvers who reported here or to that they lost time as a result of solving the broken puzzle, they have been credited with a "puzzle 31", worth 40 points. The 40 points represents the average time that solvers reported to have lost. Puzzle 31 is not required for time bonus.
3. Some small adjustments have been made to individual solvers, mostly regarding time bonus.

The official rules give 48 hours for players to submit protests; I've been lenient and allowing protests somewhat later than the 48 hours to go through. However, other solvers are impatiently waiting for results, so at this point no more protests will be considered.

I am bit confused. "My solutions" page was published on Wednesday afternoon. I know that the rules say that "Any protests must be submitted within 48 hours of the end of the competition". However, it feels natural that this 48 hours should start when we get informed about our score.

So how can you boast about being liberal in allowing protests while you didnt give us full 48 hours? I was going to protest about my solutions of "Simple Loops" (answers ABCD instead of ABCDA) but I was waiting with it as I was expecting you would find a way how to deal with this technical mistake in answering codes automatically (as you did in past with inverse answers like XXOO instead of OOXX).

Plus I think players should be given some more time to protest about you decision to credit some players with 40 points for a puzzle worth 11 points.

Sorry, I was under the impression that "My Solutions" was published as soon as the competition ended. The announcement for the printing error was done well before the end of the competition and a few hundred hours have elapsed since that announcement.

I cannot satisfy players who want a long period of protest time and players who want the final results announced immediately.

But I will allow your protest.

First, the answer format and example for "Simple Loop" makes it very clear that the letter "A" must be given twice, and when submitting you are warned that your answer length is incorrect. So I am sorry, you will not get points for missing the final letter.

Allowing for inverse letters (such as OOXX instead of XXOO) should be taken as a bonus for some puzzles, not a precedent that all puzzles should accept all plausible answers. We simply do not have the infrastructure in place to accept dozens of alternate answers.

As for crediting 40 points for a broken puzzle worth 11 points, I think that is reasonable if you think about this way: The puzzle is supposed to be solved in 1 minute, but because it was broken, some players spent much more than 1 minute on the puzzle. The amount of time reported ranged from 3 minutes to 25 minutes. Giving 40 points is the equivalent of compensating for 4 minutes of time -- the justification is that with the amount of time they spent on the broken puzzle, they could've used the time to solve other puzzles worth about 40 points.

As I said, I could not come up with a solution that was fair to all participants. I am sorry that you feel you have been treated unfairly.

Thanks for allowing my protest, that´s very generous from you!

I was submitting my answers in the last minute and before I realized what was wrong with my answers the time was over.

In recent years WSPC markers became quite benevolent to players. Sadly WPF GP is heading in the opposite direction.

You misunderstood my point about protests on the "40 points" ruling. I am not
defending players who were affected by the printing error. (Of course I do feel sorry for them, it must have been inconvenient. And I am very happy that broken puzzles are very rare in WPF GP.) I do agree they had enough time to protest.

But I think that all other players should have the right to protest against your strange decision (you published that decision at the same moment you announced that the protest period was over) if they feel their opponents were given extra points unfairly and if they feel it affected their own ranking. You made a very strong universal decision far beyond standard procedure for broken puzzles without allowing any debate.

40 points is the equivalent of 4 minutes of time only for those who scored 900 points in the contest. If someone scored 180 points, 40 points equals 20 minutes (the median score was 162 points). And it is more than the score of 27 players (plus those who scored 0 and didnt appear in the results).

Your decision is still much better than for example cancelling the whole round but the logic of your ruling is very strange.

It seems very strange to me that I give 40 points to many players, and I add credit for some invalid answers, and you are complaining that this is the "opposite direction" of being "benevolent to players".

I'm not sure I quite follow your argument. It seems to me that you are saying when I make a decision on a protest, I need to add another 48 hours to allow people unhappy with the decision to protest. If they do protest and I make another decision, should I be adding another 48 hours to allow people to protest that decision, and so on?

Of course I am and was aware that by deciding to give a select group of protesters 40 points each, it is going to be unfair to the players who did not get the 40 points. But it doesn't make sense to me to extend the protest period because of that. You can and should have the right to protest your score (and I do apologize and agree that you did not have a fair amount of time between your access to your score and the end of the protest period), but you shouldn't have the right to protest other people's scores as the result of a protest ruling.

You mention "standard procedure for broken puzzles"; may I ask you what you believe that standard procedure is, and where is it written down? Does it cover the situation where a puzzle is broken for some players and not others based on what PDF viewer they are using?

I did not disallow any debate; you are free to debate the ruling, and you and I are doing that right now. I am not deleting your posts, and the debate that we are having now can and will affect future rulings. You were also free to start a discussion before the ruling was made; you chose not to, for reasons that I still don't quite understand. But if you were expecting to be able to debate a ruling after it has been made so that the ruling can be changed, that ... is not how rulings are supposed to work.

I understand the argument that 40 points represents a different amount of time for different players. Unfortunately, because of technology restrictions and time restrictions, it would have been very hard to give different amount of points based on the players' skill level. So yes, for players near the top of the list, 40 points is less than a fair amount of compensation, and for player near the bottom of the list, 40 points is more than a fair amount of compensation. The vast majority of the complaints were around the same area in the rankings, and I chose 40 points based on my assessment of time around that area.