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Thanks for the clarification about Wittgenstein - I am not too familiar with philosophers :-)

About the optimizer: Of course, it should be obvious that there is a "best" solution, but you still have to find them (which took me quite some time). Actually, it has a lot of best solutions - mine looks completely different than Thomas'.

Still, it is a competition with both regular puzzles (unique solution) and an optimizer. In such a round, if you don't manage to solve all the puzzles with time to spare (which here applied basically to everyone but Thomas and me and maybe a few others), there is a point where you have to decide whether to try more puzzles, or start optimizing. For this to judge well, you have first to determine what will yield more points; of course, this is easier if the optimizer has a well-defined maximum (as in your competition). Then, if you don't find a good balance, two things can happen:
a) You spend too much time on the optimizer, gaining only a few points when you could have solved some other puzzles, scoring much better.
b) You spend too much time on your regular puzzles, and it happens you don't find any solution for the optimizer at all, missing a few easy points.
This balance can be very difficult to find, thats why I feel unhappy in such a mixed round.

Another point is, as a competitor you have to trust the organizers that the scoring is reasonable and balanced. Not all optimizers are suitable for such a mixed round; in some optimizers, scores far beyond the imagination of the puzzle authors are possible (as we have seen in our monthly puzzle for December). The points that can be gained in the optimizer must be in a similar range as those that can be gained in the same time on regular puzzles; actually, you did a very good job here.

Regards,
uvo
I totally agree with you. It is really hard to determine the difficulties of puzzles and the duration. I think optimizers give flexibility to the contest. A unique-solution puzzle is expected to be solved in a reasonable time fitting its score, unless it is very hard. However, there exists an uncertainty in optimizers, which brings up elasticity, both for the organizer and the puzzlers Smile Of course I need to know the best solution for setting the scores, so the optimizers should always contain a method in it which gives the way to the optimal solution, in such time-limited contests. But I do not promise to make it every month Smile (In fact it is all for sabotaging Smile)
Hope to see you too in the next one,
Serkan
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