Meet Alfonso, Prince of Darkness 4

Posted by Ned Gulley,

For the second contest in a row, Alfonso Nieto-Castañón walks away with the Darkness prize. You may remember that his winning Crossword entry was called tryagain01. His winner this time around is called try04. Fortunately for Alfonso the prize isn’t about coming up with exciting names. It’s about the code, and Alfonso brought the code. And now he takes away the prize. Congratulations Alfonso!

What is the secret to his winning entry? You’ll have to wait until Daylight to see what tricks he’s using. In the meantime, you can work toward the Twilight Prize (Prince of Twilight?), which will be awarded tomorrow at 16:00 UTC (noon Natick time). For those of you looking ahead to other prizes, we’ll have an Early Bird prize on Friday afternoon (21:00 UTC), as well as our regular weekend prizes, the Saturday Leap and the Sunday Push. Have you got ideas for another mini-contest? Please tell us! We’re open to suggestions.


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Alan Chalker replied on : 2 of 4

Congrats as usual to Alfonso!

As I indicated in the newsgroup thread, since I misunderstood how the moves were being scored, I decided to update the visualize abilities of the runcontest code to better illustrate what’s going on. I’ve uploaded it to the File Exchange since I thought it might be helpful to others:

The additions I made are:
-Add board # to the tile so you know which board you are looking at

-Color code the vine. Green parts are ‘good’ and scored, red parts are ‘bad’ and truncated by the grade code. An arrow shows the ‘start direction’ of the vine, while and X shows the end of it.

-Color code the moves. Blue moves are ‘good’ and scored, yellow moves are ‘bad’ and truncated by the grade code. A circle indicates the ‘source’ of the move.

Hopefully you all will find this helpful too.

Alan Chalker replied on : 3 of 4


Here’s some suggestions for mini-contests:

-Best solver that always starts the vine at square 1
-Best solver that follows in the tradition of a ‘normal’ 15 square in that there ends up being only 1 empty square
-Best solver that always uses the full limit of moves
-Solver that has the most creative ‘artistic’ vine placement on select boards in the testsuite
-Solvers that when viewed in the MATLAB editor form ASCII art, yet are still able to run
-Most sophisticated / complex board that the leading solver is able to completely fill with a vine

Cameron replied on : 4 of 4

Vine is fixed to just 1,2,3,… (starting in top left corner and going straight down)

Only moves can be used to make this vine have the best score possible. Longest possible vine will hit the bottom left corner of the board.