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01 May 2014 @ 04:04 am
Who are we?

Akıl Oyunları Publishing is the Turkish representative of World Puzzle Federation. Our works are publishing puzzle magazines and books; holding team selections for World Puzzle Championship and World Sudoku Championship; organizing puzzle competitions in schools.

We are publishing three different puzzle magazines:

a) Akıl Oyunları (64 pages): It is being published since 2003. It consists of logic puzzles, news & puzzles from worldwide puzzle events, interviews with well-known puzzlers. It is being contributed by puzzle makers all over the world.
b) Sudoku ve Ötesi (64 pages): It is being published since 2007. Included puzzle types are Sudoku and its variations, Kakuro, Kenken. Also puzzles from online competitions and other Sudoku events.
c) Karala (96 pages): It is being published since 2004. Included puzzle types are Paint By Numbers and its variations.

What is the deal with this blog?

Our magazines are published in Turkish language, but as the puzzles are mostly free from language, we wanted to make the magazines available to puzzlers all over the world by giving the instructions in English. This is the aim of this blog, providing explanations for the puzzles in English.

How will you use this blog?

Contents of each magazine will be posted in the blog. When you click on a puzzle name, it will direct you to a PuzzleWiki page that includes the example and English instructions of that puzzle. This blog will not contain the puzzles that are published in the magazines, it will serve as a guide for the printed magazines.

What are the subscription options?

Each of the three magazines is published every three months, and this happens in a shifted schedule so that there is a magazine published each month. You may select to subscribe to one or more magazines on a yearly basis. Subscription options are:

 Option DetailsPeriodPrice (€)
1 Any one of the three magazines 1 year/4 issues25
2 Any two of the three magazines 1 year/8 issues35
3 All three magazines1 year/12 issues45
*All prices are shipping costs included.

You may also select to purchase one or more magazines at a time. In this case the purchasing options are:

Option Details     Amount   Price (€)
A Single issues (2012)               1 issue6
B Older issues (single)1 issue4
C Older issues (set)4 issues12
D Older issues (set)8 issues20
*Shipping costs vary between 2,00 to 10,00 Euros, depending on the total purchase amount.

How can you subscribe?

If you select to subscribe to magazines on a yearly basis, visit PayPal subscription link below. Specify in the text box which magazine/s you wish to subscribe for.If you select to purchase magazines, visit PayPal purchase link below. Specify in the text box your choice of magazines/ years.
Select your subscription option:
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You can write to us about any questions over subscription/purchasing. Wish everyone happy puzzling!

27 September 2012 @ 08:16 pm

Born and raised in a puzzle family, Hana Koudelkova (Czech Republic) is currently the director of the World Puzzle Federation. This interview includes less of the puzzles, but more of the puzzle community and its future. While we count down to the big event in Kraljevica, let's give some thoughts about the structure that draws the puzzle family together.

- Can you tell us a bit of yourself? hana

There is nothing special to say about me. I was born and have lived the whole life in Brno, Czech Republic. My mother is a lawyer and my father was a teacher. Now they are running their own publishing house. I am married and have one 2-year old daughter. I studied Italian and Latin at the Faculty of Art in Brno. I speak English, Italian and a bit of Spanish. Right after my studies I started to work for Motorola, managing a team taking care of customers in Southern Europe. I also worked in Kira publishing house (my father´s company); mainly during the big puzzle events he was organizing. Some of you might remember me from WPC 2001 in Brno or later during WSC2007 in Prague where I was a member of the core team responsible for coordinating, planning and supporting daily operational and administrative functions. I was also responsible for all PR related activities, such as press releases, network presentation, managing press conferences etc.

- Our guests in this column are generally puzzle people, especially designers. As you know, puzzle fans who gather once a year do not know much about each other. So we are trying to make some difference by these interviews. I suppose you are neither a puzzle solver nor a designer, but you are the director of the WPF and that is as important as solving or designing puzzles. How did you end up in puzzle world, did you participate in any contests, or to be more clear, what is your history with puzzles?

Actually, my life started in the puzzle world, then was for a while a bit aside and now returned back to the beginnings. As you know, my father is running a very famous Czech publishing house, so crosswords and puzzles have always been a big part of my life. I was attending crossword clubs and also won some Czech tournament for juniors. But after that puzzles became only my hobby and I did not spend so much time with them. To be honest I am quite behind the trend now, I only solve Sudoku from time to time. But what I have always liked are logical or funny puzzles my father gives us quite often and uses us as test-solvers. As I already said I was also involved in many puzzle events organized by Vita, such as Czech National Championships, WSC, WPC etc.

- From a critical perspective, WPF’s structure seems a bit cumbersome to me, and I am not the only one who thinks so. It is just like a community of some people who get together once or twice a year. Don’t you think it should be somehow more active? Where does the federation stand, considering its objectives?

I definitely do agree, this is what we all want, to be an open group of all the puzzle fans, to be a central point for everyone who wants to know more about puzzles, who wants to solve more than one Sudoku a week. The thing is that not everything can be changed within a year and by a few people. But I hope we have been improving.

- What are your personal commitments in this structure? There have been some positive changes with your assignment and the first steps were communicational changes like the website and Facebook page. What else can be changed to help satisfy the WPF objectives?

You are right, new up-to-date web page and Facebook are the first steps that should lead to my personal goal, to make the WPF more visible. At the beginning, I was so excited about all the new changes I wanted to carry out, but I got stuck a bit as not all the people around me were that excited. What I am afraid of is that just one person cannot change it completely; it is all up to you, young and enthusiastic people willing to spread your big hobby all around the world. I hope WPF is now open to any tips, suggestions and improvements.

- As an insider, what can you say about the difficulties in the path of WPF? Does it have any plans for using its sources more effectively, by means of puzzle people all around the world?

The biggest issue is communication, we are such a big group of enthusiastic people but I would say everybody is playing on his own narrow field and is not much interested about the others. What I plan is to force everybody who is somehow involved in WPF to be more active and understand that any benefit they bring to the WPF will return to them. We also need to understand the life has changed and computers and the Internet play a very important role and WPF need to focus this way. One of the ideas is to run a world online Sudoku/puzzle tournament with several rounds organized by different countries. The top players could then meet face to face in the finals at the WSC/WPC and compete for the title of the Internet World Champion. This is one of the ideas and the more ideas we have, the better.

- What should a puzzler expect from WPF?

Hopefully a source of any information related to puzzles. I am happy to say this has already started to happen. I am getting many, many questions from people all around the world on different topics. Some want just a contact person, some want to organize their own event and need advice, some want to get a nice book with puzzles. But what has been true for ages is that whatever is related to WPF guaranties high quality and professional approach.

- Does WPF aim at spreading to more countries? And does it have any long term plans about taking the puzzles to a new level by implementing it into education, so that it becomes more than just a hobby? What can be done for these?

Of course, it is the biggest wish to be all over the world.  This year we managed to get some new members like Australia, Canada and many of them have renewed their membership after a few years, like Bangladesh or India. I think big thanks belong to all the people who have been running the WPF since the beginning. They have done a lot for the puzzle world and I know how difficult it sometimes was. Now it is up to us to lead the WPF in a “modern” way.  What we plan to focus on next year is to get some sponsors or partners and use these sources in education, try to attract more and more people and really focus on juniors. One of the things I plan to push through is a special championship or at least separate division for juniors and also for people competing for the first time. These are one of the key objectives for next year.

- If watching something is not enjoyable, it does not get the attention it deserves. Can the world championships be transformed to something more “visual”? Ferhat had a suggestion of splitting the championships into some categories and driving competitive spirit. Each category would have a winner and it would lead to more excitement and more champions. Is this possible?

To be honest, watching people looking at a piece of paper can hardly be as attractive as football or other popular sports. It will never be like that. But what you can see is that there are moments during the championships like the finals, that are quite attractive also for people who are not so deeply involved. I do not think separation to more divisions could bring more excitement for the “outside” people. When we spoke about it with my father a few years ago, he said he found it as giving the medals to all of the 10 disciplines in the decathlon. Will the race be more attractive then? And I fully agree with that. But it is just a matter of discussion and for sure we plan to implement new types of tournaments in the next years. I think at least under 18 and above 40 is a must for next years.

- WPC/WSC hosts are organizing the events with their own puzzle people, which is both good and bad at the same time. It is good because that country eventually has more puzzlers; and it is bad because as the country changes, the puzzle quality changes as well. But there are many puzzle designers all around the world. Again a suggestion from Ferhat: Can a “puzzle designing team” be built for this purpose? This team would prepare the puzzles for every championship.

As you said, this brings good and bad things at the same time. What I like about it is that it is always a bit different. Even though it is always Sudoku, each country brings in some specifics and it will never be the same and annoying. I can imagine people now complaining about different levels of puzzles would after a few years complain about monotonous puzzles. But I think the combined situation will come in place in the next years as some countries willing to host the championship in the next years do not have their puzzle makers and will ask the WPF to provide them with the puzzles. At that point, Ferhat´s “Puzzle designing team” should come into play.

- What do your people think about puzzles, what is the culture in Czech Republic, books, magazines, competitions etc..? I know mechanical puzzles are popular throughout the country, is your puzzle culture mostly based upon those? Is the success of Czech Team in mechanical rounds is a result of this culture?

The roots of the Czech puzzling are definitely in crosswords. It has been a really important part of the Czech culture for ages. Hundreds of puzzle magazines are being published in the Czech Republic and it is a huge number for such a small country. Regarding the mechanical puzzles, the situation is a bit different. There are no competitions apart from some Rubik cube style, there are no magazines, there is not even any web page related to this hobby. Mechanical puzzles prepared by the well-known author Václav Obšívač appeared at the WPC 2001 in Brno but not after that. As one of our representatives said, "the success in Minsk was one piece of good spatial imagination and five pieces of luck".

11 August 2012 @ 05:29 pm
You can find the index for issue 78 below. Click on the red titles for English instructions.

  3 Crisscrossao78
  4 Sudoku
  5 Symmetric Unequal Sudoku
  6 Minesweeper
  7 Double Minesweeper
  8 Easy As ABC
  9 Irregular Easy As ABC
10 Skyscrapers
11 Haido Skyscrapers
12 Battleships
13 Quadrant Battleships
14 Kakuro
15 Non Consecutive Kakuro
16 Slitherlink
17 Liar Slitherlink
18 Catwalk
19 Almost Simple Loop
20 Self-referencing Test (In Turkish)
22 Puzzles From Turkish National Puzzle Competition: Single Letter, Snakes, Parthenon, XO, Build A Maze, Briquet, Symbolism, Dilemma
28 Tapa
29 Compass Tapa
30 Puzzles from OAPC 2: Snail Sudoku
31 Kropki
32 Yajilin
33 Majilin
34 Country Road
35 Norinori
36 Pentomino Paint by Numbers
37 Pentoroll
38 New Style Crossword
39 Crack It On
40 Go School (In Turkish)
42 Crossword (In Turkish)
44 Fillomino
45 Domino Extra
46 Akari
47 Akari Builder
48 Japanese Sums Battleships
49 Looper
50 Nurikabe
51 Magnets
52 Paint By Numbers
53 Paint By 3
54 Logic Games (In Turkish)
58 Hints (In Turkish)
59 Solutions
64 Subscription form

Visit introduction post for international subscription options.

14 May 2012 @ 12:59 am

Dr. Gareth Moore (UK) is shining out with his puzzle and brain training books and magazines, as well as his efforts in British puzzle events. He is also the editor of several puzzle websites.

Interview: Serkan Yürekli

- Can you tell us a bit of yourself, apart from puzzles?

I live in the UK but I’ve spent long periods of time in both Australia and the US. My educational background is in machine intelligence, and in that area I’ve worked for two major worldwide software companies. I’ve always been creative, however, so in 2003 I changed industry and co-ran a production film company for a couple of years, until I left to work full-time on puzzle authoring.  I’m also very musical and play the piano almost every day.

- Does your “Dr.” title come from an educational background, or do you define yourself as a “Puzzle Doctor”? :)

I have a Ph.D from Cambridge University, UK – so I’m a real academic doctor. My thesis was on dynamic conversational topic adaptation in computer speech recognition. This isn’t much use for puzzle creation, except that as a result I know a lot about automated text analysis which I do sometimes use to help me find content for word puzzles. I’ve also since done a lot of research into brain training for my various books on the topic.

- Do you have any favourite types of puzzles?

I particularly like loop or shading puzzles, since I tend to prefer puzzles where you can at least to some extent visualise the solution. One of my favourite puzzles is Yajilin, combining both shading and loops, but I’m also a big fan of Tapa. Both these puzzles work well at a range of sizes because you can usually get a good idea at a glance where the next move might be, rather than having to spend ages searching lots of clues for somewhere to make progress. I also really enjoy Suraromu, but unfortunately they are usually too easy to solve by using uniqueness of the solution as a deductive technique, which spoils them. Generally I prefer smaller-size puzzles where you can ensure a tighter focus on a particular piece of logic or design.

- I know you have authored and published many books so far. How is the creation process, do you work with other authors as well?

I’ve written over 35 commissioned books for a range of big publishers, such as Penguin and Simon & Schuster. In all of these books I’ve made every puzzle myself.  I love to challenge myself to constantly do something new, so I like to make new puzzle types rather than carry on producing the same content over and over. Because I make such a range of puzzles I don’t need to work with other authors. Another reason is that it generally takes me longer to check someone else’s puzzles than it does to make my own – you have to be absolutely certain of a puzzle’s accuracy (and unique solution) before you publish it in a book that could be on the shelves for many years. The only exception to this is my self-published magazine, Sudoku Xtra, in which I have a special section where I include contributions from many great puzzle makers, including some who also contribute to Akıl Oyunları.

The creation process varies enormously from book to book.  Sometimes I have a ridiculously short amount of time to write a book in (I had a week and a half for my first book!) and it takes over your life completely for that time. I also recently wrote a book of 101 cryptic crosswords in under three weeks, which I think must surely be a world record! For these books I have to be very disciplined on how I am going to work. On other books, such as mixed-puzzle brain training books, the content tends to develop as I work on the book and I continue to have new ideas. I’m working on a book of Sudoku variants right now, and every day I continue to expand the range of variants from that in my initial proposal.

Most puzzle books are aimed at the mainstream so I’m sometimes forced to be quite conservative in my choice of puzzle, but whenever I can I like to introduce new variants to these readers. I also try to do this on my online puzzle site at www.PuzzleMix.com.

- You have been publishing puzzle magazines as well as the books. I know they are available as pdf files or hard copies in several online shops. Can you give some information to our readers about how they can get these magazines? And are these magazines also available as hard copies in UK newsstands?

I’ve supplied puzzles for many magazines over the past several years, but a couple of years ago I also began self-publishing my own magazine, Sudoku Xtra. I publish this online as a downloadable PDF and also pre-printed via Amazon. These are the only places it is available. Most issues have 130 or more puzzles, usually of over 50 different types. In fact, I don’t make any money from it because it takes such a very long time to prepare all of the content for each issue! I do it because I like to contribute to the puzzle community and hopefully attract new people to all the wonderful types of language-neutral logic puzzle there are. As I’ve mentioned, many of my readers come from a more mainstream puzzle background and aren’t aware of the World Puzzle Championship, online contests and so on.

- I wonder what led you to work in the field of puzzles. Have you accomplished your goals (if any), what kind of projects are waiting for you to realize them?

I ended up making puzzles almost by accident. I set up an early Kakuro site and shortly afterwards a publisher got in touch asking if I could supply puzzles. I thought it sounded like an interesting challenge, and the rest is history.

In terms of goals, I believe I reached the pinnacle of my puzzle career last year with the publication of what I honestly think is one of the best mainstream puzzle books ever published. The Mammoth Book of Fun Brain Training (published by Constable & Robinson in the UK, and Running Press in the US) is really a compendium of all of my favourite types of logic, word, number, memory, observation and ‘creative’ thinking puzzles. It’s a 352-page full-colour book and for the first time I was given free rein to do whatever I wanted, so I filled it from cover to cover with colour puzzles of a huge range of types, including many that readers of this magazine would recognise. I don’t think I’ll ever better that book.

- Are you running puzzle-related works in the field of education, for instance do you have any projects in order to make children embrace the puzzle culture?

Yes, I’ve written many children’s books, and worked on various schools-based projects, including several for big multinationals – these tend to be labelled as brain training, but really they are actually varied collections of puzzles.  Children are far more adventurous than most adults, and so with a child’s book you can pack it full of different types of logic puzzle and they will try them all.  Adults will often give up when faced with “too much new stuff”!  In my best-selling Kids’ 10-minute Brain Workout (published as Sudoku Makes you Smarter! in the US) I introduced children to Slitherlink, Nurikabe, Masyu, Hashi and many more logic puzzles.  Hopefully some of these readers will grow up to be the WPC puzzlers of the future.

- I am a big fan of Doctor Who. I always see it as a puzzle-solving practice. I feel the same way about the latest Sherlock series - I am waiting eagerly to find out what kind of logic was set for the final scene in the latest episode. I wonder if having such shows that are elaborated with subtle wit are helping to enhance the puzzle culture. Do British people really love puzzles, as is the general impression? Not to mention puzzle gurus and logicians like Henry Dudeney, Lewis Carroll and Bertrand Russell.

We have several big UK newspapers and they publish a wide range of puzzles every day, and tend to be relatively conservative in their selection. Because they publish so many, however, this tends to discourage people from needing to look further afield for puzzles, so I think this “puzzle culture” as you put it actually makes it harder to introduce new types in the UK. And although there are literally hundreds of different puzzle magazines in the UK, nearly all of them simply contain basic wordsearches, crosswords, sudoku and the like. After the big commercial success of sudoku in 2005 or thereabouts, UK book stores and publishers tried lots of new puzzles – most of these had little or no financial success, and the result is that most companies are now afraid to take a risk on new puzzles in the UK.

In my opinion it’s the US which has been driving the mainstream puzzle market recently, although the recent demise of Borders (a major chain of bookstores) has sadly made several publishers reduce their puzzle book catalogue. Puzzle books and magazines are impulse purchases for most readers, so the reduction in physical stores is a real issue.

- I have been following UK puzzle community for a while and I suppose giant steps were taken over the past two years. Were you totally involved in this process, and can you share your thoughts about it?

The UK Puzzle Association was set up thanks to the hard work of Alan O’Donnell and Mike Colloby, following discussion and a democratic vote on a mailing list for past WPC/WSC UK team members. In less than two years there have been over 5,000 posts (7.5% of them mine!) on the UKPA discussion forums alone, which is an incredible achievement, and we’ve run several tournaments. There’ve been more than 2,000 forum posts in the dedicated area for members only, which shows how successful the UKPA has been at increasing interest in the UK. The achievement of Neil Zussman in reaching the final 10 at the WPC last year is just one example of how this interest has already led to concrete results.

I’m personally now busy planning a major puzzle and sudoku contest for the UKPA, the UK Open, which will be taking place at the end of April 2012. It involves over 6 hours of puzzle solving, and it will be run both on-site in Manchester, UK, and also online for worldwide competitors too.  It’s going to be one of the biggest tournaments of its kind outside the WPC/WSC, and a wide range of famous puzzle authors from around the world have very kindly contributed to it.

- What do you think about today’s online puzzle community? Are you a follower of online contests, and are there any puzzle makers’ blogs or websites that you follow regularly?

I think Logic Masters India have made a phenomenal difference in the past couple of years. Deb Mohanty and others at LMI have created a real community of puzzle authors and players which they run in an incredibly professional way, and in so doing I think they’ve done a huge amount to further the cause of logic puzzles in general and to bring them to an expanded audience. There have been regular tournaments before, but these are presented in a very clear format that any English speaker can understand and get involved with. I would recommend them to anyone.

In terms of blogs I follow many different puzzle authors. Those I always look at include Palmer Mebane, David Millar, Thomas Snyder and Grant Fikes, thanks to the sheer invention, variety and quality of the puzzles they post. I also make sure to regularly follow the UKPA forums because almost all puzzle competitions are announced there.

And last but not least, if anyone reading this is interested in trying out some of my own puzzles, they’re welcome to download a free copy of Sudoku Xtra from www.sudokuxtra.com/sx16aug.php

10 May 2012 @ 12:49 am
 You can find the index for issue 77 below. Click on the red titles for English instructions.

  3 Sudoku
  4 Masyudoku
  5 Quad Max Sudoku
  6 Minesweeper
  7 Double Minesweeper
  8 Easy As ABC
  9 Easy As ABC with overlapping clues
10 Skyscrapers
11 Irregular Skyscrapers
12 Battleships
13 Fishermen At War
14 Kakuro
15 False Kakuro
16 Slitherlink
17 Masyu - Slitherlink
18 Numberlink (ABC Connection)
19 Yajilin
20 Fillomino
21 Sashigane
22 Famous Puzzlers: Dr. Gareth Moore
25 Suraromu
26 Nurikabe
27 Starbattle
28 Tapa
29 Tapa [Line]
30 Puzzles from OAPC 1: Tank
31 Thermometer - Yin Yang
32 Coralfinder
33 Pointing At The Crowd
34 Vabyrinth
35 Number Stairs
36 Pentomino Paint by Numbers
37 Pentominesweeper
38 Chain: Japanese Sums, Battleships, Tents, Half Dominoes. Carry the digits in the circles with respect to the arrows.
40 Go School (In Turkish)
42 Crossword (In Turkish)
44 Four Snails
45 Crisscross
46 Anagram Scrabble (In Turkish)
47 Jumping Crossword
48 Snake
49 Enter-Exit
50 A Tale Of Two Contests: TVC and CTC (In Turkish)
51 Tapa [Borders]
52 Graffiti
53 Paint By Numbers
54 Logic Games (In Turkish)
58 Hints (In Turkish)
59 Solutions
64 Subscription form

Visit introduction post for international subscription options.