Sometimes you have to look at the wood and not the trees

Much improvement today. We had a nice long soak in a hot bath last night to help relieve some of the tension in my back and then settled to a puzzle session in bed.

We solved TWO puzzles!

Firstly we tackled the one that we felt we had made most progress on. We had previously reduced it to what would, we felt, normally be the end point but none of our answers were acceptable. We decided to look at it with a fresh eye to see what we had missed. It was Mr L who had the flash of inspiration. “It’s orthogonal!” he said. I wouldn’t know about that, unless I get the dictionary out – it’s not a word in my personal lexicon. Well, whatever it means, it was the breakthrough. Basically, we had not used all the available data. You can’t see the wood until you have examined all of the trees. Or something like that. After some more work, we eventually we came up with a prompt that then required some googling to find the answer.

It took around two hours, but we ended up solving the (apparently) hardest puzzle first. There is some pleasure in that. That puzzle is currently on 27 solves for 907 guesses. We have never seen anything like that. It is good to know that we were not alone in being slow to spot what was needed. In fact, we were in very good company – the leading teams have Attempted Answer counts way above what we would normally expect to see in the whole competition, let alone the first set of puzzles. Even the top team has had 25 incorrect attempts. For the whole competition normally the top team would use up 2 or 3… hardly ever into double figures. It’s very demoralising to thickies like us, actually – so this situation is a refreshing change.

At least the answer was satisfactory, made sense, and was in context with the entire puzzle makeup.

Having triumphed on our first puzzle, we picked up the one that I had originally noted that looked like one we had last year… Last year’s similar puzzle was really simple, and I originally thought that this one would be too. However, on Day 1, it defeated us. We allowed it to make us believe that it would require A Lot Of Work. Especially when we reviewed the stats; it is the second least solved and currently on 38 solves for 140 guesses.

We did that in under two minutes – a short discussion about my original instincts and the subject matter, a quick check on Wikipedia and… bingo. Right answer, first time.

Fundamentally? Too simple for most puzzleheads not to overcomplicate matters. No trees involved this time, just the wood.

We almost did not put the answer in. Mr L only did so because he knew how upset we would be after trying loads of answers, to find that our original (and silly, or so we thought) answer was correct. So he plugged it in and it worked.

Suddenly we were moving up the leader board, having solved the two hardest puzzles first. We are currently ranked 51 🙂

We only have two puzzles left to keep us occupied until the second set is released next Monday. Best take them slowly.

The soak last night and cosying up under a warm duvet seem to have done their job and I am far more upright today. Feeling positive again and itching to be productive once more. I’m going to continue to be careful for today and not do anything too strenuous. The Dyson can wait.

I have unearthed another no-effort meal, so have plenty of knitting time again.

Lara was interrupted yesterday. I had just closed the crown and grafted the band together when one of the spinning ladies popped in to hire the drum carder. She hasn’t used one before – I had to do the best I could to describe its use without actually lugging mine out and getting stuck in.

I am so pleased that the carder is seeing some use! Nobody seemed to want to use the virgin machine.

So, it’s me, Robert Tressell,  Lara, and the iCord today –  or, if it stays this dark, perhaps something that is easier to see. There are many stitches to be picked up on the hat and I would hate to get it wrong. Perhaps I’ll dig out my High Seas –  for a change of pace. In between whiles, I may shuffle a few puzzle pieces around on the table.

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