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  • Writer's pictureJacob Cohen

#116: Chocolate Banana (Pie), Regionless Star Battle, Building Blocks

Updated: 1 day ago

Hello, and welcome to Puzzles for Progress!


For superfans (millions, if not billions, I assume?) of my internet presence, this is perhaps the all-time craziest week. I released Episode 5 of The Market Manipulation Podcast, my podcast about forecasting website Manifold which started as a joke but then became serious. (It's your chance to hear the dulcet tones of my voice, alongside my friends' and Manifold cofounders' — listen on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or RSS! It should show up on search!) Alongside the podcast was as a comprehensive article telling its story, which got featured on Manifold's newsletter! (I've worked hard to make it entertaining and accessible. Indeed, multiple people have told me they found the article more engaging than expected, only one of whom was my mom. )


I also crossposted my Jack Lance tribute post to my blog, since as a blog post, it deserves to live there, and he's still worth keeping in our memories. And today, I'm planning to release a video going in depth on 69 and nice numbers (an adaptation of my blog posts on the subject over on the Conflux YouTube channel — by the time you're reading this, it might be out! I'm submitting it to the a competition with deadline 5pm, so it better be done by then...


I'm excited but exhausted, as one might expect, and after this (especially as my life naturally gets busier), we'll see if I have the energy to publish anything else ever again. Except Puzzles for Progress: which I plan to continue releasing every other Friday, including today!


Today's custom wordle for Puzzles fordle Progress is seven letters, and probably average-ish difficulty: solve


The idea for the first puzzle, Chocolate Banana (Pie), has been tormenting me for months and it FINALLY WORKED! I know it's a bit blasphemous for a tauist like myself, but 31415 in a row like that gave such nice logic in Chocolate Banana. However, I struggled a lot finding a way to add more digits in a way that was unique and nice. I kept trying things that almost worked but were broken, or had two solutions, or there was no good place to put the next digit. I kept changing the grid size. But finally, somehow, I found a way to make it work on a 10x10 grid, and the logic is pretty smooth I think!


The second puzzle is a Regionless Star Battle. It's like if Star Battle didn't have regions, only an irregularly shaped grid! It doesn't really have a story behind it. Sorry.


The final puzzle is a Building Blocks, the first one where the given letters don't form three-letter chunks! Also, the first one where one of the words is a proper noun. We'll call it a twist and pretend it wasn't because I couldn't find any dictionary words that worked.



(If you find any errors, it’s possible that I’ve fixed them on the site. If I haven't, please tell me about them!)


I'm planning to continue my trend of thanking testers! Specifically, my mom, TwoHoleStraw (who suggested formatting the Star Battle as an irregular grid instead of a grid with black squares!), TostCronch, Wessel Strijkstra, jonn, kays, and Lavaloid this time around. Shoutout also to Gabrielle, who subscribed less than 48 hours ago and has already, like, completed the last ten issues and alerted me to two incorrect links! I'm impressed.


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