The final challenge

(And probably my last post on this subject.)

So they posted the final challenge early, which was interesting. It was, as stated in the rules, a series of five puzzles which had to be completed sequentially. They were much more difficult than the puzzles in the first stage, and when you reloaded the puzzle you were not presented with a new puzzle–you had to solve the puzzle you were presented with.

I thought cheaters might find the final challenge very difficult, because the trivia aspect was removed. All the puzzles demanded logical ability and skill, most requiring the participant to actually do the work. Sadly, the cheaters are ever creative, and quickly realized that apparently Google is loading the same puzzles for everyone (which greatly surprises me–I thought they would be randomly generated with different solutions as they were before). Screenshots with solutions now litter the internet, and participants aren’t even trying to solve the puzzles on their own. I mean, way to take skill and intellect out of the equation there.

This is immensely sad to me because the joy of the thing is in solving the puzzles. Not only does cheating disenfranchise those who worked hard to solve the puzzles on their own, but it takes all the fun out of the endeavor. I sincerely hope that cheaters are disqualified, or that someone who is a superb puzzle solver wins with a rapidly played challenge. If I’m going to lose a contest, I’d like to lose it to people who were better to me rather than people who cheated for the answers.

So what are the final puzzles?

The first is a 9×9 Sudoku, and it is quite fun. (Of course, I adore Sudoku, so there shouldn’t be much surprise there.) The Sudoku was the puzzle that took me the longest–there was a moment there when I thought I might give up, but then the pieces started slotting together in beautiful logic and I got through it.

The second is another one of those “restoration” challenges where you move pieces of dirt around on a painting. I’ve never quite gotten these, and I had to restart twice, but I ended up managing it. I only hope actual art restorers don’t handle great works this way, dragging great clumps of dirt across the surface.

The third was a “curator” challenge, which is simply a matter of understanding spatial relations and moving things around until you get a good fit. It didn’t take me too long, placing the larger pieces first.

The fourth was a chess challenge and apparently my fiendish studying of chess problems worked because I got it quite quickly. The only problem is that the pieces are rather difficult to identify, something which makes it a bit more difficult.

Finally, there was a jigsaw puzzle, rather cleverly done. The image shifted and moved because when you finished, it turned into a full preview. It added another level of challenge to the experience which I greatly enjoyed.

All in all I think the final challenge was well done and put together. I assume that others will be playing variants of the puzzles I did. I do think it’s rather entertaining that I spent a lot of time studying up on trivia and things for this challenge, all to no end. Only time shall tell who the winners are–I’m sure I’m not one of them, due to my long hesitation with the Sudoku. Speed Sudoku has never been my forte. But I still enjoyed myself immensely.

My final time? Thirty two minutes.

[Da Vinci Code Quest]