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Tips for app version

These tips are primarily intended for users of the iPhone or iPad version of HyperHashi. However, apart from controls, timed games and scoring they also apply to newspaper or magazine print versions.


Are these for you?

If you are the kind of person for whom working out how to solve a puzzle is as much fun as actually solving it, then perhaps you should not read any further. You might want to work out these tips for yourself!


Come back later

If you have just started to play HyperHashi not all of these tips will necessarily make sense to you. Don’t worry – just come back and read them again later when you have tried a few puzzles. They will probably be more useful then.


Get familiar with controls

When you start out don’t worry about completing a puzzle just have a go at drawing bridges with a finger stroke and removing them by tapping “Undo” or a tap on the bridge itself. Find the “Help” button (top left corner) and read the instructions. Find the “Setup” button and see how you can set different modes and keep score.


Start simple

When you do start your first puzzle just go for a single easy one (the default setting) and do not be concerned with the time you take. If you get stuck press “Pause” and “Start a New Puzzle” to try something different.


Study tutorials

There are eight tutorials on this website which take you through puzzles step by step. Have a look at them in conjunction with doing your first few puzzles. You can even replay them on your own iPhone or iPad by entering their unique puzzle ID into the “Replay Known Puzzle” option.


Observe, deduce, act

The tutorials are based on three processes for each step. Observe a meaningful clue, work out its significance and act on your deduction. A bit like Sherlock Holmes really.


Understand valid bridges

It is very useful to develop the habit of being able to spot which bridges are valid. The first step is to remember that bridges can be horizontal, vertical or at a 45 degree diagonal. The later can often make unexpected connections.


Have some paper handy

When you start out it can be useful to have some paper handy to make notes (although it might slow you down as you get expert). What notes you make is up to you. But a simple cross of nine dots is a good start. Then as you work out what each letter means write it over the relevant dot.


Bridges not clue letters

Although clue letters are most useful, remember that the puzzle is to draw the correct bridges not find out what all the letters mean. You may not need to work out every letter to solve the puzzle.


One correct solution

Puzzles from Polynomial Games have only one correct solution. The app will tell you when you have found it. If nothing happens when you have drawn your last bridge then there is something wrong.


Islands have colours

Islands are white when they have no bridges connecting them; they are yellow with one bridge and red with two. The app does not allow more than two bridges.


All islands matter

All islands must be on the continuous path. Don’t leave any out. Any bridge which gives rise to a continuous path without including all the islands must be wrong.


All clues matter

Because each bridge joins two islands and each island has two bridges, it follows that there are the same number of islands as bridges. Each island contains one clue so there must be the same number of clues as bridges.


Two bridges to each island

If each island has two bridges to it and the bridges form a continuous path then each island has one bridge “to” it from another island and one bridge “from” it to another island. For example if you try to build two bridges “to” one island then there is something wrong.


Last bridge

Invariably you reach the point where there are just two yellow islands left. The last bridge must join them for a correct solution.


Clue letters are unique

Remember that no two letters can have the same meaning. If you are sure that you have found one south, for example, then another letter cannot mean that as well.


Break the puzzle down

A puzzle with no bridges on it can look daunting. It can be difficult to know where to start. The secret is to find a lever into the puzzle. The most obvious starting points are double letter clues, repeated clues, or clues at corners or edges.


Double letter clues

If a clue comprises two identical letters such as GG then it must be horizontal or vertical and it must be an even number of units long – ie two or four. Often this is a good place to start.


Generally nine letters

Bear in mind that most puzzles have nine different letters, some have fewer and none have more. Understand what these letters can be.


Clue letter combinations

Not all clue letter combinations give rise to valid bridges. For example the letter meaning one north and one meaning two west would not give rise to a valid bridge (it will not be horizontal, vertical or at 45 degrees) and so will not be found in the puzzle.


Use existing knowledge

Often when you work out where a bridge goes it will tell you what one or more letters mean. This knowledge can often be put to use straight away to solve a clue that could not be solved previously.


Use component knowledge

When you look at a clue with two letters you may not know exactly what they mean. But you might know what one of the letters means or even just something about that letter. For example you might know that one of the letters means one south. Taken together the two letters must generate a clue that goes at least one unit south. It might go three south or it might go one south west. But it has a south component.


Islands in corners

Islands in the corners of the puzzle can be particularly useful because both clue letters in that island will be quite restricted. For example if the clue FJ is in the top right hand corner, then F and J must be either null, or one or two south, or one or two west.


Islands on edges

Islands at the edges of the puzzle are useful for the same reason as those at corners although slightly less so. However there are often more of them. Bear in mind also that the effective “edge” of a puzzle can move. For example if all islands in the bottom row are joined by two bridges then the next row up becomes the effective “south” edge.


Outliers

Sometimes islands are a long way from others. Have a careful look at these as they will often have fewer valid bridges to or from them.


Linked pairs

A “linked pair” is where you know that two clue letters can only have two possible meanings but you don’t know which one is which. For example the bridge from island MQ might have to go one north east. So either M is one north or one east and Q is either one north or one east. There are two important consequences – another letter cannot be one of these values – and by looking at restrictions created by other clues it is often possible to “crack” a linked pair.


Bridges that cross

Remember that although a bridge must be straight, it can cross another bridge. Indeed it can cross several other bridges.


Progress in steps

A puzzle might look daunting at first glance. But it can always be solved by logic. Have a careful look at the clues and their positions to find what you can narrow down. Once you have solved one bridge that will often create a constraint that enables another bridge to be solved. The hard bit can be spotting the next step.


Beware ambiguity

You might spot a valid bridge and conclude that this bridge must exist. But beware. Is there another valid bridge that is also possible that you have overlooked?


Visualise adding together clue letters

If you are a sailor, and are used to working out the net effect of wind and tide from different directions, then adding the effects of two clue letters will be second nature. If you are not then it may be worth getting familiar with the effects perhaps by sketching them out on a piece of paper. Google “vector addition” for more insight.


Removing bridges

You will make mistakes and will need to remove bridges. This can be done in two ways – tap the bridge or tap Undo. Tapping a small bridge on an iPhone can be tricky although it does work. Persist. But if this is frustrating then tap Undo which is easier. However this removes bridges in the order in which they were created so you may need to rebuild some if the one that you want to remove was not the last one made.


Tell your friends

Let your friends know about HyperHashi. You might be able to help them learn. And then you can challenge them to one of the timed games. Or even tackle the same puzzle on different iPhones at the same time if another friend gives you both some puzzle IDs to play.


Twitter and Facebook

Look out for further hints and tips on twitter at www.twitter.com/hyperhashi and visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hyperhashi



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Because HyperHashi is an innovative puzzle, it may take you a while to master some of the new ideas. Please do not be put off but allow sufficient time to play it.

 

 

Versions of HyperHashi suitable for publication in your print media are also available. Get in touch to find out more.

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