Puzzling - that is, solving puzzles recreationally - is a hobby of mine. I enjoy it immensely, although I enjoy some puzzles much more than others. I enjoy the sorts of puzzles that involve both intuitive leaps and a combination of generalized and specialized knowledge. The sorts of puzzles that happen at the MIT Mystery Hunt are probably the best examples of puzzles I really enjoy (and, indeed, I had a lot of fun at my first Puzzle Hunt this year).

So, in the tradition of Solving Really Hard Puzzles, I've decided to post logs of some of my puzzling efforts here. These may only be of interest to a very few people; feel free to ignore them if this is not up your alley.

Today's puzzle is one that Dante Shepherd posted on twitter in this tweet. Puzzles that are simply an encoded string of characters always intrigue me, so I dived right in. It took me about half an hour to solve, and it was a lot of fun. I created a log of the process by simply periodically noting the time and writing down my thoughts, especially when I got somewhere new, such as the aha moment at 15:00. In the future, I may look for (or create) some software that will make logging a bit easier.

Also, here is the original puzzle, for the link-averse:

L 45, R 270 L 225, R 270 L 225, R 180, L 90, R 270 L 225, R 270 L 90, R 225 L 90, R 270 L 225, R 225 L 135.

Spoiler Warning: if you want to solve this puzzle yourself, don't read my log. It contains spoilers for the intuitive leaps as well as the solution.

14:45
Okay, puzzle is gridded. What do we have here? These are obviously rotations; L and R for 'left' and 'right', and the numbers are all < 360.

14:50
Oh, they're all multiples of 45 degrees. So, they're all nice, even angles, and they are paired off.

15:00
Aha! It's Semaphore. For the two that are missing part of the pair, I'm assuming the angle is 0. Let me just look up a semaphore chart...

15:01
Oh crap. Is 0 at the top or bottom? Is L the sender's left or the receiver's left? Now I have to work out the coordinate system Dante used. At least we know that the low numbers map to the L side, and the high numbers map to the R side.

15:10
Tried 3 coordinate systems - 0 at top with L == left arm, 0 at top with L == viewer's left, and 0 == right, coordinates going counter-clockwise (trig coordinates). All that's left for reasonable systems is 0 on the bottom.

15:13
And solved. The solution is GOODFORYOU. It was the last coordinate system I tried, of course - moved 0 to the bottom, but got L and R backwards the first try.