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 2016-12-28 
More than ten correct solutions to this year's Advent calendar puzzle competition were submitted on Christmas Day, so the competition is now over. (Although you can still submit your answers to get me to check them.) Thank-you to everyone who took part in the puzzle, I've had a lot of fun watching your progress and talking to you on Twitter, Reddit, etc. You can find all the puzzles and answers (from 1 January) here.
The (very) approximate locations of all the entries I have received so far are shown on this map:
This year's winners have been randomly selected from the 29 correct entries on Christmas Day. They are:
1Jack Jiang
2Steve Paget
3Joe Gage
4Tony Mann
5Stephen Cappella
6Cheng Wai Koo
7Demi Xin
8Lyra
9David Fox
10Bob Dinnage
Your prizes will be on their way in early January.
Now that the competition has ended, I can give away a secret. Last year, Neal suggested that it would be fun if a binary picture was hidden in the answers. So this year I hid one. If you write all the answers in binary, with each answer below the previous and colour in the 1s black, you will see this:
I also had a lot of fun this year making up the names, locations, weapons and motives for the final murder mystery puzzle. In case you missed them these were:
#Murder suspectMotive
1Dr. Uno (uno = Spanish 1)Obeying nameless entity
2Mr. Zwei (zwei = German 2)To worry others
3Ms. Trois (trois = French 3)To help really evil elephant
4Mrs. Quattro (quattro = Italian 4)For old unknown reasons
5Prof. Pum (pum = Welsh 5)For individual violent end
6Miss. Zes (zes = Dutch 6)Stopping idiotic xenophobia
7Lord Seacht (seacht = Irish 7)Suspect espied victim eating newlyweds
8Lady Oito (oito = Portuguese 8)Epic insanity got him today
9Rev. Novem (novem = Latin 9)Nobody in newsroom expected

#LocationWeapon
1Throne roomWrench (1 vowel)
2Network roomRope (2 vowels)
3Beneath reedsRevolver (3 vowels)
4Edge of our gardenLead pipe (4 vowels)
5Fives courtNeighbour's sword (5 vowels)
6On the sixth floorSuper banana bomb (6 vowels)
7Sparse venueAntique candlestick (7 vowels)
8Weightlifting roomA foul tasting poison (8 vowels)
9Mathematics mezzanineRun over with an old Ford Focus (9 vowels)
Finally, well done to Scott, Matthew Schulz, Michael Gustin, Daniel Branscombe, Kei Nishimura-Gasparian, Henry Hung, Mark Fisher, Jon Palin, Thomas Tu, Félix Breton, Matt Hutton, Miguel, Fred Verheul, Martine Vijn Nome, Brennan Dolson, Louis de Mendonca, Roni, Dylan Hendrickson, Martin Harris, Virgile Andreani, Valentin Valciu, and Adia Batic for submitting the correct answer but being too unlucky to win prizes this year. Thank you all for taking part and I'll see you next December for the next competition.

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Comments

Comments in green were written by me. Comments in blue were not written by me.
Thanks for the prizes. Fascinating books!
Steve Paget
×1                 Reply
I got my prize in the mail today. I really liked the stories from Gustave Verbeek; I thought that was pretty clever. I really appreciate you being willing to send the prizes internationally.

Thanks for setting this all up; I had a lot of fun solving the puzzles every day (and solving half them again when my cookie for the site somehow got deleted). I'll be sure to participate next time too!
SC
×1                 Reply
Thanks, Matthew! The puzzles were really fun, and piecing the clues was very interesting too!
Jack
×1                 Reply
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 2016-12-20 
Last week, I posted about the Christmas card I designed on the Chalkdust blog.
The card looks boring at first glance, but contains 12 puzzles. Converting the answers to base 3, writing them in the boxes on the front, then colouring the 1s green and 2s red will reveal a Christmassy picture.
If you want to try the card yourself, you can download this pdf. Alternatively, you can find the puzzles below and type the answers in the boxes. The answers will be automatically converted to base 3 and coloured...
#Answer (base 10)Answer (base 3)
1000000000
2000000000
3000000000
4000000000
5000000000
6000000000
7000000000
8000000000
9000000000
10000000000
11000000000
12000000000
  1. The square number larger than 1 whose square root is equal to the sum of its digits.
  2. The smallest square number whose factors add up to a different square number.
  3. The largest number that cannot be written in the form \(23n+17m\), where \(n\) and \(m\) are positive integers (or 0).
  4. Write down a three-digit number whose digits are decreasing. Write down the reverse of this number and find the difference. Add this difference to its reverse. What is the result?
  5. The number of numbers between 0 and 10,000,000 that do not contain the digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
  6. The lowest common multiple of 57 and 249.
  7. The sum of all the odd numbers between 0 and 66.
  8. One less than four times the 40th triangle number.
  9. The number of factors of the number \(2^{756}\)×\(3^{12}\).
  10. In a book with 13,204 pages, what do the page numbers of the middle two pages add up to?
  11. The number of off-diagonal elements in a 27×27 matrix.
  12. The largest number, \(k\), such that \(27k/(27+k)\) is an integer.

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Comments

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@Matthew: Thank you for the prompt response! It makes sense now and perhaps I should have read a little closer!
Dan Whitman
                 Reply
@Dan Whitman: Find the difference between the original number and the reverse of the original. Call this difference \(a\). Next add \(a\) to the reverse of \(a\)...
Matthew
                 Reply
In number 4 what are we to take the difference between? Do you mean the difference between the original number and its reverse? If so when you add the difference back to the reverse you simply get the original number, which is ambiguous. I am not sure what you are asking us to do here.
Dan Whitman
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 2016-11-27 
This year, the front page of mscroggs.co.uk will feature an advent calendar, just like last year. Behind each door, there will be a puzzle with a three digit solution. The solution to each day's puzzle forms part of a murder mystery logic puzzle in which you have to work out the murderer, motive, location and weapon used: the answer to each of these murder facts is a digit from 1 to 9 (eg. The murderer could be 6, the motive 9, etc.).
As you solve the puzzles, your answers will be stored in a cookie. Behind the door on Christmas Day, there will be a form allowing you to submit your answers. The winner will be randomly chosen from all those who submit the correct answer on Christmas Day. Runners up will then be chosen from those who submit the correct answer on Christmas Day, then those who submit the correct answer on Boxing Day, then the next day, and so on. As the winners will be chosen randomly, there is no need to get up at 5am on Christmas Day this year!
The winner will win this array of prizes:
I will be adding to the pile of prizes throughout December. Runners up will get a subset of the prizes. The winner and runners up will also win an mscroggs.co.uk 2016 winners medal:
To win a prize, you must submit your entry before the end of 2016. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Once ten correct entries have been submitted, I will add a note here and below the calendar. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments below or on Twitter.
So once December is here, get solving! Good luck and have a very merry Christmas!
Edit: added picture of this year's medals.
Edit: more than ten correct entries have been submitted, list of prize winners can be found here. You can still submit your answers but the only prize left is glory.

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Comments

Comments in green were written by me. Comments in blue were not written by me.
@Another Matthew: Ten correct submissions have been made. Just updating the pages to reflect this...
Matthew
                 Reply
Have 10 correct submissions not been made yet?
Another Matthew
                 Reply
Thank you, @Matthew: !
Lyra
                 Reply
Really enjoyed the extra bit at the end this year! Looking forward to 2017's calendar.
Louis
                 Reply
@Lyra: I'll email you if you are one of the winners to get the rest of your address!
Matthew
                 Reply
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 2016-01-01 
The deadline for entering the 2015 Advent calendar competition has now passed. You can see all the puzzles and their answers here.
Thank-you to everyone who took part in the competition! In total, 23 people submitted answers to the puzzles. Every one of these had correct answers to at least 18 of the puzzles. The winners are as follows:
#NameDetails
1ScottAll correct at 5:00:18 GMT on Christmas Day
2Louis de MendoncaAll correct at 5:00:32 GMT on Christmas Day
3Alex BoltonAll correct at 5:00:34 GMT on Christmas Day
4Martin HarrisAll correct at 6:15 GMT on Christmas Day
5Linus HamiltonAll correct at 14:12 GMT on Christmas Day
6ZephiAll correct at 20:40 GMT on Christmas Day
7Daniel ChivertonAll but one (5 December) correct at 5:00:24 GMT on Christmas Day
8Jon PalinAll but one (12 December) correct at 5:00:34 GMT on Christmas Day
9Kathryn CoffinAll but one (5 December) correct at 6:28 GMT on Christmas Day
10Félix BretonAll but one (15 December) correct at 9:05 GMT on Christmas Day
I will be in touch will all the entrants in the next few days and I will post pictures of prizes here once they are on their way!
I have already started working on puzzles for next year's (in fact this year's) calendar, so make sure you're back here in December...

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Comments

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@stephan: It looks like the code I wrote to check the solutions were unique contained errors. This might explain why first question was very difficult to solve with logic alone.
Matthew
                 Reply
Are you sure http://www.mscroggs.co.uk/puzzles/126 have unique solutions. See e.g. http://cryptarithms.awardspace.us/solv... which gives lots of solutions
stephan
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 2015-11-24 
This year, the front page of mscroggs.co.uk will feature an advent calendar. Behind each door, there will be a puzzle with a three digit solution.
As you solve the puzzles, your answers will be stored in a cookie. Behind the door on Christmas Day, there will be a form allowing you to submit your answers. The first person to submit the correct answers will win this array of prizes:
The prizes include an mscroggs.co.uk t-shirt, a DVD of Full Frontal Nerdity and a beautiful mscroggs.co.uk 2015 winner's medal:
I will be adding to the pile of prizes throughout December.
The next nine people to submit the correct answers will win a winner's medal plus a smaller goody bag of prizes. If less than ten correct entries are submitted, prizes will be given to those with one incorrect answer, then those with two incorrect answers and so on.
Each day's puzzle (and the entry form on Christmas Day) will be available from 5:00am GMT.
To win a prize, you must submit your entry before the start of 2016. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Once ten correct entries have been submitted, I will add a note here and below the calendar. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments below or on Twitter.
So once December is here, get solving! Good luck and have a very merry Christmas!
Edit: The winners and answers can now be found here.

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Comments

Comments in green were written by me. Comments in blue were not written by me.
@Anonymous2: Other winners and answers will be available from 1st January
Matthew
                 Reply
How many wrong answers do I have ? And when will you publish the solutions ?
Anonymous2
                 Reply
@Anonymous1: You are (now) correct and on the leaderboard. Well done!
Matthew
                 Reply
I've submitted my answer! On Christmas too! It's just that I sorta crammed all of the answers today :/

Are you allowed to tell me if I am correct?
Anonymous1
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I'm so glad for OEIS.

hint hint
Anonymous
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