Solution to Better Bridges

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by Yannick Yao

There are four puzzles that look like Hashi (or Hashiwokakero), although they cannot be solved with the original ruleset listed at the beginning of the puzzle. In order for each puzzle to be (uniquely) solvable, one or all of the three bullet-pointed rules need to be “upgraded”, based on the color(s) of the border(s) around the puzzles:
  • Red: There can be three bridges between pairs of islands.
  • Green: Bridges can be in diagonal directions (45 degrees from horizontal/vertical).
  • Blue: Bridges can intersect with each other.
With these upgrades, the puzzles are a lot easier to solve:
Taking all the bridges that used the improved rules gives SA for the first puzzle, SS for the second puzzle, IL for the third puzzle, and Y for the last puzzle, which combine to give the answer SASSILY.

Author’s Notes

This puzzle was written as a backup to another puzzle when some unusual legal complications prevented it from happening. Originally the concept only involved allowing diagonal bridges, but trying to put seven letters in one grid with this relaxation turned out to be too difficult to construct, so I decided to break it into smaller puzzles with different rules being broken. For some reason, I find the pair of triple diagonal crossing bridges in the last puzzle rather hilarious.