Planetarium was released on 9/9/99 and twelve weeks later some people had already solved it. For the sake of posterity, details about the competition are still here, together with the list of those who made their mark when it ended.
Rosaleen’s winning tiebreaker was “ANNA”. If you haven’t read the story, then you won’t know what the tiebreaker was about. For those of you who are familiar with the story, we felt a palindrome was particularly appropriate, all things considered, and although “ADA” was also offered, we liked the longest one. Which means that if Margaret had got the right solution to the puzzle, her suggestion of “HANNAH” would have clinched it. Since then, many other tiebreakers have been suggested — two years after the competition, we collected the best ones into this summary. Choosing a winning tiebreaker was always going to be opinionated and divisive, and we encourage you all to discuss alternatives on the xiii Forum.
Barbara sent by far the longest unsolicited excuse detailing why she hadn’t got the correct answer. Naturally, we would never let such a simple stunt merit a mention on this page.
Nobody won anything, because it wasn’t that kind of competition. On the other hand, nobody lost anything.
The competition ended on the 2nd December 1999.
|Readers whose Tables contained complete, correct solutions when we froze the earliest logins: (alphabetical order)|
|Rosaleen’s Mom||Northern California, USA|
|Apprentice||Robert Tooker||London, UK|
|Ciderwoman||Kathy Brown||Lichfield, UK|
|Dummy||Lara Colo||Paris, France|
|Kingohugs||Matt Lowe||New York City USA|
|Nick_Russell||Dr Nicholas Russell||Aylesbury, Bucks, UK|
|Puzzleron||Ron Stewart||Oxford, UK|
|Ruxtona||Alison Ruxton||Watford, UK|
|Schep||Andrew Schepler||Beavercreek OH, USA|
|Zarf||Andrew Plotkin||Rosipiscean Society, USA|
|Reader so very, very nearly with the correct solution:|
|Lgcells||Chris Booth||Malvern, UK|
|Readers on the way to the correct solution:
(descending order of almost-rightness)
|Turnergw||Graham Turner||Guildford, UK|
|Kite||Kit Smith||London, UK|
|Polgara||Andrea Malcolmson||London, UK|
|Gandalf||Terry Taylor||Bacup, Lancs, UK|
|Anncampbell||Ann Heaps||Bradley, N. Yorks, UK|
|Acompton||Alan Compton & Susan Bilbey||Cheltenham, UK|
|Grimmelm||James Grimmelmann||Seattle WA, USA|
|Ian||Ian Randell||Stanmore UK|
|Sasa||Scott Carroll||Madrid, Spain|
|Thegriff||Andrew Griffin||University of Surrey, Guildford, UK|
|Venus||Susan White (Suze)||London N20, UK|
|Barbara||Barbara Gibb||Liverpool, UK|
|Brahn||Benjamin Rahn||Cambridge, MA USA|
|Genesplicer||Richard Turner||University of Wales, Aberystwyth UK|
|Margaret||Margaret Prentice||Auckland, New Zealand|