Beholder presents PLANETARIUM a puzzle story

Planetarium 9/9/99 Competition

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.

Puzzle Solvers

Readers whose Tables contained complete, correct solutions when we froze the earliest logins: (alphabetical order)
(overall winner)
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
Susan Susan Toukley, Australia
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
Bwhittak Brian Whittaker 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

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