Puzzle golf (Polf, Pulf, Gozzle, Golfzzle)

I would like to propose a challenge involving two SE sites. Code Golf and Puzzling. To solve, one has to decipher the specification riddle, and then golf the solution of part 1, to solve the rem post on puzzling.

Code golf:

Standard rules, shortest program wins, no loopholes, and must parse the file to obtain the result

Specifications omitted



Why these two sites?

Because the challenge in question has it's specifications wrapped in a riddle, which will require collaboration between the sites to solve. There will be a way to check if the specification is correct, and the last puzzle (Puzzling) element will only be solvable once the Code golf has been.

My research:

Based on the top upvoted answer at What is a spec at Code Golf Meta, The puzzle golf should be acceptable. However, At Line between Programming Puzzle and programming problem, It mentions that Code Golf has moved away from such puzzles. Will Code Golf not accept answers that are part puzzle?

I am aware that designing a good golfzzle will be harder than writing a golf and a puzzle separately. (quadratic if you will)

  • What, if any qualms do you have on such a challenge?
  • Are there major gotchas I should be aware of before finishing designing the challenge?
  • How would I approach the sandbox on Code Golf? I would like to test the golf there, but it might spoil the puzzle elements. (How to avoid?)
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I will say, without an example for what would go on Puzzling, it's rather hard to answer this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 16:58

1 Answer 1


I don't think this is a good idea

As noted in Things to avoid when writing challenges,

We aim for our challenges to be as easy to understand as possible. Source

Unlike Puzzling.SE, where the question is the puzzle and the answers, well... the answer, challenges on this site are specified tasks with clear and objective rules. A bit of flavor and fun is perfectly fine (such as encoding the opening to a challenge about writing a decoder), but fundamentally, the rules of a challenge have to be clear and accessible to all.

Additionally, I question whether the specification will even be comprehensive enough when posed as a riddle. Quite often, corner cases and unexpected inputs will sink a challenge that is written plain as day, because the OP didn't consider how they should handle division by zero or empty inputs. By posing it as a riddle, at best you're likely to leave out how to handle these cases. At worst, people will come to different answers and create an inconsistent challenge spec.

Finally, we require challenges to be self-contained. "Outsourcing" the spec to another question or challenge is not allowed, so, in order to be a valid challenge on this site, you'd need to include the puzzle as the challenge itself. At which point, it would get closed as not being clear.

In short, while the idea is a nice one, it likely wouldn't work with our requirements for challenges.

What you could do, however, is an challenge: each answer must solve a puzzle posited in the previous answer which gives a "validity" requirement (e.g. the answer to each puzzle is a word and the next answer may not use any letters from that word in their answer). I'd recommend running this through the Sandbox, as there could be a number of pitfalls around it.


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