?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Little Boxes - Many a mickle maks a muckle

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile

October 14th, 2003


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
03:32 am - Little Boxes
Happy birthday to homestar, who supplied the software that we used to run Fandom Squares at Nimbus - 2003. In return, here's a squares game of a different sort.

The World Puzzle Championships take place in the Netherlands later this week. Good luck to all the teams, but particularly to the UK team, and especially to ericklendl who is a member of it.

I don't talk much about puzzles on my LJ, but I've been preparing some practice puzzles of one particular type for the UK team and you may as well see them as well. I'd be interested to know if you found them entertaining, impossible, whatever. No spoilers in your comments, please; answers by e-mail. I'll post some techniques and tips in a while if there's the interest, but I'd advise that you printed these out and tried to solve them in pencil on paper. Don't read too much into the difficulty levels. These aren't representative of the puzzles in my book, by the way. :-)

Colour in some of the squares in the grids below, so that the figures
outside the grid indicate the number of coloured squares in that row
or column. The squares in each shape for which the borders are marked 
must either be all coloured or all empty.

EXAMPLE

 _ _ _ _ _        _ _ _ _ _
|_  |_ _  | 2    |* *|_ _  | 2
| |_  | | | 2    | |* *| | | 2
|  _|_| |_| 1    |  _|*| |_| 1
|_| |_ _| | 2    |_|*|_ _|*| 2
|_ _ _|_ _| 5    |* * *|* *| 5 
 2 4 3 1 2        2 4 3 1 2

1. Difficulty: GENUINE
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
|  _  | |_ _   _|  _ _ _| 1
|_| |_|_ _  |_| |_|_   _| 4
|  _ _|  _|_|_   _| | | | 6
|_|_ _ _|_    |_|  _|_| | 4
|_ _ _ _ _|_ _|_ _|_ _ _| 10
 3 3 2 3 2 2 0 1 2 3 1 3

2. Difficulty: PARAMOUNT
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
|  _ _| |_ _ _ _  |   | 5
|_| |_ _ _|  _  |_|_ _| 7
|  _|  _| |_| |_|   | | 6
|_|  _|_ _  | |_ _ _| | 4
| |_| |_  |_|_ _ _|_ _| 2
| | |_  | |_  |_ _   _| 6
| |_  | |_ _|_ _ _|_| | 5
|_ _|_|_|_ _ _ _|_ _ _| 5
 4 5 3 1 4 4 2 5 3 6 3


3. Difficulty: EXORBITANT
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
|  _ _|_ _ _|_  |_ _ _  |  _  | | 4
|_| |_   _|  _| |_ _  |_|_| |_| | 7
|_ _  | |_ _| | | | |_|   |_ _| | 8
|  _|_|_| |  _|_| |_  |_ _|   |_|10
|_| |_ _ _| | |_ _| |_|_  |  _| |14
|  _| |_  |_|_   _| |  _| |_|  _| 8
|_|  _| |_ _| |_| |_|_| |_|_ _| | 7
|_ _|  _|  _| |_ _|   |_ _  | | | 5
|  _|_|_ _| |_ _ _|_ _| | |_| | | 4
|_|  _| |_ _|_ _  |_ _  | |_ _| | 6
|_ _|_ _| |  _| |_ _| |_|_ _ _|_| 9
| |_  |_  | |_  |_   _|_  |_ _ _|13
| | |_ _|_|_| |_| |_|_  |_|_   _| 7 
| |_  |_  |_   _| |_  |_|  _|_| | 5
|_| |_ _|_ _|_| |_ _| |_ _|_ _ _| 2
|_ _ _|_ _ _|_ _ _ _|_ _|_ _ _ _| 2
 3 4 9 9 5 8 8 8 8 9 8 5 8 7 9 3

Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: Pete Seeger... er, maybe

(18 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:ex_homestar577
Date:October 13th, 2003 07:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks for the good word!
[User Picture]
From:ericklendl
Date:October 14th, 2003 12:10 am (UTC)

(Link)
And a final, final last minute thanks from me for these... have printed them off to go to Holland, and will probably attack them on arrival at the venue. You're a star, m'friend!
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 14th, 2003 06:11 am (UTC)
(Link)
Have to admit, I was hoping you'd have seen 'em from the UK WPC team mailing list already, but mail to and fro has been rather floopy recently. Not sure whether it's my ISP, Yahoo! or what.

I'll be interested to know just how large the actual puzzle you get is - I'm guessing that the one at the end is probably about representative.

Fingers, toes and so forth crossed...
[User Picture]
From:ericklendl
Date:October 18th, 2003 06:31 am (UTC)
(Link)
Don't want to say too much about the actual puzzle in case I spoil your fun, but the examples you set us weren't even a tenth as hard as the real thing!!!
[User Picture]
From:niekje
Date:October 14th, 2003 12:45 am (UTC)
(Link)
Nice puzzles! It took me even more than a minute to solve that last one. :op
Will you post more of these?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 14th, 2003 06:13 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thanks, Niek! :-)

Probably not for a while. The main reason for doing these now was to help the UK World Puzzle Championship team practice. I could do more and/or harder and/or bigger at a later date, though. About half the people who I would expect to be interested have done them so far; if the rest of the usual suspects enjoy them too then I'm more likely to do some more.
[User Picture]
From:addedentry
Date:October 14th, 2003 11:29 am (UTC)
(Link)
I printed the puzzles out for the train home: not hard enough to fill the journey, but as entertaining as nonograms. Thanks!

I started the third, largest puzzle by using the 1x4, 1x5 blocks on the right and bottom. Maybe these are necessary in such a big grid, but they felt inelegant - it's like the number of checked letters in a crossword grid.
From:mrstrellis
Date:October 14th, 2003 04:54 am (UTC)
(Link)
V. good. The first two were a bit easy - I think you could leave out some of the numbers. The third one was excellent - it was tough but there was always a way of working it out logically without having to do lots of "looking forward" analysis. This wouldn't look out of place in the Tough Puzzles magazine.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 14th, 2003 06:17 am (UTC)
(Link)
The first two were a bit easy

The word is "accessible". :-) I'll be interested to see whether any of the people who I don't currently know to be puzzle fans have a stab. I kept doing #2 over and over again last night because I wasn't completely sure it worked and I think getting started on it is a tiny bit tricky, but they all do work. (Not least because I know you'd've told me if they didn't!)

Would the text be too long for a small example (eg 7x7?) to fit into a Metro grid? You could have some gimmick whereby the coloured squares make some initials, or something, so you can only put the initials in the answer rather than another big grid.
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:October 14th, 2003 07:08 am (UTC)
(Link)
I think getting started on it is a tiny bit tricky

Not so: the "1" in the second puzzle is an obvious starting point, and it more or less fills itself in after that.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 14th, 2003 08:08 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Well, that's why I specified a tiny bit tricky. :-)

I am both pleased and slightly frustrated that you all found these so easy. I am quite happy to accept that you all could well be better at the puzzles than I am, though. :-) I'm idly considering trying to make a Great Big Bastard one of these which would take you more than a few minutes - and I have a few thoughts about what sorts of things it might include which might make it difficult but not impossible - but I suspect it would take me three or four hours to actually prepare, so it may have to wait.

Also a little disappointed that nobody commented with amusement at the source of the difficulty rating titles. I thought you lot were hip geeks, j0!
[User Picture]
From:chrisvenus
Date:October 15th, 2003 01:06 am (UTC)
(Link)
I am both pleased and slightly frustrated that you all found these so easy

The first two were small enough that once you had one or two pieces in a row or column you could usually manage to work out other pieces in the row/column and because of the way they overlapped they all fell into place without *too* much problem.

The last one was much more challenging because you could have three pieces in a column definitely coloured or definitely not and it still woulnd't always tell you about the others. I was very impressed when it *did* tell you about others in the column (like when there were an odd number more that needed to be coloured and only one piece had an odd number of squares in that column).

The last one took me a good hour or so to manage all in all probably, not helped by a small counting issue which caused me to screw up my first grid entirely. Second time round I managed it and had great fun in doing so. Thumbs up to that man. :)

So what were the sources of the puzzle titles then? I didn't recognise them as meaning anything...
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:October 15th, 2003 02:59 am (UTC)

rating titles

(Link)
Well Google informs me that it's from an arcade game called Dance Dance Revolution. I can think of no reason why I should have heard of that. . .
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2003 06:56 am (UTC)

Re: rating titles

(Link)
You're taunting me. You're taunting me! I shall bite.

Surely you must've encountered it in passing in a vague sort of general interest in gaming/technology/cultural developments?

I have a feeling I am about to be hoist on my own petard next time I fail to recognise a Shakespeare quote.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 15th, 2003 08:11 am (UTC)

Re: rating titles

(Link)
For future reference:

probably hoist by my own petard, possibly hoist with my own petard, but probably not hoist on my own petard.

I used not to make that mistake. Hmm.
[User Picture]
From:imc
Date:October 15th, 2003 02:38 pm (UTC)

Re: rating titles

(Link)
Etymologically speaking, with is correct, although by seems popular.
From:mrstrellis
Date:October 14th, 2003 09:10 am (UTC)
(Link)
As with nonograms, the low and high numbers give you the most information. If you look at the fourth column followed by the second row for puzzle 2, this enables to work out where two pieces are immediately, followed by two more pieces shortly thereafter. The puzzle unravels fairly easily after that.

I think the way to squeeze something like that into Metro is to use smaller pieces - I think the logic would still work (although the risk of alternate answers might increase).
[User Picture]
From:lambertman
Date:October 24th, 2003 06:55 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Finally found myself with a moment to do this. Knocked out the first two fairly quickly; TLC is planning on timing me on the 3rd one. :)

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com