Monday, July 04, 2005

For Folks Who Don't Like Number Puzzles

Here's a version of the previous puzzle rendered in pix ...

The other day I got to thinking about SUDOKU and why certain people (yes, I'm looking at you, Zig! And you too, Chandigarh J, in a reduced sense, because I suspect you're not put off by numbers, but would just prefer pictures anyway) who might otherwise be expected to enjoy something clever and new, might not be attracted to it. And I wondered whether it might be because the numbers make it look like the kind of challenge which involves calculations. But it ISN'T (or else why whould I like it? I like maths but am numerically challenged in various ways -- dysnumeric, if the word exists) -- the numbers are merely nine different symbols and their use in the puzzle is purely incidental. So ... I thought I'd try substituing them with pictures. I didn't want to draw 'em myself so I checked MS Words fonts -- and sure enough! There's a face called Mini Pics Li'l Critters -- and you know what? For a change, they really ARE rather cute. So I used nine of them in place of the numbers. This puzzle is the same as the previous one, except for two penguins (i.e., "1"s in the previous version of the puzzle) which have been placed in their correct spaces in the grid.

As with the numbers, the challenge is to place one of each type of critter in every row and every column and in every 3x3 box. There's only one correct solution. It's possible that this grid here is too small to work off -- I don't know whether it'll download at a bigger size than what you can see on your screens. In case anyone wants to get a full-size copy of it ... well, I might be in a good enough mood to e-mail it out. Or (if anyone complains) I could just try posting a larger version of it here. The way to use it is of course to select, COPY and then paste each of the coloured critters on the side, into the grid. It's best to save the template and then work on a copy of that version.

Chandigarh J, you asked for a starter's hint? Well one method is to look across each row and up and down each column, locating (say) the penguins -- since every row MUST have one and every 3x3 box must ALSO have one --and ONLY one -- you can sometimes see a situation where there's only one possible space in which the missing penguin CAN go. The penguin in the top row is a case in point. The two rows beneath that one both contain their penguins. The only space in which the top row CAN accommodate a penguin is therefore at the end, in the right-hand box. Similarly with the penguin in the lowermost box on the left: there's no other space in which it could stand but there, since the columns on either side already contain one penguin each.

And if that made sense to you ... you're well on your way to being a Sudokan!

BTW, you know what I bet? This would make a GREAT board game. Can't you just see the cute tokens and the cool board? I can. Too bad I lack the skills and entrepreneurial temperament to go the distance: developing the prototype, filing a patent, selling it for millions to Parker Bros. Yup. I can just see it happening ... to someone else. Take it from me, in about one year or less, there'll be a SUDOKU board/card game and it'll be the smash hit of the decade.

Five years from now maybe you'll find me lurking in the parking lot of the SUDOKU theme park, looking up at the bright lights and *sighing*.


Pramod said...

Very innovative indeed!

I got into a bit of trouble with a friend of mine for saying that since he was not very number friendly, and since he was rather religious - perhaps he should try to solve this using the "navagrahas!"

This is very well done :-)

Marginalien said...

Hey thanks, Pramod! Glad you liked it. Did your friend take your advice, I wonder??

Pramod said...

No; as I said my friend was a bit - well quite a bit scandalised by my attempt at trivialising religion.. :-)

Anyway, a small request, could you perhaps check the font you are using in your design for the content of the posts. Its coming out much smaller than the rest (like the menu) and am having to struggle to read it. Tried it both on a mac and windows - its same for me. Perhaps you are using some special fonts which I don't have.


Anonymous said...

Personas. Hmm. Which one is bettah? It’s like this: chocolate cake and apple pie are different, but one is as yummy as the other.
Solved my first (easy) sudoku today. I can see the game is addictive and an enticement to sit – when I have to rev myself up to exercise! Anyway, it hopefully keeps the brain limber. Chandigarh J

Marginalien said...

Pramod -- I'm sorry to hear that you're finding the type-size difficult to read -- no, the font isn't anything special, it's one of the choices Blogger offers. I'll try changing the type-size but it'll be a day or two before I get to it, okay? And in any case, I won't update the post till then.
Oh -- and I'm also sorry to hear that your religious friend took offence. Hmm. I guess he'd say he doesn't NEED distraction, coz he's got faith ...

Chandigarh J, how NICE to find myself in the same league as both chocolate cake and apple pie!! Thanks for that. In case I've been instrumental for bringing SUDOKU into your life ... well, we can be invalids together, playing HARD puzzles competitively from our respective wheelchairs!

biatti said...

Hi, I try again to send a comment - maybe this time... well, SUDOKO was new to me and I find myself ponderung abt ... even checking a website (via google) and reading lots of interesting comments... printing out boards -- are these signs of beeing hooked, even before I try the first one on my own??? :-)))

Marginalien said...

Wilkommen, biatti!!! Great to see you here -- after so many attempts!!! As for SUDOKU, I definitely suggest going across to -- they have several options, levels, etc -- and you can take your pick! How nice. Thanks for visiting.

Robert Henry said...


Nice new take on the sudoku craze that is going on. Like your possible insights that might happen down the road as well.

Did you know the puzzle has been around since the 1980s and now is getting the buzz?


Marginalien said...

Hi Robert, thanks for visiting. Yes, I was surprised to read that it's been around for a while -- but when it premiered in my newspaper, there was an item explaining that the big turnaround in the puzzle's history occurred when software was developed that would swiftly and accurately create a near-infinite number of new puzzle grids. They haven't (I discover, a month since getting hooked) entirely displaced crosswords in my puzzle-pantheon, but they're a very close second!