Archive for the 'Miscellany' Category

World’s Hardest Sudoku

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

I missed this back in November, but here’s the world’s hardest sudoku, and an article from USA Today about its creation.

Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Seema wants to know why I’m suddenly obsessed with wooden jigsaw puzzles, so here’s the story:

Mom wanted a jigsaw puzzle for her birthday, so I popped into Eureka Puzzles, the game store near the Pier 1 on Beacon St. in Coolidge Corner, on my way home one day. I looked through all the regular die-cut jigsaw puzzles for something the right size and nice, but nothing jumped out at me. (But for some gorgeous cardboard jigsaw puzzles, see these jigsaws from Japan.)

Then I noticed the wooden jigsaw puzzles. One of them was partly assembled inside some kind of puzzle display so you could see the whimsy pieces. Since they were approximately the right size, with art mom would like, and too cool for words, I had to get one.

It all should have ended there, but Veronica and I got a chance to play with it over the weekend and it was very addictive. The pieces really do feel so much more substantial than cardboard, and all whimsy aside they have more interesting shapes. Now I don’t know if I can wait for mom to finish her puzzle.

The ones at Eureka are laser-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles from Liberty Puzzles and Wentworth Wooden Jigsaws (see the slideshow); see also Art-Puzzle GmbH. These are (usually, but not always) cheaper than the real scrollsaw-cut ones you can get from all sorts of one-saw operations around the web: Fool’s Gold, MGC’s (see especially his samples), Conrad Armstrong, Jack in the Box, etc.

The other option is making your own. Here are a brief introduction and some details from a puzzlemaker, or you can check these references.

iPod Sudoku

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Sudoku has come to the iPod! You can pick it up in the iTunes store, if you have a 5th-generation iPod. Those of us with nanos are out of luck.

It doesn’t do nonomino sudokus anyway, so I’m not bitter. Really.

Invisible Fridge

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

I want an invisible fridge! See other transparent appliances at gizmodo (via GeekPress).

Sushi Police

Monday, November 27th, 2006

GeekPress warns me that my kitchen may soon be raided by the Sushi Police. I don’t think I’ll do too well; although I make no Korean food I do have a lot of Mediterranean fusion going on right next to the sushi roller…

Something for Seema

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

It’s a microwave egg boiler, guaranteed to prevent explosions!

Child of Cthulhu

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

See BoingBoing or go straight to the close-up for the year’s best Halloween costume.

The Return of Futoshiki

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Thanks to Stephen Lang for reminding me that Futoshiki was coming back. He has the latest puzzle from the Guardian up in his blog.

If you liked that one, has a google module and a printable page of six random futoshiki. Uniqueness of solutions is not guaranteed. guarantees uniqueness.

Greater-Than Sudoku

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

The sudoku of the day is greater-than sudoku, where you get no clues; instead, every box is marked greater-than or less-than its neighbors. If you need more than the ten at the link above, Killer Sudoku Online has a weekly greater-than sudoku. The greater-thans I’ve tried so far have been less challenging than other variants, but I’ve seen people claim it can be fiendish.

Greater-than is sudoku-like enough to come in some of the standard variants: here’s a samurai greater-than sudoku and a jigsaw (nonomino, geometric) greater-than sudoku.

A related puzzle type is futoshiki, which got off to a bad start in the Guardian.


Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

The Sudoku Variant of the Day is Hanidoku, which I discovered at Michael Mepham’s Daily Sudoku site. Hanidoku uses a hex-based board instead of a grid. As a longtime sudoku variant addict, I thought I’d start with the Moderate example, but it turned out to be pretty hard for a beginner.

There’s a whole site devoted to Hanidoku already with a daily HaniDoku, hints, and free Hanidoku software. You can also find some quick hints in this discussion thread.