Archive for the 'Miscellany' Category
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.
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.
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.
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.