Adam R. Wood (zotmeister) wrote,
Adam R. Wood


I am slowly but surely excavating myself from beneath the detritus that was my life last month - not that I'm depressed or have been wronged or anything; it's just that I felt I was largely lacking in momentum, and I'm taking the initiative to remedy that. I have officially started dieting and exercising again; my not-so-secret podcast project is underway; I've started refamiliarizing myself with game design and programming; I'm making significant strides in my gaming and especially in my Xbox Live Gamerscore; I updated my LiveJournal user profile. I'm hoping that I can carry some of this momentum into fiction before it fizzles out, but I don't want to push myself too hard (I can only do two-and-a-half things at once, after all). Perhaps once my Disgaea hardcore (see my profile) has been completed, I'll write some stories.

...Don't laugh. I'm on Episode 11.

Anyway, I'll soon be sorting through the email backlog I've accumulated. Puzzle 45 is coming along, but I am, as perhaps you've figured, prioritizing other things.

Amongst the detritus are some truly valuable bits I thought some of you may appreciate, being puzzle afficionados and all:

  • One "Infinity Squared" created the graphic below as xkcd fanart; it is one of the cleverest (and quite possibly obscurest) "comics" I've seen in a long time. My thanks to infintysquared (not a typo) for permitting me to offer it to you all:

    I'll explain it later in the comments if you don't get it.

    Incidentally, if you're not reading xkcd, you're missing out on genius. Whether it's a clever observation of human behavior reminiscent - and worthy - of the best of Candid Camera's history, a catchphrase begging to become the next great meme, a deep dig at very technical mathematics, or just a your-mom gag, each strip is incredible. Add it to your Friends page!

  • Wei-Hwa Huang, multiple World Puzzle Championship individual winner, created one of those "Gadgets" that can appear on a personalized Google homepage. E's been updating it weekly, and e's had some very clever challenges. I really like the Mini Battleships puzzles, Last Chessman Standing, and (despite non-unique solutions) Series of Tubes. Thankfully, e also has a page where all the past puzzles can be accessed.

  • A recent post by motris detailing es attempts to recall the names of the U.S. senators reminded me of one of my earliest published puzzles, and I thought you might appreciate it, so I dug it up:

    Puzzle Two: And One Other...

    Ostralek's eating habits are legendary, but very few are aware of just how
    pervasive they are to himself as well as his victims. As a result, he has a
    very curious habit: whenever he needs to remember a list of names, no matter
    how long that list may be, he can't help for the life of him but forget
    exactly one name in the list - as his mind has subconciously eaten one of

    Here is an example of his insanity's handiwork:

    EX) Starr, Harrison, McCartney, and one other...

    No, it has nothing to do with the Clinton scandal - wrong Starr. The
    missing name is "Lennon" - these are The Beatles [Ringo, George, Paul, and
    John respectively]. Just as Ostralek always seems to eat the most valuable
    recruit in his group, he tends to forget the most recognizable name in any

    Note that "John Lennon" would be considered correct (with additional
    information), but just "John" isn't, as the list was of surnames. Make sure
    your answers fit the lists.

    Here is a collection of ten lists of names - some real, some fictional -
    that Ostralek has attempted to recall, and came up short by one each time.
    Can you provide the name missing from each list that Ostralek has mentally

    1) Bashful, Sleepy, Grumpy, Doc, Happy, Sneezy, and one other...

    2) Bashful, Speedy, Shadow, and one other...

    3) Bryan, Felber, Sonefeld, and one other...

    4) Green, White, Plum, Scarlet, Mustard, and one other...

    5) Ed, Claude, Arnold, Oscar, Charles, George, Fred, and one other...

    6) Laughlin, Störmer, Tsui, Kohn, Pople, Furchgott, Ignarro, Murad,
    Saramago, Trimble, Sen, and one other...

    7) McCormick, Marsh, Broslovski, and one other...

    8) Jack, Jack, Jay, Joan, Johnny, Steve, Al, and one other...

    9) Jones, Rogers, Dinkley, Blake, and one other...

    10) Evans, Goldin, Miles, Schmidt, Smith, Starghill, Stidolph, Walker, and
    one other...

    I suppose I should say (for both background and copyright purposes) that Ostralek is a character from the collectible virtual-card game Sanctum; e is an elder imp and hero of the House of Abomination. E eats one of his own party members every turn, gaining strength when e does. I published a total of twenty-three puzzles for The Sanctum Puzzler between 1999 and 2001; although all of them were tied to the game, many were only attached superficially via story. This one in particular was based upon my own personal affliction: I actually do tend to forget exactly one item on lists I try to remember. No matter how long the list is. In fact, the item I can't remember in any given list has been known to change from day to day! At least it gave me a puzzle idea. I encourage you to come up with more "And One Other..."s and post them in the comments; the really good ones are those whose list has a focal element: knowing it would make generating the rest of the list fairly easy; leaving it out makes the list a bit non-descript, even given the entirety of what remains. The first one I came up with - and my favorite - is number seven; I really like number nine as well.

    I'll warn you right now: you won't get number ten. Don't even try. Nobody got it in the original contest. I'm not even sure the original source of that list still exists in any verifiable form (though it might). I only left it there for sake of completeness.

    Note that I'm not including this puzzle in my typical LiveJournal numbering scheme; it is both not the kind of puzzle I'm aiming to present here and not the first time I've published it. I will likely break rank on the latter eventually, but I've said before that the puzzles I'll be originating here are to be strictly logical. As such, I'm offering no (further) prizes for it, and I'll even be posting the solutions in the comments in a day or two.

    Bonus puzzle: I cut-and-pasted the puzzle, leaving a mistake I had made in the original intact. Find it.

  • Lastly, before I forget: the SMAC PBEM game is still not dead. In fact, I just received my turn today. I'm hoping to provide the fictionalization I'd alluded to earlier, in ten-turn installments. It's currently the ninth round.
- ZM
Tags: aoo, puzzles, smac
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