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Sunday, July 22, 2007


I have taken to doing the Jumble word puzzle on the comics page each morning. Some mornings it goes fairly quickly, some days I am stumped. I will eventually solve it, but I will have to leave and let it pergelate for a while before I come back and make another attempt. Unscrambling the five letter words are fairly easy for me. The six letter words are another matter. Some of those can be real stinkers.

Crosswords are impossible for me. The only crosswords I have ever had any luck with are the ones on the back of the kid's menu at Elmer's restaurant. The ones in the paper are impossible. I have tried crosswords before, diligently worked through both lists (Across and Down) and gotten three words, if I am lucky. Often I don't get any. So I have given up on crosswords. My friend Jack and my mother-in-law Audrey will sit down with the New York Times crossword and do it in ink.

Lately I have playing "Series of Tubes" and "Planarity". I like them because they have a definite solution and I can work them out in five or ten minutes. Of course how long it takes depends on what level you choose. The level in "Series of Tubes" can be set between 8 and 300. I like level 258. It has a large enough field to be interesting, but the because the field ends at the edges, it is much easier to solve. On some levels the playing field wraps around the edges. That is, you have a rectangular playing field and symbols at the right hand edge of the field may connect to symbols on the left hand edge, as though the playing field were a cylinder and it has been unrolled so you can see the whole thing. So on some levels the field wraps around from one side to the other, on other levels it wraps from top to bottom, and on some levels it wraps around both ways. These are much more challenging. I like level 258 because it is easy, it does not wrap.

Planarity looks very different from "Series of Tubes", but it is similar in that involves unscrambling a scrambled mess. I am not sure how high the levels go, but if you go much above 12 your solution is liable to end up crowding the edge of the board, and will have to move everything you have done away from that edge to give yourself room to finish. All this moving has to be done piece by piece, which is a bit slow and tedious, since you are not really making any progress in the solution.

I was playing Cubox (the link seems to be dead, and no one else seems to carry it) for a while, but it got to be frustrating. Sometimes I could see the solution and solve it instantly, other times I would fight with it forever and still not get a solution. You can just point and click and eventually you will end up with a solution, but they tell you the number of moves required to solve the puzzle, and it is very low, like 4 or 5, and I think, I should be able to do this. And sometimes I could, but sometimes I could not. What was worse is that I would come back later and try to solve a puzzle I had solved easily and find I could not. Bizarre.

I really need a new game.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Chuck, how's it going?
I, too, like Jumble, sometimes is easier to solve the riddle, then work backwards with the letters to get some of the words.
Crosswords are OK, I do them sometimes, what I don't like about crosswords, is you either know the answer or not, usually can't raeson it out. Like the clue is ....16th Century bed-wetting Scottish Prince( the answer of course is Bart Simpson), you either know the answer or not.
A puzzle I do like on that page is Soduko, they start out easier on Monday, and get progressively harder. Since it is just a numbers game, logic and reasoning are actually useful in solving it.
I will have to try the other games you mentioned.