25 March 2015

Fan

Title: Fan
Rating: 2/5

If the puzzle gets too frustrating (and it shouldn't), you could always poke a hole in the center and have it swirl around for a breath of fresh air.

The official rules:

  • The digits 1 through 9 appear in each row and each column exactly once.
  • Digits in each shaded region must multiply to the indicated product.   
  • Squares with multiple colors contain a number that’s used in the product for adjacent regions of each of those colors.  
  • Remember: numbers can repeat within a shaded region if that doesn't violate the first rule. 

18 March 2015

Treasure Map

Title: Treasure Map
Rating: 3/5



In case you're wondering, the colors here were chosen for their significance: brown for dirt, green for grass, blue for the sea, red for blood, and gold for ... well, treasure.

The official rules:

  • The digits 1 through 9 appear in each row and each column exactly once.
  • Digits in each shaded region must add to the indicated sum.   
  • Squares with multiple colors contain a number that’s used in the sum for adjacent regions of each of those colors.
  • Remember: numbers can repeat within a shaded region if that doesn't violate the first rule.

17 March 2015

Bill Hofelt: 1930 - 2014

Bill Hofelt was my professor for Gothic Literature, a class I was taking because of a love of horror.  With the encouragement of my aunt, as a teenager I had devoured Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, and early Dan Simmons.  In Bill's Gothic Lit class, I reread The Shining and read Dracula for the first time.  I still have the fifteen or so pages from the first chapter of a gothic novel that was our final project.  And I remember the dream journal we were required to keep, and how I struggled for two or three weeks to keep any of those dreams intact after I woke up. 

When I first approached Bill after class to ask a question, his response was gruff and somewhat inhospitable.  That didn't stop me from talking to him, though--I loved the course material too much to do that.  Later, he told me that he'd been concerned that I was, not to put too fine a point on it, an ass-kisser.  He'd been teaching more than 25 years by that point, and he'd seen his fair share of such students and had little tolerance for them.  But the more we talked, the more we enjoyed each other's company.  When the time came for me to choose a second advisor (Juniata required a major advisor and an advisor outside the major), I didn't hesitate at all.

One summer after Bill had retired, I had a job at Juniata working on a couple of web-related topics.  In the mid-'90s, part of my summer job entailed scouring the internet (such as it was then) for interesting research in a variety of fields and sharing it with faculty around campus.  A project about mapping the flight of migrating geese sticks in my brain.  I also worked with a communication professor on, as I recall, various initiatives around her office.  Maybe that was when I took an online film course (basically an early MOOC) on film noir?

During that summer, I rented a room from Bill.  His house was two blocks from campus, and it was a lovely two blocks.  I spent a lot of free time that summer watching movies, including several with a guy even more obsessed and knowledgeable about film than I was.  At the time, it seemed a rarity that such a person existed, particularly in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.  One evening, this guy (whose name escapes me) and I watched Akira.  I wasn't overly impressed with the movie, but I remember how passionately and intelligently this guy could place the movie into a broader context.

All the time I spent elsewhere watching movies that summer was not what Bill had envisioned.  One evening, probably in early June, he stopped me and essentially said that he wanted to chat more with me.  "I wouldn't have had you stay here if I didn't think we'd talk," was I think how he phrased it.  This was completely foreign to me.  In my compartmentalizing way, I had classified the place where I lived as only that--a place.  But this was Bill's home, and I was both an invited guest and his friend. 

During the remainder of the summer, Bill and I would have conversations most evenings right after dinner.  We talked about movies (of course) and about books and about his own writing, which I never got the chance to read.  We talked about his evolving religious attitudes, and it seems to me now that where I was as a Catholic served as an effective sounding board.  And he told stories of his time with his late wife, whom he loved dearly and missed achingly.  In all things, Bill had a depth of feeling, but none more so than toward his wife and his family.

During the Gothic Lit class, I asked Bill how to go about completing the dream journal if I couldn't recall what I'd dreamt.  He suggested that I repeat to myself before I went to bed, "I will remember my dream, I will remember my dream, I will remember my dream."  I complied, and within a couple of weeks, my journal entries became more consistent and then started to grow in length. 

Twenty years removed, my dreams remain vivid.

11 March 2015

Four Score

Title: Four Score
Rating: 1/5 


Not a reference to the Gettysburg address, but rather created as a celebration of Churchill's 80th, this drink is a mix of Brandy, Lillet, and Yellow Chartreuse, garnished with lemon.  It's also among the easiest puzzles you'll see on this blog.  After just getting done with spring break here, that seems perfectly appropriate.

The official rules:

  • The digits 1 through 9 appear in each row and each column exactly once.
  • Digits in each shaded region must add to the indicated sum (denoted by +) or multiply to the indicated product (denoted by *).   
  • Squares with multiple colors contain a number that’s used in the sum/product for adjacent regions of each of those colors.  
  • Remember: numbers can repeat within a shaded region if that repetition doesn't violate the first rule.

04 March 2015

Closer

Title: Closer
Rating: 3/5
This blog has been publishing puzzles for one year, which means we're just under the halfway point for how many puzzles I've created.  In this puzzle, the usual product rules apply, with one extra rule to make this even more Sudoku-like.  See the alteration in the first rule below.

The official rules:

  • The digits 1 through 9 appear in each row, each column, and each three-by-three grid exactly once.
  • Digits in each shaded region must multiply to the indicated product.   
  • Squares with multiple colors contain a number that’s used in the product for adjacent regions of each of those colors.  
  • Remember: numbers can repeat within a shaded region if that doesn't violate the first rule. 

25 February 2015

Balloon

Title: Balloon
Rating: 1/5




If only to showcase that the mild alteration from the last sum puzzle wouldn't always lead to something very very hard, I offer this week's puzzle, which may be cause for celebration at its ease.  But remember: don't forget about the last rule from the list below.

The official rules:

  • The digits 1 through 9 appear in each row and each column exactly once.
  • Digits in each shaded region must add to the indicated sum.   
  • Squares with multiple colors contain a number that’s used in the sum for adjacent regions of each of those colors.
  • Remember: numbers can repeat within a shaded region if that doesn't violate the first rule.
  • Each number that appears in the eight starting cells is the average of the entries in the edge-adjacent four cells (e.g., the 7 in row 3, column 2 (denoted (3,2)) is the average of the entries in cells (3,1), (3,3), (2,2), and (4,2)).

18 February 2015

Singapore Sling

Title: Singapore Sling
Rating: 3/5 

When I was a tween (not that such a term existed at that point), I can remember my mom coming home from a party talking appreciatively about this drink.  My sister turns 40 today, so perhaps she'll enjoy one of these.

The colors in the puzzle are meant to evoke the cherry brandy, Cointreau, pineapple juice, and lime juice contained therein.  If you're planning to mix one, don't forget the gin, Bénédictine liqueur, grenadine, and bitters.

The official rules:

  • The digits 1 through 9 appear in each row and each column exactly once.
  • Digits in each shaded region must add to the indicated sum (denoted by +) or multiply to the indicated product (denoted by *).   
  • Squares with multiple colors contain a number that’s used in the sum/product for adjacent regions of each of those colors.  
  • Remember: numbers can repeat within a shaded region if that repetition doesn't violate the first rule.