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Cut Steve's Blatherings

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Confession, a Warning, and a Challenge/Act of Meaness

        Hello again, faithful few.  I would like to begin this post with a bit of a confession and explanation.

        I am not a nice guy.  I do have my easy going, helpful side, I have learned to fake being a nice guy very well, but at the core, I am a mean and nasty bastard.  There was a time when this bothered me, and really bothered my subconscious (it's scared of what I might do, if I let the pure nastiness flow unchecked), but I've pretty much accepted who I am.

        Well, today, I'm feeling fairly ticked off, and I am going to inflict my nastiness on you, lacking anyone else to take it out on.  You will get one chance to dodge it.

        I am going to post the Sudoku puzzle from yesterday's Star Tribune.  It's labeled as only two out of five stars, but in reality it is a triple distilled bastard (this is the judgment of myself and two others, who all solved it — eventually.  Very eventually, in fact).  I doing so in the expectation that some of you will attempt it.  Why shouldn't you suffer too?

        If you have any sense, you won't touch this with an eleven foot Ukranian.

        If you go over here, you'll see a photo posted.  The left section is the Sudoku grid as given in the paper (the little underlines are to distinguish the nunbers given from later conclusions).  In the middle, the Sudoku grid I work from, with the givens alone in their squares, and the rest filled with the numbers one through nine.  On the right, a copy of the middle grid, with the ones replaced by spaces where a one is impossible, because of the ones already given rule them out.

        Underneath the picture are the three Sudoku grids you see with number signs as spacers.  If you're fool enough to accept this challenge, highlight and copy the html grids, copy, paste them into a word processor (notepad's fine for Windows users, I don't know what Linux or Mac users have available, or even if any of you are Linux or Mac Users), set the font to equal spacing for all characters, note the time, and proceed to beat your head against the wall on this.  The way I would do it is to go through a grid, using search and replace to put spaces where a 2 through 9 is impossible, then work on that grid.  I advise you to make lots of copies as you go, and save them in a document you're NOT working on, so if (when) you make a mistake, you can go back to one that's believed to be good.

        The photo, by the way, is a screen shot of notepads.  The people who run Blogger.com, not caring what the customers might want, have decided to use a proportionally spaced font.  They've also decided to make every post on a blog work off a template, the same template for all the blog's posts.  So, if I found a way to make the font equally spaced throughout, I'd end up using that font for all posts on this blog.  Thanks, guys.

        Afterwards, let me know how much time it took you to finish it, and how many times you had to start over.

        Final warning: if you're smart, you won't even try.  Of course, I'm counting on one of you not being smart, and being unable to resist the challenge. . . .



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