Technology Monday Puzzle: Let’s Make a Date

I think about readers is not going to approve of a Luddite take, however I’m going to danger my pores and skin and wax nostalgic for bodily calendars. Do you keep in mind Web page-A-Day calendars? Every morning you’d tear a web page to disclose the brand new date and a few little reward for waking up—a comic book, a vocab phrase, a brainteaser (!). We used to take pleasure in creation calendars and horny firefighters. As we speak, Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook, with their sterile and ultra-pragmatic interfaces, have relegated our enjoyable to the obsolescent world of gag items. Oh, your calendar consumer sends automated alerts to all of a gathering’s attendees concurrently? Sounds environment friendly, however did it provide you with a bit of chocolate?

As we speak’s puzzle options an under-appreciated character within the forged of calendars.

Did you miss final week’s puzzle? Test it out right here, and discover its answer on the backside of immediately’s article. Watch out to not learn too far forward when you’re nonetheless engaged on that downside!

Puzzle #3: Calendar Cubes

Two cubes, every with a single digit between 0 and 9 printed on every face, could be organized in a holder to show any day of the month as a two-digit quantity (e.g., 25 on Christmas or 04 on American Independence Day). How do these work? In case you have been tasked with designing two cubes able to displaying 01, 02, 03, …, 30, 31, how would you assign digits to their faces? This may not appear puzzling, till you got down to strive. Keep in mind that cubes solely have six faces, so you’ve got 12 complete areas to work with.

In case you remedy this and crave a further problem, how would you characterize the three-letter month abbreviations (e.g. ‘jan’, ‘feb’, ‘mar’, and so forth) with three cubes, through which every face accommodates a lowercase letter?

Clear up the numeric downside first. The identical trick will turn out to be useful when you try the tougher letter model.

The answer and a brand new puzzle will probably be posted right here subsequent Monday. Put it in your calendar.

Have you learnt a terrific puzzle that I ought to cowl right here? Ship it to me at

Answer to Puzzle #2: Reverse Tic-Tac-Toe

Final week, we requested you to sleuth out the previous in all people’s favourite three-in-a-row sport.

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The tic-tac-toe place above was reached in a sport between two flawless gamers, that means neither of them ever made a transfer that may permit their opponent to win by pressure and neither of them missed a chance to pressure a win themselves. What have been the final 4 strikes performed?

I’ve numbered the squares for readability’s sake. The final 4 strikes occurred in cells 6, 4, 8, and a couple of. Let’s work by way of the reasoning. X moved final as a result of there are 4 Xs within the diagram and solely three Os. So what was X’s final transfer? Might X have performed in cell 1? Nicely, if that had been an possibility, X would have performed in cell 9 as an alternative and received the sport (keep in mind, the gamers play flawlessly). So X didn’t play in cell 1 final, nor did they play in cell 8 by the identical reasoning.

The final transfer was both X in cell 3 or X in cell 6. How can we argue that X didn’t play in cell 3? As a result of X nonetheless might have compelled a win by as an alternative enjoying in cell 9! If cell 3 have been empty, then cell 9 would concurrently arrange a horizontal two-in-a-row and a vertical two-in-a-row. O can be helpless to cease each on their subsequent transfer. By means of elimination, we have now efficiently deduced the final transfer: X in cell 6. Retracting that transfer, the place seems to be like this with O having simply performed:

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Now, what was O’s final transfer? It was not cell 2, as a result of enjoying in cell 6 as an alternative would have received. So O both performed in cell 4 or 5. Figuring out which requires us to take two extra steps backward. Suppose O simply performed in cell 5. This implies the place seemed like this, with X having simply performed:

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Does one thing appear off right here? X simply moved, however irrespective of which transfer of theirs we retract, X might have as an alternative compelled a win by enjoying in cell 9. For instance, if X had simply performed in cell 3, enjoying in cell 9 as an alternative would have arrange profitable threats throughout the diagonal and the bottom row. Be happy to examine that X enjoying in cell 1 or 8 equally gave up a profitable alternative in cell 9. By means of elimination, we conclude that O performed in cell 4 on their third transfer, and the historic place seemed like this:

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X couldn’t have simply performed in cell 1, as a result of cell 9 would have compelled a win. Cell 3 can’t be the reply, as a result of cell 7 would have compelled a win in that case. So X simply performed in cell 8. This vegetation us deep into antiquity, with yet one more transfer to unlock:

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What did O simply play? Suppose O simply performed in cell 5. Then X might have compelled a win on their second transfer of the sport by enjoying in cell 5 as an alternative of in a nook! For instance, if this have been the place,

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then as an alternative of X enjoying in cell 3, they need to play in cell 5 and the sport will proceed with O enjoying in cell 9 (to dam the diagonal), and X enjoying in cell 7, creating an unstoppable profitable risk. So O performed in cell 5 on their very first transfer of the sport, and our reply is cell 2.

We’ve now found the final 4 strikes. That remaining deduction was a very powerful one. A few of it’s possible you’ll know excellent tic-tac-toe technique, which says that if X begins the sport in a nook, then O should play within the heart to keep away from shedding. Figuring out this element might have made the ultimate step of this puzzle simpler, as a result of X solely has markings in nook cells so O, being a flawless participant, should have performed their first transfer within the heart. In case you solved it this fashion, kudos. Your days of memorizing schoolyard sport technique weren’t for naught… or crosses.

Whew! Detective work taxes the thoughts. Tell us how you probably did. And tell us how we’re doing! We’d love to listen to your suggestions as we proceed to form the way forward for this sequence.

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