Saturday, December 29, 2012

Two-Letter Scrabble Words

One of +Dave Goldberg’s many skills is that he’s a stellar Scrabble player, and one of his secret weapons is knowing all 101 valid two-letter Scrabble words. This lets him make words alongside other words, picking up the scores of the old and new words – and counting the letters in the new word twice. It's a bit tedious learning the two-letter words, so I built to train myself. You’ve already learnt three of them – ‘go’, ‘jo’ and ‘za’ are the only valid two-letter words starting with ‘g’, ‘j’ and ‘z’ respectively. Click on the valid words, but not on the others – and hover over a word to see its definition. Here’s to higher-scoring Scrabble games!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Three Containers

The New York Times Wordplay blog posted this puzzle.

Spoiler alert! Stop reading now if you're going to try to solve the puzzle yourself.

I ended up spending long enough on it that I manually created the complete tree of water-in-glass configurations (thank you to Beckett Madden-Woods for a correction):

Each node is a different combination of water quantities in each glass – respectively the 20, 15 and 7 ounce glasses. An edge represents pouring one glass into another glass – the source glass and the destination glass, where A = 20 oz, B = 15 oz, and C = 7 oz. So A → C means that water is poured from the 20 oz glass into the 7 oz glass.

The depth of the node is the minimum number of pours required to get to that configuration. The puzzle solution, "10,10,0" is surprisingly deep – there are two very long branches, and it takes 15 pours to get to the solution. Incidentally, every amount of water from 0 oz to 20 oz is present in a glass somewhere in the tree.

I did this manually – please let me know if you notice an error!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Waiheke & Manhattan

The two islands where I spend most of my time, Manhattan and Waiheke, co-located, to scale. Inspired by Bill Rankin and Jason Kottke.

Population 1,175,133 (2011)7,689 (2006)
Length13.4 miles12.0 miles
Area14,700 acres23,000 acres

(based on comments from Pam Witten and Graham Beattie)