12:02 AM
@GarethMcCaughan If I did not know myself, that would not mean that such an alternative does not exist.

@TheBitByte, no, but if you don't know of a better alternative then I don't see how you can have good reason to think that the term is overused. It might turn out that there's something better to use instead, but if for all you know there's nothing better how can you be justified in calling it overused?

@GarethMcCaughan I was merely stating a fact. That is a thing you cannot disagree upon. What your opinion on the context of the fact is, that's a different thing, one that I am not going to argue upon.

...What? TBB, you're not really making any sense.

@Deusovi There's a difference between me not making sense and you just not understanding me.

Yes, there is. And you're not making sense.

12:07 AM
I suggest a change of topic :-)

@Deusovi To you. Key word: "you"

How about that local sports team?

@Alconja Local to where?

Well, I guess we'll have to take the average of our locations... based on my knowledge/assumptions, probably somewhere in south china

@Alconja How would you take the average? Convert the coordinates into real numbers?

12:12 AM
I was thinking the geometric centre of a polygon of locations on a plane projected onto the sphere... but I'm not really one for maths or stats, so i don't know.

@Alconja Geometric centres of irregular polygons are notoriously difficult to define.
There are three THOUSAND different ways to define the centre of a triangle.

@Randal'Thor Wow, that's a huge number. Got a link?

And apparently I was underestimating: that list has ten thousand and counting :-O

@Randal'Thor Wow, TIL!

Oh, speaking of big numbers, today I learned that mods aren't subject to the 20-reviews-per-day limit on each review queue:

12:21 AM
@Randal'Thor Simple then, we just take the average of the results of all those.
It's gotta approach a limit eventually, surely :)

@Alconja But how would you define the average? That amounts to finding the centre of an irregular 10,000-gon!

"average" = take 3 at a time, apply the 10k "centres" to those, then take the average of those 10k... then you'll be down to ~3k average centres... repeat.
though you should probably run all permutations, not just randomly pick triplets...
You're a mathematician. I'm sure you can sort it out.

This is not going to be computationally effective :-P

It's all good, by the time it's done, we'll have reached heat death, and any given "local" point will be synonymous with any arbitrary point, so then we can just pick one at random and everyone's happy
3

yup, that's exactly how mathematics works

12:33 AM
Make sure you use bogosort (look it up) to order your results from most to least accurate.

@A.Mirabeau Nah, quantum bogosort is better.

@Deusovi True! Runs in O(1)!
I'm thinking about starting either a puzzle or a code golf question related to Prim's or Dijkstra's algorithms but can't think of any good ones.

The only puzzling connection that comes to mind is that efficient spanning-tree algorithms yield a nice way of making mazes.
(Take your underlying grid -- it doesn't actually have to be a regular grid, and certainly doesn't have to be square -- and form a spanning tree of it. Knock down intercell walls that block spanning-tree edges and leave the others. Boom, you have a maze.)

Yep, probably the most common application.

12:48 AM
I found a few old closed questions which are probably bad enough to warrant deletion: one and two with 2 delete votes already, three and four with 1. @Gareth @Alconja Want to add your votes?
(This is part of a cleanup of old questions before the impending burnination of the tag.)

If these questions are real puzzles, then Cheez Whiz is real cheese.

VTD three of them. I left the one about the safe because, stupid as it is, it made me smile.

5 hours later…
5:33 AM
@Randal'Thor Which browser do you use? Firefox prepends "(1) " or the like to the tab's text "Newest Questions - Puzzling" when a new Q gets posted.

5:59 AM
@RosieF Nice avatar

6:25 AM
@MariaDeleva Thank you! You're the first to remark on it.

Looks like some strange numbers.

I was going to post a question asking what it meant the other day (similar to a few others previously posted)
:)
Is it a puzzle, or a reference to something?

Looks like a reference to something... the upper line reads 3 ROY or 320 and Something that looks like a y or greek symbol gamma

I had seen the avatar before, but coudn't make anything of it, so didn't comment. It looks like a puzzle. The pink upper row is "rosie" mirrored and may be 3, 12, 0, 7.
If these numbers are true, each column sums up to 22.
But I don't know what the intermediate rows mean.

6:40 AM
That y-looking letter is R??

Don't all rows, columns and diagonals add up to 22? So it's a magic square?
I think I may change my profile pic to a parker square now :P

Ahh... Small lettered-R. I was too busy grammatically correcting it to be Block-lettered R.

@LukasRotter Yes, but not just any old magic square...

@LukasRotter: Good point. I had tried to make letters from the cumulated columns to reveal a secret message and the bottom line came up `VVVV`. I didn't look at the rows, though.

6:47 AM
@MOehm Correct and correct. The font is a bit goofy, but I had to look at loads of fonts before finding one where the r, mirrored, looked anything like a 7.
@LukasRotter Even though when it comes to magic diagonals, it is deficient to the tune of one?

I like the mirrored name; very creative. The alternative to your hand-lettering font would have been blocky fonts where both r and 7 are just upside-down Ls, but then your avatar would have looked like an 80s computer game sprite.

@Alconja I was looking at one of your old puzzles.. puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/31557/… If you call this simple, I would love to know, what is complex questions for you??

7:21 AM
@Sid perhaps simple wasn't the best word to use... I just meant that, although it looked like there was loads going on, like a complicated multi-stage puzzle, it was really "just" the grid that really mattered.

2 hours later…
9:36 AM
0

If algorithm really is meant only for puzzles "related to algorithmics", as its tag description states, then I expect that most questions actually tagged algorithm had better be tagged strategy instead. I see several algorithm questions related to Rubik's cube and none asking whether some task is...

4 hours later…
1:35 PM
Riddles are a pain for me to write, but I've finally got mine done ^^. Now to translate it...

2:00 PM
@RosieF Yes, that's how I know when a new question appears just by keeping the front page of PSE open in another tab. It'd be nicer to get them fed into chat though, since then I wouldn't need that other tab!

I do that too, although I have a habit of having a lot of tabs open. ie. I have 17 tabs in one window and 10 in another.

interestingly enough, at the moment, I also have 17 tabs in my main window

and 10 in the other?

nah, only 4

In my case my 10 are me keeping certain questions open and my research for a puzzle I'm working on.
and this window of course

2:12 PM
Last week I was battling food poisoning, today - XSLT. What' s next? An Ent? :D lol

Perhaps the Ent will have a Sphinx in it :P
yesterday, by Sconibulus
A post to scratch/Some birds to catch/I'm lounging in the sun/A barky voice comes thundering/"Get off my head you bum"

Ent is an anagram of Ten, and Entwife is almost an anagram of Ten-Five.
Breaking news: Lord of the Rings contains a steganographically hidden numerical cipher.

Bring them on :)
Perhaps it could be a date??

@Randal'Thor That'd be rough to decipher :S

That' s an idea. A cipher steganographied inside a book with clues in the introduction
Or in Morse code with punctuation

2:19 PM
@MariaDeleva that's your next project then? A lovely story that has a stenography cipher in it?

Ah, not sure.
That is a very raw idea.

morse code with punctuation... you could probably do that pretty subtly using , and . instead of - and .

Or to be more cruel, A lovely story that has a stenography ciphered riddle cryptic-clue anagram?

! and ? could represent spaces maybe?

haha, @Sconibulus is on to a puzzle idea! beware!!

2:22 PM
Vtc as unsolvable :) @dcfyj

@Sconibulus Damn, now I need to go and count all the commas and full stops in Lord of the Rings. I'll be back in a couple of months.

@MariaDeleva Now, now. it would be sufficiently clued.

@Randal'Thor Well, it was nice having you here.

@Randal'Thor Find an electronic copy and write a program.

@Deusovi you should have just told him there is a cipher in some very long book instead of suspending him :) haha

2:27 PM
@Randal'Thor What if there's a cipher hidden in the Wheel of Time?

I wonder how possible it would be for an author to get a book-long cipher past an editor?

Pretty easy, I'd think.
Editor's aren't looking for something like that, just wording and length AFAIK

right, but they're likely to switch sentences around and stuff, or change words, aren't they?

I believe they can only suggest it to the author.

2:43 PM
I am currently looking at words for a tm puzzle and found one ( just one) that fits my pattern. Haha

@MariaDeleva I think your pattern may be a little too specific. :P

Haha. I am sure I will find more. Just need time

what defines a 'well recieved' question?

I think it is 10 upvotes. But not sure

@Sconibulus There's no precise definition for that.

2:46 PM
I don't think so, I apparently have 4 well received questions, but only 3 of the bronze badges

A nice question has 10 upvotes, a good one has 25, and a great one has 100

@Randal'Thor lies, if that were true, it couldn't be coded as an acheivement :)

@Sconibulus OK, how is it coded as an achievement?
Ohhh, you mean for the Socratic badge!

well, Curious, because I'm not a fancy gilded person like you :)
actually, it's probably somewhere on main meta

> A well-received question is one that's open, not deleted, and has a score > 0. If you ask at least one well-received question in a UTC day and none of your questions that day are deleted, downvoted, or closed, you get one more day of credit toward the badge. Whenever the badge criteria is checked, previous asking days are re-evaluated so that there's an incentive to fix downvoted and/or closed questions.
144

A couple of months ago, I suggested a set of badges for asking questions. The responses were... mixed. The top answer can be summarized: In practice, all this would do is encourage people to ask yet more stupid, worthless questions and we have quite enough of that as it is. We believe that ...

@Sconibulus I wanted to say the silver version, but I couldn't remember what it's called - I always get it mixed up with Enthusiast.

2:53 PM
ok, so well received just means it got upvotes, but the badge is misleading, because other questions on the same day can ruin it
that makes sense

@Randal'Thor How appropriate for a trilogy which is all about rings!
@Sconibulus Mike Keith's Pilish is a writing-constraint that the lengths of successive words be the successive decimal digits of pi. Now if you could do that, then steganographically encoding Morse in the lengths of words should be a piece of cake.
2

@RosieF Cadaeic Cadenza (the first Pilish book) is amazing. I especially like what that book did with the sequence "999999".

3:13 PM
@RosieF Yes, this is one of the most incredible pieces of writing I've ever seen.

@Randal'Thor Yep, that's the one.

@Randal'Thor My bad.. Didn't notice. Anyway, isn't "great" a bit of an understatement?
The user never gives anything back to the community, but only takes.- Can anyone explain what this means?? Sort of confused...

@Sid Probably someone who only asks bad questions and never accepts / upvotes posts. Where is this quote from?

3:27 PM

4:08 PM
How well do puzzle variants go over?
I like this puzzle quite a bit (even if it is mostly mathy), but was wondering about a modification so that the goal is to minimize hours worked, rather than solving days

@Sconibulus You mean posting a puzzle which is 'just' a variation on an existing puzzle? Should be fine.
This puzzle inspired at least two variants to be posted.

@Randal'Thor And this one has inspired dozens and hasn't stopped yet!

@RosieF But they're not so much variants of the same idea as different puzzles using the same gimmick.
The property that actually makes something a [...] Wordâ„¢ is different every time.

4:29 PM
@Randal'Thor I take your point. What do you think of this angle-puzzle and its close relations? If you've solved one and are about to tackle another, you will have to make fresh decisions as to which lines/points/angles/triangles to form, so they're different puzzles using the same gimmick. Or are they "just" variations?

@Sconibulus While your posted puzzle has a very similar idea, I don't think it's the same at all. In the original the goal was to find out how many days it would take to figure out the boss's work schedule. However, in yours the goal is to find out how little he needs to work. In my mind, two completely different puzzles ^^.

@RosieF I haven't read through them all in detail, but they seem to be genuinely different puzzles (albeit uninteresting ones, IMHO - just basic exercises in Euclidean geometry).

well "how many days" seemed like a silly thing to minimize
it seemed like working the minimum was actually the goal of that post too
then I added some other constraints because the downside of a fine didn't feel explicit enough

Not really as the final line says "How many days will it take for Tom to work out his boss's time of arrival?"

yeah, I meant more for the reason Tom would care
he wants to work less, and once he nails down the boss's arrival time, he can work the absolute minimum

4:37 PM
I was referring to the goal of the puzzle, not the constraints

I was talking about the in-universe goal, rather than the writer's goal

I see your point, but I still think the goal is simply to find how long it'll take to figure out the arrival time.
ah

umm... there's a word for it that I've seen thrown around SFF
Watsonian vs. Doylist?

no idea

5:07 PM
Interesting. A battleship puzzle.

5:21 PM
Wish I were better at solving riddles. I'd try this out :(

Too broad: this is trying to ask half a dozen different questions in one.

Yeah... That's a lot of questions.

how long should I give an unanswered puzzle before hinting it?
72-ish hours is my gut feeling

5:36 PM
@Sconibulus Is it getting any attention at all? Comments, people talking about it in chat, even votes?
There might be people working on it even if they haven't posted answers yet.

yup, I sometimes post hints with being prompted, but usually I'll wait until some asks for hints.

two votes, and no comments on it or in chat, other than the dupe-related ones

@Sconibulus Which question are you talking about?

2

This past Saturday, I spent the evening at a small party hosted by my colleague, Dr. Macdonald, at his new pastoral home, about an hour outside the city. During the course of the evening, obviously after exchanging pleasantries and congratulating him on his new domicile, I asked him what he was w...

Ah, something else I suck at solving, ciphers. Yet I readily put both ciphers and riddles in my puzzles... Does that make me two faced?

5:43 PM
dcfyj - I sometimes wonder the same - whether it is appropriate to do so - but I guess making puzzles and solving them are two different actions. So in the end it should be OK.

@Sconibulus Ah, that one. Well, I'm assuming there's already some kind of hint in the surrounding text anyway?

@Randal'Thor there are a lot of hints

@dcfyj There's absolutely nothing wrong with being able to make puzzles but not solve them. I believe the great Ximenes himself said he was rubbish at solving cryptic crosswords.

I've no idea who that is

there are... hints of a kind

5:44 PM
@Randal'Thor I just don't really know what to do with al the hints as I am really bad at solving ciphers
One: Dijkstra's at the end of the fourth row
suggesting Dijkstra's algorithm
two: there are sequences of same letters - 5 As, 5Bs, 5Ds, 4 Gs.

Dijkstra's algorithm is a pathfinding algorithm though...

that's why I don't know what to do with it and a cipher

Where did you see this?

The end of 4th row of the enciphered text
Also there is no really "cipher" tag

Well, that's true, he never said it was a cipher

5:48 PM
@MariaDeleva Or could it be a coincidence?

It's quite possible that it's not a cipher at all, just a wordsearch of sorts.

Dijkstra is too long and strange as a name to be a coincidence. @Randal'Thor

It has a computer-science tag, I'd say Dijkstra's algorithm fits that bill.

Besides, his comment regarding the "minor" edit that is "non-minor spoiler" kind of suggests this is major

ok, so people are working on it, and I should leave any hints for at least a week or so

5:51 PM
Well, I just saw it to be honest

17 hours ago, by A. Mirabeau
I'm thinking about starting either a puzzle or a code golf question related to Prim's or Dijkstra's algorithms but can't think of any good ones.

And I wouldn't be able to solve it anyway :) But chat is a powerful tool.

@Sconibulus Well, we are now :P

touché

5:54 PM
@MariaDeleva The only place ij exists now is in Dijkstra's. That makes it all the more viable.

Well, I've got a good guess for how to solve it now, but unfortunately I can't program and so won't be able to implement it.

I'm a programmer. I can program :)
Although if it involves making a version of Dijkstra's that I've never done so it'd take me a bit.

Well, I've just been reading about Dijkstra's algorithm, and the obvious idea is to use the letters of the rectangle as our 'nodes' and define the 'distance' from one to the next to be the distance within the alphabet (e.g. dist(C,D)=1, dist(K,P)=5).

On a side note, the only letter that's not in the grid is a Z

Godel Escher Bach!

6:02 PM
@Randal'Thor but what would be considered a valid path?

sorry, that may have not been exactly relevant to the conversation.

@jmb.mage An Eternal Golden Braid.

Although I have played around with the A* algorithm so Dijkstra's shouldn't be too much different.

@MariaDeleva Any path consisting of steps between adjacent letters in the grid?

The only issue I forsee is a lack of start and end nodes
Without those it's a pointless search

6:06 PM
and would we do after? Let's say a path from A to B is 13,23 - 13,22.
Also, as dcfyj pointed out there is no Z.
So it shouldn't be alphabetic

@dcfyj Bottom left and top right?

Rather arbitrary. Could just as easily pick bottom right top left lol. Also who's to say some nodes aren't non-traversable?

The same letter sequences are suspicious to me
but don't know how they are relevant

Me too, A's and D both have it, B's and i think G's have something close to it

It's really hard being quiet right now :)

6:10 PM
the a/d pattern is ..A
.........................AAAAA
...........................A A
well, it looked pretty while typing it...

Bs and Gs are also surrounded by 2 of the same but in a different way
coordinates?

X starting a row is not unique though

It could refer to multiple points,
A 27
B 32
C 43
D 23
E 21
F 7
G 14
H 6
I 12
J 4
K 3
L 5
M 29
N 9
O 13
P 15
Q 6
R 12
S 5
T 8
U 5
V 6
W 35
X 12
Y 8
Z 0
Some frequency counter
X and Ys are different count so perhaps the coordinates theory is wrong

plotting points with (x,y) given by first and second row letter indices produces something that looks entirely unhelpful

Bottom row is entirely [A-G]+.

6:15 PM
Colleague is called Macdonald. There's an AEIOU in the grid but no EIEIO :-).
3

hahaha

BINARY running R to L in bottom-but-2 row

Good thing this isn't a cipher, quipqiup doesn't help at all haha

@GarethMcCaughan On that farm he had some bees...

... BBBBB.
Treating the letters as numbers 0..25 or 1..26 and isolating individual bits produces nothing very enlightening.

6:22 PM
To me it looks like it almost says something...
I highly doubt the formatting would stick if I put it in here.

sorry, looks like what in particular almost says something?
reversing the bits (as maybe suggested by BINARY running backwards) also produces nothing inspiring.

where . = 0 and # = 1

there is also one other backwards word in the middle: depth

I took the numerical values of each letter and converted that to 8-bit binary

that could indeed be letters

6:32 PM
Why was the 'badselfeater' question removed?

I asked Deusovi to remove it
The video that popped up after the timer expired was pretty graphic

aaah okay, seems a waste. It was a weird mystery

my guess was an ad for a horror film
but 'pretty graphic' means I probably don't want to check at work

graphic can mean many things

6:35 PM
what was it?

An anti-Abortion video that showed abortions in progress.

Now I opened it (without sound) and see some guy talking

There was a guy talking too, but his point was that we're doing evil by doing those.
I hope you're not at work @MariaDeleva

oh so the whole website is a protest. Mystery solved

pretty much
Basically he made the mystery to draw attention and that released the video

6:37 PM
No, I am not at work. I am at home, but there are small children around :)

Then it's of matter of what you want them to see

Ok, I closed it.
Don't need to see this

As I said it's pretty graphic
Well, back to Sconibulus's puzzle, changing it to a 15X24 grid doesn't seem to yield anything of value.

7:02 PM
I wonder why that was called 'badselfeater'
oh crap, this has been a really bad polling week

Someone posted a link to a site with more of this stuff and there they have found out that it was an anagram of Federal Beast
and it is practically some kind of protest against the government or something

ahh, well, we saw that anagram, it just wasn't that meaningful

well, there are also some fake 1\$ notes with different images, a Facebook page, and some other stuff
but it just seems like one of these radical movements - nothing too interesting

7:26 PM
bleah, I can't figure out that battleship riddle

I'm usually good at battleships
Not when I need it apparently

it might be entirely wrong, but it makes a little bit of sense

New maths puzzle is up, for anyone who likes geometry.

7:43 PM
hmm, I see how to do a square out of a tetrahedron, but not a pentagon out of a square pyramid
but the puzzle specified >4, so I imagine =4 is already proved somewhere

Oh god no :P

my new tm puzzle is almost ready - will finish it tomorrow. I found it difficult both finding pattern-abiding words and words that do not follow the pattern. And I thought that the hard part was thinking of a pattern that wasn't used in a puzzle yet :)

yep, my Battleship idea was wrong...
if the answer is actually E1, but for a third reason I haven't thought of yet, I'm going to be annoyed

that's annoyed at the poster, not the puzzle :)

7:54 PM
Not really much of a difference in this case :)

it might be a crappy puzzle, or it might be a decent puzzle once we see the answer; even if it's decent though, I'll be annoyed if the answer actually is E1 which I came to twice independently
whereas I might not be annoyed if the answer turns out to be like G8

Well, I guess I am not patient enough :)
And I didn't like yesterday's puzzle either, but for another, kind of obvious reason :)

8:10 PM
sometimes I wish I took more Math than I did

Well, I have a similar wish. :) But now I wish to go to sleep :) And hopefully someone would have solved your puzzle tomorrow :) I find it interesting

8:31 PM
Announcement: All puzzles are being delayed because my Puzzling notebook with all of my keys disappeared. :/
(That includes Diamond 2, @BeastlyGerbil.)

@Mithrandir Perhaps you'll get an encrypted ransom note which you can then post up as a puzzle!

@Randal'Thor Somehow I think that my notebook will turn up in several weeks, hopefully after I've posted both puzzles. Hopefully Sci will be willing to help...

8:57 PM
Is there any tag other than that would be appropriate to reference something like Churchill's "We shall go on to the end... We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be... We shall never surrender."
(I'm not posting a puzzle now, just thinking about stuff)

9:10 PM
0

The title pretty much says it all. I think the work of fixing improperly-tagged questions is important, and often a particular user will take it upon him/herself to add/remove tags from a series of questions. This is good. But it does lead to stuff like today: The "active" questions list ...

9:52 PM
You know what I think is really cool? The mnemonic major system.
The major system (also called the phonetic number system, phonetic mnemonic system, or Herigone's mnemonic system) is a mnemonic technique used to aid in memorizing numbers. The system works by converting numbers into consonant sounds, then into words by adding vowels. The system works on the principle that images can be remembered more easily than numbers. == The system == Each numeral is associated with one or more consonants. Vowels and the consonants w, h, and y are ignored. These can be used as "fillers" to make sensible words from the resulting consonant sequences. A standard mapping is:...
When I got my new cell phone, "Kissin' Flappy Chick Ditch" was so much easier to remember than my actual number.
(Disclaimer: In case you plan to bombard me with calls, this number is no longer in service... said phone met a grisly demise by way of a washing machine.)
Consider these comments to be a clue. A big clue for something that is happening soon.

@A.Mirabeau If these are hints for a puzzle that you will post soon, you should probably also include a link to the transcript of your chat-messages in the question, so nobody has an unfair advantage.

Why would leaving hidden clues be unfair? It's not like it costs money to be here in the chat.

@A.Mirabeau I never knew that system had a name ... but yes, it's extremely useful.

10:17 PM
@A.Mirabeau Just my opinion that a puzzle should be self-contained (including hints). Only a small portion of users join chat regularly, and without an indicator that a hint is hidden in your chat messages, I think the regulars will have extra information before anyone else and non-regulars may never even think of studying all your chat messages. Depends on the importance of the hint, of course.
4

@A.Mirabeau I agree with Lukas. We shouldn't encourage in-crowdery; people should have an equal chance whether or not they frequent chat. (Note that both Lukas and I are saying this as people who do frequent chat! :-) )

As another frequent chatter / chat frequenter, I concur.

@Lukas, since you're around: how am I doing on the text-message question?

10:33 PM
@Randal'Thor Pretty good, I'll probably add another hint soon, which should clarify Update #1 and maybe `I/MFree` a bit more. I'd hate it if that bounty would expire :P

@LukasRotter As I understand it, there are only very few possibilities for the parts of the key which are labelled 1 and 2 in my image. So it can't work simply by mapping IMFREE to 9,13,6,18,5,5. I was thinking of maybe labelling E,F,M,R as 1,2,3,4 (alphabetical order) so that MFREE gives us an order to put 1,2,3,4 in?

@Randal'Thor Updated the question with a new hint

Fair enough, all -- I'll make the relevant puzzle a bit more self-contained by putting fairly clear clues pointing all solvers to the chat.

10:49 PM
Thanks @A.Mirabeau!
Anyway, I'm going to go to sleep soon. Am curious whether my puzzle is solved by the time I wake up :P Bye!

Goodnight!