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12:37 AM
Gotta wonder, @Randal'Thor, why you voted to close the puzzle below. At least Ian McDonald explained his misconstrued reasoning in a comment.
Q: Two many rainbows?

humnWish I'd had a camera at the time, but a cartoon will have to do. This represents a direct view of two actual incomplete rainbow arcs that stop in midair where they cross, lit only by a setting sun. How could this be? I honestly wondered if it was a dream.         What is the simplest explana...

12:52 AM
@humn I chose the same close reason as Ian. It seems to be more of a physics question than a puzzle.
It's not a question about the physics or rainbows but does rely on knowledge of them, just like crosswords rely on knowledge about words. It's a puzzle about rainbows.
Any suggestions on how to make that clearer in the puzzle statement?
So, is it a puzzle dressed up as a "this thing happened to me"? Because if it's describing something you actually saw, then it does sound like a physics question (or perhaps a lateral thinking question)...
it really did happen to me and i had to puzzle it out
So there's a lateral thinking aspect I assume... i.e. something that's not obvious, or included in the puzzle statement
I.e. turns out i was looking through a fish tank and it refracted/reflected/duplicated the rainbow
in a sense, but it's not meant to be misleading, just confusing
12:56 AM
@humn I'm not a fan of these types of questions and don't think they should be on-topic. And if I can work out exactly what I mean by "these types of questions", I'll make a meta post about it :-)
wish you would tease out the difference, @Randal'Thor, and not being a fan isn't a reason to close a puzzle
I think the problem @Randal'Thor, is they very easily slip into "guess what I'm thinking" territory
this one is very concrete
Superficially, i think the VTC seems fair, and I would've too, except that I saw your protest here first
but more concrete than "there was a mirror", "through a fish tank", "wearing glasses", etc?
why don't crosswords belong at English SE? (coming from a crossword enthusiast)
in the rainbow puzzle, there was nothing between me and the rainbows and the reason was not hidden, just surprising
12:59 AM
@Alconja Hmm, no, my objection to these is different from the "guess what I'm thinking" puzzles. Those (GWIT) tend to be on-topic, just too broad - they are puzzles, but they're bad puzzles because they have too many possible answers. This rainbow puzzle feels fundamentally off-topic, like it's not really a puzzle at all.
not a puzzle?
it can be figured out and definitely has an aha moment
the answers so far are well on the way to figuring out it
and no doubt their posters will agree that they solved a puzzle
@Alconja Oops, yeah :-)
one of my favorite aspects of this site is that it celebrates flexible thinking
@humn I guess from my perspective, if I take it at face value, then it's a physics question about the nature of optics. If there the other posters are "on the way to figuring it out" then it's a lateral thinking puzzle, which is likely too broad (i.e. the final answer will be no better than a swath of other possibilities, except that it happens to be the one that actually occurred to you)
But I'll give the benefit of the doubt :)
1:05 AM
I'm trying to come up with a good analogy to this question ...
i'd be curious to hear some sincere examples of lateral thinking answers, even though it was tagged , not
Re: it being a physics problem that requires some "puzzling out", I can see how you could argue that is a puzzle in the same way to a "maths puzzle" vs "maths problem"
"mirror", "additional light source (reflected or otherwise)", "additional refractive plane (mist, cloud, sprinkler)", etc
how would those create that very specific effect?
Maybe something like: "I was in a chemistry lab earlier and mixed chemical X with a mystery chemical to get such-and-such a reaction - what was the mystery chemical?" Which could be argued to be a puzzle, and could be uniquely solved with some knowledge of chemistry, but still feels more like a chemistry exercise than a real puzzle.
the benefit of the doubt is very much appreciated.
1:08 AM
@humn I don't know enough about optics.. hence the benefit of the doubt... But I believe, a rainbow's "centre" (of the arc) and it's radius is determined by the angles between the light source(s), the thing it's refracting through and your eye.
@humn No - I don't know much about optics. Does that matter to the issue of whether or not it's a puzzle?
So if you have multiple light sources, or refractive surfaces, you should be able to arrange them into a configuration that creates that output
an individual's not knowing enough to solve a puzzle does not invalidate that puzzle
Agreed. Hence the main reason for my benefit of the doubt.
turns out that reason for these rainbows can be understood by almost anyone
1:11 AM
@humn Of course. An individual's not knowing enough to solve a puzzle is irrelevant to the validity of that puzzle. That's what I'm saying :-)
then i understand your point even less well, @Randal'Thor
i really do suspect that there is a lot of confusion between downvoting and closevoting
I think rand's point is "maths puzzle" vs "maths problem" applied to other, non-maths, fields
and if it fits that categorisation, then VTC is the correct choice
But I can't tell if it does or not without seeing the answer (and I would do the same with maths)
@humn Not from me, there isn't :-) I was the one who answered that meta question (yours?) about DV vs VTC.
right! see why i'm so confused?
For the record, I haven't DVed the rainbow question. It may well be a very good and interesting question. I just don't think it belongs on this site.
1:19 AM
I think humn's arguing you should've done the opposite :)
(if anything)
I.e. it is a puzzle (in his view), just that you don't like it
I would have understood a downvote
But do appreciate your coming here to talk about it, in any case, Rand al'Thor, and your being open-minded, Alconja.
(and suspect that going further would just be repetitive)
@humn I will try to come up with a better articulation of what it is that I think makes this puzzle and others like it off-topic. Not just for your sake, but also because if I can define it clearly, then we can make a meta post about it and maybe get some consensus.
@Randal'Thor I think that is something we can all agree on
Some more examples would help. I'm sure I've VTCed other physicsy 'puzzles' for the same sort of reason, but they might be hard to find now, especially since many of them have likely been deleted.
Q: Sudden braking on the highway

MariusMatutiaeHave you ever noticed how, on a highway in conditions of heavy traffic, whenever you have to brake for any reason, the braking turns out to be sudden and hard? The same does not seem to happen on slow and/or less busy roads. Can you explain the difference? P.S: strictly speaking, this is not a...

Just for the record, i'm here for the love of puzzles, which covers a lot of ground.
1:28 AM
This one is of course too broad, but (IMO) also has the same "too physicsy" problem.
How is this a puzzle? Looks like it'd be better off on Physics.SE. But I haven't VTCed, in case you manage to convince me of its validity :-) — rand al'thor Jul 12 '15 at 22:31
There's another one which has stayed open, but judging from the upvotes on that comment, I'm not the only person who thought it shouldn't.
Good examples, @Rand al'Thor, i thought those puzzles were quite vague as well
the one with the moisture was less vague but did have a variety of simple specific answers (not all presented, but i thought of a couple too)
it's not easy to solve the rainbows puzzle adequately without getting some details right
on an obtusely related lighter note, did you catch the one about a crossword puzzle where the solution requires leaving some spaces blank?
Hey, your network-wide rep (the figure that shows in chat) is 9876 - nice one!
@humn No, but I have an awesomely difficult crossword puzzle (not mine, one I found in a magazine) which I may post here at some point.
(funny, didnt notice the network #, must be from some misspent time at english sites) (one or two hot network questions is all it takes)
what makes that particular crossword so difficult?
the funny natural extension of the crossword where some cells must be left blank is a crossword where all cells must be left blank, but for the right reasons
(maybe the network # is rounded up from 9875.555555)
@humn I don't remember the details, but it's got several extra complexifying twists. One of them is something like: one third of the clues (but it doesn't say which ones) have to be entered in reverse. And possibly some of the words are spread across multiple clues?
1:58 AM
I probably won't get around to doing it (not to mention I don't really have the necessary skillset), but I thought about making a crossword where you didn't give the down/across numbers for the clues and there'd be not enough clues for all the spaces on the grid.
The "trick" being that it's multi-lingual. So a clue might be "the language this crossword is answered in", with 1A being "ENGLISH" and 1D being "ESPANOL"
Was thinking about trying to make it built on a hex-grid with three languages, one in each axis
2:21 AM
@Alconja Ooh, that seems like fun. Also insanely difficult to make. (Seriously, not sure if it's even possible with a standard grid layout.)
^^^ it would be like a bramble, where different branches/vines of the same plant intertwine with others of its own as well as of other plants. Wouldn't have to be extensive to be interesting, like the knot of phonemes on this book's cover:
Heh, "Relevant Linguistics". I'd love to read a book called "Irrelevant Linguistics".
You'd have to finish it to fullly wonder why you bothered.
2:49 AM
@Deusovi Yeah, it would only be possible if not all answers were present in each language. So a given definition may have an answer somewhere in the grid in 1-3 languages.
I made a (very minor) start. But given I don't speak any other languages it's hard to come up with good words to populate things with :)
It's hard enough just getting regular words fitting in a hex based grid (there are so many more points of overlap, it makes it hard to avoid 2 letter words, etc)
4 hours later…
6:27 AM
@Alconja I tried that once but gave up -- it seemed that either there'd be loads of two-letter words, or else severe restrictions on the connectivity.
Yeah, that's kind of where I got to... (or you make sure you use longer words and make a blanket rule that "two letter words formed in the joins don't count")
Other thing I tried for a bit was drawing "boundary" lines between the hexes instead of using black squares to deliniate words.
The j is just swedish.. pronounced (very roughly) ray-bus (or rebus if you stretch it)
I wrote 90% of it, but I couldn't decide if it was actually interesting or noteworthy enough to warrant actually hitting submit :)
(also didn't you delete your account?)
lol.. ok
:33047835 You really shouldn't (IMHO) delete all your messages though... either take part, or don't. But whenever you delete stuff as you go, you invalidate the rest of the posts in the conversation and clutter the place up...
6:43 AM
@Alconja Oops. Sorry. Okay.
@Alconja: This is hand (mouse) drawn ? (!!)
7:13 AM
@ArbitraryKangaroo It is. Drawing stuff from scratch is not in my usual wheelhouse, but a limited palette and low res is forgiving enough.
....actually, I just remembered, that's an ever so sight lie. It is all hand drawn, but I did briefly have a semi transparent layer in the psd of an actual photo of a bald dude, to make sure i had the proportions right...
Interestingly, I'm happier with how the dents in the door came out, than how the face did. Had no idea how to draw them, let alone in only two colours, but I like how they turned out.
7:29 AM
@Alconja: And what about the ambigram ?
8:55 AM
@ArbitraryKangaroo not "drawn" per se, but manually constructed... started with an ornate font, converted it to paths, then, working with two copies (one rotated 180), manually tweaked it bit by bit.
Lots of trial and error and playing around. Also choosing the right phrase is important. Makes your life much easier if it's already a vaguely rotationally symmetrical phrase.
9:19 AM
Hey all
5 hours later…
2:43 PM
Pretty dead today, must be the weekend :P
@dcfyj Yeah. Hey there!
I figured I would break the 5 hour silence (I was only here for 3 hours of it though)
@dcfyj I wonder if other people were staring at the chat and wondering "Should I write?"
Probably, I know @Alconja hopped in here about an hour ago :P
I've got 14 lines of my puzzle done ^^ "only" 22 to go (30 if you count the columns too)
3:01 PM
@dcfyj Lines? Is it a riddle?
No, that would be a huge riddle :S
Think of it more as Minesweeper meets crosswords
@dcfyj It's sometimes been dead longer on weekdays!
No idea, I don't always pay that close attention
one of the worst things that can happen is you prepare to go for a movie and fall sick the previous day... Terrible
Meh, go anyways :P
3:11 PM
yeah, probably will... unless my condition deteriorates further.. :p
I don't remember the last time I bothered to go see a movie in theaters
@dcfyj Well, that's a coincidence. I was designing a random minesweeper generator! :D
Haha, that's funny.
@dcfyj Would you guys be interested in testing it here? I managed to create the clue cells (those that tell you how many mines are around), but I still have to decide how to properly choose which clues to show to the player, because (1) I cannot show them all, and (2) I want it to be random but with some criteria so it doesn't leave dead cells (with no indication from any direction).
The only time you show more than 1 clue is if the clue that was clicked is 0
Even then that's only for the user's convenience
3:19 PM
@dcfyj Well since this is going to be a "paper" minesweeper, there won't be any clicking, just reasoning.
I'm deciding to show all the 6 and above, half 5, some of 4, then less until we get to the 0.
Oh, you mean as a puzzle on here?
@dcfyj Maybe, if it's decent.
That would be fairly difficult to make. and probably not too hard to solve.
@dcfyj Yeah, but I am having fun coding anyways. :D
lol, ok
3:23 PM
@dcfyj The cool thing is that I can make it any size. :P
Hey @Deusovi
@Deusovi Hey there
Some work in progress :D
That 1 in the top left corner is wrong
It's surrounded by clues, it's can't have a mine next to it
@dcfyj Yes, I know. I wanted just to show something.
I'm using Latex and I'm using a lot of hacks to do the counting so... it makes me work more than it would in Python for example.
3:30 PM
I'm guess the binary around the clues is for testing purposes (showing where the mines are)?
@dcfyj Yes!
@Alenanno Programming in LateX? :O
Why not use another language?
@Ankoganit Ahah yes! With Tikz to be precise.
@dcfyj Because I only know Latex this well.
@Ankoganit All the schemes I have posted in my questions = LaTeX.
@Alenanno OMG
3:32 PM
@Alenanno Time for you to learn another language then :P
I didn't LaTeX is a programmable language
Is it even Turing complete?
Googling tells me it is
Q: Are there any disadvantages of TeX being Turing complete?

nimcapI have read that TeX is Turing complete. I was wondering if making TeX Turing complete gave raise to unwanted effects.

Good grief
But it's limited in some things, unfortunately. It's designed to produce documents (text, graphs, etc), so other stuff is harder to achieve. For example, you can create a Sudoku generator in Java pretty easily, but with Latex (at least for me), it was a pain.
I never used it for anything except docs anyway
3:35 PM
@Ankoganit The crossoword scheme I posted here was randomly generated as well (including numbering).
I used the same trick I'm using now, only then was easier because I had to check four directions, here they're 8 T_T
You could try doing a triangle minesweeper, only 3 directions to check then :P
oh wait, nvm
Forgot the corners
@dcfyj Yes :D
I want to learn Python, but I'm procrastinating for now. :P
Minesweeper using lines!
@dcfyj Lines?
1D minesweeper?
3:39 PM
Ahah wow. That's gonna be hard to play and impossible to design.
I'm pretty sure python was what I learned a few months back, it's pretty cool, not too hard (although I do know Java, HTML, C#, C++, VB.NET, so that kind of helps me)
On top of those I'm probably forgetting some other languages that I know
@dcfyj No it's not hard. I mean, lots of concepts are common across languages, you just need to learn a new syntax in those cases. It's just that I never learned a language like Python, even though I understand a lot of its commands.
Can't read it, too small
It's the preview anyways, it's just colored lines. It's the "map" thing on the right of my editor, for quick browsing.
That's the code for the minesweeper above.
I tried learning VB.net a few months ago, but it's so wordy and dumb and I got bored and ragequitted.
You even have to tell it "a is an integer" when it's clearly an integer
Which is annoying
3:44 PM
I had read some java as part of school syllabus a couple of years back and before that, I had read c++. I am out of touch in computer languages for a couple of years now..
@Ankoganit Wow. "Dude, I'm telling you, it's an integer!" — "Ahhh... I'm not convinced."
@Alenanno :D
@Alenanno I'm pretty this is the site I used, looks right anyways.
@Ankoganit Actually no, you can just say "Dim a = 1" and it'll be happy enough
@dcfyj Ahah I'm using the same. Well, the tab has been sitting there for a while.
@dcfyj Really? Never tried that
3:47 PM
@Ankoganit "How do you want me to store this? Integer? Floating-point? How many bits?" "I've told you I initialised it to 0 -- isn't it obvious?"
I've never had problems with VB and I use it regularly :)
Why can't every language have a type called 'real'
And nothing else for numbers
VB.net is pretty good about figuring what variable type you're using
@dcfyj Then I probably didn't study deep enough
3:49 PM
Anyway, you can't deny it's too verbose
@Ankoganit I like it, I find it easier to identify the containers (if, for, etc)
I usually get stuck coding in C# though
@dcfyj Ugh, c# codes look ugly
I know :(
Don't know much about it though
Or was that java? I don't remember
3:51 PM
If you guys could learn any language instantly, what would you choose? Just one choice! :D
Have you done C or C++ or JAVA?
@Alenanno Japanese, I like the culture, and the language structure (what I know of it) is pretty cool
@dcfyj I meant programming language... :P
Probably Mainframe Assembler, because no one really teaches it anymore even though it's the best kind of server available
I probably wouldn't use it though lol
@Alenanno Malbolge
3:54 PM
@LukasRotter What is that? :?
Malbolge is a public domain esoteric programming language invented by Ben Olmstead in 1998, named after the eighth circle of hell in Dante's Inferno, the Malebolge. Malbolge was specifically designed to be almost impossible to use, via a counter-intuitive 'crazy operation', base-three arithmetic, and self-altering code. It builds on the difficulty of earlier, challenging esoteric languages (such as Brainfuck and Befunge), but takes this aspect to the extreme, playing on the entangled histories of computer science and encryption. Despite this design, it is possible (though very difficult) to write...
Never heard of it either...
@dcfyj Something super-ugly
Hello world is (=<#9]~6ZY32Vx/4Rs+0No-&Jk)"Fh}|Bcy?=*z]Kw%oG4UUS0/@-ejc(:'8dc
lol, why would anyone make that >.<
3:55 PM
"Programming Languages: what (not) to do"
@dcfyj No idea, but I could definitely brag a lot if I'd be fluent in it :P
@Ankoganit Nothing else? What if I needed an array with billions of them in but they need only be 1 byte each, and your reals were so big I couldn't have enough of them in RAM at the same time? What if I needed the speed of integer arith?
If you only need 1 byte use a boolean :P
@dcfyj you mean 8 booleans
3:58 PM
Hey, I've made arrays of arrays before!
And lists of lists
@RosieF Hmm. The problem with programs is that they need to run :P
They're a bit of a pain to code, but they can be incredibly useful
@GarethMcCaughan When I finally get around to posting my latest you'll solve it instantly, right?
@Ankoganit ahah :D
4:01 PM
@dcfyj On previous form, probably not.
@GarethMcCaughan You've got time, I'm not even halfway done with it yet.
4 away form 9k
4 what? ones? tens? hundreds?
4. Just... 4
im on 8996
So 4 ones
4:12 PM
TeX/LaTeX/MathJax interruption: this picture was generated live by an answer at this site (using )
Quick, someone give Beastly an upvote and three downvotes!
so he's at 8995?
@dcfyj Maybe I'm confused. I think an up gives you +10 and a down gives you -2; is that wrong?
(so an up and three downs would give you +10-6=+4)
Oh, I was thinking on a question, clearly you were thinking on an answer
4:20 PM
You didn't really specify :P
I'm not so aware of the rep effects of votes on questions
for reasons you can probably work out
Well, get to it then :P
dcfyj must be dying to solve one of Gareth's puzzles in 5 minutes using quipqiup for karma, like Gareth does to everyone else's puzzles
Haha, Oddly enough, Gareth doesn't seem like the cipher posting type (to me)
lol, Gareth would probably never post a puzzle for specifically for that
4:23 PM
Never post a substitution cipher anyhow
Speaking of which, @GarethMcCaughan Probably, fancy a try on this. puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/44561/…
The only thing we're missing from that is the bird?
provided we're not wrong anywhere
And around 3 wrong answers.. A recent edit suggests that
not now -- it takes a little while to get into one of those and right now I have other things I am meant to be doing
Like other puzzles :P
Is it bad that I just noticed Deusovi left?
4:30 PM
No he was just timed out
9000! :P
soon it will be OVER NINE THOUSAND
It already is
Already is!
I got an accept
Ninja'd ( and you ninja'd my ninja'd)
4:33 PM
@BeastlyGerbil Are you ever going to finish your answer for the bullseye?
Oh no I thought overs had got it, and editing would just be copying @Alenanno
@BeastlyGerbil Who is "overs"? Do you mean others?
Yep typo
Not sure how you managed that...
@BeastlyGerbil Well, they got some parts, but not everything. Nobody has even implemented the hint as far as I've seen.
4:37 PM
Doesn't Sconibulus's answer have it?
@dcfyj No, for one thing, his answer clearly contradicts the hint (which is more like a partial answer).
He got some parts right though.
I think I'm going to re-propose it some time later and change some of the rules to make it less ambiguous.
basically, he just needs to swap eternity and keats and rebuild from there
@Alenanno and try to make it have 1 solution?
@dcfyj Not exactly. '^^ He associated Software with Plan, I don't think they do. Or rather, there are much better associations to be done.
@dcfyj I think this time around, I overlooked some aspects, as in... try to force some associations.
That's just it though, just because "there are better associations" doesn't mean there's just one answer, it's pretty ambiguous.
@dcfyj Yeah, unfortunately I can't really fix it now that it's already done. I mean, I changed 4 terms, I don't think it'd be nice to do more than that. I'll wait for a while and see what happens. Worst comes to worst, I'll post a canonical answer showing my original solution and maybe accept one from the other ones. Or upvote them all and post a CW with the original solution.
Or I don't know yet.
I'll see when that time comes.
I should have taken more time. With my Star Dice I was ready to post it the night of the first day, but I thought "let's wait until tomorrow". Well, that was the right thing to do, I found some mistakes and also improved other things.
I didn't do that for this one, so...
4:50 PM
If I get this puzzle done today I'll probably wait until Monday to post since Weekends get puzzles ignored a little.
@dcfyj Ehehe sure, up to you. :D
@dcfyj What are your fave kinds of puzzles to solve?
I would say keep it till Tuesday.. Even Monday puzzles tend to be ignored, if you are unlucky
I prefer logic puzzles (think einstein's)
But I like to take my time solving and that's not something I can do on here.
@Sid I'm not even sure if I'll be done by then, this is taking a while to put together, and once I'm done doing that I have to make sure that it's solveable.
I post it whenever I feel like it. I mean, I really haven't seen puzzles being ignored here. Maybe they get more attention later or in a different way, but they always get it.
I've seen good puzzles get hardly any attention because they were posted on the weekend.
4:56 PM
@dcfyj I like them too. But there are hardly any on this site. Anyone know why? Does nobody here like solving them, or does nobody here like making them?
Making them can be hard and they're pretty easy to solve (for the most part)
Hey Emrakul
By the way @Rosie, I think you'll like the next puzzle I post. It feels to me like it's your kind of puzzle.
yep, the site is funny at times. You feel as if you have made a good difficult puzzle, but it hardly gets any attention and probably gets solved by the 10k+ guys minutes of your posting it.
@RosieF I don't know why, but I think both of your conjectured explanations could be right. For me solving them feels like drudgework: it's the kind of thing I'd much prefer to make a computer do than do myself.
5:20 PM
@GarethMcCaughan your comment killed the chat!
For future reference, this is probably the only puzzle of its kind I'm ever making. This is ridiculous lol.
So if I ever suggest making another one, please point me to that statement.
6:12 PM
@RosieF Have you seen this one?
Q: The Pirates of Beal Isle - very long logic grid puzzle

brendanStory Let me tell ye a tale: Somewhere northeast o' the Bahamas there be a tiny scrap o' rocks stickin' up out o' the sea known as Beal Island. It be a barren, rocky place, and no man ever called it home. But many years ago, a band o' bloodthirsty pirates, with the king's navy swarmin' all over ...

Holy question length, batman!
@GentlePurpleRain Yes, I chanced upon that one, once. Didn't even begin to try to solve it, though!
While I like logic grids, I'm not particularly fond of reading a book to get my clues...
I'd imagine the length is probably why it's not solved? or is it just because the poster disappeared?
@dcfyj I think it was solved; the answer was never accepted, but all the logic seems to be there.
ah ok
I have 23 more to go before my puzzle is ready for me to double check it...
I hope it lasts a little while on here, I would hate for it to get solved in a few minutes.
Although, considering how much needs to be done to solve it, I doubt it'll get solved in a few minutes.
After many hours, we finally have two mods in the room at the same time!
Today's been super quiet in general. Is everyone actually doing work today instead of puzzling? :P
6:48 PM
If I counted right I have 96 clues left to write T.T
Unless I decide to do the columns differently, which I very well might as they consist the bulk of that number.
2 hours later…
9:17 PM
So, that dice star thing
there are quite a lot for which we don't have very convincing answers yet
"You, turned to meat" -- proposals are MUTTON (relies on unmarked homonym) and CORPSE (why "you" in particular?). I guess MUTTON is probably right, if only because of the shortage of TTU options, but I'm uncomfortable about it.
"Formed of natural fiber" -- seems like this could be practically anything. Someone had THREAD: well, yeah, maybe, some threads are made of natural fibres, but some aren't and surely we need a closer match than that. Something like WOOLLEN (but that's 7 letters) or COTTON (but no dice) or FLAXEN (but no dice) seems more appropriate, but nothing springs to mind.
"Rough looking foliage" -- ASPERA isn't crazy but that one seems as much too specific as THREAD seems too unspecific. Not that I have anything better to propose.
@GarethMcCaughan The American spelling is WOOLEN. It might work
"A bowdlerized bird", etc.: I agree with other people's suggestions that the deal-making snake had better be Monty Python, but the only birds that come to mind in connection with Monty Python are the dead parrot (nothing bowdlerized or bowdlerizable about that, and PARROT doesn't fit any dice) and the unladen swallow in "Holy Grail".
@Neon612 oooh
@Neon612 nope, no dice
@GarethMcCaughan Drat
"Made up for": it seems terribly likely to be ATONED but the definition doesn't actually work ("atoned for" = "made up for", kinda-sorta, but you can't turn "Joe made up for insulting Margery" into "Joe atoned insulting Margery").
I want to point out that the scandinavian glaciation clue was edited after it already had an answer, which is very suspicious
9:28 PM
"Missing to an abnormal degree", etc.: MOehm proposed ELSTER but I don't understand how that works beyond the fact that it's the name of a glaciation. Surely there must be a word that means "missing to an abnormal degree" (or that makes wordplay of that somehow, but these all seem just to be definitions rather than cryptic clues) and that somehow connects to Scandinavian glaciers or ice sheets or whatever.
@ffao What was the edit?
OP added "to an abnormal degree"
There's an interglacial period called the Eemian, which contains EEI; maybe interglacial period = abnormally missing glaciation, but so far as I know there's nothing specifically Scandinavian about the Eemian and you have to rather torture the syntax of the clue to make it fit.
Though the syntax of the clue seems pretty tortured as it is.
Anyway, the second die is going to produce a residual (i.e., letters remaining from the 6-letter word after removing the ones on the die) that's consonant-heavy, almost certainly all consonants. If it's HEIFER -> FHR then it's tempting to make the first two dice DIS HFR yielding a final clue beginning "dish from" -- some kind of food. (DIS from SIDLED.)
That would make the third word's letters EEMOT_ which seems pretty plausible though it doesn't instantly suggest answers to any of the missing/doubtful clues.
In the unlikely event that EEMIAN is right (in which case there's nowhere else to put HEIFER but I don't find that a super-convincing answer anyway) the second die's residual actually does have a vowel in it -- we get MAN. Then we could begin MISMAN(agement?) or DIAMAN(tine) or something.
Oh, other solutions I'm not terribly happy about: "Ones who cut stone" might be MINERS or HEWERS or quite possibly other things too. As I said, I'm not very convinced by HEIFER for "A maiden quite fat", though the fact that it specifically denotes a cow that hasn't calved yet fits well. DESLUG for "Remove garden pests" is probably right, but is it really a word and are there really no other four-letter garden pests?
"Protect from harm" could equally be SHIELD or SECURE or probably other things.
The last two dice could yield DON ISM suggesting HEDONISM except that we don't have a word leaving HED on the third-last die. It would need to be an anagram of DEEHRS which (by eyeball) doesn't look like an anagram of any not-super-obscure word.
Hmm, we really need something else with EKN in.
wow, there were hippotamuses in London in the Eemian. (Of course there still are, but now they're in the zoo.)
anyway, the Eemian is sufficiently not-Scandinavian that it's actually named after a particular place which is in the Netherlands.
The Elster, incidentally, is also named after a geographical feature in the great nation of Not-Scandinavia (it's a central European river).
Ooo, CATGUT is a natural fibre with UTT in it.
and its residual ACG works quite well with the preceding die (some of whose options have residuals with IN in making ...ING A C...) and with the following (all of whose options have an E so ...CAGE... is somewhat plausible) though it's not so clear it works well with both at once
also oooh, and possibly better: SILKEN has EKN in it (and more specifically means "Formed of ...", though you can talk about "a catgut violin string" which also has that sort of meaning)
though if our EKN residuals are TEK from TEKKEN ("Arcade fighter" seems like there must be hundreds of possible answers but I am no expert and this one does at least contain EKN) and SIL from SILKEN then I'm not seeing a lot of beautiful ways to put them together. (Their dice are adjacent.)
10:05 PM
@GarethMcCaughan I have no idea of the context for this, but perhaps the dead parrot is "bowdlerised" in the sense that they go through loads of euphemisms for "dead" ("late parrot", "is no more", "hopped the twig", etc.) rather than just saying "dead"?
But he doesn't avoid saying "dead". He says it and then emphasizes it further with all those other phrases.
It's kinda the opposite of bowdlerizing.
Anyway, PARROT doesn't work as an answer -- other constraints rule it out.
@Alconja Wow, an insight into the puzzle-making mind of Alconja. It's interesting but also kind of terrifying.
I wrote EEMOT_ before but meant AEMOT_. No words with such letters are known to the Internet Anagram Server, though I have reason to believe its dictionary isn't particularly complete.
What's your comment to Alconja referring to?
@BeastlyGerbil 9000 factorial is very large.
@GarethMcCaughan His scary-sounding multilingual crossword idea from last night.
20 hours ago, by Alconja
I probably won't get around to doing it (not to mention I don't really have the necessary skillset), but I thought about making a crossword where you didn't give the down/across numbers for the clues and there'd be not enough clues for all the spaces on the grid.
20 hours ago, by Alconja
The "trick" being that it's multi-lingual. So a clue might be "the language this crossword is answered in", with 1A being "ENGLISH" and 1D being "ESPANOL"
20 hours ago, by Alconja
Was thinking about trying to make it built on a hex-grid with three languages, one in each axis
ah, yes
10:12 PM
I'd be happy if I had ideas as good as what Alconja rejects
I'd be happy if I had ideas
@Randal'Thor I'm not convinced that closing @humn's rainbow puzzle as off-topic is altogether fair. If a puzzle that requires knowing a bit of physics (my guess is it doesn't need an awful lot) is off-topic here, why is that worse than one that requires knowing a list of Pokemon or a representative selection of famous battles?
@GarethMcCaughan Like I said, I'm having trouble articulating why I think it should be closed. Requiring a bit of physics knowledge isn't bad in itself, of course - it's something more than that.
It feels like saying "I saw a camel when I was in the Gobi desert - how many humps did it have?" One could argue that that's a puzzle which requires knowing a bit of zoology, but really it's not - it's just a trivia question about zoology.
(That's probably not the best analogy - I haven't really been able to come up with a good one.)
I've mentioned it in many places in many ways already, for mathematics puzzles, searching for that definition might be futile.
The concept is intrinsically self-contradictory.
I really am in a quandary. Should I post the puzzle at Physics just to prove that it doesn't belong there?
Should I rephrase it without rainbows and make it less interesting?
@humn Proving that it doesn't belong there wouldn't prove that it belongs here.
Not every question has a place on SE, sadly.
@humn I don't know whether it would get closed on Physics. But I think it belongs here (let's say) just as much as the "what colour was the bear?" question would if it weren't an ancient mouldy chestnut.
10:27 PM
Thanks, Gareth, this one's an original alright.
@Randal'Thor Suppose someone posts a picture and says "Here is a picture of a famous landmark. What is it?" and the picture is taken from a weird position and angle but still has features that, given sufficient ingenuity, make it possible to guess with high confidence what famous landmark it's a picture of. Would that belong on Puzzling? I think it would, or at least could, and I think that's nearer to what @humn's question is doing than "how many humps on the camel?".
Caveat: I haven't actually solved @humn's puzzle to my own satisfaction yet, and this is one of those questions that's hard to evaluate with confidence until you know the answer. (I think.)
Right, seems like close-voters assumed that they could solve it if... but nobody thought of a single valid solution.
The only three people who have attempted to solve it have been able to follow the clues and are well on their way to completion.
Really seems like a case of casual voting.
I'm not sure that's fair.
Though I'm also not sure exactly what you mean by "casual".
It sounds to me as if e.g. @Randal'Thor did think about it before voting to close, for instance, which is what I'd take to be the opposite of "casual voting".
I repeatedly stick up for questions i feel have been mistakenly closed and am having difficulty doing it with good humor when it hits this close to home.
And am willing to drop it, with apologies for souring a supportive word.
@GentlePurpleRain There's been some rudeness going on here (see deleted comments). Also that question really needs protecting, but it needs a mod to do it since it's not old enough for mere mortals to protect yet.
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