My semi-rant in the wee hours on how it's hard to appreciate a pretty math/logic puzzle unless you spend the time to immerse yourself in it led to a thought...

A support for my thought: Before MetaRex became the humble, mild-mannered MetaRex of today, he was an evil Japanese cyborg army that carried out its devilish plans with the aid of fiendish uses of math and science. That inspires me...

The idea: How about a MetaRexian--a MetaKenian?--take on the daily Kenkens the NYT posts online?

OK...Settings duly changed...this VIB [very important blog] is now MetaRex aka MetaKen...well, that was easy...

Now for some reflection...

There are some problems w/ MetaKen...for one, as much as I love logic and am pretty decent at it by the low standards of the human race through persistence if nothing else, my mechanical skills approximate those of a drunken gnat...so my tech skills as a composite of my logical and mechanical skills are not so good...posting images of KenKens the way Rex posts images of CWPs and videos is not likely to be an easy lift...

[Amazing...bright orange-pink sunrise out the kitchen window over the train trestle...]

More fundamentally, logic puzzles are boring, right? Those of us who love them more than CWPs are not wrong, exactly--*de gustibus non disputandum*--but there's no way to verbalize our mania the way Rex can speak for all of us with CWP-mania, right?

[Snow-dull sky now in the east...the glow is gone...]

Well, maybe so...but maybe not. So here goes...a take on the 4 x 4 medium, the 6 x 6 hard, and the 8 x 8 hard KenKen posted today on the NYT site...the idea is to solve them, then say something about them...then if that works out I can see about perma-links, screen captures, spirit stealing, or whatever tech is involved in making a MetaRexian-Kenian take on KenKen look semi-okay...

Off to the site...

Quick stab at the tech...maybe the twitter link posted by the NYT will do the trick, permalink-wise...gonna check that out later...

Now the solve of the 4 x 4...

Okay...done in 1:16...a slightly below average time for the solving technique I use to make 4 x 4s and 6 x 6s (and hard-copy 7 x 7s in the Sunday mag) pleasing to solve...(have also used it on 8 x 8s and 9 x 9s but it gets too nitty on the big ones to be fun for my level of logic (non)-skill)...

My solving technique on a 4 x 4: Pick the most central KK box...in this case that's the 1- box in the upper-center. Then solve for that box first, without putting down any number elsewhere. Then fill in the rest of that row (or column), followed by the next most central row (or column). Then jump back to the other side to fill in the top or bottom row (or left or right column). Then do the last row or column.

The technique gives a sense of self-discipline to the solving exercise that I like a lot...(used to do similar things w/ CWPs before getting caught up in CrossWorld and online solving).

On today's 4 x 4: Figured that the 1- central box had to be 3 and 2. The reasoning: Gotta be a 3 in it--no 3 in the WNW square cuz then the 2/ box in the NE doesn't work and none in the ENE square cuz it's in a 3- box. Gotta be 3-2 not 3-4 cuz w/ 3-4 ya gotta put the 2 in the 12x NW crooked box and 2-3-2 for that box leads to a 1-4 fail for the 2/ NE box.

Then: The 3 hasta be on the right side of the box--it's 2-3 not 3-2, cuz the 2- ESE box has gotta be 2-4 since the ENE square in the NE 2/ box is 1.

Then, it's just fill...

Damn...that took a long time to get down...getting to be time to get out of the tub and go to work...forget about posting on the 6 x 6 and 8 x 8 :)...

And, yes, it's all through a glass mighty darkly...the stuff above looks like computer code gibberish to me, and I'm the one who just wrote it...

So is there a MetaKen waiting to be born? Hmmm...If so, gotta figure out how appreciation of a KK can be done in shorthand w/o going through each tedious (sorry, fellow logic fans) step of the reasoning the way I did above for the crack of the central box.

A thought or two (or three or four or five or six or seven)...

1) I used the intuition that a 12 x crooked box is likely to be 4-3-1 not 2-3-2 to speed my realization that the center box has gotta have a 3 in it...that intuition needs a name...maybe restricted choice;

2) A prettier solve than the one I used would play off the intuition and then the certainty that the NW 12x crooked box has a 1 and a 4 in it to infer that the SW 6+ crooked box can't be 1-4-1 and therefore has gotta have a 3 in it, meaning that there are two 3s in the left two columns and that therefore the left square of the center box is 2 and the right square is 3;

3) To make it interesting, ya gotta have subjective ratings of solving prettiness, with prettiness relative to the logic skills of the solver...

4) On a scale of 10 max prettiness and 1 max clunkiness, I give my actual solve a 3 and my hypothetical solve a 6;

5) Ya gotta have a community of people submitting their own solves w/ self-evaluated prettiness relative to their skills;

6) Ya gotta have courteous disagreement in the community over how pretty a solve and the underlying technique of the solve actually is, and mutual respect for the differing levels of underlying skill of different solvers and how that generates different valid forms of prettiness; and

7) All of the foregoing together might someday generate good human-created KK puzzles that have v. nice "9" or "10" solutions for lots of regular people on Mondays and "9" or "10" solutions for a good proportion of the smarty-pants brigade on Saturdays.

So...Logic lovers of the world unite! We've got nothing to lose but our logic chains...and a world of under-appreciated beauty to win.

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