motris (motris) wrote,

Friday Puzzle #95 - The Voice of Reason

While I usually post original puzzles here every Friday, this week I have an announcement that merits a change in my normal formula. In an effort to reach more mobile users, who may not have the time to solve their puzzles on paper, Nextoy has recently announced the "Will Shortz Presents KENKEN on the Road" Audiobook series. This really is a bold new direction in the history of this already classic puzzle and is sure to greatly expand their audience with the poetic beauty of their puzzles.

I'm sure my regular readers will be asking themselves why I am mentioning this here. Don't I have a beef with KENKEN that led to my own book of Calcu-doku called TomTom Puzzles? Well, Nextoy and I have recently buried the hatchet. It seems my outspoken nature introduced them not just to my strong opinions about puzzle design but also to - and I'll quote from their correspondence - "the dulcet tones of a logic master", someone with a "smooth baritone voice with a rich timbre that just says 'solve!'". Once they agreed that on all matters KENKEN I would henceforth be called "The Voice of Reason", our deal was set in stone. I'm going to be the voice behind the KENKEN audiobooks!!!

So I don't have any new puzzles for you this week. I've simply been spending too much time in the recording studio putting the finishing touches on some of the Kenerator's latest devious creations. But I snuck out some tracks that seemed particularly well-themed and interesting from our recent collaboration. Solving an audiobook KENKEN is a huge change from the format you are most used to, so prepare to start your learning curve all over again.

Puzzle 23, 4x4 easier* (MP3 file) - "Bueller ... Bueller ..." - getting the right intonation of the first clue, a clear homage to John Hughes' work, was the most important part of the delivery here.

Puzzle 55, 5x5 mediumer* (MP3 file) - "Squeeze Play" - this was a fun puzzle to share on tape with the baseball season starting. Really brilliant theme.

Puzzle 102, 5x5 harder* (MP3 file) - "Countdown" - this one took several takes, as it was easy to make a mistake while reading off so many common clues.

(Note - for those who are not familiar with KENKEN, it's very important to know the standard format of their grids to solve these puzzles. In a KENKEN puzzle, you enter the numbers 1 to N into each cell of an N x N grid so that no number repeats in any row or column. Also, the grid is divided into cages, each with a numeric value and operation. These clues are always printed in the first cell belonging to that cage when proceeding left to right from top to bottom, which is the same order in which they are being read. Cages with subtraction and division are limited to two cells. Singleton values (1-cell cages) are presented as single numbers without any operations. A grid with solution is shown here.)

*The difficulty scale of audiobook puzzles may be different than the rating if you could actually see the grid.
Tags: fridaypuzzle, kenken/calcudoku, tomtompuzzles

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