Children's writing

Moving On to AK Puzzles

The sports puzzles are done, and I’m about halfway through the second project for Taku Graphics and Alaska Geographic. So, two down and one to go, and still plenty of fun to be had.

The first project for Taku was–get this!–sudoku puzzles. Now, sudoku puzzles aren’t something I want to try to make up in my head. It can be done, but good goldfish it’s a heap of work that can be done in a snap by a decent software program. In general, I don’t use software in my puzzle crafting. Why should I waste my time doing something a computer can do a million times faster? If I’m going to do a word search–something a computer can do–I add something a computer can’t, something fun and/or clever, I hope.

But they wanted sudoku puzzles. I pointed out that Taku could buy software and they wouldn’t need me, but for whatever reason, they wanted me to do it. So I bought software. Yes indeedy, I now own puzzle-making software! I can make and solve sudoku puzzles until the longhorns return to the domicile. Over the holidays I did. I want to be proficient so I have some clue as to whether a puzzle is easy or hard. Plus, I felt compelled to test the software a bit before trusting it implicitly.

The software can do other kinds of puzzles, but I’ve not really investigated all its features. There’s one puzzle called “Morph Words” which I have made up in my head in the past. I’ve mucked with it a bit, but I don’t like some of the words it uses. I know I can delete those words from the puzzle dictionary, but I haven’t figured out how yet. I do find that I can alter what it does and sometimes come up with something that pleases me, but it’s a bit hit-and-miss.

One thing I’m excited about is that the program has the ability to create java applets that I can upload to the Web to make interactive puzzles. Now that would be cool! A quick look at how that’s done, however, proved it will take more than a quick look to figure it out. I plan to do it, though. I’d love to have interactive puzzles on my Web site and maybe even make them available for others.

Does it seem strange that–sudokus excepted–even with puzzle software, I’m more inclined to create puzzles with my soggy noodle instead?

Categories: Children's writing

5 replies »

  1. No, it doesn’t sound strange. I think it is more a matter of what our mind is used to working with. Eons ago (in high school), I would write out essays and English papers long hand. By college, my brain had changed and I could now compose at the computer. I do some of my cross stitch designs directly in the computer, especially if it is something abstract or geometrical (those seem opposite, though). However, if it is a specific picture I want to draw, I do it by hand. I can’t draw in the computer programs and am awed by the work graphical artists do. I’m not saying that working by hand or by computer is better, I’m just saying they’re different, and I think our brain approaches them differently.

    By the way, I’m fascinated that there is sudoku creating software! How cool!

  2. You’re right, of course, Kat. We train our brains to work as needed.

    I’m a huge fan of throwing my brain for a loop, though. I love getting strange and unexpected things out of it. Switching the computer mouse to the left side had some cool effects. I used to switch it back to the right to draw, but lately I’m drawing left-handed, too. Next, I’m going to try pencil sketching with my left hand. The whole left-brain/right-brain thing is fascinating.

  3. I love your “word morph” puzzles and guess that you probably do a better job than the software. For one thing, you tend to theme your puzzles and I’m not sure the software is into that. Sudoku though, I would think you would need the computer or else spend a very long time at it!

  4. Thanks! You’re right, I enjoy trying to use words that fit a theme. That’s where the fun is for me.

    I’m happy to let the computer do the sudokus, for the most part. I guess it’s a little tempting to create one by hand, just for the sake of doing it, but it would take forever.