Getting High on my Own Supply

Sunday, March 6, 2005 Saskia's portrait

About three years ago I discovered a "Cross Sums" puzzle in a German magazine. I confess I began solving them since I was simply bored at the time. Ten or fifteen minutes later I felt a great fun to go ahead with it after having realized the logic standing behind the puzzle - no guessing or trial-and-error methods have been necessary. What shall I say? Having filled in the last digit, I looked at the solved Cross Sums and felt satisfaction; my love towards logic and number puzzles was born.

Unfortunately, I could only find one puzzle a week of such Cross Sums in German magazines and that wasn't enough for me anymore, but then I had an idea - why not trying to write a computer program which would be able to create these puzzles for me whenever I needed one? There was only one big problem: my business studies were not too helpful and I was everything else but experienced in computer programming, you can easily imagine how terrible my first attempts were.

No unique solution

Latin Square Logical (solved)

Latin Square Logical (Solved)

Chess Logic (Solved)

Chess Logic (Solved)

The first version of my so called "program" had many bugs. For example it produced only simple puzzles, and even worse, some puzzles did not even have a unique solution. I was short before saying goodbye to the idea when I casually told a good friend of mine that was studying Information Technology what I had been planning to do and got a "that can't be too difficult" as a response. My friend gave me a few very useful lessons and hints, giving me a swift course about how to program software in Java, Javascript and Pearl languages.

To make a long story short, I made great strides very soon and four months later I could finish my program and be totally satisfied with. It could then generate the puzzles in an infinite number and almost every format up to 45x45 squares, no bugs, no ambiguities and two levels of difficulty. From there on I couldn't get rid of the fever of writing more programs which could create other kinds of logic number puzzles.

Publishing in Germany

Joachim Vetter and Saskia

Joachim Vetter and his girlfriend's daughter Saskia, solving puzzles. Saskia solves a color 4x4 Sudoku created by Joachim, who solves a color Pic-a-Pix

I discovered the picture-forming logic puzzles by Conceptis in two German magazines, which I started buying regularly, and had enormous fun solving them. I was especially fascinated by seeing how realistic pictures can be made out of such puzzles.

Nevertheless, it soon became clear to me that I could never succeed in writing a program that would be at least approximately as good as Conceptis' software. I then came to conclusion that I will "only" focus on solving Conceptis' puzzles and concentrate on writing programs for different puzzle types. Thus, starting April 2005, my puzzles will appear in a new German magazine named “Logisch”, which will be published by Bastei Verlag. Logisch will be full of such logic puzzles and also with some picture-forming logic puzzles by Conceptis, what does a German puzzle fan want more? :)

If by now you are curious to try my puzzles, download a few examples along with solutions and instructions of my puzzles. You can also take look at The Puzzle Room forum in Conceptispuzzles.com; you will find the topic "Puzzle of the Week" where I place one of my puzzles every week since the end of June 2004.

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