Questions tagged [strategy]

A puzzle whose solution is a methodological plan of action for realizing a specific goal.

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6 votes
1 answer

What frequent patterns can be used to overcome Minesweeper obstacles?

Minesweeper, to those who do not know the strategies involved, is a difficult game. What patterns exist in the game which I can take advantage of? Meta-context: this question is an offshoot of ...
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7 votes
3 answers

Is it always safe to click first in the lower lefthand corner of a Minesweeper puzzle?

I always start a Minesweeper puzzle in Windows by clicking the cell in the lower left corner. Even though I have never seen a bomb there, how sound is this strategy? Is it possible that some time in ...
Brian J. Fink's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer

How could I have avoided this mistake in Minesweeper?

The puzzle grid pictured below is a prime example of the classic rush to judgment: I was so sure of my decision, but when I double-clicked to clear more cells, the cell to the left of the one I had ...
Brian J. Fink's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer

How to deal with conjugate-pair pseudocycles when solving Sudoku

In single-solution regular Sudoku puzzles, sometimes you may encounter a combination of possible cell solutions such as: {2,7} in A1 and A7 (same row) {2,7} in A7 and B8 (same box) {2,7} in B8 and E8 ...
Brian J. Fink's user avatar
16 votes
4 answers

The Mexican Standoff

There are three cowboys in a Mexican standoff against each other, named Juan, José, and Jorge. Juan is the straightest shooter in the West, and can hit his target 100% of the time. José, who has a ...
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15 votes
1 answer

Elegant solution to the Magic Hexagon problem

The Magic Hexagon Problem A magic hexagon of order $n$ is an arrangement of close-packed hexagons containing the numbers $1, 2, ..., H_{n-1}$, where $H_n$ is the $n^{th}$ hex number such that the ...
durron597's user avatar
  • 2,344
13 votes
5 answers

Of these five approaches to starting a jigsaw puzzle, which one is fastest?

Of the following 5 strategies for getting started assembling a jigsaw puzzle: Assembling the border and connecting other pieces to it Working your way out from one corner Trying to assemble faces ...
Brian J. Fink's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers

How do I choose between letter possibilities for 2- and 3-letter words in a cryptogram?

I've tried to begin solving a cryptogram by making educated guesses from the context: position of punctuation, the presence of single-letter words, or assumptions about the frequency of the letter E, ...
Brian J. Fink's user avatar
70 votes
7 answers

Twelve balls and a scale

You are given twelve identical-looking balls and a two-sided scale. One of the balls is of a different weight, although you don't know whether it's lighter or heavier. How can you use just three ...
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17 votes
4 answers

Strategy to solve the Missionaries and Cannibals problem

In the Missionaries and Cannibals problem: Three missionaries and three cannibals must cross a river using a boat which can carry at most two people, under the constraint that, for both banks and ...
John Bupit's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers

Sliding Bolt Puzzle - fastest solution (time-wise)

This is a follow-up question for the Sliding Bolt Puzzle. If you have not solved it yet, you might want to head there first, as the extended discussion of its solution in this question will contain ...
diabonas's user avatar
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53 votes
3 answers

Sliding Bolt Puzzle

You are in a room with two adjacent doors locked by four sliding bolts. The bolts are movable and block only one door at a time; however, you do not know which bolt currently is blocking which door. ...
diabonas's user avatar
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46 votes
4 answers

Which switch goes to which bulb?

You are in a room with three switches, labeled $A$, $B$, and $C$. Initially, each switch is in an off state. In an adjoining room, there are three incandescent light bulbs. Your task is to ...
Xynariz's user avatar
  • 3,602
32 votes
4 answers

Learning to Solve a River Crossing Puzzle

I have seen many variations of the following puzzle: Once upon a time, a farmer went to the market and purchased a fox, a goose, and a bag of beans. On his way home, the farmer came to the bank of ...
Xynariz's user avatar
  • 3,602

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