Author interviews Vol.28 cubic function

InterviewsAuthor round-table

Talking to cubic function

Our guest this time is cubic function. He is a senior at a university in the Kansai area. He is very young! The interviewer is NyanBaz, and another staff member, Nob, also participated.

NyanBazWhat are you studying at the university?

cubic functionI'm studying paleontology in the science department. But because I'm not good at fieldwork, I don't dig fossils. I have been studying genealogy, particularly the process when the form of the bones of creatures changes. For example, how the leg bone of birds evolved.

NyanBazSounds like fun! You like paleontology, though you are poor at fieldwork.

cubic functionStill, why am I studying paleontology? (laughs)

NyanBazYou are a student of the science department. Your pen name is from science. This cubic function is a mathematics term.

cubic functionThere is an author with the pen name "Ceva's theorem." His pen name is also a mathematics term. I liked his work. In his problems, the placement of numbers is beautiful. I also like mathematics. I took after the good fortune of his and used a mathematics term.

NyanBazWhy did you choose cubic function?

cubic functionThe graph of a cubic function always has point symmetry. I felt that it was beautiful. So not quadratic function or quartic function. It had to be cubic function.

NyanBazYou are a geek. (laughs) When did you get to know about Nikoli?

cubic functionIt was the time when I was in the upper grades of elementary school. I saw Nikoli in my grandmother's home.

NyanBazDoes your grandmother solve puzzles?

cubic functionYes. She is solving puzzles even now. She doesn't contribute puzzles, but she is a long time reader.

NyanBazShe solves the problems of the grandchild and does she send comments?

cubic functionSometimes she tells me that she has solved my work.

NobDo your parents solve puzzles?

cubic functionThey didn't solve puzzles before, but they started it recently. I get them to solve mine, before I contribute my problems. They say that I make strange problems. (laughs)

NyanBazYou often make very difficult problems. They might be good solvers.

NobWhat is the puzzle which you liked first?

cubic functionThat was Nurikabe. I was fond of the black cells and white cells growing at the same time. Nurikabe is still my favorite puzzle.

NyanBazWhen did you start contributing to Nikoli?

cubic functionIt was during the first grade of junior high school. I contributed to Puzzle Communication Nikoli Vol. 101 (winter issue of 2003). Nurikabe and Mochikoro (It is like Nurikabe and Shikaku combined) were accepted. I love Mochikoro. Please bring it back!

NyanBazThat's a different matter. (laughs) Why did you start to contribute?

cubic functionAt that time, Nikoli had a page about constructing and making puzzles. I learned that it was not difficult to make puzzles by that page. Probably that was my start. I did not know how to make puzzles till then.

NobDid you keep up making puzzles ever since then?

cubic functionYes. I didn't think I should stop it because I am taking examinations. I was not doing only puzzle making. I'm someone who does not take much time to make a puzzle. I start and finish making a puzzle in one go. If I don't I can't make good problems. I may make a 10 x 10 size problem in 10 minutes. Also, busy people can find the time if it is just 10 minutes. (laughs)

NyanBazI get the impression that your problems are often difficult. Do you have any preference for making it difficult?

cubic functionNot really. But I become to want to try to do what I am thinking of as I am making a puzzle. Then, it becomes difficult, naturally.

NobSo you are not setting out to make it difficult at the beginning.

cubic functionSure. That too. I think that large puzzles should be a little hard.

NyanBazIs there something you keep in mind when making your puzzles?

cubic functionWhen I make a small Nurikabe, I put the numbers symmetrically. And also for other puzzles, I'm always concerned about symmetry. But, for instance, good Heyawake problems are hard to create with symmetrical number placement.

NyanBazWell, do you solve the problems made by other authors?

cubic functionI sure do. At one point I tried to solve all the problems in nikoli.com. Recently, I solve just all the small sized problems. For the large problems, I solve the ones that get good comments.

NyanBazDo you have a favorite author?

cubic functionCasty. He is an author name I see a lot. His work is beautiful, pleasing and of high quality. I think he is in all higher levels. With him, both quantity and kind are great.

NyanBazI can agree there. Tell me what your favorite puzzle is.

cubic functionAmong all puzzles I love Mochikoro best. In nikoli.com and the mobile site, it's Nurikabe I like best.

NyanBazMochikoro! You won't give up on that. (laughs)

cubic functionYes. (laughs) It was a shock when It disappeared from Puzzle Communication Nikoli. I like how the white cells stick together in squares and rectangles. I like clean straight forms like rectangles, but Nurikabe alone is not like that. That's why I like Shikaku, too.

NyanBazAre there puzzles you are poor at?

cubic functionSudoku. It's difficult for me to make hard Sudoku. I understand the ways to make hard Sudoku. But it all breaks down when I incorporate it into a problem.

NobIt doesn't always go well that is for sure. Suddenly in some different part, it becomes easy to solve.

cubic functionI'm also poor at Kanji character puzzles. I don't know a whole lot of Kanji. (laughs)

NyanBazLet's talk about something that is not puzzles. What are your hobbies other than puzzles?

cubic functionTC I have many hobbies. Anime, railroads, and horse racing.

NyanBazThere are so many ways railroads can be a hobby, do you like to ride, do you like the trains, or do you like to photograph trains, which is it?

cubic functionI like the trains. Now today, I picked a 500 series Shinkansen to come here. They will be retired next month. But I like commuter trains the best. I loved them from I was little. Commuter trains can be the same type but they have different colors on different routes. I liked that.

NyanBazYou mentioned horse racing. Do you bet too?

cubic functionNo. Not much. I like to watch better than betting. I have looked a lot at steeplechase. A friend in junior high school liked steeplechase. I even enjoyed to see his race videos. But I also watch regular races a little. But I check when there is a steeplechase with untried horses. Steeplechase is totally different from ordinary racing.

NyanBazWhat makes steeplechase interesting?

cubic functionIt's rider and horse together as one. It starts from breaking in the horse, how the jockey and horse get along.

NyanBazWow! I'll have to look at that sometime. Our time is nearly up. There is one thing that I really want to know, what's your ideal puzzle?

cubic functionIt's puzzles that are fun in the broadest sense. My ideal puzzle is one you can solve enjoyably, whoever you are. Even when it is an easy problem, it also has to be fun for an expert. Puzzles are made to be enjoyed. I still can't really make such problems I feel, so I'm trying and longing to be able to do that.

NyanBazNow the last question, anything that you want to tell people solving your puzzles?

cubic functionPlease solve puzzles any way you like. I don't think that my problems have to be solved in any particular way. Then, about creation of puzzles, there is an image and a feeling that a creator wants to convey in a puzzle. But you can enjoy puzzles just as you like it and just as you feel, without thinking about any author. I'd feel sorry if you don't enjoy my work.

NyanBazThank you for today!


Interviewed Jan 2010 Published on Oct 11, 2011