Author round-table 002

InterviewsAuthor round-table

Young authors and puzzles

The guests of the second round-table are Ryohei Nakai and nyoroppyi. They are among the few students who are also nikoli.com authors.

NyanBazToday, we will talk about young authors and puzzles. You are both students and so you'd be in the middle of your summer vacation now?

nyoroppyiYes. But I seem to keep busy even now.

NyanBazJust because we are students we're not lazing around.

NobDo you have tests coming up in the near future?

nyoroppyiYes, there are some of those left.

Ryohei NakaiAt my university, there are some who have not finished their tests yet. I finished mine, so I'm free and easy. (laughs)

NyanBazThen let's get on with our main subject. There are a few things I want to talk about. Pencil puzzles, there are so many kinds of them in the world. Are there puzzles which young people especially like?

Ryohei Nakai and nyoroppyiHmmmmmmm.

NyanBazI've asked this question before, but what is your favorite puzzle?

Ryohei NakaiThey are Slitherlink, Akari, and Shikaku.

nyoroppyiI like puzzles where you have to paint in cells.

NyanBazThere are so many not so young people who are fans of Sudoku and Kakuro.

nyoroppyiI'm really weak at Sudoku.

Ryohei NakaiMe too. However, I like Kakuro.

nyoroppyiIn the puzzle club at my university, Sudoku and Kakuro are unpopular. In the club, most people began to do puzzles in high school. To them, Nurikabe and Heyawake are popular. I think that they are more approachable.

Nob Why isn't Sudoku popular with younger people?

NyanBazSudoku is a puzzle you fill in slowly and carefully little by little. Nurikabe is often done all at once. I wonder if that is it?

nyoroppyiWith hard Sudoku you're often stuck for minutes at a time in one place. That annoys me sometimes.

NyanBazIs it because they get annoyed that Sudoku is unpopular with young people?

Ryohei NakaiIt could be, because you don't know where to start a Sudoku right away.

NobSure. With Nurikabe there are many places where a beginner can push forward without thinking too deeply. For example, where numbers contact diagonally or they know there is going to be a black cell between two numbers. With, Sudoku you have to watch the whole board from the beginning. That's what makes Sudoku. I think I've felt that young people don't like to think!

everyoneHey! You are way off there.

NyanBazIn any kind of puzzle, are there ways that young people prefer and ways that they don't like? Shikaku is one example. Recently, problems which cut the board completely with big numbers seem in fashion.

Ryohei NakaiSure. Young people would like that. But I don't chase after the fashionable.

NobRyohei often uses a long square like 1x15 in big Shikaku problems on nikoli.com.

Ryohei NakaiSure, I often do that. I like long rectangles.

NyanBazThere were no such bold strokes and cuts before.

NobGood point. Shikaku has changed in nikoli.com.

nyoroppyiIn large Shikaku, I think that it's a mistake to put little 2s and 3s. The board is big and wide.

NyanBazI can understand that . But, it's also fun to pile up small things and get it solved that way.

nyoroppyiI know the pleasure in little stuff. And I think that should be used in small problems.

NobIt's a preference. Nikoli is happy to respect everybody here.

NyanBazLet's get on to something else. You are students and also authors, compared to working people, where are the benefits? Like I worry you could be spending too much time on puzzles.

Ryohei NakaiWe have plenty of time. I can make puzzles during classes. (laughs)

NobDo you do that too, nyoroppyi?

nyoroppyiHmm, I don't make puzzles in class. I feel it is difficult to do things that different in my classes. (laughs)

NyanBazIt could be just an individual thing?

nyoroppyiI have so many other hobbies that I run out of time. I'd have more time if did only puzzles.

NobGenerally speaking, a student has more time than someone working in a regular job. A student isn't restricted to eight hours a day.

NyanBazThen also maybe it is easy to find friends who are interested in puzzles at a university?

nyoroppyiThat's very real. I made our puzzle club at the university.

NobHow about you, Ryohei?

Ryohei NakaiI don't have a whole lot of friends like that of my own age.

NobIs there a puzzle club at the university you go to?

Ryohei NakaiNothing like it. But there are quite a few puzzle authors at my university.

NyanBazIt may be a university tradition thing that.

nyoroppyiI created the puzzle club without thinking too deeply. That may be how to do it.

Ryohei NakaiIt's great of you to establish a puzzle club. You have the energy to keep it going.

nyoroppyiBut I don't have that kind of energy now. My ways are less flexible recently. (laughs)

NyanBazWhen we are young we have that energy. Is there anythng bad about being young?

NobHow about no money?

Ryohei NakaiNo, that's a plus too. It motivates you to make a lot of puzzles. (laughs)

nyoroppyiThat just about says it.

NobI forgot all about that!

nyoroppyiI'm not too sure if that is a minus or not. All the puzzle authors I met were older. When I went to meetings of authors, I was hard to get a word in. But I made a lot of acquaintances so I count that as a positive too.

NyanBazWell, it would be nice if there were more young puzzle authors.

Ryohei NakaiOne little thing, a lot of the problems in the Botsu Bako are by young authors.

NobRather than being young authors, they seem to be authors with issues. I mean that in a positive way, like mimic or aspirin.

NyanBazThere are some kinds of people who you'd never expect to make anything for the Botsu Bako.

NobDo you think it an honor to be published in the Botsu Bako?

Ryohei NakaiI do.

NobYou feel it's an honor, because you are young.

Ryohei NakaiI think being in the Botsu Bako is an honor too, but you don't need to aim for the Botsu Bako.

NobRyohei aims at problems that will get solved smoothly. Sometimes nyoroppyi make problems that are overdone, sort of.

Ryohei NakaiWhen was that awful problem that nyoroppyi once made?

Here the discussion became really deep and a bit incomprehensible. So we skip that part.

NyanBazWell, eventually you will graduate and get jobs. Then maybe there will be less time to do puzzles, did you think about that?

Ryohei NakaiI'm sure there will be less time, but I won't give up puzzles altogether.

NobSo puzzles aren't just something you do in college, it is a thing for life?

Ryohei NakaiYou could say that.

nyoroppyiThe same with me. I have many hobbies. Among them, I've continued making puzzles for ten years now without getting tired of it. I think that'll remain.

Ryohei NakaiThere are a lot of people I got acquainted with through puzzles. Many of them are really close friends. I want to continue hanging out with those people.

NyanBazThank you for putting it so nicely.


Discussion on Jul 2009 Published on Dec 21, 2012

Related link