Author round-table 017

InterviewsAuthor round-table

Puzzles and all that we get from them. --- Yuichi Saito & POTS ---

The guests this time are Yuichi Saito and POTS. We don't have a theme just like in author round-table 015. What kind of talk did we have? Read on. From Nikoli we have NyanBaz and Nob.

NyanBazNikoli is a long acquaintance for you guys.

Yuichi SaitoI think that you have invited authors of opposite extremes this time.

POTSProbably there will not be anything we can both talk about. I and Yuichi stand at unbalanced and twisted positions.

NobReally? What kind of point do you think about where you cannot engage?

Yuichi SaitoWe both make problems as we feel like it, but we go off in different directions. POTS makes beautiful problems, I don't.

NobAny other differences?

POTSProbably, Yuichi begins to make puzzles after he has been thinking.

Yuichi SaitoSure. I think twice before making anything, and I think deeply even while I'm making things.

POTSI rush ahead with feeling. That is a difference between us.

Yuichi SaitoPut more simply, POTS is good at making Numberlink, but I'm weak at that.

NyanBazThat's accurate enough, but that's a very simple difference.

NobYuichi don't make puzzles which he is weak at.

Yuichi SaitoSure. Because I don't make puzzles which I'm weak at, others have called me a coward. (laughs)

NobActually you don't come across as a coward at all.

POTSBut for me as a solver of your puzzles, I want to do those of your puzzles you are weak at making.

Yuichi SaitoIt seems really pleasant to solve the kind of puzzles that an author usually doesn't make.

POTSA good example, Ripple Effect from POTS.

Yuichi SaitoWell, I'll do Numberlink then. (laughs) I remember I saw POTS making Numberlink before. You were doing it in very mysterious ways. I haven't seen anything like it.

NyanBazHe puts the line to connect the numbers first. Next he stands back, and stretches and bends them some more. It's difficult to explain in words.

POTSIt's a technique for doing it well. The trick is to extend the line from the numbers till it is blocked. Among the skills to make Numberlink, that's where it develops from. The relations among the lines are a powerful charm in Numberlink. You should try and make Numberlink with this powerful charm.

Yuichi SaitoI didn't reach that level yet. I think that it's completed if everything connects well.

POTSI look at Numberlink problems by other authors in Puzzle Communication Nikoli, and I often want to remix and do those problems over, make them again.

NyanBazRemix?

POTSYes, a remix based on the problem to what I want it to be. I may feel it's better when I improve some number by a small little move. It may not to be praised a lot though.

Yuichi SaitoI don't remix. However, I watch the work of another author, and I often think that I will take in a way of thinking that I see there.

POTSThat's how it works. Now, who is an author you were influenced by?

Yuichi SaitoAspirin and Guten.

POTSI don't blame you!

NyanBazThey are the same for you. How were you influenced by Guten?

Yuichi SaitoI think that he makes a lot of creative problems.

POTSHe does what nobody else has hit on.

Yuichi SaitoI think that he is extraordinary and I'm impressed. I don't hit on such a lot of new things. I can make problems in my style only. I did a thing influenced by other authors a while ago, however, I'm rarely influenced by other authors. I don't want to make problems that resemble other authors.

NobDo you want to show yourself by your problems?

Yuichi SaitoHmmm, I'm not really conscious of that. I don't think that I want to push myself out front.

Yuichi SaitoWhich kind of puzzles do you solve a lot, POTS?

POTSHmmmm, let me think.

NobYou solve all the problems on the mobile site.

Yuichi SaitoI solve only Sudoku and Kakuro on paper. It's pleasant to solve a very hard problem slowly and carefully. For example, Kakuro which are made by 36.

NyanBaz36 is an author with nikoli.com, but he hasn't yet published very much. He played an active part in Puzzle Communication Nikoli from the old days. Where is it in his problems that you like?

Yuichi SaitoI like the places where it feels like solving is very heavy work. I got to like such problems recently.

NobDid you get stuck at work or something recently?

Yuichi SaitoNot really, I think.

NyanBazDo you lean towards hard problems when you get stuck at work?

NobA hard puzzle is wonderful to escape into.

Yuichi SaitoAn easy puzzle is solved with just a little bit of effort. With a hard problem, I have to concentrate till I finish solving it. So I like heavy puzzles now. Oh? Did I really get stuck now? (laughs)

POTSI have the impression that Yuichi makes hard puzzles a lot. They are heavy and big.

Yuichi SaitoI said that I liked easy problems in an interview several years ago. I thought so then.

NobThen your life was happy and it was not necessary to escape from anything. (laughs)

Yuichi SaitoCome to think about it with Kakuro, I was requested to make Kakuro problems for the very best (published in Apr 2011) the other day. I made problems for that in China on a business trip.

NobWhen you are requested for some special book, does motivation go up?

Yuichi SaitoYes sure. Motivation goes up and there is an obligation to perform, too.

NyanBazNikoli.com doesn't ask anybody to make specific problems till a particular date.

NobWe expect you make puzzles as a hobby, sort of, freely.

POTSThere is no need to feel any obligation, that's an attractive thing to me.

NobBecause authors make the puzzles freely, there are many problems that are too difficult and they cannot be used really.

Yuichi SaitoWhen I make problems for nikoli.com, it often happens that it gets too elaborate and doesn't advance like it should. I get tired and give it up, and sometimes it remains unfinished for more than a month.

POTSThat always happens. I often leave something unfinished along the way.

NyanBazWhen you stop with something, don't you forget the aim of it when you come back to it?

Yuichi SaitoI do. (laughs)

POTSI don't. I'm sure to remember it for one or two years.

NobI forget it right away. I can't really stop anything along the way.

Yuichi SaitoIf I see a problem I left half finished, I can remember the total concept. I know it from how I put the numbers and how it starts.

POTSWhen you make puzzles, you have a clear vision of how to do it.

NobIt is possible you can remember it because you don't have many puzzles to make, how about that?

Yuichi SaitoIt might be. (laughs)

POTSThere aren't many works from either of you two. You are not prolific. (laughs)

NobThat is something you have in common.

POTSYes but, I want to make a lot of puzzles if I had the time. I want to make crossword puzzles too.

Yuichi SaitoThat goes for me too.

NyanBazBecause you have strong opinions about what puzzles to contribute, I thought that was why you are picky about the puzzles you make.

Yuichi SaitoGiven enough time, I want to make many different puzzles. Even Omopa.

POTSI'd want to try Kakuro.

NobKakuro is easy to make. The author can control Kakuro problems. Sudoku doesn't go so easily.

NyanBazPOTS, listen! Let's make a lot of puzzles!

NobWhat is a puzzle for you? Is it recreation? Is it your life?

POTSI've said it many times. Puzzles are art. It is something to admire and also, feel.

NobWhat you yourself express as a problem is art, and it's the art that you feel in a problem of another author.

POTSSure. A puzzle is a work of art.

NyanBazHow do you think about that Yuichi?

Yuichi SaitoNot quite art, I used to think that my problems expressed myself. But I don't think so at all now. I do what I like to do. Recently I didn't think a whole lot about the solvers.

NobIn an old interview you said you thought about everybody else. Your ideas have changed completely.

Yuichi SaitoYes. I think anyone thinks the same way, at first I made puzzles only for me. After that, they came to be published in the magazine and I began to be conscious of the solvers. For example, I cared about the appearance, I intended to have you surprised if I included some a trick here and there. And now, I came back to the start. I do what I want to do.

NyanBazIt's splendid that your thoughts went full circle. You thought about the solvers and then returned to where you started.

Yuichi SaitoI don't like ways to think about how one expresses oneself. I feel it muddles up everything.

POTSI think it's OK, it's like please look some more at me. (laughs)

Yuichi SaitoI was like that too at first.

NobYou make a lot of problems that only you can make Yuichi.

Yuichi SaitoWhen I heard that before, I was happy. I don't feel happy about it now. Such problems come about by chance.

NobDid you start to ignore what others think about your puzzles?

Yuichi SaitoIt's sort of become that way.

NobYou are some kind of a hermit.

Yuichi SaitoThat's why I solve only Sudoku and Kakuro. I don't like puzzles where some trick sticks out too openly.

NyanBazWhat kind of problems are fun to solve for you?

Yuichi SaitoI like puzzles where nothing is straightforward really. For example, a hard Sudoku. When you have a really hard time to pay attention to one number and don't move on at all if you want to make the next advances go smoothly. (laughs)

NobYuichi likes just that kind of thing.

NyanBazHow about you POTS? Do you like puzzles which are all muddy and unclear?

POTSI don't need it to be muddy or obscure. I like problems with unexpected developments.

Yuichi SaitoThat sounds good. I'm weak at problems where nothing new pops up.

NobWhen I make a big sized puzzle, it's easy to lose focus and get it muddled. I don't want to put in just a trick. A trick is not enough in a big puzzle to have you enjoy it from the beginning till the end. That's how to make it unclear and opaque.

POTSOh, I see. That's why it's hard for me to make a big problem. I like problems that impress with some kinds of tricks. So I end up making small problems. It's the art that impresses.

NobWe think of the puzzles as entertainment. But we also welcome puzzles where there is an author thinking that the puzzle is art, like POTS.

Yuichi SaitoI've seen a lot of problems that were art. And I also saw many problems that were muddy through and through. I am attracted now by those muddy ones. I know good artistry and still choose the muddily.

NobDifferent people feel it differently. Yuichi like this. POTS like that. It's good to vary things. These authors bring variety, and we have room for that. That makes Nikoli interesting.

NyanBazIn this discussion, I was able to feel the breath of the areas of our authors again. Thank you for today.


Discussion on Apr 2011 Published on Apr 18, 2014

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