Author round-table 021

InterviewsAuthor round-table

About fluent authors

The guests this time are Casty and -4. In the 4th round-table, we talked about radical problems where a lot of originality left a strong impact on solvers. It is the opposite we discuss today. We will talk about problems that aren't radical. From Nikoli we have NyanBaz and Nob.

NyanBazSo, today we will talk about problems that aren't radical.

CastyThat's different from easy problems.

-4I don't think it's just a matter of difficulty. If the intention of the author is to make it easy, it can become an easy radical puzzle

NobWell, is a radical problem then a problem where self-assertion is strong?

-4Something like that, not so different really.

NobCasty, you said in a past interview that you aimed at problems that a slightly experienced solver could solve quickly. -4 said that -4 aimed at a puzzle to be like air.

-4I most certainly said that.

NyanBazI want to talk about that kind of puzzles today. The expression that it is not radical is sort of negative. Is there any better expression?

NobIs it a mellow relaxing puzzle? No no. More like a smoothly flowing along puzzle?

NyanBazI think that flowing along is just right. Do you think problems that you make are smooth and fluent, -4?

-4It is sure enough that my problems aren't radical. When I make a problem, it's rare that I aim at something from the beginning. I put in the things that I want to and that I hit on along the way. Because the focus is not constant, as a result the problem becomes smooth and fluent.

NyanBazSo, the result is that it becomes smooth and fluent?

-4Sure. I think that when you are making a radical problem, you make the places that you want to show stand out, and kneading and adding heat makes the strategy go off well. I want to pack in both this and that on the way. So I can't make what you call a radical problem.

NyanBazHow about you Casty? Do you make puzzles aiming at smooth and fluent problems?

CastyYes. I often make puzzles to be solved smoothly from the very beginning. I decide on a type of problem before I make it. I make the puzzles the way I set out to do them.

NyanBazYou accomplish your ideas. But I think your intent is different from the self-assertion of a radical problem.

-4That's certainly how I think about it.

NobIt's entertainment not self-assertion. I feel that Casty is aiming to please solvers.

-4Casty is not saying look at me. He suggests things that seem a good idea and, asks, how do you feel about it?

CastyOf course I want many people to enjoy my puzzles.

NobEven Casty's hard problems are flowing smoothly. They demand clever methods, but self-assertion isn't strong.

-4I think that there are two kinds of fluent problems here. The fluent of Casty's problems is interesting to any solver. However, my fluent is different. Here there will be people feeling it's interesting and there will be people who don't think it is interesting.

NobThere is something in that.

NyanBazDon't you want to have all solvers enjoy your puzzles, -4?

-4Of course, yes. But I'm not really so concerned about getting a smooth flow. If I find something which seems to be enjoyable, I pack my puzzles with that as far as I can. I'm happy if solvers enjoy just one of the things I think up.

NobWell, in some of -4's problems, the flow of the first half and the flow of the last half can be totally different. Casty's problems are different from that.

NyanBazWhen you think up something along the way that seems to be interesting, do you put it in, Casty?

CastyNever. I make puzzles just like I decide at the start.

-4Do you do that for all of your puzzles?

CastyYes, really. But oh, Sudoku is different. It's difficult to make a hard Sudoku that flows well.

NobBut your Sudoku flows smoothly. Your hard problems are fluent and hard.

-4Do you have puzzles you are proud of, Casty?

CastyI don't have any puzzle which I'm proud of when I make it. When I solve puzzles there are favorites, like with Akari and Masyu.

NyanBazYou don't do your favorite puzzles radically either.

CastyNo. I don't do things just because I like or dislike it.

-4I do it that way though. For example with Kakuro, I overuse 45 and go for it way too much. But my Kakuro do not give the impression of being radical.

NobSure, you don't have a reputation as a radical.

-4I have this feeling that I want to make radical problems. But actually, I pack in all sorts of things, this and that together, and get it fluent and smooth. Radical problems, they have to be organized just like the author sets out to do them.

NyanBazYou guys make many problems that are smooth and flow well, but the reasons are totally different. It's very interesting.

-4I feel the same way when I make and solve problems. So if I find something that seems to be interesting when I make a puzzle, I think that it's sure to be interesting to solvers. And I drift along with that.

CastyI look at it differently when I make puzzles and when I solve puzzles.

-4My feelings here date back to the time before I started to contribute puzzles after getting to know Nikoli. I only solved puzzles for the first year.

CastyFor me that's different. The first Puzzle Communication Nikoli which I bought was Vol. 103 and I began contributing immediately.

-4Thinking about it. I just solved puzzles for a long time and that influences me. When I make a puzzle, I feel like when I solve it. I can see that it isn't all for the good.

NyanBazWell. Casty, when you started out, did you make problems just like now?

CastyYes. I preferred puzzles to be solved smoothly from the very beginning.

NobDo you feel the same way when you are solving puzzles?

CastyYes. It feels good to solve a puzzle smoothly. But I also love the very very hard puzzles.

-4Now, about making puzzles, let me ask you if you adjust and trim your puzzles after you have made and solved them? I can adjust puzzles if I have to.

CastyI don't adjust anything. When I've solved my own puzzles, even if there is a place where it doesn't work so well, I leave it as it is.

-4Your work is the completed shape from the beginning.

NyanBazIt would be because Casty makes it according to the first idea he sets out with.

CastyIf I adjust it, I'll end up touching it up in so many places. So I think that I better not do it.

NyanBazYou really stick with that.

-4Can you make your problems just like you want them to be?

CastySure. Because I've continued doing it like this for years. At first, it was really hard just to complete a problem.

NyanBazA lot of it is practice really then.

NobNo one can imitate you there.

-4Is that the secret to being prolific? Radical puzzles are difficult to keep doing in large numbers.

NobThat's one thing. You are bound to run out of ideas.

CastyGuten is prolific, but he makes a lot of radical problems.

NobYou picked out a really good one there. He is great!

NyanBazFor an author, what is good about making smooth and fluent puzzles?

NobIs it that you can make a lot of puzzles?

CastyThat would be one reason.

-4Like when I'm tired, I manage to complete it by myself. Then, sometimes I get this urge to make some puzzle and I just have to act on it. For example, when I realize that I didn't make one kind of puzzle for a while. Then it's easy for me to control everything and make it fluent and smooth, so I relax and get into it.

NobDon't you have times, when you are in a slump, when nothing goes on?

NyanBazYou can keep making puzzles even if you don't have new ideas. But for fluent puzzles can you avoid running dry of ideas?

CastyI sometimes run out of ideas for things, but I almost always survive it. (laughs)

NobYou guys make many puzzles, do you complete your puzzles one by one, or do you make a string of puzzles at the same time?

CastyOne by one. When one is completed, I go on to the next.

-4I don't make more than one puzzle at a time, it is one by one, one at a time for me too.

NobFor example, if you make a giant size problem, could you get tired of it and take a break with a different problem just for a change of pace along the way?

-4Oh, that would be exceptional.

CastyNot me, I never do that. I keep going till the end if I begin to make something.

NobHow about, you stop halfway, and then go back to it later?

CastyThat is rare. I want to finish it on the day I start it, if at all possible.

NyanBazBecause you make your puzzles like that, that's what makes your puzzles fluent. I think that's a secret to make fluent puzzles that they are made in one sitting.

-4I can't make a giant size problem in one sitting. Maybe because I often make problems on the train. I have to get off when the train arrives at my destination. That stops me dead in my tracks.

CastyI can't make puzzles on the trains. I'm making my puzzles at places where I can settle down, such as at home or in a coffee shop.

-4Well, you are making sure the environment is just right.

NyanBazLet's get back to talk about merits. What is the merit for the solver of a fluent problem?

NobA fluent problem is like a straight ball when I think in terms of baseball. The radical problem is some kind of breaking ball. With no straight balls, there wouldn't be breaking balls.

-4Sure. Come to think of it, in nikoli.com, I may get a comment that it is too easy for a fluent problem.

NyanBazFluent problems are easily handled and they feel like that for experienced solvers.

CastyI feel fortunate if I'm told that a problem I made to be easy is too easy. I am thankful that the commenter caught on to my intention.

-4None of the other authors notice me when I make only fluent problems.

NobOh, yeah, you think so? There are many people who bring up Casty's name as an author to watch who is interesting, in past interviews and round-tables.

NyanBazSure. Particularly, the radical authors pay attention to Casty.

CastyReally? I wasn't aware of that.

NyanBazThat's Casty speaking now.

-4Are there any authors you pay special attention to?

CastyNone really. But sometimes when I think about making radical problems I look at Guten's and mimic's problems.

NyanBazHmm, I didn't think that Casty even thought about anything like that. But what will happen to fluent puzzles from now on?

-4There are few authors who specialize in fluent problems. It looks to me like Casty has a monopoly on that.

NobNo need to worry. There are other authors who make fluent problems. But don't forget it, Casty and -4, your existence is precious among the creators of smooth problems.

NyanBazThat means the future is safe. Thank you for today.


Discussion on Dec 2011 Published on Sep 8, 2014

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