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Where are the logic puzzles?

I sometimes get emails that ask where the logic puzzles are. “I thought your site had logic puzzles, where are the logic puzzles?” they ask.

My site does indeed have logic puzzles, by which I mean puzzles in which you employ logic to solve them. Pretty much every puzzle on my site meets this description. However, I’m being pedantic. I believe the logic puzzles being referred to by my correspondents are the kind that involve a group of girl scouts, sitting at a counter in a Boba shop, each with a different skill badge, a different pet, and a different beverage:

The 7 year old sits on a red stool.
The 8 year old has a schnauzer.
The 9 year old is drinking a green tea boba.
The green stool is just to the left of the white one.
The girl on the green stool is drinking a mocha boba.
The girl with the computer-expert badge has a one-legged parrot.
The girl on the yellow stool has a dancer badge.
The girl in the center is drinking a strawberry boba.
The 11 year old is on the first stool.
The girl with the hiking badge is next to the girl with an ocelot.
The girl with the pottery badge is drinking taro boba.
The girl with the magical pony is next to the dancer
The 12 year old has a home scientist badge.
The 11 year old is next to the girl on the blue stool.
The hiker is next to the girl drinking a plain tea boba.
Who’s got the Ferret?

Although these are commonly called logic puzzles, I prefer to call them “logic word puzzles”, since there are all kinds of puzzles that employ logic, not just these. I’ve also seen them called Einstein’s Puzzle, also a terrible name.

Whatever they are called, I don’t carry them. This is because of those pesky words. In order to produce them, I would have to come up with 4-6 lists of related things (girl scouts, boba beverages, sweaters, mood-rings, troll figurines, etc.) for each individual puzzle, and this would be extremely labor-intensive, especially since I like to put out many thousands of each puzzle variety, so you don’t run out.

This website currently has over a million puzzles on it, and the reason there are so many is because I’m able to use power tools (namely, computer programming) to produce them. I’ve thought about combining various word lists in combinatorial ways to produce these puzzles, but I don’t think the results would be very appealing (there are five girl scouts, each has a favorite muscle car, lives on a different planet, and has a different number of legs). Probably the best solution would be for me to crowd-source the word lists. The idea being that you, the visitors to this website, could suggest lists of things to use in puzzles), but setting this up would also be very time consuming, and would probably require moderation so as not to be abused by spammers and trolls.

For similar reasons, I don’t carry Fill-a-pix, Mosaik, Connect-the-dots, and other puzzles that employ unique pictures for the solutions, not to mention Word-Search and Crosswords. If you want to set up a moderated crowd-sourcing system for word-puzzle and picture-puzzle content that I can use, let me know when it’s running! I’d love to use it!

2 Responses to “Where are the logic puzzles?”

  1. David Millar Says:

    Totally valid reasons for not carrying them. I’d be happy to share that I write them on occasion, and navigating to will gladly provide many such examples.

    I’ve found while writing them that the most interesting puzzles of the genre tend to include additional kinds of data that may not lend themselves to automation: including a map of a shopping center where clues describing stores ‘across’ from one another could have varying meanings, or time- and amount-based datapoints that rely on clues written in terms of greater or fewer or requiring calculations. Coupling this with a need for a bit of storytelling flair, and Story Logic (as I call them) seem to be a puzzle type least suited for automation.

    One thing that I think would be cool is to have a data format, similar to how crosswords are available in PUZ and IPUZ format, and be able to load it into a GUI for solving on a tablet or computer. I’m currently exploring this concept with another puzzler and will be happy to let you know what we come up with.

  2. jbum Says:

    Agreed about the more complex things you can do to make them interesting- for example, in the “Einstein” puzzle I copied for the girl scout example, there was the notion of house order, and some fairly subtle sentence construction that would get lost in a naive combinatoric implementation. If you had a database of collections of things, you would also need some tags to go with them to indicate if they could be ordered, stacked, etc…