Another Only Connect Game

I wrote another Only Connect that I presented on Floor Pi. This one was really close, where the two teams had scores of 23 and 22, decided by the last item.

MIT context is not necessary for any items in the first two rounds.

Round 1: Connections
Canada | Yosemite | United Arab Emirates | aboriginal
Answer: Consonants and Vowels Alternate
[was an audio question]
Mahler’s Fifth Symphony | Rachmaninoff’s Op. 3 No. 2 Prelude | Chopin’s Fantasie-Impromptu | Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata
Answer: Classical Music in C-Sharp Minor
Frederick Sanger | Marie Curie | Linus Pauling | Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Answer: Multiple-Time Recipients of the Nobel Prize
Saxony | Denmark | Brandenburg | France
Answer: Switched Sides in the Thirty-Years War
fur | abjurer | vex | tang
Answer: English Words that rot13 to Other English Words

Round 2: Sequences
Suffolk | New York | Queens | Kings
Answer: Highest-Population Counties in New York
635318657 | 1729 | 50 | 4
Answer: Smallest Number that can be Written as the Sum of Two nth Powers of Positive Integers Two Distinct Ways
te | mind | birdplane | star
Answer: Last Words of Last Versus of the Four Chord Song
Zulu | Sesotho | Afrikaans | English
Answer: Languages of Consecutive Sections of South Africa’s National Anthem
Poseidon | Ouranos | Cronus | Zeus
Answer: Planets by Greek Equivalents of Roman Gods
Tunisia | Egypt | Libya | Yemen
Answer: Countries whose Governments were Overthrown in the Arab Spring, in Chronological Order

Round 3: Connecting Wall
Third
Fourth
North
Red
Black
Ha-ha
Bryce
Street
Fifth
Copley
Fulkerson
Kings
Maverick
Sciarappa
Grand
Dewey
Answers:
Wall
Canyon National Parks of the USA
Squares in Boston
North-South Streets in East Cambridge

Angola
Angora
Female
Elmo
Horatio
Icosium
Edgar
Loohooloo
Oea
Edo
Mercury
Benvolio
Guenette
Lucius
Read That
Spike Lesson

Answers:
Characters in Shakesperean Plays that Survived to the End Despite Many Characters Dying
Country Capitals, Back in the Day
Art Installations on MIT’s Campus
Avengers (Female: Iron Man, Mercury: Quicksilver, Read That: Scarlet Witch, Spike Lesson: Thor)

Round 4: Missing Vowels
Unfortunately Named Concepts in Mathematics
KLLNGFLD
CXRNG
TTSGRP
HMCDLCHFRPRBLM
Answers: Killing Field, Cox Ring, Tits Group, Homicidal Chauffeur Problem
Musical Modes
LDN
NN
LN
RBN
Answers: Lydian, Ionian, Aeolian, Arabian
Meta
PZZLHNT
DCHLRBNZN
VNTHSCRNM
NLCNNCT
Answers: Puzzle Hunt, 1,3-dichlorobenzene, Even this acronym, Only Connect
Georgia
TLNT
STHSST
THSTH
SNDWCHSLNDS
Answers: Atlanta, South Ossetia, The South, Sandwich Islands
Categories in Floor Pi Only Connects
MMRBLLRCS
PHSSFMTSS
CTGRSNFLRPNLCNNCTS
SPLRS
Answers: Memorable Lyrics, Phases of Mitosis, Categories in Floor Pi Only Connects, Spoilers
Induction
BSCS
STMCLLS
HLLFFM
DCKTB
Answers: Base Case, Stem Cells, Hall of Fame, Duck Tibia
Spoilers
JHNDSTTHND
THMSWNTHMWR
THLSTCTGRSSTTS
MCRRGNSMS
Answers: John Dies at the End, The Emus Win the Emu War, The Last Category is “States”, Microorganisms
States
DNL
PRCLMS
BSNSTNCNDNST
GRG
Answers: Denial, Proclaims, Bose-Einstein Condensate, Georgia

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An Only Connect Game

I wrote a game of Only Connect which I hosted for Floor Pi this past night. Here’s the items in the Only Connect game. If you’re not familiar with Only Connect, you could read up how the four rounds work here.

Several of these hints depend on an MIT context.

Clues beyond the first clue (for the first two rounds) and answers are in white text. Highlight to see.

Yeah, I know, this presentation leaks some meta-information beforehand. Deal with it.

Round 1: Connections
decay | less | gloss | wuss
Answer: Words that Become Cities when Said before ‘ter’
50 | 19 | 26 | 82
Answer: Atomic Numbers of Elements whose Symbols are Unrelated to their English Names
50 | 12 | 27 | 5
Answer: Numbers of Stars on Some Country’s Flag
50 | 64 | 51 | 32
Answer: MIT Buildings Not Usually Referred to by their Building Numbers
51 | 1001 | 501 | 11
Answer: Numbers whose Roman Numerals are also Valid Chinese Names
we | seem | sea | yeah
Answer: English Words that Sound like ‘Yes’ in Other European Languages

Round 2: Sequences
x | r | q | j
Answer: English Consonants that Don’t Typically Make the Sounds Represented by Them in IPA
f3 | e5 | g4 | Qh4#
Answer: Fool’s Mate
Rhode Island | Alaska | New York | Hawaii
Answer: US States with Highest Proportions of Population Living on Islands
θ | ζ | ε | β
Answer: Greek Letters that Contain Other Greek Letters in their English Names
123 | 101 | 250 | 100
Answer: Room Numbers of Largest Lecture Halls at MIT
50 | 2 | 2 | 1
Answer: Panels of Loss Meme Interpreted as Roman Numerals

Round 3: Connecting Wall
Triple Alliance
Ranch
Spanish Succession
Roses
Star Market
Kanye
Cosi
Evanston
Yellowknife
Woolsey
Ferguson
Monsoon
River
Passage
Harvest
Pacific
Answers:
War of the ______
2018 Major California Wildfires
Recently Closed Stores in Cambridge, MA
Northwest

Missouri
Connecticut
Surya
Prospect
Mountain
Arkansas
Eastern
Massachusetts
Ohio
Pavilion
Western
Central
River
Passage
Harvest
Pacific
Answers:
Major US Rivers
Indian Restaurants in Cambridge, MA
Streets that Intersect in Central Square
US Time Zones

Round 4: Missing Vowels
Amino Acids
PHNLLNN
SPRGN
TRPTPHN
PRRLSN
Answers: Phenylalanine, Asparagine, Tryptophan, Pyrrolysine
[redacted category]
Numbers that have Appeared So Far in this OnlyConnect
LVN
SXTFR
GHTTW
NHNDRDNDTWNTTHR
Answers: Eleven, Sixty-Four, Eighty-Two, One Hundred and Twenty-Three
MIT Student Groups
LCTRSRSCMMTT
THTCH
HMS
SSCTNFSTDNTCTVTS
Answers: Lecture Series Committee, The Tech, Ohms, Association of Student Activities
Canals
SZ
PNM
R
RT
Answers: Suez, Panama, Erie, Root
Roman Numerals of Prime Numbers
L
XXXV
CXXV
CXCX
Answers: LIII, XXXVII, CXXVII, CXCIX

Best Chess Puzzles

This is a selection of 16 chess puzzles that I find to be among the most incredible and ingenious that I’ve seen.

I have modified the presentation of several of these problems. Most notably, the checkmate problems are usually presented as a “Mate in n”, where n is given to the solver. In these cases, I leave it up to the solver to try to force a mate as quickly as possible. If you want the values of n for these problems, they are listed under the section “The Numbers”, after “The Puzzles” and before “The Solutions”.

The Puzzles

A.

loyd_1

White to play. How quickly can White force a mate?

B.

taverner

White to play. How quickly can White force a mate?

C.

langstaff

White to play. How quickly can White force a mate?

D.

giegold3

White to play. How quickly can White force a mate?

Continue reading “Best Chess Puzzles”

Guess the Statistic

Guess what each of these statistics is, given the top 8 countries.

Statistic 1
1. Denmark
2. Canada
3. Russia
4. Norway
5. United States
6. Finland
7. Sweden
8. Iceland

Statistic 2
1. Australia
2. China
3. Thailand
4. India
5. Israel
6. Mexico
7. United States
8. Philippines

Statistic 3
1. United States
2. El Salvador
3. Turkmenistan
4. Maldives
5. Cuba
6. Thailand
7. Bahamas
8. Seychelles

Statistic 4
1. India
2. Palau
3. Côte d’Ivoire
4. Pakistan
5. United States
6. Australia
7. Nigeria
8. Tanzania
(though there exist good arguments some positional switches should happen)

Statistic 5
1. Bolivia*
2. Ecuador*
3. Colombia
4. Ethiopia
5. Bhutan
6. Eritrea
7. Yemen
8. Mexico
*though there exists a good argument that Ecuador and Bolivia switch places

Statistic 6
1. Russia
2. Kyrgyzstan
3. Canada
4. United States
5. Indonesia
6. Norway
7. Tajikistan
8. Argentina

Statistic 7
1. Venezuela
2. San Marino
3. Costa Rica
4. Panama
5. Ecuador
6. Uruguay
7. Colombia
8. Iceland

Statistic 8
1. India
2. Pakistan
3. China
4. United Kingdom
5. Bangladesh
6. Indonesia
7. Brazil
8. United States

The Game of Subofniqlet

([sə’bɒfnɪˌklɛt])

Here’s a game. The challenge: try to communicate a reference to a long string of text (maybe all the elements of a certain set, or even an entire book) with only one string, such that:

  • The string consists of only letters in the text: no spaces or punctuation, or its equivalents. (for instance, the 26 letters of the English alphabet, for books or speeches in English)
  • No letter is used more than once.
  • The string is a subsequence of the text; that is, the letters appear in the text, in that order, possibly with more letters in between.

So, for a given input, someone seeks a subsequence consisting of unique letters that hopefully communicates an idea to others.

As an example,

cerimpasnodylut

is probably a fairly good string to reference the lanthanides, with ‘cerim’, ‘pas’, ‘nody’, and ‘lut’ referring respectively to the first, second, third, and last lanthanides.

Here’s some other strings you may be able to recognize.

itwasbeofm

opangmstyle

wethpolfunidsa

bulivenharmzdsqwctp

whtefuckdiyojsabm

onyfearitsl

And here’s a really far stretch:

amnplc

A Round of Extraordinary Luck at LearnedLeague

The first MiniLeague that I decided to participate in was the Just Images Maps league, since, well, I love maps. The second round of the MiniLeague went ridiculously well for me in that I answered 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 correctly when I only legitimately knew the answer to 5.

round_2

Q1:

q1

This was probably the least ridiculous of my guesses. I knew what the idea behind the map was, that it shows what would’ve happened if land reclaimed from the sea was reflooded; I just didn’t know what the agents of water blockage were called (levees?). After a lot of weighing options, I decided to guess dikes because I often hear that word in association with the Netherlands and I guessed it sounded like the sort of thing that would function as a levee.

Q2:

q2

I’m definitely not familiar with a map of this sort, but this just looked like a rock face, so I guessed rock climbing. Well.

Q3:

q3

I had no clue what this was, but it looked like a museum. I literally just randomly guessed a museum for which I did not know what its floorplan was like. Turns out, this was in fact a Guggenheim Museum.

Q4:

q4

I only knew the names of so many aviators. I decided to guess one of them, Amelia Earhart. Turns out, one of these was indeed Amelia Earhart.

Q5:

q5

This was the only of the five questions I got right where I actually straight-up knew the answer: Biafra.

Q6:

q6

Ah, tricky question. This one’s a good puzzle.