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Logic Problem fans, discuss solutions and get solving help.
12/22/2011 2:45:07 PM

Rocky
Rocky
Posts: 6
I am generally good at solving the british edition table puzzles, yet that is probably because some only have 3 or 4 people that need figuring out and the trial and error or Logic needed isnt considerable. YET, I find myself stumped on U.S. table puzzles that are considerably longer. I do love the help that penny press offers here on the website, it just seems so easy!
Does anyone have any advice and suggestions that, in general, help you solve the table puzzles?

12/22/2011 3:27:42 PM

Amy Lowenstein
Amy Lowenstein
Posts: 762
Rocky, I'm not sure what a "table puzzle" is, as opposed to a "grid puzzle" (unless you mean the same thing). I usually make my own grid on Microsoft
Excel. In fact, I have a large Excel workbook which I call "Logic Generic" with various sizes of puzzle grids (5x4, 5x5, 5x6, 6x6, 6x5, 6x7, you name it). I
type in the items at the top, save it under a new name so I can re-use it as is, and my left side automatically repeats what I typed on top, in the same
manner as the grids I've seen in the magazine.

I'm usually pretty bad at doing the ones that just have what might be called a table, without a grid. So, even though we supposedly shouldn't need a grid,
I solve most of these with my own grid, anyway.

Once in a great while, when I see a table and I'm not in a position to get to my computer and deal with one of my pre-made grids, I will write in very
light pencil, whatever I think might be right, in one or two lines of the table, depending on the situation. Then sometimes as I go thru clues enough
times, I figure out which line is definite and which should be ignored, erase the wrong line, and make the right line in darker pencil.

If you'd feel more comfortable using a grid, drop me a line privately, and I'll send you the generic workbook with all the tabs for the different grids.

--
Amy

12/22/2011 6:14:44 PM

Purple Pisces
Purple Pisces
Posts: 599
Lately I find myself enjoying solving table puzzles more than the grids because I like the challenge. In fact last night I finally finished a table puzzle that contained 24 different people, largest puzzle I've solved yet.

The first thing I do is read through the whole puzzle and fill in the answers I can. They usually start you off with a few answers you don't have to guess at. The majority of the puzzle I figure out by making notes in the empty spaces on the page. If an answer has 2 or 3 possibilities I'll make a note of those in parentheses. By doing that with various answers and going back to read through the clues I can often times rule out certain possibilities until I'm left with 1 definite match.

If the puzzle deals with a timeline, different quantities or people's locations to one another, when making my notes I will do it in a way that helps visualize those relationships. For example if a clue states that "Sally was seated to the immediate left of Betty" I will make a note that looks like "Sally|Betty".

With table puzzles it's a lot of making little notes, penciling in possibilities and checking those back against the clues to help figure out the puzzle. More tedious in my opinion than the standard grid puzzles, but also more challenging and more fun.

I think the more you do these types of puzzles you'll develop your own style for taking notes and tracking clues and the easier it will become. I hope I haven't confused you and if I can offer any help please let me know.
<em>edited by Purple Pisces on 12/22/2011</em>

12/23/2011 12:55:23 PM

Rocky
Rocky
Posts: 6
@Amy - thank you! I will politely decline on the grid but I do like the idea. Yes, I was talking about the puzzles that do not have a grid. I am determined to learn how to solve them only using the table.

@PurplePisces - You are right! Table puzzles are definitely more challenging but I am starting to enjoy them. Your notes resemble what I was experiencing and you squeeze the most out of the clues the same way I do.

- Like I said in the topic starter, I have solved the British table puzzles. They are generally easy. I also sovled Rockhinge, puzzle 44 in the dec 2011 logic problem magazine, which was straightforward.

On my eventual to-do list is to come up with my own logic problem and try writing the clues...If I think like the creators, I might solve the puzzles faster.

12/23/2011 2:31:06 PM

Amy Lowenstein
Amy Lowenstein
Posts: 762
Cool, Rocky! If you write your own puzzle and it gets into one of the magazines, let us know which one. If it doesn't get into a magazine, maybe you'd be
allowed to post it on the forum.

--
Amy

12/23/2011 4:26:33 PM

Purple Pisces
Purple Pisces
Posts: 599
I've wondered how logic puzzle creators write the clues to the puzzles, just giving the solver enough info to figure out the puzzle and nothing more. I think this would be a tougher task then solving the actual puzzle LOL!!

12/24/2011 2:01:03 AM

Rocky
Rocky
Posts: 6
In eight grade I actually came up with several variety puzzles and games for an assignment in english. The teacher gave me full credit because she didnt have a clue how to solve the puzzles. That was the only time Ive created a logic problem. I keep thinking there has to be some sort of formula that would makes it easy.

12/24/2011 9:13:31 AM

Amy Lowenstein
Amy Lowenstein
Posts: 762
Rocky, I can't imagine there would be a formula to make it easy. I guess you might have to start writing clues, then put it aside for awhile (or have a friend
who doesn't know the answer, help out) and test it by trying to solve it, and seeing if you've accidentally made it have a non-unique solution. If that
happens, then you'd have to add another clue to refine it so that there's only one solution.

--
Amy

12/29/2011 2:31:18 AM

Noeckett
Noeckett
Posts: 48
Rocky, I used to dread the table puzzles because they were so much harder, but now I also enjoy the added challenge! Here's my system - the setup is a little time consuming, but it helps and it seems to work:

To start, I fill in the first column down, usually in alphabetical (or numerical) order. For instance, say the first column is where you list the first names (usually this is the case), so I just enter them in alphabetical order (for example, Alvin, Brenda, Freddy, Lisa, Peter, and Quentin - I list them alphabetically because that is how the solutions are printed). Score, one column down! : ) Then, in each remaining square I lightly pencil in a short abbreviation for all the possibilities. For instance, say in the second column you are to record the colors of certain clothing items, with 6 possibilities - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Brown. In each of the six squares of that column I would write R O Y G Bl Br. Do that for every column so that in each square is listed the possibilities of what the final outcome could be. Then start solving, reading the clues and erasing possibilites as they are eliminated. So, if clue one was "A woman did not wear brown" I would erase the "Br" from the second column of Brenda's and Lisa's row. Eventually, by process of elimination and careful scrutiny of the clues, I am able to discern the solution. Plus it's a much different solving experience from the typical grid "X"es and "O"s. Give it a try on the next one you solve if you like, see how you like this method!

3/7/2012 4:04:25 PM

memface
memface
Posts: 1
I do basically the same thing as Noeckett. What I do is figure out all the "givens" and then figure out all the names or whatever possibilities for the catergories and write with small letters the initials of all the remaining possibile answers in each box. If there is a catergory that is an "in order" catergory I fill in that column up or down the page first. For example if there are times, say, 10am, 11am, 2pm, 4pm, and 7pm I fill in that column first with 10 am at the top and 7pm at the bottom. Now say the names are Bob, Frank, Mel, Tim and Zack I put small B F M T & Z's in each box in the name column. Then when it says Bob went somewhere earlier than Frank you can erase the B from the 7pm box and F from the 10am box. Similarly if Mel went in the morning you can erase the M from the 2, 4, & 7pm boxes. Now if another catergory is something like where they arrived, say, the Bank, Cafe, Library, Park, and Zoo I put small B C L P & Z's in the destination boxes. The puzzle becomes mostly a process of elimination. As I eliminate answers I simply erase them from the boxes. If Frank is at 2pm then I write his name in the 2pm row and erase the F from the other boxes. And thus if I figure out that Frank went to the Bank I can write Bank at 2pm and erase the B from the other destination boxes in that column. Whenever you only have one letter left in a box there's the answer for that part. And so on. I go through a lot of erasers but I find this usually works for me. Hope this makes sense and is helpful to someone else.
edited by memface on 3/7/2012
<em>edited by memface on 3/7/2012</em>

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