North Coast Puzzle Club (NikPik)

Welcome to NikPik! Yes, that's sort of a reverse acronym for North Coast Puzzle Club or NCPC. Here you'll always find a puzzle or two to work on during those downtimes where others look at TikTok or text their friends or watch YouTube videos, and members will be able to post their own puzzles for others to work on both during our meetings and whenever else they have time.

Speaking of meetings, we will meet Mondays from 6:30 - 8 pm at various public and private places, according to the wishes of members and availability. There is no cost to participate in the meetings or use this site, as the idea is to provide a place and time for people to gather and have fun with puzzles and games and other nerdy stuff, and maybe even learn a thing or two!

December 4, 2023
6:30 pm

Breakside Brewery
1355 Exchange St

Coming up soon! Holiday puzzle exchange!
NCPC meetings will not take place on Christmas 2023 or New Year's Day 2024, but at the January 8 meeting (tentatively located at Bridge & Tunnel Bottleshop and Taproom at 1390 Duane St, Astoria) we will have a holiday puzzle exchange. Bring a game or puzzle to exchange with other members of the group, keeping the purchase to $20 or less, and we'll make sure everyone gets a puzzle to play that they enjoy. No penalty for bringing more than one puzzle, or none. No purchase necessary! Bob bought his puzzle to exchange at the Holiday Sunday Market at The Armory!

April 3, 2023 Meeting Notes

We took on the puzzles of the day from the puzzles page at our first meeting. Here they are, with solutions:

1. Given the number \(123456789\), in how many ways can the digits (numerals) of this number be rearranged to form new numbers, and how many of them are divisible by \(3\) – meaning evenly divisible, with remainder \(0\)? [from Excursions in Number Theory, p.11]

Solution: With 9 digits, the number \(123456789\) can be written \(9!\) different ways, which comes out to \(362,880\) different ways. And since in every one of those ways, the digits of the number add up to 9, which is divisible by 3, every one of those \(362,880\) numbers are divisible by 3!

2. Balance the chemical equation for octane combustion:

\[\ce{ C8H18 + O2 -> CO2 + H2O }\]

Solution: Two of our club members got the answer using trial and error:

\[\ce{ 2 C8H18 + 25 O2 -> 16 CO2 + 18 H2O }\]

3. Here's a crossword puzzle I made that uses chemical symbols, DNA base pair symbols and more to make it more interesting. Have a go by clicking the link!

Solution: The solution should be here.

We talked about next steps and types of puzzles we wanted to work on. The group was interested in pattern puzzles, quilts, origami, alphmetics, constrained writing, jigsaw puzzles, constructing fractals, logic puzzles, and more. A great idea was to have a puzzle booth at the Astoria Sunday Market!!

Our next meeting will be Monday, April 10 at 6:30 pm at Peter Pan Market. Look at the puzzles of the day for some starters for this next meeting of NikPik!

April 10, 2023 Meeting Notes

1. Our first puzzle was offered by Dwayne from Bridge & Tunnel. What is the ?

Solution: Our super word sleuths worked out this one; the message is "THIS PUZZLE IS MADE OF SQUARES", so the ? = S. The challenge was put out to create more of these letter pattern puzzles, so maybe we'll get more in future NikPik meetings!

2. Equation Limerick by Bob

Find the equation that this limerick represents:

The area under the parabola whose max is twenty-two
At a distance of five from the origin pointing righty-oo
And whose x's at minus three
Are zero and ten (can't you see?)
Is one hundred and thirty-eight or pretty close to.

Solution: This is a great example of creating a puzzle by first randomly choosing the answer, and then finding a clue that fits, just like crossword puzzle design and Yohaku puzzle design (both topics were covered in Bob's puzzle class in January and February). In this case, Bob first played with creating a downward-facing parabola (a 2nd order polynomial with a negative coefficient on the square term) that would cross the x-axis at reasonable values close to zero, creating an area that would be a reasonably small size, but visible on a Desmos graph. He then graphed it and picked off the applicable values (i.e. max, roots and values of the function at x=-3) and used Microsoft Math Solver to get the answer. This is a particularly difficult example of an equation limerick, but club members were intrigued and followed along. Here's the actual equation:

\[ \int_{5-\sqrt{22}}^{5+\sqrt{22}} -x^2 + 10x - 3 \,dx = \frac{88\sqrt{22}}{3} \approx 137.5855 \]

April 17, 2023 Notes

We spent some time getting some new people up to date with what we've done so far, played a round of Krypto, and then plunged into some of the puzzles that were on the puzzle page.

1. The crypto puzzle was solved by a couple folks.

Solution: PUZZLE CLUB IS TOTALLY AWESOME! Not a surprising phrase for a puzzle club guy!

2. Pair and share (From Alex Bellos' Guardian column) 

The words ‘zero’ and ‘one’ share letters (‘e’ and ‘o’). The words ‘one’ and ‘two’ share a letter (‘o’), and the words ‘two’ and ‘three’ also share a letter (‘t’). How far do you have to count in English to find two consecutive numbers which don’t share a letter in common?

Solution: After thinking about this for a while, several NikPik members couldn't come up with any answers below one hundred, and some deduced (correctly) that there is no such pair in English. There are pairs in a few other languages.

3. Spell it out! (From Alex Bellos' Guardian column)

‘Eleven trillion’ has an interesting property. It consists of 14 letters and when written out is 11,000,000,000,000, which consists of 14 digits. What is the lowest number to have this same property, namely that the number of letters when written as a word equals the number of digits when written in numerals?

Solution: One billion (1,000,000,000).

4. Satisfying sentence (From Alex Bellos' Guardian column)

“This sentence contains _______ letters”. Write a number in words in the blank space in the above sentence that will make the statement true.

Solution: 36 (thirty-six) & 38 (thirty-eight).

We also got a show and tell of a puzzle called Back Spin, and will probably play it at future meetings.