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!

NEXT MEETING
February 19, 2024
6:30 pm

Obelisk Beer Co.
598 Bond St
Astoria


Fermi Problems and AI!
At our next meeting, let's talk about and do some Fermi problems (estimation) and talk about AI solutions to really hard problems (i.e. protein structure, drug discovery, politics, Palestine, weather, etc.). Here is a list of Fermi problems we could work on (we can either look up the answers or there is an answer sheet available which I'll bring):

Fermi Questions Beachwood Invitational 1/28/23 (from Science Olympiad Fermi Questions page)

1. How many students are competing in today’s Beachwood Invitational Division C across all teams?

2. How many Earths, placed side-by-side, would it take to stretch across the Milky Way Galaxy?

3. How long ago, in months, was the first Science Olympiad National Tournament?

4. What is the population density of Ohio, in people per acre?

5. How many matchbox cars placed end-to-end would it take to make a straight line from Cleveland, OH to Cincinnati, OH?

6. How many volleyballs would fit in Lake Erie?

7. 717

8. 1346

9. How many Earths will fit in the Moon?

10. How many total legs would there be in a great hundred dogs plus a score of cats?

11. How many honey bees are there in the world?

12. How long, in minutes, would it take the average person to type Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet?

13. How many days ago did John Hancock “John Hancock” the Declaration of Independence?

14. If the entire US population stood in a socially-distanced line, how many millimeters would it stretch?

15. What is the land area of Earth in hectares?

16. How many runs have been scored in Major League Baseball’s history?

17. How many accounts follow the most-followed Twitter account?

18. How many letters are in the English Alphabet?

19. How many grains of rice are in a 10 kilogram bag of rice?

20. What are the odds of getting heads on 12 straight flips of a standard quarter?

21. How many Earths does a single water molecule weigh?

22. How tall was Robert Pershing Wadlow, the tallest known human in history, in attometers?

23. What is the weight of an average male Asian elephant, measured in the weight of an average adult American man?

24. How much does an average woman’s fingernail weigh in rontograms?

25. What is the speed of light in meters per second?

26. If every fish on earth was being hunted by every cat on earth, how many cats would there be per fish?

27. How many gigaparsecs is it from Beachwood, OH, to Marietta, OH?

28. How many text characters are in the content pages of Wikipedia?

29. How much electricity was used globally in 2022, in picojoules?

30. How many regular M&Ms would fit inside the sun? Assume the M&Ms do not melt or stick together

31. How many standard lab goggles would it take to equal the weight of a full-grown adult blue whale?

32. How many grains of sand are there on the beaches and deserts on Earth?

33. How many days would it take Usain Bolt to run the average distance from the Earth to the moon and back, assuming he runs continuously and at world-record pace the entire time?

34. What is the brightness of the sun, in lumens?

35. How many fortnights ago did dinosaurs become extinct?

36. How many replacement passenger automobile tires are sold in the US every year?

37. What is the height of Mt. Everest in exameters?

38. How many human babies are born every year?

39. An ampere is equal to how many electrons per second?

40. How many faces are there on a rhombicosidodecahedron?

41. How many standard Oreos placed flat, side by side, would it take to circle the earth at the equator?

42. How many keys are on a standard piano?

43. How many pizzas are ordered in the US every year on Super Bowl Sunday?

44. What is the volume of Lake Erie, in attoliters?

45. What is the volume of a regulation golf ball, in hectoliters?

46. How long would it take a person walking at average human walking speed to travel the distance from NYC to LA?

47. How much water goes over Niagara Falls every year, in teraliters?

48. How many leaflets do Aesculus glabra (Ohio Buckeye) leaves usually contain?

49. 7842 (that's 78 to the 42nd power)

50. How many calories will your team expend on this test if you use your full time allotment?

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 puzzel.org 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.