## Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

HaveaMint
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### Re: Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

Hasanybodygotanyfiendishlydifficultonesthattheydliketocontribute
64
"Tune for maximum Smoke and then read the Instructions".

MrEen
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### Re: Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

That's my guess, too.

Faust
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### Re: Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

gm10 wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:00 am
Faust wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:56 am
The letter count is a number , "seventy three " is the text for a number , proceed accordingly
Heh, I had considered that when you said misdirection in the previous hint, but I cannot say it made sense to me so I'll only reluctantly say `71` but if it's correct then I say "I don't get it" at the same time.
71 - Correct

You had the key point in an earlier post -
" .... any modification to the length of the question changes the answer, ... "

As written , there are 73 letters in total , so what can be altered while the question remains true/valid ?

Changing the text from "seventy three" to "seventy one" gives 71 letters in total
( I can't see any other combination that works ) .
" And so it goes " - Kurt Vonnegut
The modern reality and the satirical parody are rapidly converging .

gm10
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### Re: Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

Faust wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:03 pm
You had the key point in an earlier post -
" .... any modification to the length of the question changes the answer, ... "

As written , there are 73 letters in total , so what can be altered while the question remains true/valid ?

Changing the text from "seventy three" to "seventy one" gives 71 letters in total
( I can't see any other combination that works ) .
Yep, I had understood that part, hence my answer, but at the same time as per my own key point I dismissed it, because to me it would make as much sense to go from

How many letters would this question contain if the answer wasn't already seventy three ?

to any of these:

How many letters would this question contain if the answer wasn't sixty-two?
How many letters would this question contain if the answer was not sixty-four?
How many letters would this question contain if the answer was forty-one plus thirty-four?

I'm probably weird.

PS: You haven't replied to my (short) musings on the impact of lateral thinking vs capacity for abstraction on code quality. I tried to get the discussion going there for you but no luck.

MrEen
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### Re: Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

Faust wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:03 pm
71 - Correct
That was my next guess! Well, maybe after a few dozen others.

Is that why my code looks like crap?

Schultz
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### Re: Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

catweazel wrote:
Faust wrote:
42 is generally correct of course , in that it's the universal answer to everything ( as all galactic hitch-hikers know )
I find it utterly amazing that it had to be explained.
Okay, just did some research into "galactic hitch-hikers" and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." I guess I "get it" now. But not everybody (as I am not) is into that kind of science-fiction.

Faust
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### Re: Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

I'm assuming that those 3 solutions you suggested have the correct letter count ( I'm too lazy to do it ) ,
but now we introduce hyphens into a riddle that was already a bit murky from the start ....
(re. ambiguities )

BTW - I did wonder if some grammar " enthusiast " might nit-pick about the tense used in the original question .
Strictly speaking it should be " weren't " in place of " wasn't " , but that throws the letter count out

It wasn't me who posed the riddle , but I don't know who I should credit .
It came from a late-night BBC radio program
@catweazel must have heard it and found the link , but he later edited it out of his post .....
....a good sport !
gm10 wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:43 am
......
Take a code example from Mint's Update Manager: ......
......
Now I'd submit my approach would be much more neat, concise and efficient, but I don't think it's due to lateral thinking. There is nothing surprising about my approach, the original approach is just very step-by-step, lacking abstraction.
Yes , I read that post and I appreciated your good intentions ,
( I thought you were very gracious in describing / dignifying my ramblings as a hypothesis ! )
I was still mulling over a reply , or to be more honest , I couldn't really come up with anything constructive to add ,
and I can't fault your reasoning .

Maybe this is a more useful question to start a debate/ discussion on the subject -

" Are lateral-thinking skills an advantage in writing top-quality code ? "

I can't provide any solid evidence for or against , so at best it's still only a hunch .
" And so it goes " - Kurt Vonnegut
The modern reality and the satirical parody are rapidly converging .

gm10
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### Re: Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

Faust wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:03 am
It wasn't me who posed the riddle , but I don't know who I should credit .
I googled it after we were done. The author is Lee Sallows who apparently invented these things under the name of autograms.
gm10 wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:43 am
Maybe this is a more useful question to start a debate/ discussion on the subject -

" Are lateral-thinking skills an advantage in writing top-quality code ? "
I'd submit that lateral thinking skills are always an advantage in everything you do. As long as you're not only thinking laterally. Often the standard solutions are also the best.

Although you have to know them to use them. As an entirely self-taught hobbyist in the field of computers and coding who has never read a single book about the matter I often have or at least had no idea what the standard solutions are. I certainly wrote very creative code starting out, re-inventing many a wheel only to later find out there where existing functions for that. You know, like my first Windows programs as a kid did the entire UI from scratch because the wonders of the various APIs were yet for me to discover and I didn't have permanent Internet access and/or an IDE to speed up the process.

This is a bit what that original mintupdate code sample I posted (as well as a bunch of other Mint code) reminds me of, like somebody just discovering the world of coding. Fun times. In my book your code is good enough even if you're taking the long route as long as it works (after all they made Linux Mint a success with it), but you'll probably facepalm once you figure out how much better you could have done it. As I said in a discord chat recently coming up on Halloween: Nothing scares me better than my old code. Although sometimes the creativity (read: unnecessary lateral thinking for lack of knowledge of the direct route) also impresses me.

I find looking at someone's coding style gives you a unique insight into their way of thinking. Just look at my happy shell scripts and start psycho-analyzing the mess in my head.

PS: discuss!

lsemmens
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### Re: Puzzles , logic and lateral thinking .

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