Hidato Fun 10


From the Hidato fun series , Vol. 10

Beguiling number puzzles that offer a change of pace from sudoku.

Benedek, an Israeli computer scientist and game inventor, offers another passel of hidato puzzles of widely varying difficulty. He starts with a bare-bones rundown of the rules: each hidato is a grid, with some of the boxes filled in with numbers; the object of the puzzle is to fill in the rest of the boxes with numbers that connect in numerical order with two of their neighbors vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. The starting number (always 1) and ending number (the same as the total number of boxes in the grid) are given, and when the puzzle is finished, the numbered boxes form a continuous, meandering pathway of consecutive numbers leading from the first box to the last. Instead of the arithmetical deduction of sudoku, hidato (from the Hebrew word for “riddle”), is more of a workout for spatial reasoning skills; the trick is to figure out the right path through points on the grid from among all the possible pathways. The solution requires imagining how chains of boxes might spread and curve across the page to connect the boxes already filled-in and pruning the many possibilities; the resulting tangle of geometric strategy has something of the feel of a game of go. Benedek includes easy puzzles that will gratify beginners and proceeds to “Medium,” “Hard,” and “Very Hard” levels (solutions are included in the back), ending with two fiendish puzzles labeled “I dare U.” These last are torturous epics that can absorb a puzzler for hours: the experience starts with a baffled search for a foothold; then, a time of exhilaration as numbers come more readily; anxiety and growing frustration as the last, most difficult regions of the grid resist all efforts; a profound exhaustion; rage at the world and all its snares; and finally, a numbed despondency that doesn’t long suppress the hunger for more puzzles.

Amusing and engrossing.

Pub Date: May 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5141-4815-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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