Editorial
[ Issue 6 ]

Language, literature, music, nature, the performing arts, hobbies, science and humour all deserve Emily Bronto's approval

Bikwil offers acclaim to language, literature, music, nature, the performing arts, hobbies, science and humour

Editorial

In the Editorial to Issue 6 Tony Rogers comments on the dearth of solutions offered by readers to the Twelve Billiard Balls Puzzle.

It's no snack, even for people used to doing puzzles

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Unbalanced Music of the Spheres Tony Rogers

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Sadly, though not unexpectedly, no solutions have been forthcoming for the billiard ball problem we set in Issue 4. Mind you, it's no snack, even for people used to doing puzzles. Which explains some of the questions readers have raised, like the following:

Does the problem demand that we not know at the start if the odd ball is lighter or heavier? (afraid so)

How many should I weigh at a time twelve, eight, six? (a crucial question, this one)

Is it all trial and error to arrive at a solution? (for me, yes I know of no algorithm for solving such problems).

Apart from the question of how many to weigh, the solution does require a certain amount of lateral reasoning not cheating, just sneaky thinking.

But the most important point is to realise that all possible outcomes have to be allowed for (such as "what does it mean if the balls we happen to weigh this time balance?"). Computer programmers will know this approach and its frustrations, because in that game you always have to cater, in advance, for all eventualities.

In the absence of any other, then, my own solution, in a hopefully easy to understand layout, may be found here.

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