Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Elections and voting

We take time out of our regularly scheduled puzzle posts to bring you a special posting today. Elections! Votes! The right to complain (or not)

This post could be one of those preachy things or maybe not. I haven't decided which way I want to go with it yet, so we will just see where my ramblings take me.

All who know me realize I'm a fairly laid back soul who just goes with the flow...unless it is something in passionate about. My family, my job, my students, justice. The normal things we all care for.

When I care about something Stevenson's protagonist has nothing on me. I've been known to go ballistic at times when I'm crossed (but am equally forgiving). Elections bring out the best and the worst in me. I'm fiercely patriotic and believe it to be a duty, nay, an obligation to vote.

I registered when I turned 18 and haven't missed a presidential election since then. When I got residency in HK it was high on my list of things to do. When elections come around here I vote. An obligation. See, unlike many I know (my husband for one) I love that I have the right to be heard. The inconvenience of jury duty aside, I can't imagine not voting.

Many years ago when I worked for Uncle Sam a few of my brothers in arms tried to convince me it was not good to vote for my boss. It didn't work and my ballot was sent in. For me it's the ability to be able to say I don't like something that is happening and being able to have the power of my vote behind my big mouth. I realize I'm only one person and that I'm a small one at that, but if I say nothing I've no right to voice my opposition to decisions made by those in power.

I'll not lecture you blog readers as I did my father last night or my husband last month. Instead I'll ramble a bit more.

Presidential elections and legislative elections are not the only time we vote in our lives. We do it regularly. I vote at work on referendums, I vote for best papers written by my students, I vote for a puzzle I like.

And you thought this would only be about the recent US elections.

At IPP each year there is a ballot we get to fill out to vote for our favorite puzzles in the competition. Of course there is a group of judges and they give out prizes as well, but to my simple mind the puzzlers choice is a great indicator of what makes a good puzzle. This years winner was no exception.  Made by Iwahiro (Hirokazu Iwasawa).

'Square in the Bag' is so simple looking. It has mass appeal. Everyone I saw in the judging room picked it up and tried to solve it. While I was there, no one did. Upon returning home I read a number of posts on FaceBook mostly, about how great (or how naff) it was.

A couple of people replicated the puzzle and were kind enough to give me an equation to work out the dimensions. Now I'm no mathematician, but I managed to do just that. It really is a cool little puzzle.

My first copy I gave to my friend Da Yan when he was here in October. I didn't see him solve it and haven't had the opportunity to find out if he did. I've had to make myself another. It's a nice little thing and when you get to a certain point there's that great AHA! That always feels wonderful. I like that kind of a puzzle. One I agonize over for days and then's solved!

If you can't manage to get a copy of the puzzle, it's easy enough to make. (can I say that?) but you see, that is the kind of VOTE any one would want.


  1. May I have the dimensions? I would like to make it, too.

  2. Hello,
    It seems to be a wonderful puzzle,
    can I ask you please the dimensions?
    I can't find a copy of that puzzle, so I would try to make it.

    Thank you very much

  3. Where can I get this puzzle or CorRECTly In The Bag?

  4. What is the equation for the dimensions?