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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tsugi wa … OMAE DA!

This made me laugh: It’s a photo of an electronic display inside a train that provides passengers with information such as the name of the next stop. Here it says 次は オマエダ (tsugi wa Omaeda) to indicate that the next stop will be at Omaeda station (小前田駅) in Saitama prefecture. However, since the place name is written in katakana instead of kanji, it can be read in two different ways. The intended meaning: 次は 小前田 = tsugi wa Omaeda = “Next: Omaeda” And the unintended threat: 次は お前だ = tsugi wa OMAE DA = “Next: YOU!” Omae is a rather disrespectful way of saying “you” in Japanese. (Check Wikipedia for the meaning of da, if you’re interested). Furthermore, katakana is often used as a means of emphasis, similar to the use of italics or block capitals in English. So the sign could perhaps be translated as “YOU’RE NEXT, PAL!”.

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The world’s most difficult sudoku puzzle

Finnish mathematician Arto Inkala recently claimed to have created the world’s hardest Sudoku puzzle. Based on the number of deductions that need to be made to fill in a single cell, this puzzle achieves a difficulty rating of 11 stars, compared with five stars for the average newspaper sudoku. Can you crack it? Have a go. If you get stuck — or rather, when you get stuck — just paste the following grid into Bill DuPree’s sudoku solver, which will solve it for you in a fraction of a second. Thanks, Bill! 8 . . . . . . . . . . 3 6 . . . . . . 7 . . 9 . 2 . . . 5 . . . 7 . . . . . . . 4 5 7 . . . . . 1 . . . 3 . . . 1 . . . . 6 8 . . 8 5 . . . 1 . . 9 . . . . 4 . . Incidentally, if you install Bill’s software on your [More…]

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Header image: The three wise monkeys (三匹の猿) at Tōshō-gū shrine in Nikkō (日光東照宮), said to be the origin of the saying “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”. Photo: Frank Gualtieri.

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