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Interactive Puzzles are here!

Interactive Cow & Cactus puzzleI kept myself busy over the Christmas break (when I wasn’t feeding the birds and entertaining my cat) by adding 13 new Interactive Puzzle pages to this website. The puzzles work in modern web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE 9 or later), on iPads, and on some Android tablets . I think these puzzles are too large to solve comfortably on smaller smart phones (like iPhones), but I still managed to work a few while waiting at my dentist’s office.

Android support is a little spotty right now, because I can’t test on every Android device, and some of the older ones have performance issues. It’s working okay on the Samsung Galaxy Pro and on my Android phone. If you’re planning on buying a tablet, I would recommend the iPad, if you can afford it.

For the puzzles that come in different sizes (like Slitherlink, Kakuro, and so on), I’m offering a few new sizes, including 10x12s that work nicely on iPads, and some larger sizes that are intended for big monitors or tablets turned sideways.

If the size isn’t right, click the ? icon and choose a different size.

I wanted to point out a few hidden, or not so obvious, features:

* For all the puzzles that involve number grids (Sudoku, Killer Sudoku, Jigsaw Sudoku, Comparison Sudoku, Kakuro, Inkies) there are options for making marks on the cells. You use the little numbers to make marks (indicating possible numbers for a cell) and the big numbers for entering solutions. In most of these puzzles, if you double-click or double-tap, it’ll select ALL the cells in a block or cage, and then you can mark them all at once (e.g. touching the little 5 will make all the selected cells get a little 5). You can also drag your finger, or use the shift key on a keyboard to select multiple cells — this is a huge time saver, and makes solving Killer Sudoku, in particular, a pleasure.

* Speaking of shift keys, there are a few features that activated by the various shift or modifier keys on keyboards.

* For the Sudoku-like puzzles, shift is used for multiple cell selection. In addition you can hold down Shift while typing number-keys to make and clear marks.

* For the Slitherlink-like puzzles (Slitherlink, Masyu, Cow & Cactus, Area 51), shift-click can be used to place and clear X-marks (which indicate an open edge). The Alt Key (or Option key on a PC) activates the yellow highlighter, and the Windows/Command key activates the blue/green highlighter. I should note that I use the highlighters extensively on slitherlink puzzles to keep track of the interior and exterior of the loop.

* If you haven’t done so yet, click the Question Mark, Magnifying Glass and Gear Icons so you can see what they are for. The Question Mark offers multiple kinds of help, including the very important Puzzle Instructions. The Magnifying Glass allows you to change the puzzle variety, size and/or difficulty. The Gear controls different settings, which can make the puzzle easier to read or easier to solve.

* The “Krazydad” word in the puzzle title is a link that’ll take you back to the interactive puzzle menu, where there are 13 puzzle varieties to choose from.

I should mention that in addition to some new flavors of Variety Slitherlink, I’m introducing two brand new puzzles: Cow & Cactus and Area 51, which are not yet available elsewhere on the site. Both of these puzzles are Slitherlink variants, similar to Slitherlink and Masyu. I’m personally very fond of the Area 51s (had tip to David Millar, who invented the format), which is an advanced puzzle that combines all the different clues from Slitherlink, Masyu and Cow & Cactus.

So have a happy and puzzling 2015, and enjoy the new puzzles!

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