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Eric Shackle Writes: On On and On's Clever Cryptic Puzzles

Eric Shackle introduces a Japanese gentleman called On - and his clever cryptic puzzles.

For many more fascinating articles visit Eric's world-famous e-book www.bdb.co.za/shackle/

Cryptic crossword puzzles are hard enough to solve, but a brilliant young Japanese web designer called On has gone one better. He's devised cryptic internet game puzzles that are twice as difficult. First you have to work out how to play one of the games, then how to achieve a high score.

One of the best is posted on his Eyezmaze home page, and it's truly amazing. Well worth a visit.

"I'm very happy if you enjoy my games including the how to solve them," says On. "I reduce the text introductions as much as possible, because I hope everyone all over the world can play my games. I try to make them intuitive, but there may be some confusing things.

This is an entertainment site with Flash games, which I produce as a hobby. I added the tip system as I want to make my living from EYEZMAZE. I currently produce other web sites and content, and I make Flash games in my spare time. If you really enjoy my games, I ask for a donation of $1 or more.

I'm very glad that I get many messages and feedbacks. I can read all the messages although it's very hard for me to give a reply to each message. This text is in English, but because I'm not good at English I ask my partner to translate all of the text. Well, I'm looking forward to get your messages or feedback in the future. Thanks!''

In halting English (don't laugh at it - it's far better than our Japanese) On says this about himself:

What's ON like?

After being graduated Tama Art University with a degree in Department of Graphic Design... work as a freelance web designer with newly learned skill of HTML & FLASH during being sick in bed.

After winning the game contest by shockwave.com, I launched orginal game site, EYEZMAZE.On also writes a blog, which tells endearing stories about his home life, as father of a three-year-old son:

When it comes to be bedtime, I and my wife take my son to upstairs in the bedroom and say good night.

On that particular day, I just happened to enter the next closet room while my wife was making his bed.

Then, A laundry basket was there.

It's natural for ON to pull it over my head.

Then, my wife and son came into the closet room...

my son busted into laughing.

Since then, it became a pattern to perform instant histrionics every every night. already over 100 days.

My son goes to upstairs in a state of happy expectancy tonight too.

ON beats my brains to meet his expectations.

This page is the blog to record of the all performances fully.

well,there may be meny confusing thing like inside joke,'cause these performances are basically for my son

Please through such things.

We first read about On's cryptic puzzles when Max Newmann, Editor at Large of New Zealand's XTRA newsletter, selected one of them as his Pick of the Week. He wrote: "I think it was sometime last year that I featured the 'Grow' cube game. Like me, people seemed to enjoy it and be baffled by it in equal measure. Well, since then, two more versions have emerged and while I still don't understand what's going on, it's still curiously addictive."

We couldn't make head or tail of the cube game, so we sought help from our knowledgeable friend Ian Scott-Parker, of Hurricane, Utah, who replied:

When objects are added in a certain order, that triggers the control program to respond by 'growing' the objects. I suppose imagining that every addition triggers an 'if then else' programming loop might help. Some objects 'grew' (the cog & pinion, and the hills for example -at the same time displaying a "Level Up"' or similar message, and sometimes growing objects triggered other objects to grow) and in a later attempt the hills grew to be mountains, and the egg became an omelet.

At the end I received a score, which seemed arbitrary to someone not understanding what was happening, then the object palettes reset themselves. Beats me, buster! Beth [Ian's equally knowledgeable wife] who has dallied with this game, says part selection order is all important - and all these years we thought it was position that counted (grin)

The originator is I think the EyeMaze.com fellow, who says:

I'm very happy if you enjoy my games including the how to solve
them. I reduce the text introductions as much as possible, because
I hope everyone all over the world can play my games. I try to make
them intuitive, but there may be some confusing things.

"Hmmm... yes indeed, old chap" (said with an eyebrow cocked George Sanders air of disbelief).

Have you ever considered Tiddly Winks as a pastime?

POSTSCRIPT. We managed to contact On by entering a message on his website, saying we were writing a story about him and his puzzles, and asking for a few more details. Next day we received this reply:

From: Nakayama On.

Dear Mr. Eric

Hello. I'm ON, operating my site, EYEZMAZE.

I'm very happy to hear that your offer about my site.
Thank you very much.

I would sum up my data below.
Feel free to use this for reference.

Name - ON
Nationality - Japan (YOKOHAMA )
Age - private
Main interest - child parenting
Latest activity - producing web and mobile contents etc
(I couldn't get the permissions of each URL or details from employers.)

Please feel free to ask me if you need other data.
Thank you.
Sincerely yours


Eyemaze http://www.eyezmaze.com/grow/v3/index.html
On's blog http://www.eyezmaze.com/onkyblog/2006/03/it_started_at_a_certain_evenin.html
Some of On's other blogs http://www.eyezmaze.com/onkyblog/2006/04/
Max Newmann xtra nz http://xtra.co.nz/cool/0,,13699-5645672,00.html


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