Latin Squares Puzzles
Latin Square puzzles were invented by Mark Thompson, and have appeared in
In a Latin Square puzzle, an N by N square is filled with N copies each of N
different symbols. The symbols must be arranged so that each row contains
exactly one of each symbol; ditto for the columns. The square is also
divided into N outlined regions, and each region must contain exactly one
of each symbol.
The puzzler is usually shown some of the symbols at the start; usually one
of each symbol, one in each row, column, and region. Using these clues,
and logic, the puzzler can uniquely place the remaining symbols.
The symbols are usually letters, but in the Rooftop Lights puzzle I used
seven different colored lights instead. In addition to the usual hints, I
also showed the contents of the regions as a string of lights. The puzzler
has to determine which string belongs to which region, and in which order.
To make this work, I chose a layout that had regions that didn't fork. This
addition was made solely to make the puzzle easier for the less interested
puzzler. The puzzle is still completely solvable without using the strings.
Most Latin Square puzzles I've seen were 6 by 6 or smaller. I've been
working on a program to generate larger ones; thus the 7 by 7 one. It
is a challenge to find layouts that (a) allow a Latin Square arrangement,
(b) permit initial clues in the usual arrangement, (c) have a unique
solution, and (d) have a reasonable solving difficulty. It was also
challenging to find seven colors that were easily distinguishable to the eye.
Many 6x6 puzzles by Eric J. Anderson
A Java applet by Stephen Bennett
Back to Rooftop Lights Puzzle
To Bobs Du-Sum-Oh page,
which has hundreds of this type of puzzle.