Soliciting Game App Recommendations

I’ve been doing some business travel recently, and more is on the horizon. Typically I prefer to read, but it’s hard to enjoy a book when you are reading it in the ten-minute increments that exist between, say, getting to the gate and having to board your flight. Those little snippets of time seem much more suited to game playing on an iPhone or tablet.

IMG_5914I’ve got only a few games on my iPhone and tablet: solitaire, spider solitaire, Sudoku, and Tetris. As those choices reflect, I’m not much for games where I have to rescue adorable animals or fight barbarians or outwit wizards. I’m more of a puzzle person. I feel they help to keep me mentally sharp, and they also appeal to my stubborn vanity. Give me a spider solitaire deal that seems impossible, and I’ll try again and again until I figure it out.

I feel overwhelmed and hopeless when I go to the app store and try to sift through the thousands of game app options that are there, which is why I’ve stuck with old, tried-and-true selections. Hence, my question — are there good apps out there that I should add to my phone and tablet? Any good crossword or Scrabble apps, or other puzzle options that I haven’t found? So far, I’ve stuck to free games and endured the ads, but I’d be willing to pay for a few good games that would help pass the time while I’m cooling my heels at Gate B 31. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

As Simple As Rubik’s Cube

Researchers using supercomputers have figured out that any scrambled Rubik’s Cube can be completely solved in no more than 20 moves.  (And I’m happy to report that one of the people involved, who is quoted in the linked article, is a mathematician at Kent State University, here in Ohio.)  Why were supercomputers needed, you ask?  Because Rubik’s Cubes can be put into 43 billion billion different starting positions.  The vast majority of these can be solved within 15 to 19 moves.  In 100 million combinations, exactly 20 moves are needed to solve the puzzle.

20 moves!  Just what I needed:  something else to remind me that I was clueless when it came to figuring out a Rubik’s Cube, or one of those bent nails puzzles.

I had a friend once who got so frustrated with the apparently unsolvable Rubik’s Cube that he steamed the colored squares off the plastic underneath and re-glued them so that he could brag to friends that he figured it out.  Of course, he might have done better if he’d been helped by a supercomputer or two.