legall The Flashing Cursor Plays Games [=||=]

Games and Puzzles.


What user-support person, when seeing the message produced when a new game is started in Sherlock - The Game of Logic...

      "Generating CLUES..."

... wouldn't say to himself (or herself) "Oh! Don't I wish!"

A friend sent me a copy of this game and, for me, it rapidly became addictive. I have since found the web site of the author, Everett Kaser and registered the game. I also found there is a newer version that adds a few more features such as saving an incompletely-solved game to continue later and shelling to DOS. (Unfortunately, the "Shell to DOS" only works if your shell is COMMAND.COM. It does not work with 4DOS.) From Everett Kaser's web site:

Sherlock is a computerized version of logic puzzles, where you're presented with a series of clues that help you to determine the exact locations of 36 different images in a 6 x 6 array. Each of 6 rows contain 6 different images of the same type (faces, houses, numbers, fruit, street signs, or the letters "HOLMES"). The computer scrambles the locations of the items in each row (without showing you their locations) and then presents to you a set of graphical clues that describe the physical relationships of different images. You use the clues to deduce where things can't be (and where they HAVE to be) until you know where all of the images are located.

Here is what the game looks like at the beginning of play:

[A screen-shot of an older version of Sherlock.]

Sherlock is shareware available from Everett Kaser Software and the MS-DOS version can be downloaded from Everett's MSDOS Games page. A Windows version is also available and when I registered the MS-DOS version I received registered versions of both the MS-DOS and Windows versions. (His site also has other games and puzzles and quite a few puzzle links. Fans of FreeCell will find one link especially interesting.)

Note: The game requires a mouse.


There are a few minor annoyances to the older version of the game:

A problem in the new game:

Running Sherlock with a monochrome monitor:

I found it difficult enough to tell some of the default images apart with a monochrome monitor that I created my own sets of images which you can download as a single zipped package. (As a bonus, I am including a copy of the original default images touched up to make them more usable with monochrome monitors. They probably look horrible with colour monitors.) You might prefer using one of those. They are (in order of difficulty in solving one of the logic problems):

  1. A set of 36 images consisting of the digits '0' to '9' and the letters 'A' to 'Z'.
  2. A set of six geometrical shapes (oval, diamond, rectangle, dotted oval (one tiny oval inside another), dotted diamond, and dotted rectangle) with the six possible combinations of black, white, and coloured (which appears grey on my screen). Each row has one shape with all six colour combinations.
  3. A set of the same geometrical shapes as above but with one of each shape AND one of each colour combination in each row.

The game shown above using the default images is shown below with each of my three custom image sets:

The Alpha-Numeric set:
On a colour screen:
[A colour screen shot]
On a monochrome screen:
[A monochrome screen shot]

The Geometric Shapes, one shape per row:
On a colour screen:
[A colour screen shot]
On a monochrome screen:
[A monochrome screen shot]

The Geometric Shapes, all six shapes in each row:
On a colour screen:
[A colour screen shot]
On a monochrome screen:
[A monochrome screen shot]

New Coloured Image Sets:

For those with coloured monitors who may prefer more different colours, I have converted my Geometric Shapes to use six colours plus black (and, in two cases, white) instead of just black, white, and blue. You can grab a set of various slightly-different versions as a zipped package called and pick the variation you prefer.

For an even more eye-watering set and one that might cause cerebral-meltdown, try my "PIPES?.SHI" set which has four colours with all possible two-colour pairings (twelve of them) with three different shapes (plus black for a background and grey for the border). That image set is a file called but be warned, you need to be very careful when you use it because it is very easy to make mistakes. There are three versions -- pipes1.shi with a thick (two-pixel wide) border, pipes2.shi with a one-pixel border, and pipes3.shi with no border at all (which makes it very difficult).

Note, if you grabbed an earlier version of, you might have gotten the first copy I put up here. That one was buggy. I accidentally got the colours reversed on one image (blue and green instead of green and blue) making that image the same as another. Grab the new for the corrected version.

The PIPES*.SHI files were not difficult enough for you? Try my SPOTS.SHI file, also available as a zipped file (but be sure to be wearing sunglasses or you'll be seeing spots for hours). [NEW] The zip-file now includes SPOTS-M.SHI for users with monochrome monitors.

A quick-and-dirty screen-saver.

The new version of Sherlock can be run in a demo mode that displays a continously running show of the screen display that you usually see after a winning game. If a set of inages is edited so that most of them are black and just a few are coloured, running Sherlock with the "-bf" switch,
     C:\>sherlock -bf
then you have a very effective and colourful screen-saver that rival some of the more flamboyant Windows screen-savers. One such edited set of images,, can be downloaded here and unzipped. That set is terrible for playing Sherlock, however. ☺

Do you find Sherlock too easy?

If an orderly matrix of shapes makes solving things too easy, you could try scrambling the images. (I recommend copying the set to be scrambled to a file called TEMP.SHI and make that your Sherlock default image set. Then you can scramble TEMP.SHI as often as you want without fouling up the original image sets.) To allow others to scramble their images, I have created another zipped package that uses DEBUG scripts to re-arrange the images in an image set in a (pseudo-)random fashion. For 4DOS users, there is a BTM file that creates a new randomly-generated DEBUG script on the fly to mix up the images. For those using COMMAND.COM, there is a BAT file which allows you to manually choose one of ten DEBUG scripts (originally randomly-generated) for mixing the images.

[The default images being scrambled.]

[The Alpha-Numeric images.]     [The Geometric images.]

 [Sherlock being played with scrambled default images.]

Sherlock image set for anti-spammers.

I have a Sherlock image set for antispammers with the newsgroup, in five colours plus "NOSPAM" in red and pink. Other images include "UCE", "TINLC", "rDNS", "C&C", White and Black hats (instead of the "..." box), and "LART" (instead of the slashed circle). It's in a file named and includes the images plus an HTML file with links to information or definitions for the newsgroup and terms mentioned above. Anti-spammers, have fun.

Two additional games you can play with Sherlock:

Do you have younger children who would like to play games with your computer but don't have the logical skills for playing Sherlock? Using the right Sherlock image sets and the Sherlock quilt "win" screen, there are two simple games that can be played.

Word Seek.


  1. Set Sherlock to use my ALPHANUM.SHI image set with the 26 letters of the alphabet and the ten digits (part of mentioned above). You can either use the Sherlock "Load Image Set" feature to select it or do as I do, set Sherlock to use a temporary file name (I use "test.shi") and then use the DOS COPY command to copy the wanted image set to the temporary file.
  2. Run Sherlock with the command:
          sherlock -bq
    to get it to display the changing quilt pattern.
  3. Press the Pause key to freeze the display.
  4. Try to find as many words as you can that can be made by tracing from one horizontally, vertically, or diagonally adjacent letter to another. (The individual words need not be adjacent.)
  5. Make up a point system that rewards the most words found, the longest words found, etc. Set the minimum word length to two, three, four, or more to adjust for different children's reading level. I am not setting any hard rules here because you know your children better than I do.
  6. Press some other key (the Enter key or the space bar are good ones to use) to unfreeze the display and then press Pause again for another search with new letters.
  7. Repeat the steps above, quitting before boredom sets in.

View or download a typical screen-shot of Word Seek.


Use the same method of play as above except using my PIPES3.SHI image set (part of mentioned above). In this case, you are looking for:

  1. A twisty, multicoloured path that leads fron one edge of the board to the opposite edge. Bonus points for a path that connects from the left-hand edge of the screen to the right-hand edge (because it is longer and less-frequently possible). Extra points for the longest path from either left to right or top to bottom. Again, invent your own point system.
  2. Closed loops that don't touch the edge at all. (The shortest possible is one that goes through four squares.) Long ones may be found that twist and turn and finally return to the arbitrary starting square. Bonuses can be scored for the longest closed path too.

View or download a typical screen-shot of Plumbing.

Chip's Challenge.

One game that started on the Atari Lynx game machine and then got ported to Windows and included in their "Entertainment Pack" (sadly no longer available (legally)) by Microsoft is Chip's Challenge. There is a whole community of Chip's Challenge players. There is even a (GPLed, if I'm not mistaken) duplicate of Chip's Challenge available (with different graphics for copyright reasons and supporting both the Lynx Gameboy behaviour and the slightly different Microsoft behaviour of the game) called Tile World.

Here are some Chip's Challenge links and related games from my bookmarks, sorted by URL to remove duplicates:

Chip's Challenge Solution Maps
Andrew's Tech Site [including Chip's Challenge]
Chip's Challenge Portal
CCTools Home
The Official CCTools webpage
c4 - Chip's Challenge combined converter
The Chipís Challenge Corridor - Other files
The Chipís Challenge Corridor - FAQ - Tile World
Mike L's Chip's Challenge Site
Chip's Controls
Chip's DacGen
Resources for MikeL2 (Mike's level set)
MikeL2 AVIs
Escape : Free Puzzle game for Windows, Linux, Mac OSX
(similar to Chip's Challenge)
Download ML Maze
(another game similar to Chip's Challenge) - Mike L's Web Site
Chip's Challenge Level Pack 2
pieguy's Chip's Challenge site
chip's challenge
Level High Scores for Chip's Challenge
Chip's Challenge Links
Chip's Challenge CyberCafe: Level Sets
Chip's Challenge | Mobile Entertainment Products | Mobile Games | Mobile Services | Ringtones | Graphics | MFORMA Group, Inc.
Tile World, Windows binary [includes]
Tile World, Linux source code [includes mklynxcc.c]
Tile World
Catatonic Porpoise's Chip's Challenge Page
PrProgramsStudios | Welcome [a Chip's Challenge fan]
Welcome to Tile World [see mklynxcc]

Somewhere in the collection of pages above you may find links to download a copy of the original Chip's Challenge but it is copyrighted by but no longer available from Microsoft.

Another game you might find interesting, if you like Chip's Challenge, is Hero's Hearts and its sequels available from Everett Kaser Software. It's similar in operation to Chip's Challenge except that you see the entire map for a puzzle instead of a 9x9 window into it. It was originally written for MS-DOS but it is now available in a Windows version (and the sequels on the download page (including some user-designed puzzle sets) are only available in Windows versions).

JavaScript Chip's Challenge:

I am also working on implementing some simple Chip's Challenge-type puzzles in JavaScript (using Tile World images). There are several differences between my version and the originals including the fact that it is not "real time" so a disabled person who can't make moves fast enough isn't prevented from solving it. The first one has just been completed and when the second has been finished then the first one will be modified to give the URL for the second one if you win the game. (Then the second one will be changed to give the URL for the third one when that one is complete and so on.) The "differences" file mentioned above has the instructions.

Those who would prefer a timed version with the monsters moving continuously may prefer the real-time adaptation (well, as "real-time" as you can get considering browser slugishness) of my puzzle by Madhav, AKA "Keyboard Wielder" (KW) which, on solving it, leads to another Chip's Challenge puzzle by KW.

To create my puzzle (and try other designs), I had to convert a lot of Tile World images from the supplied BMP file into GIF format (including animating them.)

[all of the Tile World images, half-size]

A table of most of the Tile-Wold images I have converted, leaving out the composite images. (I found it easier to have effects such as a monster flying over a tile with a key on it if I created composites of some of the transparent GIFs superimposed on Floor tiles.) There are too many images to make all of them available (because of space requirements) but a minimum subset of the tiles needed to create your own puzzles is available as three zipped files,

Oh, and the six-segment digits I used are also available for download, ('0' to '9' and equal-sized blank in three sizes and an HTML page to display them) in one convenient zipped package.

If you want to go to excess in being a Chip's Challenge fan, I have some Chip's Challenge mouse cursors available for download in a zip file. The hot spots for the cursors with Chip going East and West is the tip of Chip's outstretched arm and the hot spot for the cursors with Chip going North and South is the tip of Chip's arm on your right (Chip's right arm when he's going North, away from you and his left arm when he's going South, facing you).

Cripple Mr Onion:

Any fan of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of hilarious fantasy novels is familiar with the three witches. In the book, Witches Abroad there is a scene where some cardsharks get taken to the cleaners by one of the witches, playing a gane called "Cripple Mr Onion". If you are too lazy to do your own laundry, you can try these reconstructed rules for the game and then you, too, can be taken to the cleaners.

(Information is available on the web for other Discworld Games as well.)

Some of My Puzzles:

The "Mindworks" Puzzle (Version 1)

There used to be a store in the Historic Properties of Halifax called "Mindworks" (no relation to Alchemy Mindworks) which sold puzzles, science experimentation kits, and childrens' books about science. I created (for free) the following Move-The-Blocks puzzle for them to use in their advertising -- using the words "Mindworks" and "Halifax" as significant parts of the puzzle. The store is no longer in business but it is a shame to let the puzzle disappear into oblivion.


  1. Print out two copies of the following image, (shown below as ASCII art for lynx users and also as a GIF for graphical browsers) one to use as a template for setting up the pieces and one to cut up to make the blocks.
  2. Glue one copy to a sheet of cardboard such as that used with shoe boxes and cut the blocks out along the dividing lines between them. You should have fourteen blocks -- eleven small blocks with 'M', 'D', 'W', 'O', 'S', 'H', 'A', another 'A', 'X', a "happy face", and one marked "empty"; two larger blocks with 'IN' and 'RK', and one triple-sized block with 'LIF' on it.
  3. Lay out the blocks as shown in the "START" layout -- leaving out the block marked "empty" to leave an empty space. The top row should read "MINDWORKS" and the bottom row shouls read "HALIFAX" with the happy-face to the left of "HALIFAX" and the empty space to its right.
  4. You can now move one or more blocks per move. A move consists of:
  5. Try to rearrange the blocks as is shown in the "FINISH" template with the happy-face and the empty space exchanged. It can be done in 76 moves. Can you beat that score?

Text version for lynx users:

       |     |           |     |     |     |           |     |
       |  M  |  I     N  |  D  |  W  |  O  |  R     K  |  S  |
       |     |           |     |     |     |           |     |
       |Happy|     |     |                 |     |     |     |
       |     |  H  |  A  |  L     I     F  |  A  |  X  |empty|
       |Face |     |     |                 |     |     |     |

Graphical version:
[An image of the puzzle.]

You can download the same image rotated by 90 degrees to make it easier to print on one page with portrait orientation.

I now have a JavaScript version of the Mindworks Halifax puzzle available for on-line use or downloadable in zipped form for off-line use.

The "Mindworks" Puzzle (Version 2)

I got to wondering if the puzzle above could be converted to apply to Alchemy Mindworks, which is the zany shareware company that produces graphic software, screen-saver-creation utilities, and a very funny web site. I tried it and, although the topology was different, it could be converted. It takes more moves to solve than the one above.

Using the same rules as above, change this:

       |Uni- |     |     |                 |     |     |     |
       |     |  A  |  L  |  C     H     E  |  M  |  Y  |empty|
       | corn|     |     |                 |     |     |     |
       |     |           |     |     |     |           |     |
       |  M  |  I     N  |  D  |  W  |  O  |  R     K  |  S  |
       |     |           |     |     |     |           |     |

... into this:

       |     |     |     |                 |     |     |Uni- |
       |empty|  A  |  L  |  C     H     E  |  M  |  Y  |     |
       |     |     |     |                 |     |     | corn|
       |     |           |     |     |     |           |     |
       |  M  |  I     N  |  D  |  W  |  O  |  R     K  |  S  |
       |     |           |     |     |     |           |     |

It can be solved in 103 moves. Can you beat that? (I don't know whether 103 moves is the minimum or not.)

I now have a JavaScript version of the Alchemy Mindworks puzzle available for on-line use or downloadable in zipped form for off-line use.

My "Halifax", "Nova Scotia" Puzzle.

If the puzzles above are too hard, follow the same general instructions with the following image instead -- except the blocks and layout differ as this one is based on where I live -- Halifax, Nova Scotia. The goal is to exchange the lobster and the empty space. The beginning layout looks like this:

Text version for lynx users:

            |     |     |     |     |                 |     |
            |  N  |  O  |  V  |  A  |     Halifax     |empty|
            |  =  |  -  |  =  |  -  |                 |     |
            |Lob- |           |     |     |     |     |     |
            |     |  S     C  |  O  |  T  |  I  |  A  |  .  |
            | ster|  =     -  |  =  |  -  |  =  |  -  |  =  |

Note: The '=' below some of the characters indicates a Blue character and the '-' below others indicates a Red character. In this puzzle, the placement of the colours is significant. You will need a colour printer to properly print out this puzzle.

Graphical version:
[An image of the puzzle.]

You can download the same image rotated by 90 degrees to make it easier to print on one page with portrait orientation.

New: (November 5, 2004) I have now created a computerized version of the NOVA SCOTIA puzzle using Just BASIC, a free version of BASIC from the same people who distribute the shareware Liberty BASIC. To use the game, you need to download and install Just BASIC on your computer and then follow the instructions in my puzzle's HTML documentation, [63KB] after also downloading the puzzle run-time module and the associated *.bmp files in [16KB]. [Jan 22, 2005 -- Note to those who tried downloading it recently and got an error: Try again now. Uploaded files at the Chebucto Community Net used to default to world-readable but that was changed last year and I still forget at times to change the file permissions after an upload.] The game isn't finished yet but is now a working version. ([Dec 21, 2004] Well, it was almost working. I forgot to disable mouse-clicks at one spot and clicking at the wrong time (while the blocks were moving) gave spurious results. Now mouse-clicks while the blocks are moving are properly ignored.) To be changed are:

  1. an UnDo feature to allow backing out of mistaken moves has yet to be included and
  2. the window used for the game needs to be reduced in size as soon as I no longer need the extra real-estate for debugging PRINT statements.

New: (May 26, 2005):
I have fearlessly but foolishly ventured into the morass of JavaScript coding, CSS, Dynamic HTML and Document Object Models and have now created a JavaScript version of my NOVA SCOTIA Puzzle. Sorry, users of old versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer, it requires Firefox or another browser that supports the W3 DOM (Dynamic Object Model) for Dynamic HTML such as the latest versions of Netscape or Internet Explorer. I refuse to use Internet Explorer for anything but getting Microsoft Security Updates and I don't have Netscape and can't spare the hard disk space for it. The JavaScript version now has a lobster instead of a smiley. When I can find the time to edit all of my images for the puzzle, the smiley will be replaced by a lobster in all of my Nova Scotia versions -- eventually, anyway.

What Is It?

The following is the ingredients list for a product I recently purchased. Can you guess what the product is? (Yes, one ingredient is mentioned twice in the ingredients list.) I will post the answer as soon as I receive one correct guess (or a reasonably close one).

Ingredients: White Proso Millet, Wheat, Cracked Corn, Sunflower Seed, Corn, Flaked Wheat, Kibbled Corn, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Corn, Corn Distillers Grain with Solubles, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Dehydrated Carrots, Wheat Middings, Corn Gluten Feed, Soy Hulls, Bakery Meal, Brewer's Rice, Animal Fat (Preserved with Ethoxyquin), Salt, Dicalcium and Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Sulphate, Magnesium Sulphate, Choline Chloride, Magnesium Oxide, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, D-Activated Animal Sterol (Source of Vitamin D3), Niacin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfate (Source of Vitamin K Activity), d-Biotin, Folic Acid, Thiamin Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin C, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Ethylene Diamine Dihydriodide, Cobalt Sulfate, Propionic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Natural and Artificial Colors.

For "grey", Americans can substitute "gray".

Star Truck, Deep Space 8.

A logic puzzle:

Early in 1994 I was a runner-up in a logic puzzle composition contest sponsored by Penny Press® and my name was published in the August 1994 issue of their Original Logic Problems. I also received an offer to buy my puzzle for publication but they required a Social Security Number or equivalent for IRS purposes. As I am in Canada, I wrote that I don't have a US Social Security Number and am not required by Canadian law to provide them with my Canadian Social Insurance Number. I never heard back from them (except for the free one-year subscription I also won as a runner-up.)

Since that was eight years ago, I suspect they will not be buying my puzzle at this late date so I present it here for your amusement:

Commander Masters, in charge of the space station "Deep Space 8" (not as well known as a certain higher-numbered station), has had a busy week looking into various accidents, crimes, and other mishaps that seem to occur all too frequently on her station. This last week has been more prone to incident than normal due to the temporary influx of several shiploads of refugees on their way to other planets.

The refugees were from five different planets (Gronge, Hasssth, Kreeoit, Raagth, and Skitskit), had five different body coverings (when undressed) (bare skin, an insect-like exoskeleton, feathers, fur, and scales) and were of five different colours or colour combinations (black & orange, blue & green, blue & orange, green & yellow, and orange only). In adult form, they also had different numbers and types of limbs; one species had 2 legs, 2 wings, and a prehensile tail; another had 4 legs, a prehensile nose, and a prehensile tail; the other three species had only legs and arms but the numbers varied with the species, 2 legs & 4 arms, 4 legs & 2 arms, and 6 legs & 2 arms.

From the descriptions of the mishaps below involving the refugees, determine for the species of each planet the type of body covering, the colour or colour combination, and the number and types of limbs.

  1. One mother from Skitskit had to rescue one of her children (which was still in its grub stage and hadn't developed an exoskeleton yet) from a feathered being which had mistaken the child for part of its dinner's main course. Nursing bruises, the errant diner later protested to the Commander, "Where I come from, anything with orange on it is edible. An old army saying is, 'If you see green, salute it. If you see orange, eat it.'"
  2. One being from Hasssth accidentally opened an airlock to space while not wearing a spacesuit. His life was saved by the quick action of the member of another species who immediately hit the emergency override pressurizing switch with one of her furry limbs. "I was looking for the men's washroom." was his excuse for the incident.
  3. A scaly and a furry being got into a fight over which had the nicest blue trim on his body. The fur-bearer broke his nose punching the other in the ribs. Both were arrested for public intoxication and disturbing the peace.
  4. A four-legged being with black spots insulted a Hasssthian and a Kreeoitian by claiming that the colour green is the colour of spoiled food and by suggesting that the other two should be disinfected. Don't worry; the doctors in the infirmary say that he will recover -- eventually.
  5. A member of one species ended up in the infirmary with some of her orange scales abraded off when her tail was stepped on in the crowded mall area. The Commander talked her out of suing the station.
  6. One Raagthian found out that having more legs didn't necessarily mean that one runs faster after he snatched the purse from a Skitskitian. The Skitskitian caught up with him and beat him over the head with her (otherwise superfluous) umbrella. "What's this galaxy coming to? You can't even trust a little old lady these days!" he said as he was led off to the brig.

You should now have enough information to fill in the following chart:

Planet of   Body          Body             Number and
 origin:     covering:     colour(s):       types of limbs:
=========   ===========   ==============   =======================
Gronge      ___________   ______________   _______________________
Hasssth     ___________   ______________   _______________________
Kreeoit     ___________   ______________   _______________________
Raagth      ___________   ______________   _______________________
Skitskit    ___________   ______________   _______________________

Choices:    Bare skin     Black & Orange   2 Legs, 2 Wings, 1 Tail  
            Exoskeleton   Blue & Green     2 Legs, 4 Arms
            Feathers      Blue & Orange    4 Legs, 1 Nose, 1 Tail
            Fur           Green & Yellow   4 Legs, 2 Arms
            Scales        Orange           6 Legs, 2 Arms

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