The Password Game

“The Password Game” is a new web puzzle/game by Neal Agarwal, a Brooklyn-based software developer, popular for various fun projects hosted on his website Neil.Fun.

pon opening the game webpage, you are given the seemingly simple task of creating a password. The password, in order to be strong enough, needs to satisfy a list of conditions. The first few of them are common; there is a minimum length and special characters should be included. However, after complying with every rule on the screen, a new one appears, more complex and bizarre than the previous one. This forces you to constantly make changes to the increasingly lengthy password, while trying to resolve any conflicts that appear.

The Password Game is quite difficult. On our first try, we failed the game after not giving in a timely manner a bug emoji 🐛 to a chicken emoji 🐔 inside our 70+ character password, while simultaneously looking for a YouTube video of the exact runtime of 19 minutes and 34 seconds. Hopefully, you can do better.

If you enjoy “The Password Game”, you can take a look at Neil’s other creations, such as “The Absurd Trolley Problems”, which offers sinister twists on the famous Trolley Problem.

Blaž Urban Gracar

Blaž Urban Gracar is a Slovenian artist. He is a musician (composing music for the theater, producing left-field electronica, playing keyboards in a rock band), writer (publishing poetry, prose and comic books), filmmaker (editing and animating short films), and game designer (mostly creating puzzly solo games). He lives by the sea with his partner, her daughter, two cats, a dog and a turtle.

Interview

Q. Hello, Blaž!

A. Hi, Puzzle Prime! Thanks for featuring me.

Q. I know you are quite a busy person, I’m glad to have you here.

A. Never too busy to talk with friends! But yes, my calendar has become quite crammed lately. I spend most of my days making music, which is basically my main source of income. I compose music for films and theater, but I also make strange electronic music and play keyboards in a rock band. Besides music and game-making, I also write – I have published a few books – and I make videos. Lately this means making animated shorts, but I graduated as a film editor, so I have made or collaborated on several films.

Q. Sounds great! I would first like to focus on your puzzles though, specifically your first published book, LOK. What was the inspiration behind it?

A. When I was making my previous puzzle book, Lineon, which is sadly still unfinished, I started corresponding with Stephen Lavelle, better known as Increpare, who made a bunch of great and acclaimed puzzle games, among them Stephen’s Sausage Roll, which is praised as one of the best puzzle games of all time. I sent him Lineon and he responded with a set of paper puzzles of his own, which were word-search puzzles using the Toki Pona language. Toki Pona is a constructed language that I don’t understand, so solving these puzzles felt very other-worldly. I started thinking how would such word-searches work if they used a completely made up set of words, which would have meaning only inside these puzzles. If we say “Apple” for example, we mean a red and round fruit. What if a word like “Lok” meant that you could erase a letter and that’s it? This idea felt very interesting to me and I quickly prototyped a puzzle which already used a lot of words that are present in the final book. It then took me about a year before I returned to this idea and saw potential for something greater.

Q. How long did it take you to finish LOK and what was the hardest part?

A. It took me a little more than 6 months to make LOK. I thought it would take me maybe 3 months, as I saw LOK as a smaller project at first, something to make in between bigger projects, so I pushed to finish it as soon as possible and made the first draft in about 2 months. I now see this as a smart approach – to rush the first draft – as it then took me 4 more months to perfect everything and make it really shine. I think it’s really important to have everything in place and see it for what it is, even if it’s not finely tuned yet. The last 10% were the hardest, but this was expected. It took me weeks to decide on some miniature details, like the correct font for titles, or the alignment of chapter artworks. Everything needed to match the vision, and it was hard to be certain what is correct in some aspects. But I’m very happy with how it all came together in the end.

Blaž making music

Q. How do you approach making a puzzle?

A. Well, apart from some rare tributes and try-outs of some already established genres, I generally like to make up my own system of rules, within which I then create a bunch of puzzles. I rarely do one-offs. So, when I first start exploring a new system I made up, I just throw things at the wall and see what sticks. These puzzles are usually ugly, random and without any real a-ha moments, but with them, I kind of expose most of what the system is capable of. I then re-do the puzzles that have interesting interactions or ideas, try to make them more elegant, guided and beautiful, but I also retain some of these early puzzles as they were, because they already work quite fine. So, after I internalize all the ins and outs of a system and start working on proper puzzles, my process is usually thinking of an idea that I would like the solver to find out and then kind of build a pathway for them. I try to think like the solver and how they would react to certain insights and deductions. Basically, I want the solver to have fun and to blow his mind every few puzzles, haha.

Q. How does creating puzzles differ from creating in these other fields?

A. Music, films, prose, all of these art forms are kind of direct compared to puzzle-making. They communicate something in a direct way, even if they are metaphorical or dream-like. Puzzles, on the other hand, work on two levels. One is the first impression: how they look at first sight, if they are symmetrical, big or small, if they intimidate or seem easy. The second level is the hidden meaning of a puzzle, its solution and how you get to it. It feels like designing an onion, where you want to put as many surprises into different layers as possible. You also need to be a lot kinder to the consumer of your puzzles compared to other art forms. You have to respect their intelligence and patience, make the system and a puzzle as mechanically sturdy as possible, because ultimately they need to “get” your message. You certainly need to be a lot more pragmatic.

Q. You come from Slovenia. Is there an active puzzle scene in Slovenia and do you hang out with other puzzle designers?

A. There is no puzzle scene in Slovenia that I know of. It’s strange, because ever since I got serious about game design, I feel like I create in a bubble. When I make music, people around me respond to it, they come to concerts, they buy CDs. Even my books, which are a bit more niche, find some audience in Slovenia. But my games or puzzles don’t really connect with anyone around me. It’s like I live a double life, one with friends and family, and the other just on the computer, which I use to communicate with puzzle lovers from around the world. This is how I got in touch with you as well. When I published LOK, I sold 95% of books to people outside of Slovenia, people I don’t know, people from Europe, America, Asia. It’s strange, but it also feels nice to at least have an audience somewhere, even for my small and weird little games.

Lineon Puzzle Book and Sountrack

Q. What are your next puzzle projects?

A. Based on the response for LOK, I already have many ideas for the continuation of the LOK story. The main one is the digital adaptation of LOK which I’m already working on with Raindrinker, a talented creator from Spain I met online. We hope to publish the game in 2023. Besides LOK, I might return to Lineon and start working on it again from the ground up, with the experience I gained in the meantime. There are some other ideas that I’m bouncing around in my head, maybe also a continuation of my solo card game “All Is Bomb” in some form. Let’s see what happens – I love designing games, so something will probably appear in a short while.

Q. Thanks you Blaž.

A. Thank you, Puzzle Prime!

Biology Jokes

Who says science jokes are not funny? Below you can see some of the best Biology jokes we know, along with short explanations of the more obscure of them.

Do you know any funny Biology jokes yourself? Let us know in the comment section below.


Two blood cells met and fell in love. Alas, it was all in vein.

Explanation
A clever wordplay with the words “vein” and “vain”.


Pavlov is sitting at a pub, enjoying a pint. Suddenly the phone rings and he jumps up shouting, “Oh no, I forgot to feed the dog!”

Explanation
Pavlov is a physiologist who used to ring a bell every time he fed his dogs. After some time, he noticed that ringing the bell by its own caused salivation in his dogs, even if he didn’t offer them any food.


“I wish I was adenine, then I could get paired with U.”

Explanation
In RNA (Ribonucleic acid), adenine (A) makes a “base pair” with uracil (U).


“What did one sister chromatid say to the other?”
“Stop copying me.”

Explanation
“Sister chromatids” are two identical chromatids (replicated chromosomes), which are joined with each other.


What does DNA stand for? National Dyslexia Association.

Explanation
Dyslexia is a reading disorder, which causes various troubles during reading, even for people with normal intelligence. If read correctly, the abbreviation for National Dyslexia Association should be NDA, not DNA.


“What did the stimulus do to the neuron after they got married?”
“It carried it over the threshold.”

Explanation
The “threshold” is the depolarization level over which a stimulus must carry the neuron, in order for an action potential to be fired.


An infectious disease enters a bar. The bartender says, “We don’t serve your kind here”. The disease replies, “Well, you are not a very good host.”

Explanation
The word “host” has several meanings, one of which is “a person who accommodates guests”, and another one is “an animal or a plant in which a parasite lives”.


The scientists have just found the gene for shyness. They would have found it earlier, but it was hiding behind two other genes.


“What is the fastest way to determine the sex of a chromosome?”
“Pull down its genes.”

Explanation
Word play with the words “genes” and “jeans”.


One lab rat says to another:
I’ve got my scientist so well trained that every time I push the buzzer, he brings me a snack.”


“Girl, you are so hot, you denature my proteins.”

Explanation
When things get hot, proteins denature, i.e. lose their shape and structure.


“What did Gregor Mendel say when he founded genetics?”
“Woopea!”

Explanation
Gregor Mendel made his experiments using pea plants.


“What is sleeping brain’s favorite rock band?”
“REM”

Explanation
REM stands for “rapid eye movement”, which occurs during sleep.

Brain Drop Podcast

Brain Drop is a new puzzle podcast by Brian Hobbs, released on a (mostly) weekly basis. In each episode, Brian presents 3 new puzzles and shares the solutions of the puzzles from the previous week. He uses professional voicework, music, and sound effects, to set up the mood and make his show more entertaining. Click the banner below to check out Brain Drop and see if you can answer Brian’s latest set of puzzles!

Is This Prime?

In the past few days, I, my friends, and a lot of Twitter people have been trying to beat each other’s scores in the game “Is This Prime?”.

The game itself is simple; you are shown random integers on the screen, and you need to guess whether they are prime or composite. It is fast-paced and fun, and a good opportunity to exercise some mental math. Below we have listed a few tips which can help you beat our personal record of 67 points.

  1. Memorize as many numbers as possible. Knowing the multiplication table up to 10×10, it should be easy to learn by heart whether each number up to 100 is prime or composite.
  2. Pay attention to the last digit. If it is 5, then the number is composite (unless it is =5).
  3. Check whether the sum of the digits is divisible by 3. If it is, then the number is composite (unless it is equal to 3).
  4. If the number is between 100 and 300, check whether the sum of the first and the third digits equals the second digit. If this is true, then the number is divisible by 11, and therefore it is composite. 209 is the only other number in this range divisible by 11.
  5. Remember the sneaky composites: 119, 133, 161, 169, 247, 253, 259, 289, 299.

The Puzzle TOAD

The Puzzle TOAD is a website, created by four Carnegie Melon professors (Tom Bohman, PO Shen-Loh, Alan Frieze, Danny Sleator), where you can find a growing collection of ingenious math brain teasers. Unlike Puzzle Prime, The Puzzle Toad is targeted exclusively towards math and computer science majors. Students who are preparing for college Olympiads will find the problems particularly useful. Check out The Puzzle TOAD by clicking the banner below.

The Boat

“The Boat” is a graphic novel adaptation of Nam Le’s book, presented as an immersive webpage experience by Matt Huynh. With beautiful artwork and stunning effects, the novel tells the story of a 16-year old Vietnamese refugee, embarking on a dangerous trip across the sea. Click the banner below and scroll your way through this captivating, moving, and harrowing tale.

Shadowology

Vincent Bal is a Belgian writer and director. Apart from making movies, he is also famous for his art project Shadowology which combines everyday items, their shadows, and doodles, into one amazing collection of cartoons. If you want to see more of Vincent, you can follow him on Instagram, where he regularly posts new work.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6upHqQJVzm/

Seeing Theory

Seeing Theory is a beautifully designed website, which aims to educate people about probability theory via series of visual and interactive lessons. If anyone is struggling to grasp some of the basic concepts in this field of mathematics or is just getting into it, the website can be a very useful learning tool. Seeing Theory was designed by Daniel Kunin as an undergraduate project in Brown University and has won numerous awards. To visit the website, click the banner below.