The Math with Bad Drawings Reader Survey!

EDIT 11/27/2017: The survey is now closed. Thanks so much to the nearly 1,000 people who took it during the week. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts!

And in case you were wondering, here’s how that first question (“Thanks for taking this survey!”) turned out:

survey result

Original Post:

Today, I have a request for you: I’d like some waffles, please.

But in lieu of a crenelated syrup castle, I would gratefully accept your taking 3 minutes to fill out this quick reader survey.

I am super grateful for those who take the time to look at this blog and verify that its drawings are, indeed, bad. I would love to know more about why folks come here, what they seek, and if they’d like T-shirts.

All survey participants will be entered into a drawing for the prize of my affections, in which 100% of entrants shall win.

Link here, or you can find it embedded below:

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1.2 Trillion Ways to Play the Same Sudoku

or, Group Theory on the Puzzle Page

Last week, I visited my dad, who still gets the newspaper.

(For my younger readers: that’s a stack of cheap paper printed with a detailed description of yesterday.)

Anyway, for an ungrateful millennial like me, a print newspaper means one thing: puzzles.

Like Sudoku.

You already know the rules: nine rows, nine columns, and nine medium squares, each containing the digits 1 through 9. You’re given some; you fill in the rest. It looks something like this (by which I mean, “here’s an example lifted from the Wikipedia page”):


Now, I’m not much of a Sudoku player. (Crossword guy, to be honest.) But glancing at the puzzle, my dad and I got to wondering: How do they generate these puzzles?

We weren’t sure.

So we found a more tractable question: What if you were a lazy Sudoku maker?


That is, suppose you managed to generate a single Sudoku puzzle. (Or steal it from the Wikipedia page.) And suppose you wanted to make a few bucks selling collections of puzzles in airport bookshops. But there’s a catch: You’re not sure how to make more.

How many “different” puzzles can you get from a single Sudoku?

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Math Exams with Only One Question


According to legend, this was once the actual  final exam at my high school. But according to legend, England chose kings by sword-yanking contests, so, you know.

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