Author interviews Vol.1 mimic

InterviewsAuthor round-table

Talking to mimic

Mimic is the author of many, and many kinds of puzzles. Who is this mimic? Nob Kanamoto, the chief producer of nikoli.com asked for an interview with the still single, 24 year old, handsome puzzle author.

NobI hear you are a student?

mimicYes, I'm in the second year of a master's degree in information engineering. I will graduate tomorrow and from next month I'll work as a researcher.

NobWhat kind of study are you doing for your degree?

mimicIt's in cryptography. I've been studying how to break codes rather than how to make them. Believe me, it's the most advanced work of its kind in the world.

NobIs your study in any way related to making puzzles?

mimicPuzzle ways of thinking are good for breaking codes. As I see it, breaking codes is not study it is solving puzzles. I still wonder if it's really fair for me to get a masters degree for doing this kind of thing. (laughs)

NobHave you been interested in puzzles since you were a kid?

mimicYes, I always loved puzzles. When I was in kindergarten, they called me "Maze Junkie." When the family went on trips, I was always silently doing my maze puzzles. I made my own maze puzzles from early in elementary school.

NobWhen did you learn about pencil puzzles?

mimicThat was in the second year of junior high school, I bought "Slitherlink Vol.4" in the Pencil Puzzle Book series. I had some book coupons, then when I had bought one serious book I thought the other one could be something fun. There was no "Puzzle Communication Nikoli" in the bookstore where I bought it. When I saw the rules of Slitherlink, I had a hunch it would be exciting, so I picked it. Then when I started solving the puzzles I knew I'd been right. I was hooked and bought volumes 1, 2 and 3, but still didn't know "Puzzle Communication NIKOLI" then.

NobWell, when did you get to know "Puzzle Communication NIKOLI"?

mimicMaybe in the third year of junior high school. I was doing Siltherlink at school and a classmate said: "Oh! I You are interested in puzzles. I'll give you something even better than what you have there," and he gave me "Puzzle Communication NIKOLI Vol.67". Brand new with no pencil marks. I started to contribute puzzles to NIKOLI right away.

NobOh! That was a great friend! Is your friend also making puzzles for NIKOLI?

mimicYes, he has been contributing to NIKOLI and to nikoli.com and mobile nikoli.

NobWell, well, amazing. So your contributions started in the third year of junior high school, but you stopped to make puzzles for a while, why was that?

mimicYes. That was when I was in university, I was too busy. I also went abroad to study in the fourth year of college. So there were two years when I just couldn't find the time to make puzzles.

NobAfter your long vacation from making puzzles, you suddenly started mass producing puzzles. Was it a reaction?

mimicThat could be one reason. But then I also spent three hours going to the university and back every day, and during all that time I was making puzzles. So I made a mass of puzzles without really noticing it. Now after I graduate it will also take a long time from home to work, so I will have time to keep making puzzles.

NobReally! That's wonderful news for us. But tell me, what is your ideal puzzle?

mimicWell, there are many things I have as ideals and I can't really say which comes top. For example, just like in my study of cryptography, one idea should be the guide to the solution. I like that type of puzzle. They can't be solved the common way, but if a new idea or technique flashes into my head, I will have a clue. I want people to feel the excitement of getting the new idea. That's the kind of experience I hope to give to solvers. Then also puzzles that don't make it hard for the solvers but motivate looking for the solution, that is also one of my ideals. Of course it's really difficult to make that kind of puzzle. But let me tell you what my ultimate ideal puzzle is: one that's easy and will amuse even expert solvers.

NobWhich of your puzzles is your best?

mimicThe best? That'll com sometime in the future. I feel that my technique is progressing, I am way ahead of the puzzles I made a couple of years ago. I have confidence that I will get even better. I may find a method that nobody has thought of and I will become able to make new puzzles where my ideas are better reflected. That's why my best work is in the future.

NobSo let me ask you mimic, what is a puzzle to you?

mimicIt's amusement. Just regular everyday amusement, I feel. I just like them to use my head.

NobWill you be making puzzles in forty years time?

mimicOf course! I'll continue to make puzzles, well, if I am able to publish them.

Nob Now for the last question. Do you have anything you want to tell the people solving puzzles?

mimicI'm happy if they enjoy solving my puzzles. But let me say, an author has to put heart and soul in it. So if solvers do the puzzles with care, they will be able to see the thinking of the authors. If the solvers get that far I will be happy to puzzle with them, that will be a real honor.


Interviewed Mar 2007 Published on Oct 5, 2007