Author interviews Vol.3 Casty

InterviewsAuthor round-table

Talking to Casty

We have about thirty authors who have supplied puzzles to our "" and "mobile" sites. Among these, Casty is the mass-producer, the one with the most puzzles to his credit. He is in his early thirties but his name, occupation and everything else remains a mystery.

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

CastyI wasn't all that interested. Sometimes I did jigsaw puzzles but I didn't do puzzles on paper.

NobReally? But how did you get to know about pencil puzzles then?

CastyA few years ago, I went to a bookshop because I had some free time. There I discovered the puzzle corner. It flashed on me that puzzles would help me kill time so I looked at several of the puzzle magazines. Most magazines had only one kind of puzzle, from what I could see, and I thought that would bore me. I took Nikoli by chance. It had many kinds of puzzles and I couldn't understand how to solve some of them. This was the magazine I wanted and I immediately bought it. That was Nikoli Vol.103.

NobNikoli Vol. 103 came out in the summer of 2003. That means you met Nikoli just four years ago, that's a surprise. Then, were you fascinated by Nikoli?

CastyYes, I was caught up in it right away. At first, I did Slitherlink and Nurikabe. I couldn't solve them and gave up even the middle sized puzzles at the beginning. Then I studied solving techniques with the small sized puzzles in "Puzzle Box," and I caught on rapidly. It was wonderful to learn how to do the puzzles. After Nikoli Vol.103, I did all of the Nikoli Puzzle Communication and Pencil Puzzle Book Series.

NobThen, when did you start to make puzzles?

CastyIn the contribution advice page of Nikoli Vol.103, it said that Nikoli was looking for puzzles for Vol.105. So I knew that they were accepting contributions of reader's puzzles and I started making puzzles immediately. I made many kinds of puzzles, well about 15 kinds, maybe. I sent two puzzles of each kind, so a total of 30 puzzles was my first contribution. Then, two of my puzzles, Shikaku and Kin-Kon-Kan, got into Vol.105. The day I found Vol.105 in my post box! I was surprised and really pleased. I was so glad that I dropped my shopping bag and the eggs in it broke. (laughs)

NobBut why did you start to make puzzles?

CastyI just tried to see whether I could make puzzles. I tried, I made, and I sent them and my puzzles were used, that's all.

NobWhat do you pay attention to in your puzzles?

CastyI aim to make puzzles so not so skilled solvers can solve them smoothly. I like small puzzles and puzzles that are not hard, so I try to make my own favorite level puzzles.

NobNow let me ask you Casty, what is it, making puzzles, to you?

CastyI'm not conscious that making puzzle is a form of self-expression. The pleasure in making puzzles is an extension of solving puzzles. I don't think I'm a professional, so I only make them to keep myself entertained.

NobYou have been making so many puzzles every month. Where do you do it and how much time do you spend on it?

CastyIn my home, in a coffee shop drinking coffee, I have no set place where I make puzzles. If I have a notebook, pencil and eraser, I can do it wherever. About the time it takes, maybe an hour everyday. Sometimes, I make puzzles watching TV.

NobDid you try to solve your own puzzles?

CastyOf course. And when I find some point I am not satisfied with, I throw it out, into the wastebasket. Usually, I don't try to fix what I find problematic. I'm happy to make a new one.

NobAnd what do you aim for?

CastyFor puzzles, it's making puzzles and continuing to make puzzles. Continuation gives power. I never remain interested in anything for very long. So I am not sure about the future. (laughs)

NobNow the last question, anything that you want to tell people solving your puzzles?

CastyI'm happy if solvers enjoy my puzzles and solve them with ease. I have enjoyed making them, so I'm happy if all solvers can solve my puzzles with pleasure.

Interviewed Jun 2007 Published on Dec 4, 2007