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Thanks Andrew (Andrew Solomon <andrew@illywhacker.net>) for your

suggestions. I'll try those tonight when I get home from work.

Since you asked about what the puzzle actually is, the fellow who posted it

at rec.puzzles (Kevin Buzzard <buzzard@ic.PUZZLE.ac.ELZZUP.uk>) had found it

on his nokia cell phone. It is called "rotation" at Nokia's web site

http://www.nokia.com/games

I think this variant is level 5.

The puzzle is a 4x4 square of numbers. There are four operations, each of

which involves rotating the numbers in a 3x3 square clockwise. So, in the

diagram below, one move is the cycle (1,2,3,7,11,10,9,5). The numbers

maintain orientation-- they don't rotate; if they did, that would add

another layer of complexity for the solver.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Anyone who's interested in an archive of the discussion ofthis puzzle (it's

about a 40K byte text file), let me know. The discussion focuses primarily

on finding minimal move sequences to swap two given tiles.

There's a very well done java applet for a similar puzzle at

http://www.microprizes.com/mp52.htm

Bob

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