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           solo   [--generate  n]  [--print  wxh  [--with-solutions]  [--scale  n]
           [--colour]] [game-parameters|game-ID|random-seed]
           solo --version


           You have a square grid, which is divided into  as  many  equally  sized
           sub-blocks  as  the grid has rows. Each square must be filled in with a
           digit from 1 to the size of the grid, in such a way that
           o     every row contains only one occurrence of each digit
           o     every column contains only one occurrence of each digit
           o     every block contains only one occurrence of each digit.
           o     (optionally, by default off) each of the square's two main diag-
                  onals contains only one occurrence of each digit.
           You  are  given  some of the numbers as clues; your aim is to place the
           rest of the numbers correctly.
           Under the default settings, the sub-blocks are square  or  rectangular.
           The  default  puzzle  size is 3x3 (a 9x9 actual grid, divided into nine
           3x3 blocks). You can also select sizes with rectangular blocks  instead
           of  square  ones, such as 2x3 (a 6x6 grid divided into six 3x2 blocks).
           Alternatively, you can select 'jigsaw' mode, in which the  sub-blocks
           are arbitrary shapes which differ between individual puzzles.
           Another available mode is 'killer'. In this mode, clues are not given
           in the form of filled-in squares; instead, the  grid  is  divided  into
           'cages ' by coloured lines, and for each cage the game tells you what
           the sum of all the digits in that cage should be. Also,  no  digit  may
           appear  more  than  once  within  a  cage, even if the cage crosses the
           boundaries of existing regions.
           If you select a puzzle size which requires  more  than  9  digits,  the
           additional  digits will be letters of the alphabet. For example, if you
           select 3x4 then the digits which go in your grid will be 1 to  9,  plus
           'a', 'b' and 'c'. This cannot be selected for killer puzzles.
           I   first  saw  this  puzzle  in  Nikoli  (
           zles/1/index_text-e.htm), although it's also been popularised by  vari-
           ous  newspapers  under the name 'Sudoku' or 'Su Doku'. Howard Garns
           is considered the inventor of the modern form of the puzzle, and it was
           first published in Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games. A more elaborate
           treatment of the history of  the  puzzle  can  be  found  on  Wikipedia

    Solo controls

           To  play Solo, simply click the mouse in any empty square and then type
           To  erase  a single pencil mark, right-click in the square and type the
           same number again.
           All pencil marks in a square are erased when you left-click and type  a
           number,  or  when  you  left-click  and press space. Right-clicking and
           pressing space will also erase pencil marks.
           Alternatively, use the cursor keys to move the mark  around  the  grid.
           Pressing  the return key toggles the mark (from a normal mark to a pen-
           cil mark), and typing a number in is  entered  in  the  square  in  the
           appropriate  way;  typing  in  a  0 or using the space bar will clear a
           filled square.
           (All the actions described below are also available.)

    Solo parameters

           Solo allows you to configure two separate dimensions of the puzzle grid
           on  the   'Type' menu: the number of columns, and the number of rows,
           into which the main grid is divided.  (The  size  of  a  block  is  the
           inverse  of this: for example, if you select 2 columns and 3 rows, each
           actual block will have 3 columns and 2 rows.)
           If you tick the 'X' checkbox, Solo will apply the optional extra con-
           straint  that  the  two  main diagonals of the grid also contain one of
           every digit. (This is sometimes known as 'Sudoku-X'  in  newspapers.)
           In  this  mode,  the  squares  on the two main diagonals will be shaded
           slightly so that you know it's enabled.
           If you tick the 'Jigsaw' checkbox, Solo will generate randomly shaped
           sub-blocks.  In this mode, the actual grid size will be taken to be the
           product of the numbers entered in the 'Columns' and 'Rows '  boxes.
           There  is  no  reason  why you have to enter a number greater than 1 in
           both boxes; Jigsaw mode has no constraint on the grid size, and it  can
           even be a prime number if you feel like it.
           If  you  tick  the  'Killer' checkbox, Solo will generate a set of of
           cages, which are randomly shaped and drawn in an outline of a different
           colour.  Each  of these regions contains a smaller clue which shows the
           digit sum of all the squares in this region.
           You can also configure the type of symmetry shown in the generated puz-
           zles.  More  symmetry makes the puzzles look prettier but may also make
           them easier, since the symmetry constraints can force more  clues  than
           necessary to be present. Completely asymmetric puzzles have the freedom
           to contain as few clues as possible.
           Finally, you can configure the difficulty  of  the  generated  puzzles.
           Difficulty  levels  are  judged  by the complexity of the techniques of
           deduction required to solve the puzzle: each level requires a  mode  of
           reasoning  which  was not necessary in the previous one. In particular,
           on difficulty levels 'Trivial' and 'Basic' there will be  a  square
           These actions are all available from the 'Game' menu and via keyboard
           shortcuts, in addition to any game-specific actions.
           (On  Mac  OS  X,  to conform with local user interface standards, these
           actions are situated on the 'File' and 'Edit' menus instead.)
           New game ('N', Ctrl+'N')
                  Starts a new game, with a random initial state.
           Restart game
                  Resets the current game to  its  initial  state.  (This  can  be
           Load   Loads a saved game from a file on disk.
           Save   Saves the current state of your game to a file on disk.
                  The  Load  and Save operations preserve your entire game history
                  (so you can save, reload, and still Undo and Redo things you had
                  done before saving).
           Print  Where  supported (currently only on Windows), brings up a dialog
                  allowing you to print an arbitrary number  of  puzzles  randomly
                  generated  from the current parameters, optionally including the
                  current puzzle. (Only for puzzles which make sense to print,  of
                  course - it's hard to think of a sensible printable representa-
                  tion of Fifteen!)
           Undo ('U', Ctrl+'Z', Ctrl+'_')
                  Undoes a single move. (You can undo moves back to the  start  of
                  the session.)
           Redo ('R', Ctrl+'R')
                  Redoes a previously undone move.
           Copy   Copies  the  current state of your game to the clipboard in text
                  format, so that you can paste it into (say) an e-mail client  or
                  a  web  message board if you're discussing the game with someone
                  else. (Not all games support this feature.)
           Solve  Transforms the puzzle instantly into its solved state. For  some
                  games  (Cube) this feature is not supported at all because it is
                  of no particular use. For other games  (such  as  Pattern),  the
                  solved  state  can be used to give you information, if you can't
                  see how a solution can exist at all or you want  to  know  where
                  you  made  a  mistake.  For still other games (such as Sixteen),
                  automatic solution tells you nothing about how  to  get  to  the
                  solution,  but it does provide a useful way to get there quickly
                  so that you can experiment with set-piece moves and  transforma-
                  Some  games  (such as Solo) are capable of solving a game ID you

    Specifying games with the game ID

           There  are  two  ways  to save a game specification out of a puzzle and
           recreate it later, or recreate it in somebody else's copy of  the  same
           The 'Specific' and 'Random Seed' options from the 'Game' menu (or
           the 'File' menu, on Mac OS X) each show a piece of text (a 'game  ID
           ')  which  is  sufficient  to reconstruct precisely the same game at a
           later date.
           You can enter either of these pieces of text back into the program (via
           the  same   'Specific '  or  'Random Seed' menu options) at a later
           point, and it will recreate the same game. You can also use either  one
           as  a  command  line  argument (on Windows or Unix); see below for more
           The difference between the two forms is that a descriptive game ID is a
           literal  description of the initial state of the game, whereas a random
           seed is just a piece of arbitrary text which was provided as  input  to
           the random number generator used to create the puzzle. This means that:
           o     Descriptive game IDs tend to be longer in many puzzles (although
                  some,  such  as  Cube  (cube(6)),  only need very short descrip-
                  tions). So a random seed is often a quicker way to note down the
                  puzzle  you're currently playing, or to tell it to somebody else
                  so they can play the same one as you.
           o     Any text at all is a valid random seed. The automatically gener-
                  ated  ones  are fifteen-digit numbers, but anything will do; you
                  can type in your full name, or a word you just made  up,  and  a
                  valid  puzzle will be generated from it. This provides a way for
                  two or more people to race to  complete  the  same  puzzle:  you
                  think  of  a random seed, then everybody types it in at the same
                  time, and nobody has an advantage due to having seen the  gener-
                  ated puzzle before anybody else.
           o     It is often possible to convert puzzles from other sources (such
                  as 'nonograms' or 'sudoku' from newspapers) into descriptive
                  game IDs suitable for use with these programs.
           o     Random  seeds  are  not guaranteed to produce the same result if
                  you use them with a different version  of  the  puzzle  program.
                  This  is  because  the  generation  algorithm  might  have  been
                  improved or modified in later versions of  the  code,  and  will
                  therefore  produce  a  different  result  when  given  the  same
                  sequence of random numbers. Use a descriptive  game  ID  if  you
                  aren't sure that it will be used on the same version of the pro-
                  gram as yours.
                  (Use the 'About' menu option to find out the version number of
                  the  program.  Programs  with the same version number running on
                  different platforms should still be random-seed compatible.)
           the  two  forms.  For some games, there will be parameter data provided
           with the random seed which is not included in the descriptive game  ID.
           This is because that parameter information is only relevant when gener-
           ating puzzle grids, and is not important when playing them.  Thus,  for
           example,  the  difficulty level in Solo (above) is not mentioned in the
           descriptive game ID.
           These additional parameters are also not set permanently if you type in
           a  game ID. For example, suppose you have Solo set to 'Advanced' dif-
           ficulty level, and then a friend wants your help with  a   'Trivial '
           puzzle;  so  the  friend reads out a random seed specifying 'Trivial'
           difficulty, and you type it in. The program will generate you the  same
           'Trivial '  grid  which your friend was having trouble with, but once
           you have finished playing it, when you ask for a new game it will auto-
           matically  go  back  to the 'Advanced' difficulty which it was previ-
           ously set on.

    The 'Type' menu

           The 'Type' menu, if present, may contain a list of preset  game  set-
           tings.  Selecting  one  of  these will start a new random game with the
           parameters specified.
           The 'Type' menu may also contain a 'Custom' option which allows you
           to  fine-tune game parameters. The parameters available are specific to
           each game and are described in the following sections.

    Specifying game parameters on the command line

           (This section does not apply to the Mac OS X version.)
           The games in this collection deliberately do not ever save  information
           on  to  the computer they run on: they have no high score tables and no
           saved preferences. (This is because I expect at least  some  people  to
           play them at work, and those people will probably appreciate leaving as
           little evidence as possible!)
           However, if you do want to arrange for one of these games to default to
           a  particular  set  of  parameters, you can specify them on the command
           The easiest way to do this is to set up the parameters you  want  using
           the  'Type' menu (see above), and then to select 'Random Seed' from
           the 'Game' or 'File' menu (see above). The text in the 'Game ID '
           box  will  be  composed of two parts, separated by a hash. The first of
           these parts represents the game parameters (the  size  of  the  playing
           area,  for example, and anything else you set using the 'Type' menu).
           If you run the game with just that parameter text on the command  line,
           it will start up with the settings you specified.
           For  example: if you run Cube (see cube(6)), select 'Octahedron' from
           the 'Type' menu, and then go to the game ID selection, you will see a
           string  of the form 'o2x2#338686542711620'. Take only the part before
           (This section only applies to the Unix port.)
           In  addition  to  being  able to specify game parameters on the command
           line (see above), there are various other options:
           --load These options respectively determine  whether  the  command-line
                  argument is treated as specifying game parameters or a save file
                  to load. Only one should  be  specified.  If  neither  of  these
                  options is specified, a guess is made based on the format of the
           --generate n
                  If this option is specified, instead  of  a  puzzle  being  dis-
                  played,  a  number  of descriptive game IDs will be invented and
                  printed on standard output. This is useful for gaining access to
                  the  game  generation  algorithms  without necessarily using the
                  If game parameters are specified on the command-line, they  will
                  be  used  to  generate  the game IDs; otherwise a default set of
                  parameters will be used.
                  The most common use  of  this  option  is  in  conjunction  with
                  --print,  in which case its behaviour is slightly different; see
           --print wxh
                  If this option is specified, instead  of  a  puzzle  being  dis-
                  played, a printed representation of one or more unsolved puzzles
                  is sent to standard output, in PostScript format.
                  On each page of puzzles, there will be w across and h  down.  If
                  there  are  more  puzzles  than  wxh, more than one page will be
                  If --generate has also been specified,  the  invented  game  IDs
                  will  be  used to generate the printed output. Otherwise, a list
                  of game IDs is expected on standard input (which can be descrip-
                  tive or random seeds; see above), in the same format produced by
                  For example:
                  net --generate 12 --print 2x3 7x7w | lpr
                  will generate two pages of printed Net puzzles  (each  of  which
                  will  have  a 7x7 wrapping grid), and pipe the output to the lpr
                  command, which on many systems  will  send  them  to  an  actual
                  For example:
                  net --generate 12 --save game --save-suffix .sav
                  will  generate  twelve  Net  saved-game  files  with  the  names
                  game0.sav to game11.sav.
                  Prints version information about the game, and then quits.
           The following options are only meaningful if --print is also specified:
                  The  set  of pages filled with unsolved puzzles will be followed
                  by the solutions to those puzzles.
           --scale n
                  Adjusts how big each puzzle is when printed. Larger numbers make
                  puzzles bigger; the default is 1.0.
                  Puzzles  will  be  printed  in  colour, rather than in black and
                  white (if supported by the puzzle).


           Full documentation in /usr/share/doc/sgt-puzzles/puzzles.txt.gz.

    solo (sgt-puzzles) February 2012 SOLO(6)


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