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Daily Battleships

Thursday 24th February 2005

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How to play

Completed battleships puzzle
This is an example of a completed battleships puzzle. Your aim is to place a specified number of ships in to the grid while following these rules
  1. No ship can be next to any other ship, not even diagonally.
  2. The clues at the top and left tell you how many cells in that row/column contain a ship.
  3. Just above the grid is a list of all the ships you must fit in to the grid.
You can change the contents of each cell by clicking on that cell. It will cycle through Unknown, Empty, and finally ship section. The puzzle will automatically work out what type of ship section is in each cell as you fill the cells in around it.
Above the grid is a list of all the ships you must fit in to the grid. These will initially be black, but will turn green as you insert each ship.
This is an example of a starting grid. We have our list of ships to fit in at the top, and we have a (mostly) empty grid. You will notice that we have been given some starting ship sections, but most of the grid is empty.
The first thing we are going to do is mark all the cells around our 1-section ship (i.e. a submarine) as empty. We can also mark many of the cells around our other ship section as empty.
You will notice that we have marked all of the cells around our submarine as empty (including the diagonals). You will also notice that we have marked the cells diagonally up-left and up-right from our other ship section as being empty. Ships have to be straight, they can't bend, so it doesn't matter how long this ship is, the marked cells have to be empty.
We will now look at the rows and columns already satisfied. The 7th row has a clue of '1', i.e. the 7th row contains one ship section. The 7th row already has one ship section, so we mark all the other cells in that row as being empty.
The second column has a clue of '0', i.e. there aren't any ship sections in that column, so we can mark all of the cells as empty.
We can also look at the initial ship section we were given. We know that this ship extends at least one cell upwards, so we can mark this cells as containing a ship section.
We will now look at the 6th row, and the 5th column. The 5th column has a clue of '2', i.e. it contains two ships sections, but you will also notice that we only have two unknown cells. These two cells (which are highlighted) must contain ship sections!
We can apply the same logic to the 6th row. This row has a clue of 5, with four unknown cells, and one filled cell. This must mean that the four (highlighted) unknown cells must contain ship sections. Let's fill these in!
We have marked all of these cells are ship sections. In most cases the puzzle has been able to work out what kind of ship sections they are, but has left the rest as being a black square with a question mark; we know they are ship sections, but not which type exactly.
The next step (as always after inserting ship sections), is to mark all the surrounding cells as empty.
You will also notice that the 7th column (with a clue of '1') has it's one ship section, so we can mark all the cells in that column as empty as well.
The top row also it's one ship section, so we can set the rest of that row to be empty.
We have now progressed quite far on this puzzle, but we still have a long ship of 4 sections to fit in to the grid somewhere. From looking at only the clues, there are three places this ship could go,
  1. The first column.
  2. The last column. This column already has one ship section, so this clue is effectively reduced to '3', i.e. two low to contain a ship with 4 sections.
  3. The 6th row. This row is already filled with a combination of ships and empty cell, so we can remove this possibility too.
We already have one ship section in the first column, but the four other cells above it are free, so the ship with 4 sections must fit in here in the highlighted cells. We can also mark the cell above this long ship as empty - this puzzle doesn't have ships with five sections, so it must be empty.
We can now fill a few cells,
  • The 4th row has all of its two ship sections, so we can mark the other cells as empty.
  • The 6th column has all its two ship sections, so we can mark the other cells as empty.
  • We can also see that the first column has four out of its five ship sections, which means that the last remaining unknown cell must be a ship section.
We can now finish this puzzle,
  • The two unknown cells in the third column must be ship sections - this column has a clue of '2', with no existing ship sections.
  • The 5th row has a clue of '2' with one ship section and one unknown cell. The unknown cell must be a ship section.
  • The 7th column has its required one ship piece.
  • The 8th column has a clue of '4' with one ship section and three unknown cells. The unknown cells must be ship sections.
Our Battleships puzzle is now complete! You have seen all the techniques you need to solve any puzzle now. Start now with the today's puzzle!

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