OMBY Updated


OMBY has been updated with the chapter navigation improvements that we introduced in OKBOS and IBBLE, and all of the apps have been updated for iOS 11.

How far have you gotten in OMBY? Tweet us your progress @counterwavelabs

The Smoking Gun Tape


How well do you know your Watergate history? We scrambled the transcript of the infamous Nixon-Haldeman “smoking gun” tape and made it playable as a mini-game in a web browser (start playing)!

Don’t let the initial puzzle scare you, just tap (?) for as many hints as you need.

Read more about the “smoking gun” tape here.

If you like these kinds of puzzles, check out our full games OKBOS and OMBY!

Colors of OKBOS


We had so much fun with The Colors of Moby-Dick that we decided to give the books included in OKBOS the same treatment!

Each colored square (including white) corresponds to a CSS color name mentioned in the text, in order from beginning to end. Hover over a square (or tap it on a touch device) to reveal the text mentioning the color.

Can you find the “great yellow blotches of lichen upon the grey walls” in Sherlock Holmes? How about the “White Rabbit with pink eyes” in Alice in Wonderland?

Presented in order of decreasing colorfulness:

The Colors of Sherlock Holmes
The Colors of Little Women
The Colors of Jane Eyre
The Colors of Alice in Wonderland
The Colors of Sense and Sensibility
The Colors of Pride and Prejudice

OKBOS Now Available


OKBOS, the book unscrambling game, is now available for iOS and Android!

Reconnect with an old favorite or discover a new one by playing any (or all!) of the following books included in OKBOS:

Over 40,000 puzzles in total!

Learn more here.

IBBLE Now Available


IBBLE, the King James Bible unscrambling game, is now available for iOS and Android!

Are you looking for an even more monumental challenge than the 10,395 puzzles of OMBY? If so, you might be interested in IBBLE, with over 39,000 puzzles!

The text of the entire KJV is included, both the Old Testament and the New, in its usual organization into individual books.

Learn more here.

OMBY on Android


OMBY, the Moby-Dick unscrambling game, is now available for both iOS and Android!

Learn more here.



JSMarkov is a simple javascript library for Markov text generation based on word-level trigraph models that we’re releasing under an MIT license.

With JSMarkov you can generate random text in the style of Moby-Dick:

Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition! Finally, I do not enjoy themselves much, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever. But wherefore it was that after having repeatedly smelt the sea as a sailor, I thought I would sail about a little and see the mummies of those creatures in their huge bake-houses the pyramids. No, when first told that you see the mummies of those creatures in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same time that the leaders little suspect it. Besides, passengers themselves must pay. And there they stand—miles of them—leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues—north, east, south, and bringing up the rear of every kind whatsoever. It is a damp, drizzly November in my purse, and in the air.

Or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

So she set to work, and to her very earnestly, ‘and see whether it’s marked “poison” or not’; for she had not noticed before, and noticed that they were all locked; and that if you cut your finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and if it makes me grow larger, I think I could, if I fell off the cake. * * * * * ‘What a curious feeling!’ said Alice to herself, rather sharply; ‘for it flashed across her mind that she ought to have wondered at this, I shall have to ask: perhaps I shall fall right THROUGH the earth! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, there’s no use now,’ said Alice to herself, ‘and if it makes me grow smaller, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I think I could, if I fell off the top of her head to feel which way it was good practice to say it over) ‘—but then I wonder if I only knew how to begin.’ For, you know,’ she said, ‘Oh dear! Oh dear! I think—’ (for, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?’ for, you see, so suddenly that Alice had no pictures or conversations in it a very deep, or the key was too dark to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.

Or a mashup of the two:

Then the wild and distant seas where he rolled his island bulk; the undeliverable, nameless perils of the doors of the doors of the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I am in the habit of going to do THAT in a game of croquet she was now the right size for going through the doorway; ‘I must be shutting up like a tunnel for some way, and Alice’s first thought was that after having repeatedly smelt the sea as a sort of officer on ship-board—yet, now that I recall all the circumstances, I always go to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that particular instance? Who ain’t a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, I should now take it into one of the whale; these, with all the difference in the stream. There seemed to be seen: she knelt down and looked at the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

Or you can parody political figures:

Look, having nuclear—my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the white belt of wampum was the deepest pledge of honour; though in other mortal sympathies and symbolizings, this same hue is made the emblem of many touching, noble things – the innocence of brides, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and they, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but the Persians are great negotiators, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, so, and the modern kings of Siam unfurling the same imperial hue; and the great Austrian Empire, Caesarian, heir to overlording Rome, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the power of what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have been so easy, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they just killed us.

What will you do with it?

Get it here and give it a try yourself.

Notakto Ratings


Notakto ratings are loosely based on the Elo rating system used in chess. New players start with a rating of 1400 and move up or down based on their wins and losses, the difficulty setting of the computer opponent, and the number of boards in the games played.

Here’s the complete list of ratings and titles:

Rating   Title
900   Beginner
1500   Tyro
1600   Class A
1700   Coffeehouse
1800   Intermediate
1900   Crossmaker
2000   Club Player
2100   Expert
2200   Master
2500   Senior Master
2600   Grandmaster
2800   International Grandmaster
3200   Notakto World Champion



Today we’re launching a new daily puzzle called Sumplosion. This is a game in progress:

The idea is to tap on cells in the grid, summing up the neighboring cells, in an attempt to get to an absurdly large value. Plan your path to use the multipliers to maximum advantage.

Do you think you can beat 31,335,350 on this puzzle? [Edit: After only a few hours, the high score is up to 67,320,064!]

There are 25! = 15511210043330985984000000 ways to fill in the 5x5 grid and the pattern of multipliers will change daily.

Play the beta here:

There will be a new puzzle every day!

Grandmaster Notakto


WARNING: This post contains some Notakto spoilers. They begin after the screenshot below.

If you’ve played Notakto enough to learn how to reliably beat the app on its Insane setting, you know the following:

What’s left then for a person to do with the app after you’ve mastered it to this level?

Here is a suggestion for such Notakto Grandmasters.

Play the app like this, instead:

Playing the game this way puts you, the Notakto Grandmaster, at a decided disadvantage. In fact, if you had chosen the “Insane” setting instead, it would have put you at an absolute disadvantage (ie, you wouldn’t be able to win at all). But at the “Hard” level, the app makes mistakes occasionally. As a Notakto Grandmaster, it’s your task to be able to spot those mistakes and then exploit them.

As you’re developing this skill, it’s useful to press the “Hint” button occasionally to check your understanding. The Hint button is only available in Practice Mode.

This new way of playing Notakto is decidedly more difficult because it involves a much greater knowledge of the exact misere quotient values in the game. Don’t know about misere quotients? Here is a paper that explains them.

You’ll find yourself suddenly curious about the exact symbols underneath each Notakto board type in the figure of that paper that appears at its very end (after the references). Can you handle all the situations that arise?

It’s not easy. Give it a try.

Good luck!

Learn more about Notakto on the Numberphile YouTube channel:

Or read the complete mathematical theory of the game here:

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