Reflecting on What is the smallest positive integer which can not be written without repetition of digits and using arithmetic only? I began to wonder what counts as a puzzle for the sake of being on-topic on this site.

The relevant definition from Oxford is

A game, toy, or problem designed to test ingenuity or knowledge

and from Merriam-Webster is

A question or problem that requires thought, skill, or cleverness to be answered or solved

If the solution to a question can only be found using several hours of computer time, is it a puzzle? Must a puzzle be soluble using pencil and paper? Or is the cutoff at some point in between, perhaps allowing a combination of hard thought and a few minutes of computer time?


I have not many experience with solving Geocaching Puzzles, but I know many people that do that a lot, and from what they are saying, there are many puzzles that must be solved using a computer program.

However, it's not about simply starting a program and feeding some input to it. The puzzle part is to find out, what program to use, with what arguments. Often you have to write your own program, specially for solving that task.

In my opinion, if a puzzle can be solved only with help of a computer program, but the part for the human brain is to design the algorithm to solve the puzzle, then implement it, and then wait hours for the result, such puzzles should be on topic.


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