Posts Advent of Code 2022

Advent of Code 2022

A collection of Mathematica programs and rhymed poetry written for Advent of Code 2022. Highlights include the ballad of John Henry, an OSHA-approved fable, and a grammatically precarious treehouse.


This repository stores my Advent Of Code solutions for 2022, written in Mathematica. I’m back to using .m; I’ve realized that no Mathematica format is easy to read in text file form, so the .m will most likely not run natively. The code should be somewhat readable as plaintext, but casual Mathematica in general is notebook-heavy, so it’s not perfect.

Though there’s no specific subreddit challenge this year, I also wrote a poem for each day’s problem, as shown below. It got progressively more difficult as time went on.

Days Completed

Click on any of the day #s to see the problem for that day, and on any of the titles for my code.


Day 1: Where’s The Wild Things’ Star?

We’re now setting up camp
In the dew and the damp,
On the hunt for the star-spangled berry,

And the jungle is thick,
But we have every trick
That will make the dark forest less scary,

So we’ll head to the grove
With its heavenly trove
(It’s a Dijkstra-type maze, so be wary)

Then the stars will appear,
And when fifty are here,
We will eat and we’ll drink and be merry.

Day 2: To Be A Rock And Not To Roll

The match is set.
The games decide
Who’s near the snacks,
Who’s near the tide.

The Rock is hard,
But Paper’s wide,
And Scissor’s good
At Paper-cide.

He gave a sheet
(Which you have eyed)
With every throw -
You’ll have to hide.

You didn’t know,
But had your pride,
And so you guessed
The second side.

When he returned,
(His name is Clyde)
He set you right
(If he’s allied).

It’s X to lose
(Unless he lied),
And Z to win,
Or else, you’ve tied.

You know the score.
You have the guide.
You’ll win or lose
(Unless you’ve Y’d).

Day 3: John ‘5space’ Henry

When ol’ John Henry was a babe,
A-sitting on his papa’s knee,
He hammer-swung a tiny fist
And hammer-hit a keyboard’s key.

They say that mighty Hercules,
He wrestled pythons in his crib.
John Henry, too, a Python slew;
That’s what they say, and they don’t fib.

When ol’ John Henry was a boy,
No more than eight (or maybe nine),
His papa sat him down to code,
And little John, he learned it fine.

He typed so fast the frames would fail
As terminal commands flew by.
He typed so quick the keys would stick.
That’s what they say, and they don’t lie.

When ol’ John Henry was a teen,
His papa said the day’d arrived.
“They call me 4space”, said his pop.
“From here on out, they’ll call you 5.”

But smoke was rising from the hills,
And filled with gray what once was blue:
The code machine, it changed the scene.
That’s what they say, and they say true.

When ol’ John Henry was a man,
And AoC was his domain,
The code machine rolled up to fight
And challenged him to end his reign.

Part 1 it grabbed, ten seconds flat,
Before John Henry knew what hit him,
But on Part 2, it ground a gear,
And Henry moved like crocs had bit him,
‘Cuz he was good and riled now,
And wouldn’t let some AI git him,
With seven seconds left to go,
He grabbed the star he knew would fit him.

But Henry’s heart had beat its last
When he had beat his metal foe.
They buried John, he’s dead and gone.
That’s what they say, and they would know.

Day 4: A Series of Challenges

I had writer’s block that morning, so I asked ChatGPT to fill in for me and write that day’s poem.

Solving an Advent of Code problem
Is like a treasure hunt or a quest,
A series of challenges to overcome
And a chance to put my skills to the test.

I start by reading the problem statement
And breaking it down into bits,
Thinking about how to approach it
And coming up with a plan that fits.

Then I write some code to solve it
Testing and debugging as I go,
Making sure it’s efficient and correct
And ready for the next challenge, oh no.

In the end, I submit my solution
Feeling proud and accomplished too,
Another Advent of Code problem solved
And one step closer to being through.

I’m a bit impressed that it can write poetry at all…but I thought there was still some room for improvement.

As my character hunts through the jungle
On a quest for a grove with a star,
I myself, though I err and I bungle,
Hunt for challenge, and that’s what these are.

For each problem, I start by not reading:
Take a glance, make a guess at the rest.
There’s no time to slow down while I’m speeding
And attempting to code with the best.

Then I write down some code and submit it,
Inefficient? Ha! Sluggish, I’ll say.
And the untested code, I admit it
Sometimes works the first try, like today.

In the end, I’ve had fun and competed,
Having raced through the thing like a master,
And with two shiny stars now completed,
I can’t help but think I could be faster.

Day 5: Safety First (In Last Out)

A couple years ago, when it was winter,
And Cratemover Two Thousand was the latest,
When somebody was busy with the printer
And someone else took Breakout! for a playtest,
The wooden crates we had (and feared would splinter),
Held presents, and the top crate was the greatest.
Inside - what child wouldn’t love to smack it? -
Was bubble wrap with bubble wrap to pack it.

If salt goes bad, with what can it be seasoned?
If bug reports don’t work, how would you know it?
The wrap was safe on top (or so we reasoned),
And surely safer than the stuff below it.
I said “We wouldn’t want the crate to squeeze” and
“It’s earned the place of honor” said the poet,
And so our finest gift, our precious jewel
Sat high atop the stack, as if to rule.

The tallest stack, of course, sticks out the tallest,
And that became a problem when a blizzard -
The worst we had in years, in fact, the squall-est -
Blew forth as if cast at us by a wizard.
(The wizard’s just one guess, though it’s a small list;
“Don’t irk him, just in case” still sometimes is heard).
We thought our stack of crates was doing well,
Until at last, on Christmas Eve, it fell.

Alas! The bubble wrap had all been frozen
Before it fell from such a risky height.
The wind on top was strong; if we had chosen
Some slightly smaller stacks, it’d be all right.
It burst and shattered like it had a hose in;
No children got to play with it that night.
We’re careful, now, when getting cargo loaded.
We still remember what the ice and snow did.

Day 6: A Letter Back Home


Day 7: Day Seven’s Sonnet

Initialize the stack, and add the root
(The root’s the forward slash, just so you know).
The cd x commands aren’t absolute,
So cd x goes up; .., below.

And now you should initialize a hash
(Not memory-efficient, but it’s fine).
You’ll travel all the way back up to /
Each time you see a number start a line.

For every subdirectory you see,
You’ll add-assign the file size, and then
You’ll look for the next file (or cd)
And when you find one, do it all again.

You’ll filter out by size to solve part 1,
And part 2 works the same. And now, you’re done.

Day 8: I Wonder Where the Flowers Is

It’s visible, the trees is,
From way outside the grid,
Unless the outside breezes
(At ten times nine degrees-es)
Hit taller trees than these is.
If so, the trees is hid.

A local’s expertise is
What gives the scenic score.
She counts up what she sees-es:
The short trees and their leaves-es.
(The tall ones, hid by eaves-es).
She multiplies the four.

You might want our committee
To not do what Therese says.
The north side sees the city!
The south side sees the seas-es!
You might think it’s a pity
To follow these caprices,
But I’ll give you the keys-es
To visit when you pleases,
And though it’s itty-bitty
I’m certain you’ll agrees-es:
It’s really rather pretty,
This house atop the trees-es.

Day 9: Lazy Limerick #1

There’s a treacherous bridge, and a strait
But your rope physics models can’t wait.
As the bridge breaks apart
Hope your model is smart;
Better hurry, or you will be late.

Day 10: One Shade The More, One Ray The Less

The CPU counts down the second
To draw its pixels like a pen.
Just fix the thing, and at your beck and
Call the Elves will be again.

(Then again, you’ve done the work here
Getting gadgets up to spec.
Perhaps you’ll rest a moment, lurk here
Before you’re at their call, and beck).

There is a forty cycle bookend
Drawing pixels left to right.
You’ll know, if you check each nook and
Cranny, where to put the sprite.

(But man, you’ve timed a lot of circuits,
And given opcodes lots of looks.
Perhaps you’ll rest; it’s always work, it’s
Searching crannies and their nooks.)

You’ve found a dry spot in this cove (or
Dry enough to fix the fall) -
“I’m on my way”, you tell them, “Over
And out”, you say, and end the call.

(You didn’t give an ETA, no
Promise for when you’d be back,
And that’s just fine; for all that they know
It takes weeks. You have some slack.
And sure, it might take just a day, no
Doubt you’re skilled now as a rover,
But sometimes rest is mucho bueno,
Before you climb on out, and over.)

Day 11: Simian Shenanigans

To the tune of the middle part of Weird Al’s “Hardware Store”.

Would you look at all that stuff…
They got:

Sets of sandals, super-soakers,
Stainless stacking sausage smokers,
Stocking stuffers, sparking snuffers,
Swimsuits and some snacks by Stouffers,

System-update space schematics,
Signal strength sextuple statics,
Sulfide sputters, server stutters,
Solid Shaker-style shutters,

Sonar sweeps and systemed seating,
Snailfishes and see-through sheeting,
Shuffle slamming, spinlock spamming,
Submarine cetacean scramming,

Shakespeare sonnets, springdroid soarers,
Santa’s senseis, syntax scorers,
Sega slayers, site that’s Slater’s
Saturn Stoichiometrators!

Man, that’s a heavy pack! You should have told me!
No wonder that poor rope bridge couldn’t hold me.

Day 12: Excelsior!

The shades of night were falling fast
As through a lettered heightmap passed
A programmer, who for advice
Looked often at his strange device:

He could not climb, but drops, he likes.
Not monotonic were his hikes
No straight path did he follow down
But often checked, without a frown,

He spiraled up the mountain’s height
And at the top, beheld a sight
Of coders who had never stirred
And who had never seen the word

“Pray tell,” said one to him who climbed
“For us, the BFS was primed.
We did not have to climb at all,
So how’d you make it? What’s that called?”

The answer came both quick and blunt.
“It’s just an advertising stunt!
I’m representing Office Pro
Who wanted everyone to know

Day 13: Distress Signal

There’s trouble here! It’s gone awry!
We’re out of cookies, cream, and pie!
The ice cream truck, it passed us by!
So do you copy? Please reply!

My hiking jacket ripped and tore
(And also, there’s a dinosaur
That’s smashing trees with quite the roar).
We left the foosball on the shore!

The eggnog’s low - I think it’s theft
(It’s huge, three tons at least, its heft)
There’s only fifteen barrels left,
When they run dry, we’ll be bereft!

Our campsite is an awful mess -
We lost the cleaning plans, I guess.
(The monster looks like it’s from Ness)
So hear our signal of distress!

Day 14: The Castle

I took a bucket with me, and a trowel,
Some sunscreen, an umbrella, not much more.
I wore some swim trunks, had with me a towel,
The day I made a sculpture on the shore.

It took a bit of time; I didn’t stop
As waves crashed in and slunk back to the sea.
I bucket-tipped, on tiptoes, overtop,
Until the towers towered over me.

A lofty goal a lot of work requires:
I piled sand as tall as I could reach,
And then I carved, made moats and keeps and spires,
Until, at last, ‘twas time to leave the beach.

I ruled the tides and overlooked the land,
The day I built a castle out of sand.

Day 15: Calculatus Eliminatus

It isn’t underneath the sink,
It isn’t on the tables;
I looked under the couch, I think,
And even checked the cables.

The basement, past those cobwebs? No
(Although I might have missed it).
I couldn’t move the washer, though;
Perhaps you could assist it.

The attic? Eh - I saw a rat
Last time I looked between.
The attic is the one place that
We never have to clean.

Besides, there’s no way it’s in there
If nobody’s been in it,
But two people could move these shelves
If you could spare a minute.

I peeled up all the rugs just now,
And looked through all the keys.
We’ve checked a lot of places - how
Has it not been in these?

In puzzlement, I scratch my head:
Where have my glasses got?
But I can’t find them, so instead,
I’ll find out where they’re not.

Day 16: Lazy Limerick #2

Get the flow rates from AA to SQ,
And do not lay your head on your desk; you
Might be six hours deep
But who cares about sleep
When there’s elephants down there to rescue?

Day 17: Watch For Falling Rocks

Look out - the rocks are falling overhead!
I told the elephants we should have fled!
I tried to shove them, but they’re mighty strong;
And so we sit here, twiddling our trunks, instead.

I tried to shove them, but they’re mighty strong,
Just one’s a pain, so try moving a throng!
Though one of them helped calculate the flows,
I sure wish I could move the rest along.

Though one of them helped calculate the flows,
And saved me a few minutes, I suppose,
The rest are all scared stiff from some debris;
How they got here at all, nobody knows.

The rest are all scared stiff from some debris;
And one has of them has a request for me:
I need to find the cycle of the blocks:
A trillion, piled up, how tall? asks he.

I need to find the cycle of the blocks And time their gas-jet patterns with my clocks,
Eliminating rows the rocks can’t reach,
In short, I need to watch for falling rocks.

Eliminating rows the rocks can’t reach
Saves lots of time, since there won’t be a breach.
Of course, I’ve also proved they won’t reach us,
But elephants don’t like that little speech.

Of course, I’ve also proved they won’t reach us,
And in so doing, demonstrated thus:
If ever you can cordon off a height
A cycle more, you’ll cordon off ‘height +`.

If ever you can cordon off a height,
Your well will shrink, and will remain finite.
And finite wells, you keep within a hash
(Assuming that you did the first steps right).

And finite wells, you keep within a hash,
And every new well, check against the cache
And later (perhaps sooner) you will find
A current state that’s found within your stash.

And later (perhaps sooner) you will find
The formulae of cycle-finding kind.
I need to find the cycle of the blocks
To break this loop with which I’ve been confined.

I need to find the cycle of the blocks
And time their gas-jet patterns with my clocks,
Eliminating rows the rocks can’t reach,
In short, I need to watch for falling rocks.

Day 18: Paindrops Keep Falling On My Head

I tried an umbrella;
It now looks like Swiss.
I ducked underwater,
But felt the steam hiss.
This rain is quite hot
And there’s something amiss
When a hailstorm with lightning,
Is safer than this.

Day 19: Round the Rugged Rocks

From deep within a twisting cave
We walk into the light;
I’ve joined the herd; both beast and nerd
Have made it through the night.

The falling rocks we dodged and weaved,
The lava, we’d divert,
And so we see the sun at last,
Alive, intact, unhurt.

From deep within the mountain’s depths
We walk into the light.
The dawn is here, the smoke is clear,
The sun is shining bright.

The beacons signalling distress
Have once again been found,
Not one the more, not one the less,
Not one left underground.

From deep around the rugged rocks
We walk into the light.
We see the sky, the herd and I,
We witness with delight.

The stones beneath us shine, and wow!
I do not have a doubt:
The very rocks are treasures now,
Now that we’ve made it out.

Day 20: The Court, The Camp, The Grove

The hour strikes nineteen, the day is twenty,
For this, my daily entry in my log.
My spirit’s high, my legs are hurting plenty -
A mountain’s rather tough to take a jog.
Where I am, I know to mm (or centi-),
But where are they? Don’t have their travelogue.
And so, in manner tried and true and tested,
I don’t know where I’m going, so I guessed it.

This log has come in handy, I’ll confess,
Such as today, for this bit of decryption.
But I don’t write what’s useful; I digress
And write instead the fun parts, a description
That’s just enough to later uncompress -
In other words, a puzzle, not transcription!
And so, by sheerest chance, I wrote the key,
That goes from 8-1-1 to 1-5-3.

It’s way more fun like this, it’s way less boring
Than doing things the sensible and slow way.
What fun’s a hike if one is not exploring?
The beaten path’s surprises are DOA.
When you’re not dodging rocks and magma pouring,
When you’re not herding elephants, there’s no way
That you, when sitting safely, reminiscing,
Could ever have imagined what you’re missing.

I got the list from my handheld device
(A useful thing I kept in my supply kit).
And mixed the list five times, and did that twice
And got the answer just the way I like it.
I could have taken all that good advice
And wrote down where this star grove is - but strike it!
Write down enough to make it fun, I say!
And so concludes my entry for today.

Day 21: Lazy Limerick #3

Match the numbers the monkeys shout at you,
And this time around, be grateful that you
Do not need to get close
And get fur up your nose
Lest your allergies flare up and–ACHOO!

Day 22: The World Is Flat

“The world is flat! The world is flat!”
I heard a voice declare.
I turned to see who spoke to me;
A man was standing there.

His clothes were ragged as his hair,
His voice was loud and hoarse,
He looked as if he’d hit a cliff:
A grad student, of course.

“The world is flat!” he cried again,
With eyes bloodshot and red,
And on a whim I turned to him
And “No it’s not,” I said.

He bent down and with shaking hands
A painted map unrolled.
When it unfurled, it showed the world
In colors bright and bold.

He pointed to the painted map
And gestured with his toe.
“Start here. Face east. Five steps, at least.
Now, where’d you think you’ll go?”

I turned and stepped one pace, then two,
But three was one too far.
“You’re off the edge, I do allege!
So, where’d you think you are?”

“The other side!” I said to him,
Upon that fateful day.
I didn’t think it had a brink
So that’s the only way.

And then he asked - my heart is weak -
“I mean, exactly where?
“If I start here” - he gestured near -
“Will I go there, or there?”

The mathematics circled in
Like vultures round the dying.
I’d love to say I knew a way,
But sadly, I’d be lying.

“On endless planes”, the student said,
With just a gentle sigh,
“You always know to start at O
And go to x and y.”

“The distances and paths and trails
Are trivial to tell.
Old Euclid knew, and I know too,
And now you know as well.”

“But if the world were not a plane”,
He asked the flat-Earth rube,
“Could you create and calculate
“The distance on a cube?”

The world is flat! The world is flat!
That lesson’s what I learnt.
The world is flat, I’ll tell you that:
Imagine if it weren’t!

Day 23: The Seeds

There’s a seed that I took and I planted,
Just a speck among many I found.
Before that, I took plant life for granted,
But that seed, sadly, never broke ground.

Not discouraged, I planted another,
In the soil that failed for the first,
And that seed, like its late older brother,
Never rooted, nor through the ground burst.

And a third and a fourth failed together,
Though I altered the soil they grew in.
It was not until weeks of bad weather
That the fifth broke the cycle of ruin.

That fifth seed grew a leaf, but it wilted.
Was it not enough water? Too much?
Then the stem began sagging. It tilted
Until I tied it up with a crutch.

And I frantically researched the factors
Of the soil and water and sun,
I’ve fixed valves, pipes, and thermal reactors,
But this fifth grew one leaf and was done.

It took numerous trials, and error,
It took varying soil and air,
It took making light dimmer, or fairer,
It took compost and potash and prayer.

There were hundreds of seeds that I sowed there,
There were fifty that ever took root.
There were twenty-one sproutlings that showed there,
And of those, just a dozen bore fruit.

They were beautiful, yes, to see blooming,
All those stars growing out of the earth.
But I don’t know, and I’m not presuming,
What exactly the heartbreak was worth.

When you’re planting you’re dealing with numbers,
Since each seed grows alone and unguided.
And attachment too early encumbers,
And one gets sentimental, like I did.

From their perilous humble beginning,
They all glow like and grow to the sky.
But though others would see this as winning,
I’m too faint of heart for it. Not I.

Day 24: Through the Wind and Snow

“Hurry, hasten,
Put your face in
To the basin!

Litle twister
Leaves a blister -
Move it, mister!”

“We evade it!
Almost paid it,
But we made it.”

“But my candy
Would be dandy:
Fetch it, Randy!”

I retreated
And completed,
But I’ll eat it,

Either now or
When I’m dour
In an hour.

Day 25: A Ballade of Christmas

We set up camp along a jungle’s shore,
And play rock-paper-scissors for the snacks.
Chat-GPT wins problems three and four,
But can’t quite parse and organize the stacks.
Devices left with us go out of whacks
(Excuse the extra s; I blame the trees)
The rope bridge falls! The cathode-ray tube cracks!
At least in this hot jungle we won’t freeze.

Some scrounging simians steal scores of stuff,
And then, we climb a cliffside and a hill.
A signal for distress says “Things are tough!
And all this sand just makes it tougher still!”
We find a missing beacon with some skill,
And teaching valves to elephants? A breeze!
The rocks and magma falling down could kill -
At least in this volcano we won’t freeze.

The rocks are lovely, crystals wrapped in shells;
We grab a few while we decode the plan,
And then find numbers that a monkey yells:
It turns out that the real monkey is man.
The cube’s complex, and vastly harder than
The blizzard (though we should have brought some skis).
We scan the grove, plant seedlings where we scan,
And, last, solve this SNAFU so we won’t freeze.


Prince, these many Advents now, I’ve been a fan:
It’s been a joy to solve and work with these.
I hope you too find joy in all you can,
For He is born - enjoy the world He frees!

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.