XKCD 2/15: Knight?

XKCD for 2/15/10: Snow Tracking. I get all the references except one: “knight”. To what is he referring in that panel??

I love “moose and squirrel”. I also love “Prius”. :smiley:

The chesspiece, with its “L” shaped movement?

Did you notice the mouseover?

The knight has a slight problem in that it’s not making enough steps in each leg of its tour.

One step per leg: it’s an L, but it jumps over the spaces in between, as per XKCD.

If that were what he was doing, the long legs should be…well, long legs. Even Randal’s art is good enough for that.

And the Transmorgifier, nice C&H reference.

That one confuzzed me too. I loved the prius (my vegetable garden!) and C&H.

The knight is an actual chess piece with a round base.

It seems to be moving correctly to me.

Not sure what a “Longcat” is, but from the tracks it seems like it should be called “Tallcat”. A long cat (distance from head to tail) would not have tracks like that.

No, he wasn’t very consistent in how he drew it. Plus, it’s somewhat random even for an XKCD comic.

Longcat is tall?

Huh? It looks perfectly consistent, he might have even measured to get each move nearly the same.

As for random, it was the first thing I thought of.

If you want random, look one square to the left… bobcat on a pogo stick? Now that is random. Or I don’t get it.

What I’m getting at is that a long cat with normal sized legs will not take much bigger steps than the normal cat in the first panel.

It’s like a centipede. Despite the length, it takes short steps.

To leave the type of tracks in the comic, it would need to be tall, not long.

Carmady, the traditional internet long catis perceived as having legs that are much further apart than a normal cat’s. That linked picture is a base version of the long cat; many macros artificially stretch the cat’s abdomen to better fulfill the phrase “Long cat is long.”

(Note to self: Have weird dreams about having to go away to prison and learning that your favorite blogger lives and works in a smally grocery store, then eat leftover Chinese food. Oddly formal style of writing will result.)

Sure, but where are all the in-between steps? If you took a longcat and set it down in the snow, then picked it up and moved it a full length forward, it would leave tracks like those in the XKCD strip. If it were actually walking, it would still only move a short distance between steps, based on the height of its legs. You would have more tracks than are shown.

Look at the move from the sixth to the seventh, and from the ninth to the tenth, spaces. These don’t look like L-shaped moves to me.

Knights move 2 squares in one direction, then one square perpendicular do that, but he’s got it moving the same distance in each leg of its move.

Everyone always thinks of knights as moving in ‘L’ shapes, but I don’t. I think of them as moving in half-Y shapes: one orthogonal move followed by one diagonal move with a matching orthogonal component.

Of course, they don’t really move either of these ways: they just jump from one square to another, with no particularly designated intermediate squares.

Yes, they do. Let me break it down starting at the bottom:

two spaces up, one right
two up, one left
2 up, 1 right
2 up, 1 left
2 right, 1 up
2 right, 1 down
2 right, 1 up
2 down, 1 left
2 right, 1 down
2 right, 1 up

got it?

Looks like the topmost dot to the right is a few pixels off. I measured it using the extremely scientific method of moving a rectangle around in paint.

By the way, it’s the 8th dot total. The 9th would be 2 “spaces” down and one to the left from that. The knight’s path loops back at that part.

ETA: Curse you! The second part of my post is the same as A Monkey With a Gun’s, except mine is less eloquent.

Yep–got it now. Somehow my frame of reference became tilted at some point, and that threw me off. If I imagine a grid overlaid on the snow, it makes perfect sense. Thanks!