Arrow those variables!

Challenge

Robin likes having his variables declaration in the shape of an arrow. Here's how he does it:

• Input any number of strings
• Order them by ascending length
• Output them ordered by the middle to roughly form a negative arrowhead, like this (whichever order golfs the best):

5  or  4
3      2
1      1
2      3
4      5


Test Cases

Input:

bow
arrows
sheriffOfNottingham
kingRichard
maidMarian
princeJohn
sherwoodForest


Output:

sheriffOfNottingham
kingRichard
maidMarian
bow
arrows
princeJohn
sherwoodForest


Input:

a
bb
cc


Output (both are valid):

bb
a
cc

cc
a
bb


Input:

one
four
seven
fifteen


Possible output (the only other valid output is its vertical mirror):

seven
one
four
fifteen


Notes

• The strings are in camelCase and have no numbers or special characters, only lowercase and uppercase letters.

• The input can be anything you like: comma-separated as one string, array, ... Any I/O format is allowed.

• Between strings with the same length, any order is accepted.
• I feel like there was a very similar challenge before...but welcome to PPCG! – Giuseppe Apr 3 at 16:48
• @Giuseppe Yeah that's what I thought after posting, there's no way it hasn't been done before. Would you be ok with me deleting it now that you've answered it? – Teleporting Goat Apr 3 at 16:54
• well I've been searching for a dupe but I'm not very good at the search...we do have a sandbox for posting challenges which can often catch things like that. I'm perfectly OK with you deleting it if you're worried about it being a dupe. – Giuseppe Apr 3 at 16:55
• It's OK, we all start from the beginning :-) – Giuseppe Apr 3 at 17:06
• Could you add a test case with an even number of strings? – Sherlock9 Apr 3 at 17:22

Python 2, 47 bytes

lambda l:l.sort(key=len)or l[1::2][::-1]+l[::2]


Try it online!

• You'll need to rearrange some stuff, but you can use [::-2] directly to save 5 bytes. – Sherlock9 Apr 3 at 17:03
• @Sherlock9 I tried that, but then I had to check for the length, as lists with even / uneven lengths have to be handled differently. – ovs Apr 3 at 17:06
• Also works for Python 3. Would removing "lambda l:" and "or" and make it on 2 lines to save 11 bytes still be acceptable as "Any I/O format is allowed" ? – potato Apr 5 at 13:54

R, 63 48 bytes

function(L)c(rev(o<-L[order(nchar(L))]),o)[!0:1]


Try it online!

Sort by string lengths, then combine the reversed list with the sorted list, finally, take every 2nd element, starting at 1-based index 1.

• o<-L[... The other way to 'arrow variables'. A less important aside, pryr::f(...) works here for 46. Try it online! – CriminallyVulgar Apr 4 at 7:40
• @CriminallyVulgar using additional libraries turns this into a separate language, R + pryr which is why I typically avoid doing it unless there's a good reason to -- like for number theory questions, numbers is indispensable. – Giuseppe Apr 8 at 15:02

Javascript 77 bytes

Takes input as an array of strings, outputs an arrow-sorted array of strings.

s=>s.sort((a,b)=>a.length-b.length).reduce((m,x,i)=>i%2?[...m,x]:[x,...m],[])


Explanation

s =>                                 // take input as an array of strings s
s.sort((a,b)=>a.length-b.length)   // sort input by string length
.reduce(                           // reduce
(m,x,i)=>i%2?[...m,x]:[x,...m],  // if index is even, stick string x at the end of the memo
// array, else at the beginning
[]                               // memo initialized to empty array
)

• I don't think you have to count f=. 77 – dana Apr 4 at 11:54
• That is inconsistent in the js code golf submissions from what I have seen. I'm happy to exclude it if it doesn't count. – asgallant Apr 4 at 16:11
• I think it depends whether your function uses recursion. i.e. f=x=>x?f(x-1). If so, you need to include f since you are calling it in your function. However, since you are not using recursion, you shouldn't have to include f. There are several posts in Meta, this one seems to explain it a little better. codegolf.meta.stackexchange.com/a/9032/8340 – dana Apr 4 at 16:34
• That would explain the inconsistencies I've seen. – asgallant Apr 4 at 16:54

C# (Visual C# Interactive Compiler), 89 bytes

n=>(n=n.OrderBy(x=>x.Length)).Where((a,b)=>b%2>0).Reverse().Concat(n.Where((a,b)=>b%2<1))


Try it online!

K (oK), 24 bytes

Solution:

x(<#:'x)(|&~w),&w:2!!#x:


Try it online!

Explanation:

Generate the 6 4 2 0 1 3 5 sequence, use that to index into the ascending lengths of input, and use that to index into the original array:

x(<#:'x)(|&~w),&w:2!!#x: / the solution
x: / save input as x
#   / count (#) of x
!    / range 0 to ...
2!     / modulo 2
w:       / save as w
&         / indices where true
,          / join with
(    )           / do this together
~w            / not (~) w
&              / indices where true
|               / reverse
(     )                 / do this together
#:'x                  / count (#:) of each (') x
<                      / indices to sort ascending
x                        / index into x


Jelly, 9 8 bytes

LÞŒœm"-Ẏ


Try it online!

LÞŒœṚ;¥/


is also 8 bytes.

Thanks to @EriktheOutgolfer and @JonathanAllan for both offering golfs to save a byte.

• Nice! Clever golf: Ṛ€1¦ can become m"-. – Erik the Outgolfer Apr 3 at 18:38
• Or you could go for LÞŒœṚ;¥/ – Jonathan Allan Apr 3 at 18:49

Ruby, 51 bytes

->l{r=1;l.sort_by!(&:size).map{l[r-=2]||(l*2)[~r]}}


Try it online!

05AB1E, 6 5 bytes

Saved 1 byte thanks to Kevin Cruijssen

I/O is a list of strings.
Link is modified for newline separated I/O for easier testing.

éιRì


Try it online!

Explanation

é       # sort by length ascending
ι      # uninterleave into 2 parts, both sorted ascending
# push the 2 parts separately to the stack
R   # reverse the second part
ì  # and append it to the first

• You can remove the first R and replace « with i to save a byte, since the third bullet-point rule allows both versions of uninterleaving. – Kevin Cruijssen Apr 4 at 7:00
• @KevinCruijssen: Oh yeah, Thanks! – Emigna Apr 4 at 9:14

J, 11 bytes

,~,/@\:#&>


Try it online!

We sort it down first.

Then we reduce the list form right to left, but alternating which side we put the new element on. Done.

• Very nice! You have a space at the end though, remove it for 11 bytes :) – Galen Ivanov Apr 4 at 6:18
• Thanks Galen. Fixed! – Jonah Apr 4 at 10:01

PowerShell, 66 bytes

1..($a=$args|sort l*).count|?{$_%2}|%{$a[-$_];$x=,$a[-++$_]+$x};$x


Try it online!

Takes input via splatting, which manifests on TIO as separate command-line arguments. sorts on the length, stores that into $a, and constructs a range from 1 up to the count of input strings. We then pull out only the odd ones ?{$_%2} and feed those into a loop |%{...}. Each iteration, we put the "last", then the "third from last", and so on onto the pipeline with $a[-$_]. Separately, we also accumulate into $x the "second from last", "fourth from last", etc. Out of the loop and the pipeline is flushed (so those elements are output) and then we output $x. In both instances, the default output gives us newlines between items automatically.

PHP, 144 141 bytes

function($a){usort($a,function($b,$c){return strlen($b)-strlen($c);});$e=[];foreach($a as$d)(array_.[unshift,push][++$i%2])($e,$d);return$e;}  Try it online! -3 bytes thanks to @Ismael Miguel! • nice one. Where can I read more about [array_unshift,array_push][++$i%2]($e,$d)? – abhig10 Apr 4 at 10:15
• @abhig10 sure. It's an array with the two function names ['array_push','array_unshift'] with [++$i%2] as the index of the array alternating between a 0 or 1 so will evaluate to the other function each time. PHP's "variable functions" let you assign a varible to a function and execute by calling with parenthesis (ex: $f='array_push'; $f($e,$d); == array_push($e,$d)) so the ($e,$d) is then calling the evaluated element of the array. Just a shorter way to do if (++$i%2) array_push($e,$d); else array_unshift($e,$e);. Guess there was some PHP syntactic sugar after all! – gwaugh Apr 4 at 14:33
• Okay, it took me sometime to understand this. Awesome. – abhig10 Apr 4 at 15:21
• You can save 3 bytes by replacing [array_unshift,array_push][++$i%2]($e,$d) with (array_.[unshift,push][++$i%2])($e,$d). What I did was to remove the repeated array_, concatenated it and then the result is passed to the call. – Ismael Miguel Apr 5 at 15:07
• @IsmaelMiguel that's brilliant. Thank you! – gwaugh Apr 5 at 15:13

MATLAB, 87 bytes

function f(y);[B,I]=sort(cellfun(@(x)length(x),y));{y{flip(I(1:2:end))},y{I(2:2:end)}}'


Takes input as cell array of strings, outputs column of strings (not sure if that's legal)

> s = {'qweq qwe qw','qweqw','12132132131231231','asdasdasda','qwe','w'};
> f(s)
> >>
> ans =
>
>   6×1 cell array
>
>     {'qweq qwe qw'      }
>     {'qweqw'            }
>     {'qwe'              }
>     {'1234'             }
>     {'asdasdasda'       }
>     {'12132132131231231'}


PS: Thanks Sanchises for pointing to a bug with odd-length inputs

• This fails on odd number of input strings, e.g. f({'loooooooong','medium','short'}) – Sanchises Apr 4 at 9:38
• Also some general golfing tips: the end is optional for a function. Using function x=f(y);x={...}' is shorter than function f(y);disp({...}'). – Sanchises Apr 4 at 9:43
• If you're stuck, here's how I would do it. – Sanchises Apr 4 at 9:54
• @Sanchises thanks for pointing bug out. I did fix it exactly like you did. My issue with disp is i am not sure what output rules are. Should it be pure text or not? or disp({...}) is okay or even just x={...} as you suggest – aaaaaa Apr 4 at 16:36
• This can be 58 bytes in Octave. – Giuseppe Apr 5 at 17:34

APL (Dyalog Unicode), 18 bytesSBCS

{⍵[⍋-@(2∘|)⍋⍋≢¨⍵]}


Try it online!

Fixed the bug thanks to @ngn.

Explanation:

{⍵[⍋-@(2∘|)⍋⍋≢¨⍵]}
{                } ⍝ Function. Takes a single argument: ⍵, list of strings
≢¨⍵   ⍝ The length of each element in the list
⍋⍋      ⍝ Sort the lengths
-@(2∘|)        ⍝ At (@) elements divisible by 2 (|), negate (-)
⍝     gives -1 2 -3 4 -5
⍋               ⍝ Sort this list again, gives the indices of that list ^ sorted
⍵[             ]  ⍝ Use these indices to index into the argument


¹

• ≢¨×¯1*⍳∘⍴ -> (⊢∘-\≢¨) and it gets even shorter if you turn it into a dfn – ngn Apr 7 at 4:58
• however, i'm not sure this algorithm is correct. we should negate the length of every other string in their sorted order, not in the order they come from the input – ngn Apr 7 at 5:14

APL+WIN, 31 38 bytes

⊃n[(⍳⍴n)~a],⌽n[a←2×⍳⌊.5×⍴n←n[⍒∊⍴¨n←⎕]]


Try it online Courtesy of Dyalog Classic!

Prompts for a nested vector of strings

• Does APL+ not have Monadic ≢ "tally" to replace ∊⍴ ? – Adám Apr 3 at 19:02
• Fails on '12' '1234' '1234' '1234' '1234' '12345678' '12345678' '12345678' '12345678'. Clearly, the result should have been '12345678' '12345678' '1234' '1234' '12' '1234' '1234' '12345678' '12345678' – Adám Apr 3 at 19:06
• @Adám My ancient version of APL+ does not have ≢. Agreed on your second comment I will take a look at it tomorrow. – Graham Apr 3 at 19:26

Retina, 26 bytes

N$$.&
*\,2,^A.+
,2,G.+


Try it online! Explanation:

N$$.&


Sort the lines in ascending order of length ($.& returns the length of the line). *\,2,^A.+  Temporarily delete alternate lines and output the remaining lines in reverse order. ,2,G.+  Keep the only lines that were temporarily deleted and output them. Gaia, 10 bytes el∫v:v+2%ụ  Try it online! e | eval as Gaia code (list of strings) l∫ | ∫ort by lengths (ascending) v:v | reverse, dup, reverse + | concatenate lists 2% | take every other element ụ | join by newlines and output • i like that your comments in unwrapped code form an arrow of strings – aaaaaa Apr 3 at 23:47 Japt, 8 bytes ñÊó g0_w  -3 bytes thanks to Shaggy! Try it • 10 bytes with output as a 2D-array, which would seem to be allowed. – Shaggy Apr 3 at 21:28 • Or, maybe, 8 bytes? On my phone so haven't tested it properly. – Shaggy Apr 3 at 21:30 • @Shaggy I was looking for a function to find every nth element, but I couldn't find it. Thanks! – Embodiment of Ignorance Apr 3 at 21:37 • there's also A.ë() but I don't know if that'll lead to a shorter solution. – Shaggy Apr 3 at 21:45 PowerShell, 49 bytes $args|sort l*|sort{$_.Length*($global:x=-$x*2+1)}  Try it online! The double distillation. T-SQL, 84 bytes Input is a table variable SELECT a FROM(SELECT*,row_number()over(order by len(a))r FROM @)x order by(r%2-.5)*r  Try it online Perl 6, 31 bytes *.sort(&chars).sort:{$++%2*$--}  Try it online! Sort by string length, then by static sequence 0, -1, 0, -3, 0, -5, ... Javascript 95 Bytes s=>s.sort((x,y)=>x.length-y.length).reduce((a,e,i)=>{i%2?a.push(e):a.unshift(e);return a;},[]);  • -1 s.sort() sorts the strings lexicographically, not by string length. – asgallant Apr 3 at 19:34 • Right, (x,y)=>x.length-y.length, should fix that. – somsom Apr 3 at 19:41 Red, 116 101 bytes func[b][sort/compare b func[x y][(length? x)> length? y]collect[forall b[keep take b]keep reverse b]]  Try it online! perl 5 (-p0777F/\n/ -M5.01), 59 bytes for$x(sort{$b=~y///c-length$a}@F){--$|?$\="$x ".$\:say\$x}}{


TIO

C (gcc), 136 128 bytes

S(a,b)int**a,**b;{a=strlen(*b)-strlen(*a);}f(l,s,o,i,b,e)int**s,**o;{qsort(s,l,8,S);e=l-1;for(i=b=0;i-l;)o[i++%2?b++:e--]=s[i];}


Try it online!

-8 bytes thanks to ceilingcat.

The function f is the solution. It takes the number of strings, the strings themselves, and the output buffer as arguments (plus four more used internally).

• Why is ./.bin.tio in the output? – Teleporting Goat Apr 3 at 22:27
• @TeleportingGoat Probably because their footer is using all of argv, which includes the filename – Jo King Apr 4 at 1:46
• Exactly, it was just a quick test. One can construct any data that takes appropriate format. I'll update the TIO link later. – LambdaBeta Apr 4 at 13:42
• haha, the problem with these short variable names: you forget what you hat t for in the first place and keep it around even when you don't need it! – LambdaBeta Apr 10 at 20:44
• 124 bytes – ceilingcat Apr 14 at 2:26

Japt, 8 bytes

Input as an array of lines, output as an array of 2 arrays of lines, one for each half of the list.

ñÊó
hUÎÔ


Try it (Additional code to allow for I/O as newline separated string)

ñÊó      :Implicit input of array U
ñ        :Sort by
Ê       :  Length
ó      :Uninterleave

hUÎÔ     :Newline reassigns to U
h        :Set the first element in U to
UÎ      :  The first element in U
Ô     :  Reversed


import Data.List
f s=splitAt((length s+1)div2)s
`