8/4/2011 11:20:34 PM
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Say that a few times with me in your best announcer's voice... Sudoku Challenger!
I had never tried one of these before, so, you know, I did, heheheh. I've done my share of all forms of sudoku and thought to myself... Hmmmm, how hard can it really be? I've particularly enjoyed the locosudoku that I've come across because they're far more challenging than regular sudoku, and you need to be on top of the spacial aspects in order to get them. So, 16 numbers instead of 8, and 16 spaces to each box and column and row... Easy, right?
In two, two letter words, one being more of a pausing sound than anything... Uh, no. Heheheh.
Three days. Now, this is three days of time at work in between customers and various interruptions that require a settling back into, or immersion into, the puzzle for find one's place and reorient. Ahhhh, that's where a 13 goes. Yup, a 7 goes just there. Still two places for a 10 there... Leave it for later... Then, an impasse. It wasn't flowing and solving itself like so many of the others. I looked, and concentrated and tried to solve a box here, or a column there, and it just wasn't coming along. Day one, gone.
Now, I'm not the brightest bulb in the marquee, but this one was stumping me. About 2 hours of work when I'd started the thing and I had 35 numbers placed. I wavered on picking it up again the next day, but it was calling me back. Whispering to me that I was beaten. Taunting me. I needed to get dirty, back to basics, and hit this thing with my mind as hard as it was hitting me with it's veiled insults and chest out bravado. Day two began with row by row, column by column, teasing out each rare number to place, each little reduction of options for those nasty numbers that still had 23 options in a box, row or column. Numbers started appearing, and options started to get smaller, and, I ran out of time again.
Day three. No hesitation on this day. I was nearing the top of the mountain where I could stomp my intellectual foot, and things would start falling into place, one by one. Turn on the open sign, get the money into the till, hit the lights, grab that challenger by the scruff of the neck and show it what for! Had to survey the new landscape the previous day had wrought. Ok, there's a new 3 in this place, so that makes a 3 impossible in this box or column, and the challenger was looking forelorn and punch drunk as I jabbed and stuck a move and feinted and shuffled.
Done. I did it. I checked my work. Perfect. I get a lot of personal satisfaction in solving most puzzles, because they're fun and diversionary, and I feel as a lot of you do that it keeps your mind active and fresh. This one, though? It was war. I loved every brutal hour of it, heheh. I punched the air, did a little dance, and shouted YES!! as I put in the last number. That was a week ago, and in my bravado, I started another yesterday. I was humbled. I've already screwed the pooch on that one and had to consult the answer to rectify my miscues.... Woah, boy. Need my focus of the first one.
War? Nay. Only the first successful battle in what looks to be a long, though very enjoyable war, or new love affair, heheheh. <em>edited by TheDarkHorseOne on 8/4/2011</em>

8/11/2011 11:53:37 PM
Guest

Bernadette1959 wrote:
Congratulations on finishing that Sudoku Challenger! I've tried these puzzles a few times but have never been able to finish one! I generally stick to the small but easy Sudoku grids.
Best regards! Bernadette edited by Bernadette1959 on 8/5/2011
You just have to get a little angry toward, and defensive about, them, Bernadette, heheh. It sure was fun to figure. I wipe the floor with regular Sudoku so I rarely play them anymore unless to fill an empty 5 minutes. The loco version is quite fun though, and I'll go back to those every time. I love how they change the way I need to think about number placement. These challengers though? I'm glad there's normally only one in a book. I'd be hard pressed to finish one on a slow work day, considering it took me the course of 3 days to finish my first. Knowing myself, though, I wouldn't expect it to take that long for the next one. In my post above, I just got too proud and tried my next one too soon after my first thinking I had the process down. It humbled me, heheh.
Tell ya what, though. It's very rare for me to feel that satisfied about a finish.
I do want to thank you, Bernadette. I believe it was you that posted to me about cross sums and figure logics, etc, when I mentioned getting a logic pack and having some math and logic books in it. With your small encouragement, I was able to finish some of those, and I'm not a math guy. I learned though. For instance, I know how integral 24, 23, 3, and 4 are in cross sums now. Also I became cognizant about those long lines that end up having every number from 19 in them. Since, I've solved them with and without the help number. Sometimes, like logic problems, you need to work through scenarios to get exactly what fits. I've also had my share of humbling failures. With figure logics, those are challenging and I've never started one from scratch without the help number, but solving them has become quite fun for me as well and I don't shy from them (or cross sums) like I used to.
So thanks for giving me a little oomph to try those.
TDHO <em>edited by TheDarkHorseOne on 8/11/2011</em>

8/13/2011 11:07:54 PM
Guest

Bernadette1959 wrote:
You're welcome!
Oh, I don't know if I could dredge up enough anger at a Challenger Sudoku in order to finish one but I'll work on it!
I used to be a much greater fan of math and logic puzzles than I am now. In my younger days, I was very adept at solving Word Arithmetic and Logic Puzzles, though Cross Sums was never one of my favorites. I refuse to solve in pencil and attempting those with a pen is just asking for major trouble. I also enjoyed Anacrostics very much. Nowadays I seem to stick mostly with Word Games Puzzles (I never tire of these!) and the variety puzzles that are included in most of the Word Search/Word Seek magazines. I've very fond of Places, Please and Letterboxes as well as Tanglewords which are found in the Dell books.
I guess different puzzles appeal to us at different times!
Again, you're welcome for the encouragement!
Well, patience is actually what I meant. If you just hit it first and get a few numbers, say, 56, then set it back down for a first day's try, that worked for me. I had 2 hours at the end of my day for that to get me started. Then, seriously, you just go through it row by row, column by column, then the diagonals, and that'll get you quite a long way. Then go box by box and see what the new numbers mean in each and it all starts to fall. That said, though, they don't call it challenger for nothing. It's a test of will, or at least it was for me.
I'm also a fan of P,P and Letterboxes, Tanglewords being the Dell equiv. Is it just me, or are the Tanglewords a bit harder?
I can't get enough of syllacrostics, anagram magic squares, and all the sort of puzzles that are in the Brain Boosters Picture Puzzles editions. Love it.

8/27/2011 12:25:13 AM
Noeckett Posts: 48

I agree, TheDarkHorseOne, the Sudoku Challenger is quite a beast! It is usually one of the final puzzles I solve if it's in the current issue I'm working on. I have a system that is tedious at first, but gets the puzzle solved in a few hours. Obviously, I try to find any numbers that can be determined from the numbers already given first. Then, for the remaining empty cells (still tons of them), I go through them one by one, checking them against the rows, columns, and boxes, making note of which numbers could still possibly fill each cell. You can find out valuable information this way; for instance, say you have a row with two cells that can only be either 6 or 11. You know those two numbers will occupy those two cells in some order, but more importantly you know those two numbers CAN'T occupy any other cells in that row, so you can erase 6 and 11 from any other cells that still have them marked as a possibility. If one of those cells was previously marked "6, 8, 11", you now know that cell must be 8. Another tip for the challengers is that, much like Extreme Sudoku, the diagonals are oh so important. Always check them when you get stuck, you'd be surprised to notice that only one square in the diagonal can logically support a 9, or 15, or etc.
Shifting gears a little, here are some more important numbers for Cross Sums / Kakuro:
7, with three cells, must contain 1, 2, and 4. 10, with four cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, and 4. 11, with four cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, and 5. 15, with five cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. 16, with five cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. 21, with six cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. 22, with six cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. 29, with four cells, must contain 5, 7, 8, and 9. 30, with four cells, must contain 6, 7, 8, and 9. 34, with five cells, must contain 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9. 35, with five cells, must contain 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. 38, with six cells, must contain 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. 39, with six cells, must contain 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
For sevencelled figures the numbers 28, 29, 41, and 42 are significant. 28 will have every number except 8 and 9, 29 will have every number except 7 and 9, 41 will have every number except 1 and 3, and 42 will have every number except 1 and 2.
For eightcelled figures, simply subtract the given number from 45 to determine the missing digit (for instance, and eightcelled 38 will contain every number except 7).
It's also helpful to check large figures against small ones; for instance say you have a fourcelled 29 that crosses a fourcelled 11. Since 29 can only be (5, 7, 8, 9) and 11 can only be (1, 2, 3, 5) you know that the cell where they intersect must be a 5, since that's the only number the two solutions have in common.
There are a lot of subtleties to the strategies of solving these puzzles that just come with experience. Cross Sums / Kakuro are some of my favorites. I love the Figure Logics as well, but I don't get to do them very often because they are exclusive to Dell and I almost always buy Penny publications. I've been waiting for the day when Penny Press finally cooks up a Figure Logic equivalent for their mags! edited by Noeckett on 8/27/2011 <em>edited by Noeckett on 8/27/2011</em>

10/6/2011 8:55:45 PM
Guest

Noeckett wrote:
I agree, TheDarkHorseOne, the Sudoku Challenger is quite a beast! It is usually one of the final puzzles I solve if it's in the current issue I'm working on. I have a system that is tedious at first, but gets the puzzle solved in a few hours. Obviously, I try to find any numbers that can be determined from the numbers already given first. Then, for the remaining empty cells (still tons of them), I go through them one by one, checking them against the rows, columns, and boxes, making note of which numbers could still possibly fill each cell. You can find out valuable information this way; for instance, say you have a row with two cells that can only be either 6 or 11. You know those two numbers will occupy those two cells in some order, but more importantly you know those two numbers CAN'T occupy any other cells in that row, so you can erase 6 and 11 from any other cells that still have them marked as a possibility. If one of those cells was previously marked "6, 8, 11", you now know that cell must be 8. Another tip for the challengers is that, much like Extreme Sudoku, the diagonals are oh so important. Always check them when you get stuck, you'd be surprised to notice that only one square in the diagonal can logically support a 9, or 15, or etc.
Shifting gears a little, here are some more important numbers for Cross Sums / Kakuro:
7, with three cells, must contain 1, 2, and 4. 10, with four cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, and 4. 11, with four cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, and 5. 15, with five cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. 16, with five cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. 21, with six cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. 22, with six cells, must contain 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. 29, with four cells, must contain 5, 7, 8, and 9. 30, with four cells, must contain 6, 7, 8, and 9. 34, with five cells, must contain 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9. 35, with five cells, must contain 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. 38, with six cells, must contain 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. 39, with six cells, must contain 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
For sevencelled figures the numbers 28, 29, 41, and 42 are significant. 28 will have every number except 8 and 9, 29 will have every number except 7 and 9, 41 will have every number except 1 and 3, and 42 will have every number except 1 and 2.
For eightcelled figures, simply subtract the given number from 45 to determine the missing digit (for instance, and eightcelled 38 will contain every number except 7).
It's also helpful to check large figures against small ones; for instance say you have a fourcelled 29 that crosses a fourcelled 11. Since 29 can only be (5, 7, 8, 9) and 11 can only be (1, 2, 3, 5) you know that the cell where they intersect must be a 5, since that's the only number the two solutions have in common.
There are a lot of subtleties to the strategies of solving these puzzles that just come with experience. Cross Sums / Kakuro are some of my favorites. I love the Figure Logics as well, but I don't get to do them very often because they are exclusive to Dell and I almost always buy Penny publications. I've been waiting for the day when Penny Press finally cooks up a Figure Logic equivalent for their mags! edited by Noeckett on 8/27/2011 edited by Noeckett on 8/27/2011 Sorry to take so long to get back to you, Noeckett. Since posting this thread, I've become more adept at the Cross sums and went through about 10 of them today. They just kept calling me back and back. I've learned quite alot of your tips above by using trial and error, and they've really grown on me as a puzzle. I used to skip them in my variety mags, but will never do so again because they really are a ton of fun. Figure logics I'm getting too, but I've always used the help. I keep a calculator close as well because doing the long math gets rather tedious, heheheh. Not sure if you'd consider it cheating, and I don't ALWAYS use one, but if I'm not in the mood for the math, there it is. There was a challenger in this recent Math and Logic, too, and I'll tell you something. They put far too many numbers (oops, letters... It was one of those) into it to call it a challenger. They even had letters in some of the circles. I finished it in about 34 hours. The ones in the Dell Variety mags never have that many letters or numbers. Love them, though. Every challenging minute.
You know what's on the page opposite of that puzzle? A Cross Sums Challenger! I'm saving that for Saturday when I do an open to close at work. I've still got quite a few of the Logic problems left to do in this one as well. So many puzzles, so little time, heheheh.

10/7/2011 6:58:28 AM
creamchz3@aol.com Posts: 945

That's cool you can do the hard number puzzles, I can't, but I'll bet your'e better at word games. You seem to have a way with them. I love reading your stuff! C. C.

11/17/2011 12:52:17 AM
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creamchz3@aol.com wrote:
That's cool you can do the hard number puzzles, I can't, but I'll bet your'e better at word games. You seem to have a way with them. I love reading your stuff! C. C. Well, thanks, cc. Not sure if I have a 'way' with them, but I do fancy that I have a familiarity with them enough to consider them family of a sort, heheh. That was vaguely alliterative, but I digress...
I'd love to be able to change your mind about what you consider 'hard' number puzzles. I used to just skip them entirely because I, too, thought they were hard. The crafty PennyDell staff does a sly thing and slips the occasional Math and Logic Problem book into their logic packs. In the past, I may have just begged off and saved them for last, or perhaps not even given them a try. The thing is, this time, I felt if I did that then I'd be doing myself a disservice. My pocketbook as well, because I paid for them, heheh. Plus, there was a certain intimidation factor as well. As you and I have both admitted, they seem hard. The difference between them and what I generally like doing was offputting, so I decided not to bother. I still do that with puzzles like what looks like long division with letters instead of numbers. I think those rather suck and take up too much space in some of my books. Solicross doesn't seem to interest me in the least, though I've tried it. So there are some books that have large gaps of unsolved puzzles in them that I'm collecting. I do have a plan for them, though.....
You see, there are nursing homes and retirement communities that are filled with folks that perhaps have some idle time and a still active mind. My plan is to donate them in some fashion because perhaps there are some minds in there that could use those puzzles that I don't as a little distraction. That way, the puzzles that I feel I waste will or may not go to waste.
There I go, off on another tangent, heheh. I guess the bottom line with those puzzles that seem hard or intimidating is to give them a try and just see what you can do with them, even if you have to force yourself to, as the crafty staff here forced my hand with the M&LP. Who knows, you might find another enjoyable puzzle in the mean, or in fact find out that, yes indeed, those puzzles aren't for me, heheh.

11/18/2011 6:10:07 AM
creamchz3@aol.com Posts: 945

I guess I'm just drawn to the word puzzles. Was never very good at math as a child and I still get that quiver inside when I see number puzzles. It all comes back to me like I'm in grade school. Ah yes, those were the days. CC

8/15/2012 6:34:28 PM
Purple Pisces Posts: 876

Thanks again to TDHO for bumping this thread! I've really enjoyed reading it! It's funny how the Word Arithmetic and Figure Logics used to intimidate me and now there favorites of mine. I used to just look at the Word Arithmetic puzzles and my brain would go numb! I've always enjoyed the Cross Sums and agree that once you've done a few, its easier to pick up on certain numbers sequences that make it easier to solve the puzzle.
