by **tso** » Fri Sep 02, 2005 5:59 pm

The last few TIMES Sudoku's labeled as "FIENDISH":

#340 -- Tactics required: naked and hidden singles.

#338 -- Tactics required: naked singles.

#336 -- Tactics required: naked and hidden singles.

#333 -- Tactics required: naked and hidden singles, locked candidates, naked triples.

#328 -- Tactics required: naked and hidden singles.

But the question is, are they getting easier, or have they always been this easy? I went back and checked five "Fiendish" puzzles the TIMES had published -- 157, 160, 161, 166 and 172. Here's what I found:

#157 -- Tactics required: naked singles

#160 -- Tactics required: naked and hidden singles, locked candidates

#161 -- Tactics required: naked and hidden singles, locked candidates, naked pairs and triples

#166 -- Tactics required: naked and hidden singles

#172 -- Tactics required: naked and hidden singles, naked pairs

Though these five taken together are more difficult that the last five published, #157 is as easy as any of the last five and #333 is harder than any except #161. So I'd say "no", the puzzles aren't getting any easier.

#157 and #338 have no business being labeled as "FIENDISH" -- or even "DIFFICULT". They should be labeled "EASY" or "TRIVIAL". Puzzles that require only hidden and naked singles simply CANNOT be difficult, and it seems silly to me to label them beyond MEDIUM or similar terms.

I think it was Truman Capote who said "That's not writing, that's just typing." Well, this isn't logic deduction, it's just filling in the blanks.

For comparison, I just generated 5 HARD puzzles using Pappocom's software. Four required the same four tactics: Naked singles, Hidden singles, Locked candidates and Naked Pairs. One required only hidden and naked singles. (None required triples.)