Advanced methods and approaches for solving Sudoku puzzles

Hello fellow gamers!

Here's my question. We've had Sudoku in the L.A. times for a week or so now. I've been able to complete all the puzzles theyve thrown out thus far, ranging from Gentle to Diabolical.

After seeing it published next to the crossword, and reading the rules, I jumped right in. After staring for awhile at it I figured out the basic solving technique I guess is refered to as "Marking Up." I reproduced a larger copy of the grid, broke out a fine tipped pencil and started with the first blank square on the top left. I made small notes of every square until the possibilities work out. I have proceeded to use this technique sucessfully in all the Sudoku puzzles I have attempted. Only in the very tough and diabolical, I have had to do a little guess and check at the end.

Am I cheating?

I would like opinions based on my solving technique.
sudokubill

Posts: 4
Joined: 17 July 2005

sudokubill wrote:Am I cheating?

No, you didn't cheat because you didn't break a rule.

Many people use these "pencil marks" - especially for the harder puzzles.
Last edited by simes on Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
simes

Posts: 324
Joined: 11 March 2005
Location: UK

Though it's not entirely clear what you mean by:

sudokubill wrote:I have had to do a little guess and check at the end.

Without restarting a long and protracted debate, there generally is no need to guess.
Karyobin

Posts: 396
Joined: 18 June 2005

i guess what i am trying to say is:

is my method frowned upon? is not taking notes and working with the small puzzle supplied the "way it is supposed to be done"?

i dunno, it just seems like i am using the easiest means to the end, and may be not enjoying the puzzles to the fullest.

sudokubill

Posts: 4
Joined: 17 July 2005

I'd say that if it gives you intellectual satisfaction doing it however you are doing it, then that's fine. Now ask yourself: Would it be even more satisfying to do it without any guessing? It is claimed that all Papocom Sudokus can be done w/o guessing. Whatever your answer is, that's your answer. (But also ask yourself: is resorting to guessing stopping you from finding other ways to reach the solution, ways that you can generalize and apply to future Sudokus?)
Doyle

Posts: 61
Joined: 11 July 2005

Of course, if you really want to go way over the top with these things you could buy yourself a book and start at the beginning. This is what I did. I went quickly onto the 'Fiendish' ones (after two or three days) and through doing this I personally found that I developed an effective way of using pencil marks.

Then, I downloaded the program from this site and applied what I'd learned, little realising that the sudoku generated by the program are considerably harder than those to be found in most books or newspapers. When (after a few days again) I returned to the book, I found that I was able to visualise candidate possibilties within the puzzle itself. Obviously this took a little effort and a degree of concentration, but became easier as time marched on.

Then everything went really weird. After a particularly intense session of computer/book puzzles (about three to four hours), I went to the pub and y'know what? People weren't in the right places! There were too many women at the end of the pool table, couldn't anybody else see that they should be separated by some men! And that part of the room's empty, for God's sake - let's put some effort into filling it up! Predictably, people weren't particularly impressed by my new-found approach to socialising, and most didn't understand why the majority of them should be standing somewhere else. At this point it became apparent that I needed to calm down a bit.

I now derive a great deal of satisfaction from 'blitzing' all candidates within 30 seconds to a minute of loading up a 'Very Hard' and trying to consistently complete the puzzle in less than ten minutes - an entirely different discipline from sitting and staring and using just your mind. A bit like comparing longbow to olympic archery, it's soul versus method.

Because those of us with addictive personalities need to be careful where we step occasionally.
Karyobin

Posts: 396
Joined: 18 June 2005

hehe good story.

have u ever seen A beautiful mind?
sudokubill

Posts: 4
Joined: 17 July 2005

Cheers.

No haven't seen that film, would like to but haven't got around to it as yet.
Last edited by Karyobin on Thu Sep 15, 2005 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
Karyobin

Posts: 396
Joined: 18 June 2005

I saw it the other day - I loved it! Very odd chap, that one. Mad a box of frogs.

I'm not quite that bad. At least *shut up*, only when there's an 'r' in the month.
Karyobin

Posts: 396
Joined: 18 June 2005