Pat wrote:yes, rating the puzzles is pretty tough but how do we find decent puzzles to solve without some system of rating them?
Sheldon's puzzles happen to be Just Right for me at my present level.
Indeed, one of the (in my view, happy) challenges that we face. This is why I personally want to know who it is that is setting the puzzles and whether or not they are computer generated (and if the book doesn't say so, I don't buy it). I know that I can trust Pappocom - and yes, I've dubbed a few puzzles into the software myself - and I know that I can trust Nikoli. I have bought a book by Pete Sinden (this was an accident, since I had actually set out to buy a book by Peter Sterling, after reading on the Daily Mail website about how he sets the puzzles for the Daily Mail and how he had improved his puzzle setting from the early days) and was pleasantly surprised by it - these were some of the puzzles I dubbed into Pappocom's software!
I still look at the books that are available and if they state the puzzle setter and method of setting and have some kind of introduction about what the author thinks makes a good sudoku, and it rings true with what has been stated here, then I have a fair idea that it is a reputable book.
At this stage it's still trial and error but if the book is brave enough to state who sets the puzzles and how they are set then they have given at least some
thought to the process and not just churned out 1,000 puzzles or so to generate income because Sudoku is popular just now.
I think that Tom Sheldon's book has an introduction and some hints and tips on how to solve - I didn't read it that closely though - which implies that he put some thought into his book. There is also a website listed, if I recall correctly.
Yes, it is
difficult to know who's puzzles are reputable and/or hard enough. Seems to me it's a matter of looking at what's available and making your choice. Or posting to this website and asking if anybody's heard of it (Peter Greene anybody?).