What's Happening to Sudoku Puzzles?

Everything about Sudoku that doesn't fit in one of the other sections

What's Happening to Sudoku Puzzles?

Postby nedBlake » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:01 pm

Just a couple of years ago, the Saturday Puzzle in the Raleigh "News & Observer" was guaranteed to have at least one Xwing or Ywing or some sort of chain or cycle. Now their most difficult puzzle requires just solving naked/hidden singles, pairs or triples. Not even intersections ("pointing pairs", box-line reductions) show up.

The same seems to be true of other local newspaper puzzles, whether "gold" or 5-star. Do you think perhaps this is true because of e-newspapers? Solving an e-newspaper Sudoku is definitely a challenge, and perhaps keeping them easy makes their solution possible. But even then I don't see how to solve them without copying them to paper or an app.
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Re: What's Happening to Sudoku Puzzles?

Postby JasonLion » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:18 am

Since almost the beginning there have been many newspapers that publish only the simplest of puzzles and others which venture into slightly more complex puzzles. My sense is that slightly more papers publish what I would call medium puzzles today than did several years ago. But any specific newspaper may have moved in the other direction. Newspapers change the difficulty of their puzzles for many reasons. The most common reason is due to reader comments/complaints. However, some papers sometimes change the service they use to supply puzzles, and thus the puzzle difficulty, for financial or political reasons without any real regard for the difficulty of the puzzles supplied.

Essentially no one publishes the most difficult puzzles, such as the ones popular on this forum.
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Re: What's Happening to Sudoku Puzzles?

Postby nedBlake » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:54 pm

I notice that N&O did change their source for puzzles, so you are probably right in saying this is the reason why their difficulty changed.

But I was disappointed. It was their Saturday puzzle that inspired me to write an app for the iPad that let the user draw chains on the iPad screen. This is apparently of little interest to users in general.
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