Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sudoku Troubles

I often get teased by a few family members for having a Masters Degree and still having no clue about so many things in this world - the most recent experiences include a visit to the Paint Shop with my Dad - did you know there are exterior type paints and interior type paints...seriously...I did not know that - Dad's well-earned outburst - "I thought you had a Masters".  And on the way out of the shop the door is clearly labelled PULL, so what do I do - push, push, PUSH...Dad responds..."I thought you had a Masters".  Now its all light hearted fun but I pride myself on being curious - a problem solver and enjoying a challenge.  And obtaining a Masters does not excuse you from continually having to be curious and learn - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

So when my son bought his homework home and presented us with his 9x9 Sudoku puzzle I was keen to help him unpack the mysteries of Sudoku, for him and for me.  Of course our first step was to 'Google' sites, we found instructions here, here and here.

It was obvious that a 9x9 was not going to work for a beginning sudoku player.  And I certainly had no clue what I was to the 4x4 sudoku puzzles it was till we were confident enough to take on the 6x6.  Big ups to his teacher for encouraging parents to be involved...anyway so over the past 3 nights we have stayed at the 6x6 puzzles unabble to decipher the 9x9.  His homework is due tomorrow, and we have encouraged my son to paste his 6x6 puzzles into his homework book to show that he (and I) have made an effort.  Below is the puzzle my 9-year-old got.  If you have any great tips to help us decipher the mysteries of 9x9 Sudoku puzzles, please feel free to leave a comment. Note: A Masters Degree does not mean you will be good at Sudoku.


  1. It will probably label me a nerd (without the bank balance to prove it!) to say I used to really be into sudoku. Some people put numbers at the top of each square ie what possible numbers could go in this square - you will find that for some there is only one possibility - and for others at least 4. Then it is slowly a matter of elimination. It's a bit of a messy way - but that is how I learnt until about 4mths later I didn't need the numbers for the easy puzzles. (I don't think they had 4x4 or 6x6 when I started - but I could be wrong). Enjoy - can be addictive - or just plain frustrating!

  2. Beverly is right about Sudoku being addictive. I started doing them precisely because I was useless at them, and also hoped that if I can do Sudoku, it will lessen the chance of Alzeimhers (LOL). Two things I found helpful were to focus on lines and squares that already have 6 numbers in them - you can use a process of elimination (this line needs a 4, but 2 of the squares it passes through already have 4 in them). Once you have started doing that, you will find that more of the lines/squares have 6 numbers in them. Over time and with practice (as Beverly says) you start to recognise patterns, and can work on harder Sudoku with fewer numbers to start. Yes it can be messy with all those wee numbers you have noted in the corners of the boxes - the twink pen in your friend!

  3. Kia ora Bev and Elaine
    Thanks for your comments, I had a go at a couple of puzzles again last night. I managed to complete one and am sort of getting the hang of it. The frustrating thing is when you have several possibilities and you cant seem to find the right one...I have set myself a challenge to at least continue helping Lee. hehe
    Thanks for your comments

  4. sudoku is an awesome way to develop concentration. but dont let it control you!!


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