More about Sudoku

 

There are many different ways to solving these puzzles and I do not suggest my way is best. But it does enable me to solve the hardest (Fiendish) puzzles from The Times fairly quickly. This is what I do:

 

I divide each puzzle into three phases:

 

  1. Copy the puzzle on to a Sudoku pad with its larger squares using a Red pen.
  2. Starting with the top left Block with its nine small squares and pencil in the possible numbers with small figures. Start at the Top left square and moving from left to right until all nine small squares of this top left block have their possible small numbers written in. Proceed to the next top Block on the right and treat it in the same way, and so on until all nine blocks have been filled.During this ‘Exposition’ you will probably find one number in sole possession of its square. Write this number in full size and then look for a similar number in its COLUMN, in its ROW and in its BLOCK and rub them out. During this process you will uncover some more single numbers in sole possession of their squares and can be therefore raised to full size and should be treated like all full size numbers and will have similar small numbers deleted throughout their COLUMNS, ROWS or BLOCKS. By the time you have reached the last BLOCK you will find you have almost completed the solution of the easier puzzles.

    During this ‘EXPOSITION’ stage keep any eye out for ‘matching pairs’. If you see two numbers left in a square and the same two numbers left in another square and both pairs are in the same column you can rub out any similar numbers in that column. The same rule can be applied to a ROW or a BLOCK throughout the puzzle.

    This ‘exposition’ stage is where most people (including me) make mistakes, so it pays to spend extra time on it. I am still learning after several years with Sudoku. To prove this point I advise you to check the whole puzzle by subjecting every red figure to the COLUMN, ROW and BLOCK test. If you find no mistakes to correct you are a genius!

 

 

Perhaps the best advice I can give you is to get a book on solving this clever and demanding puzzle and then work out your own way of meeting the challenge. As you get older it will prevent your brain from becoming addled.

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