Monday February 11th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: being stumped.

I am slowly going crazy, crazy going slowly am I...


So our local paper, which publishes once a week, has both a crossword and Sudoku puzzle in it. I've never bothered with either, and I'm reasonably certain that I've never ever finished a Sudoku game.

A couple weeks ago I was in charge of watching Max and he was having a nap while I was reading the paper. After I'd finished reading the articles that had caught my attention, and not wanting to disturb him, I decided to fumble my way through the crossword. Once that became sufficiently frustrating it occurred to me to try the Sudoku puzzle.

It was rated as being a beginner level, so that gave me hope. I was interrupted several times but I did eventually finish it. Feeling quite proud of myself, I decided I'd give the next week's game a go as well.

It being rated as advanced didn't deter me, though I now wish it had. I managed to get partway through it before reaching a point where I just could not figure out what to do next. Coming back to it a day later, I thought I had a breakthrough and made decent progress. After being interrupted again, I came back and made some more.

And then I realized that I had made a mistake. Couldn't tell you where exactly, but something was obviously wrong. My options at this point were to burn it (in the fireplace - I wasn't that upset) or start over again by writing it out on a blank piece of paper.

Being more stubborn than wise, I went with the second option.

Eventually I reached that same point where I'd become stuck previously, but this time I figured out what actually needed to happen next. So more progress was made. Started feeling good about the old brain box. And then...

I got stuck again. And I am utterly, completely stumped this time. I feel like there's a logical path I need to take that is just out of sight for me.

It is driving me frickin' nuts.

I should really just burn the stupid thing.

But I so, so want to figure it out...


Greg said...

There are a few tricks for solving Sudoku, but as I recall there's only one that's decidedly clever and rarely needed. Pretty much all the rest of the sudoku will fall to patience. My suggestion would be to check each row and column and in turn:
* work out what numbers are still missing from each one
* work out in which cells the missing numbers can go
* check each 3x3 square then and see if you can make a statement of the form "since 7 and 8 must go in the middle column, only 5 can go in the left-one".
The decidedly tricky thing is called a "double-cross" I think, and hopefully you don't need it :)

Being stumped
The interns in the offices of Data Analytics Marketetic Normalisations were crammed into a cupboard that housed janitorial supplies. To their slight nausea, but no real surprise, it also housed the skeletons of three previous janitors. They were being extremely quiet, to the extent that two of them were trying very hard not to breathe unless absolutely necessary. Outside, in the long corridor that led to the boardroom, the CEO Jeremy Diseased-Rat was playing cricket.
Jeronica tossed her flamingo aside in disgust.
"That's the third one," she said. "It doesn't work, Jeremy. They don't make good bats. Where did you get them from anyway?"
"Sweden," said Manguy picking up a fresh hedgehog to bowl with. Data Analytics Marketetic Normalisations had the contract on Sweden's goverment, acquired shortly after they got the American Hipster Association (AHA!) a Presidential Candidacy.
"Does Sweden have flamingos?"
"Not any more," said Jeremy. "Who's still in. How about them?" He indicated three terrified looking people who were standing very still and parallel.
"They're the stumps," said Jeronica. "You should be able to spot an intern when you see one, boss. You've slept with pretty much all of them."
"I make them wear bags over their heads," said Jeremy. "Come on then, let's play!"

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Sudoku puzzles drive me nuts. Crosswords usually do as well, but the paper we get at home prints this gigantor crossword at the end of the year. I'm talking about a full-news-sheet crossword puzzle, a puzzle with well over 900 clues. And I've attempted it in past years, but I never got far and gave up on it.

Not this year.

I made a first pass of it the day it was printed, putting down what answers I could get off the top of my head, and getting a good number of the clues. I started asking my folks for different clues, and somewhere about halfway through the morning my mom suggested we do this puzzle the "old-fashioned" way: we look stuff up in books and ask other people, but no one involved could look up anything on the internet.

I/we worked on it until about the first week of the new year, then putzed around with it for another week, and then I had to come back to school.

We're almost done with it.

But we're getting to the point where I'll probably have to look up the rest of the clues, which is fine.


I hope we still have the answer key somewhere.

Marc said...

Greg - I decided to do myself a favour and not look up what a double cross entails. I feel as though I chose wisely :P

Wonderfully bizarre scene. I enjoyed it muchly :)

g2 - 900 clues? Good. Gravy.

I imagine I wouldn't get past the answers that I was absolutely sure of, so I admire your family's dedication on this one!

Also: I reckon we count as people here too, even if we're on the internet. Feel free to ask us (I promise not to look up the answer... and if I do, I won't share it).