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LittleLemon's avatar

Do you play Sudoku?

Asked by LittleLemon (1281points) June 27th, 2012

If so:

What’s the fastest you’ve ever finished an “easy” puzzle?
Do you use pencil markings?
Do you use any strategies (X-Wing, Hidden Singles)?
What is the hardest difficulty you can complete?
How long does that usually take you?

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20 Answers

Trillian's avatar

Nope. I wish that “numbers” were a language that I speak. It isn’t.

josie's avatar

Yes. I play occasionally on my iPad. I don’t do easy. I take 15–30 minutes to do a hard puzzle.

SuperMouse's avatar

I do but it has been a while. I can do an “easy” puzzle in less then five minutes. I do not use pencil markings. I have no idea what the X-Wing and Hidden Singles strategies are so I have never used either one. My only strategy is to figure out what number goes where. I can complete the hardest level. (On the Sudoku site I visit most often I think they are called “evil.”) On average the hardest ones take about half an hour.

mangeons's avatar

I used to do them occasionally. I’m not very good at them and I don’t really enjoy them, so I haven’t done one in a while.

Sunny2's avatar

I do, but I can’t answer all your questions. I’ve always had an aversion to numbers, but decided to use Sudoku to challenge my aging mind. With no instructions, I’ve progressed from super easy when I wrote all the possibilities in each box with pencil, to using ink and being fairly successful at 2* or 3* level. What has been amazing to me is that my brain is doing the work without a lot of input from me. There are obviously a lot of things I haven’t discovered yet. I don’t know what they are, but in time, I’ll find out. I don’t figure anything out. I just suddenly see a relationship. After noticing it more often, I realize it’s a strategy. I’ve no idea what any of them is called. And don’t tell me.

LittleLemon's avatar

Thanks for the responses so far. I’m realizing that I’m really slow at solving Sudoku puzzles, even after years of practicing (albeit on and off). Just wondering what ways people practice to do them faster.

An aside, I absolutely love that Fluther decided a “Related” to this Q was: “What do you do when you poo?”

That seriously made my day.

ragingloli's avatar

I usually need 5 to 6 minutes for an easy one. I could be quicker, but the program I use has me double click the fields and sometimes it opens an annotation popup, which costs time, too. I also do this only late in the evening when I am tired.

zensky's avatar

Yes, I do ko.

Blackberry's avatar

No. I can’t math.

Paradox25's avatar

Yes, but I play chess much more.

What’s the fastest you’ve ever finished an “easy” puzzle? Maybe about an hour. (I’m not great at sudoku)
Do you use pencil markings? Usually.
Do you use any strategies (X-Wing, Hidden Singles)? I have never heard of these strategies.
What is the hardest difficulty you can complete? Medium, but with difficulties.
How long does that usually take you? 4 to 6 hours (estimating since I usually don’t time myself).

jerv's avatar

Yes, Andoku 2, for Android.

On the easy setting, my average time is around 2½ minutes, though I have gone to 96 seconds before. I am closer to 13–14 minutes on Extreme. That assumes I use the “pencil” tool to make notes and that auto-erases when I I enter a final number in a cell. For a pen-and-paper one, it takes me about double that.

I go through twice to catch the obvious ones; some have two possible places on the first pass, but a later number takes one of them, hence the second pass.

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m also not a number oriented person but shortly after starting to do Sudoku several years ago, I realized that number skill has nothing to do with it at all. So those who are Math averse can do Sudoku as well as anybody else. If thats whats been keeping you away from it, take heart and dive right in. Absolutely zero math skill is required. IAs long as you can count to nine, you can do Sudoku. Thats the only number knowledge necessary. A first grader can do Sudoku with no problem. In that regard, it has far more in common with chess than with solving math problems. (And I have taught a 6 yr. old to play chess and could do the same with Sudoku)

Sudoku is basically a logic puzzle, hence its similarity to chess. Its all logic. The numbers are just a convenient way of finding nine different symbols with which to fill the squares. But the symbols could be anything really without a single number in sight.

You could replace the numbers with letters and it wouldn’t change anything at all. Or you could take pictures of nine different animals or colors or whatever else is a set of distinct entities. Using numbers as the nine symbols is just a whole lot easier to keep track of and easier to spot the ones missing.

As a matter of fact there are alternate versions which use other symbols. There used to be a version on the back page of TVGuide which used nine letters which spelled out related words. But numbers are far more convenient than anything else because its easier to spot which of the nine choices is missing in any given row or column.

Ive tried doing puzzles constructed with pictures but its just more tedious as you have to looking back at the list to figure out the missing entities in each row, line, etc. Much quicker to run through numbers one through nine in your head. No time waiting list to picture.

I hope this info encourages some other Math phobics like myself to give Sudoku a try.

To answer the specific Q, I never time myself so thats NA for me. I use pencil markings both in written form and computer form. I have a favorite App on both my iPhone and another on my Android tablet.

I really don’t do the easiest ones anymore. If It’s not at least above medium level, I just don’t find it challenging enough. In most systems either in books or Apps, I can usually solve without any help up to the next to last difficulty level.

Will Shortz’s books are the ones ill usually buy because he puts in enough challenging ones in to keep it interesting. Find the Dell Magazine ones to not be at the same level and no longer bother with them.

Both of the Apps I use most frequently have an option which teaches you the solution step by step after you’ve gone as far as you can and my skills really improved after using the iPhone one for a few years.

The terms you mentioned have only become familiar to me since using the App on my Android tablet and I’m in the process of learning about them as the program takes me through the solving steps on the higher levels. But I’m still not that familiar with how to apply them independently of the App teaching program.

But thats what I love about Sudoku and has kept me interested for all these years. Unless you’re at such a level of expertise that you can solve the toughest levels with ease, there is always room for improvement and new techniques to learn.

Buttonstc's avatar

For those of you who play on the computer, you might enjoy this site. It has a neat feature built in which has a new photograph each day which is only revealed when the puzzle is solved.

jerv's avatar

@Buttonstc Correct; logic and pattern recognition are what maters, not math skills.

ucme's avatar

No, I prefer my playtime to be a lot more energetic.

Keep_on_running's avatar

I’ve never understood the Sudoku craze. It seems the most boring puzzle ever, and I like puzzles.

downtide's avatar

I am addicted to sudoku puzzles and I do them on my commute on the bus. I can get through about 6 hard/extreme/fiendish puzzles a day. I don’t even bother with easy or medium ones. I use all the strategies, but I haven’t got the hang of the X-Y-Wing yet, I find that one almost impossible to spot.

@SuperMouse – you have almost certainly used the Hidden Singles strategy even if you weren’t aware of it’s name. That’s where you have a number that is possble to fit in only one cell in a row (or column or 3×3 square). The opposite to that is the Naked Single which is a cell where all but one possibilities have been eliminated.

LittleLemon's avatar

I wish I could say I’ve found many naked singles in my life. Badum tish.

downtide's avatar

@LittleLemon yep, that one’s just asking for it ;-D

Strauss's avatar

Easy puzzles usually take me about 5 minutes. Fastest was 2:10, about 5 years ago.

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