# !!%%!! Sudokus!!!

kathy9norcalMarch 7, 2007

I just can't do them! I am really good at math, took 3 quarters of college calculus, got A's, but can't even do Monday's easy sudoku puzzle. What is wrong with me? I know the alleged tricks, but they only help me a little.

It takes me several days to ever do one, which is very seldom. I try almost every day. My neighbor, whom I don't consider exceptionally bright, can do them easily. Why can't I?

Can you?

Kathy

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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Kathy, I love them, but I teach Spanish, and do not consider math my strong point.

Math isn't a strength in a sudoku. You look at the entire sudoku, and then make your selections - ready to erase a lot. Don't try to understand them, just work them until you begin to realize different skills.

I do the newspaper ones for levels 1 and 2. I have not made it to the 3 yet. When I get to the point that the only option is to put my pencil on each square, and go through the numbers, it loses its intrigue with me.

I wonder if any of the rest of you can work the 3's and 4's logically.

Sammy

March 7, 2007 at 11:03PM
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kathy9norcal

Sammy, I can never do them without going to each square and putting in all the possible numbers, after getting just 2 or 3 numbers without doing that. I think I am missing a basic concept and until I get it, I am lost. I am not ready to give up yet. How long does it take you to do the easy ones?
Kathy

March 8, 2007 at 12:36AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

The easy ones go pretty fast. The regular ones take about 30 minutes. Have you ever watched Monk on television. He takes his hands and measures out the crime scene, and comes up with solutions? That is what I do with the Sudoku. I run up and down the rows with my fingers. The first time through, I write possible solutions at the top if there are 2 possibilities. This fills in many blanks. Then I see if both possibilities are on the same side, the next group of cells have to be in a different line. When you work many of them, you start to see possibilities.

To me one trick is to not handle all the numbers. I do the easy ones first, then keep going through. If I write in too many possibilities, it is too confusing. For example, I will see that the number 4 is repeated a few times. I will run my left hand finger down a row, and my right finger across. If there are 2 blanks left, I will write the little 4 in a corner. If there are 4 blanks left, I will move to a number group of cells.

My days are quite hectic, and I relax by focussing on something else. By working these silly puzzles, I move my thoughts from my family and job problems, and I find it relaxing. I also can throw away the hard ones, and that is satisfying. I cannot relax by listening to peaceful music or resting. My brain will start moving in "overdrive" and end up making me nervous.

I hope you begin to like these.

Sammy

March 8, 2007 at 6:32AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I have only done a few. It is really a process of elimination.

Look at the first three vertical columns. Find a number, say #1 repeated twice. Now, run down the column without a 1. Of the 3 boxes on the left, two of them already have a 1. So you have eliminated all but three possible places for a 1. Most likely one or two of those spaces already have a number.

If you repeat this three times for columns and three times for horizontal rows, you will get enough numbers to get you started quickly.

Of course, the really hard puzzles take much more technique.

March 8, 2007 at 8:57AM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

I've never tried one. Certain math things or spatial things bore me... Rubik's Cube, ugh. Now, a programming problem I can work on for hours and think it's fun. Go figure.

I joked to my brother to imagine my IQ if I had any spatial skills at all, lol. Seriously, I'm like the nutty professor who loses his way to the elevator.

Let me guess, you like riddles better? That's a common divide, anyway. Don't sweat it :)

March 8, 2007 at 10:28AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Kathy,
I just looked at the Sudokus in USA today. It is rated a 4. Using the method above, it was easy to get 4 numbers on the upper left in about 2 minutes.

Meredith,
It has nothing to do with math. You could replace the numbers with letters and the game would be the same.

March 8, 2007 at 1:33PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Spatial. Different than math, which she said she is good at. Me, too.

March 8, 2007 at 2:52PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Don't know if this is the least bit interesting to anyone else, but I like it - a pretty good writeup of the area of spatial skills:

"Spatial analytic Intelligence
Spatial analytic intelligence is mental rotation, mirroring, translation, comparing shapes, estimation of angles and relative distances and searching (e.g. next number in a random distribution of numbers). This skill is applied in seeing relations between complex shapes. E.g. between large, complex formulas in mathematical analysis and shapes in geometry.

I think that "logical-mathematical intelligence" (Howard Gardner) is less suitable than "spatial intelligence", because mathematical skill is not fundamental; spatial is. Spatial intelligence is used in seeing spatial relations between formula-shapes in mathematics and physics books. And it is used in painting. Logic is a fundamental skill but can be applied in verbal, numeric and spatial content. Thus it is not a seperate IQ-category; it spans verbal, numeric and spatial IQ.

In solving lexical intelligence test-questions also spatial intelligence is used (secondary skill). E.g. to solve the question "orwd", one uses his spatial intelligence also. When in daily live a person is searching for the right word, exclusively pure lexical intelligence is used. In verbal categorical logic questions, spatial intelligence is used also (e.g. images of and relations with regard to Venn-diagrams, see "categorical logic" above). Only when the person uses pattern completion and doesn't use intermediate skills (such as handling Venn-diagrams), he uses his verbal intelligence exclusively. Of course he may have some vague imagines of Venn-diagrams but he doesn't use them to derive an answer.

Verbal and numeric intelligence are not 'pure' intelligences. Verbal intelligence is a mix of (spatial) images of words, sentences, text and meaning. Numeric intelligence is a mix of (spatial) images of numbers and meaning of numbers (e.g. a collection of dots). They are applied spatial intelligences.

The difference between the skills used with regard to the images in spatial and verbal intelligence is that in spatial intelligence, seeing simple and clear relations between shapes/figures is the main skill, whereas in verbal intelligence, relations between meanings, words, etc. are important and these relations are more complex and vaguely understood (intuition).

In solving numeric IQ-test questions the test-taker visualizes the numbers and translates and transforms them. These relations are just as simple as spatial relations. The difference is that one has to remember and use the multiplication tables.

Spatial intelligence is the most pure intelligence. It includes numeric intelligence though: counting and comparing numbers of lines or dots. It may also include comparing colours, but recognizing the difference between colours is a secondary spatial skill. "

Here is a link that might be useful: Spatial and other intelligences full art.

March 8, 2007 at 3:23PM
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petaloid(SoCal 10a/24)

The info Meredith shares explains a lot. I'm hopeless at arithmetic but visually oriented and can do the easier level ones online. I can do some medium level too, if I take the time.

The Houston Cronicle online puzzles have a level rating. You can check the archives for easier ones:

Here is a link that might be useful: online Sudoku

March 8, 2007 at 9:16PM
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I've been playing chess since I was 5yrs old, but Sudokus make my brain HURT! :)

I hate them!

My 16 yr old daughter does them in her sleep... but ask her to sweep the floor - that's too hard! :)

BC:)

March 9, 2007 at 4:47PM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

I think it is so interesting to hear the difference between people re: these puzzles. I have never tried them, because I hate math. I'm ok at it, I just don't like it. But I have good spatial skills and I might be good at them. Who knows. I education we are always taught to consider students' learning styles and teach to as many styles as possible so that all students can "get it". Anyway, maybe I will try the sudokus.
Kathy

March 9, 2007 at 5:38PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

It's all logical elimination. Since 9 must go in this column in this square, you can eliminate 9 in that column in the square above it. And so on.

It exercises a certain part of the brain.

March 10, 2007 at 11:24AM
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kathy9norcal

It all sounds very easy and I can alway get a few numbers right away. Then I have to start putting all the #'s in each box, which is so unfun. An easy one would take me too long to do. Guess I don't have the spacial ability. It makes me mad that I can't do them. I try them almost every day. I wonder why? I guess I feel that one day, something will click. I do know a number of strategies, but obviously they are not enough. I guess I am so bad spacially, I can't even imagine what Sammy is saying to try it! (I once went into a restroom in a restaurant, could not find my way back into the restaurant, and had to go out the back door and come around to the front to get in again!)
Kathy

March 10, 2007 at 2:14PM
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patriciae_gw(07)

Sudoku exercises a part of you brain most people dont use much. I started by writing in all the possible numbers and then forced myself to not do this..you have to learn to see the larger picture-see patterns in lines verses squares. I can feel the difference between the thinking required for Cross words and Sudoku. I am not doing this just for fun. I had brain damage from Chemo and making associations had become very hard for me so I did Cross words now I work on another part of my brain. I do a simple Sudoku now in 5 minutes or less..the very hardest from the paper perhaps 20-30? I go for speed these days but I started picking away at the dang things for entire afternoons.

patricia

March 10, 2007 at 2:23PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I did a sudoku once, and it was a cinch for me,
so simple I could not understand the appeal. I just looked at it and filled in the blanks. So obviously, if it was easy for me, higher math skills do not apply. ; )

March 12, 2007 at 10:53AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I have a problem with dealing with many numbers at once. Sometimes I see my students working them, and they have about 4 or 5 numbers in every cell. I do best if I go through them once or twice without writing anything.

The other day I finished my first level 4 one from the newspaper.

Sammy

March 12, 2007 at 7:37PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Kathy, I got lost leaving my shrink's office [old victorian house] so many times, I noticed her pondering whether I had a serious issue once, LOL. I do better if I NOTICE the way in and out, but as a non-visual person, I seriously forget to.

I love hearing of people who can just look and do these. My brother's main ability is spatial like that, and he has no clue how I can't "see" like he does. OTOH, I can freak him out with what I can figure out quickly in other areas.

Now, could you improve? Absolutely. I took a major that was into serious graphing to explain concepts, which I had previously felt was much harder than, say, an outline. After all my coursework, I noticed myself explaining an idea to my boyfriend with a graph on a napkin like my engineer dad!!

Patricia's got the right idea! Even if it's just to work the ole grey cells as we age.

March 13, 2007 at 10:03PM
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