Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
By Peggy McCracken
numbs the mind
Crossword puzzles are the standard mind number for people who can’t sit still without something to occupy their hands and their minds. Now comes Sudoku.
What? Never heard of it, you say? Then you haven’t spent much time in the air lately. Sudoku books are on every magazine rack and candy counter in airline terminals, and every fourth traveler pores over one as he waits for takeoff or landing.
At first, the puzzle had me bumfuzzled. It is 12 squares arranged in rows and columns of three. When completed, each square contains numerals 1 through 9, also in rows and columns of three. Added together, each row and each column also have the numerals 1 through 9.
The trick is to get all the numerals in the squares, rows and columns without duplication. There is only one correct answer, so guessing is out. If you get even one number in the wrong spot, it throws off the whole puzzle.
It doesn’t take much brainpower to work Sudoku. What it takes is a sharp eye and endless tracking to determine where a particular number fits. Patience is not just a virtue with this puzzle: it is mandatory. Patience is something I am short on.
After taking some pointers from my daughter and granddaughter, I slowly developed a method that would solve the easy puzzles. When I finally solved a Medium, I rejoiced. After abandoning a dozen or so Hard puzzles, I went ballistic when I solved one.
That is when I decided to share my method with the world. But as I mulled over the words I would use to describe the method, I found myself solving more and more puzzles willy-nilly, using no method at all. Since then, I have experimented with several methods and found that one works about as well as another.
How do I find the time to waste on puzzles? I use them as a distraction when I am stuck in one spot for a time, such as the bathroom, or an airline terminal. While they don’t require thinking, they do engage the mind enough to keep me from fretting about jobs I could be doing elsewhere.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge…” Proverbs 12:1, NIV
EDITOR’S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise business manager. Contact her at email@example.com
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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