# Online Sudoku Workshop: A pretty little puzzle

We have, of course, more than enough material to construct a metaphor useful to analyzing gender. But just for fun, let’s take a genderless gander at another puzzle. This one:

You now have all the information you need to get the top-right square into the following state:

Don’t move forward with any other aspect of the puzzle until you’ve gotten the top-right square to this position. The 8 gained in box C:A (the top-left square) is a consequence of filling in the top-right square to this point. The 1 & 8 gained in the bottom-middle square are not relevant, though they follow easily from our starting position because of the 8 in box A:F.

Where can I play sudoku?
The screen shots above were taken during my puzzle solving at websudoku.com. I have no idea if they’re the best, worst, or otherwise among sudoku sites, but they were tops in an english language search when I went to go ogle puzzle possibilities and I’ve never seen any reason to try anything different.
In comments on the first Online Sudoku Workshop, many people mentioned the sudokuwiki.org sudoku solver as a great information source and a place to both play sudoku and to learn more about how best to solve these puzzles.

1. nahuati says

Fun puzzle! I’m a beginner so it took awhile, but I got the puzzle done. And it was faster for me than the first puzzle posted.

I have a question, Crip Dyke. You said “Don’t move forward with any other aspect of the puzzle until you’ve gotten the top-right square to this position.” How did you know where was the best place to start on the puzzle? Or did you suggest that place so that readers would all start in the same place?

Thanks!

2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

I suggested that because I wanted people to see what I saw in the top-right corner. If you find a way to make progress without the top-right square, when you do come back to it, it won’t be the same little brain-teaser that it is right now.

Although there are some easier*1 boxes to pick up than in the TR square, finding all the boxes that are “easy” means testing each and every box for “easiness”. You don’t actually save steps if you end up testing your easy solutions (whatever they are, however you define “easy”), finding them insufficient, and moving on to another box, and only come back to that box when you’ve run out of “easy”.

The time you spend looking for a box to work on is time spent on the puzzle every bit as much as the time doing the work on a particular box.

I suppose, though, it was more than anything like a chess puzzle. The pieces are laid out in a certain way such that there is an optimal solution. Here, doing the TR square is, in fact, optimal. It adds a lot of information in a short time, though many people would not be able to find the information that they need to fill in the square. I suppose I could have created a sudoku from scratch where I removed all the information that was not relevant to the TR square (including what were, in this puzzle, givens), but as humans we get distracted by irrelevancies, and that’s part of the point as well.

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*1: Easier in the sense that you don’t have to keep track of as many different pieces of information in order to make clear deductions about a particular box; easier in the sense of “fewer steps”.

3. says

Interesting – I first just went ahead and tried to solve the puzzle; top right ended up being one of the later things I filled in. But when I filled in as far as you had and focused on the top right, I could figure it out.

Still waiting to find out what this has to do with analyzing gender :-)

4. Kalia says

I enthusiastically recommend the “Enjoy Sudoku” app for anyone trying to expand their solving skills. It’s a very well constructed teaching app, with tutorials and examples of the solving techniques, a good system for providing hints a tiny bit at a time, and a pleasingly non-gadgety interface. And if you have an iDevice of any kind, you get the spiffy “capture” tool that lets you basically OCR any print puzzle into the app.

5. dianne says

I’m intrigued to see where this is going.

6. SenseOfTheAbsurd says

Damn it, I do these all the time, but can’t see how you got to that top right square. Maybe I have a different process.