Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I have a confession to make

My name is Perpetua and I am a Sudoku addict. It all started so innocently one winter’s evening up in the north of Scotland. I had always resisted the temptation to try my hand at the puzzle which so enthralled some of my friends, but this evening I’d finished my book, we have no TV there, I just wasn’t in the mood to cast on that second sock and so I picked up a pencil and tried my hand at the ‘easy’ Sudoku in that day’s paper.

Let me say at the outset that I don’t have a puzzler’s temperament. I’m useless at crosswords, especially the cryptic kind, and have never had the patience to learn the puzzles which fill the odd corners of the average newspaper. I’ve always been a reader, or a knitter, and so I thought I could just dip my toe into the pool marked Sudoku and take it out again with no harm done.

Little did I know what would follow from that first careless attempt. To my satisfaction I did manage to finish that initial puzzle, but it was several days before I felt like trying another. But gradually the intervals between attempts grew shorter, until I realised that unless we changed our habits and began to buy a paper every day, I’d need to find another source of supply.

I know Sudoku can be played electronically – on the computer or on a little handheld screen, such as Grandson #1 enjoys using, but I’m a paper and pencil girl to my core. Then I discovered that you can buy books of Sudoku puzzles, some of which even include a dinky propelling pencil with a built-in eraser. That was the moment when the attraction became an addiction.

Now while waiting at the airport or the station or even at the dentist's, my bag contains not only my current paperback, but my Sudoku book and pencil. No longer do I groan when the plane, bus or train is delayed, because it gives me time to fit in just one more puzzle. In the mornings I’m as likely to do a puzzle with my morning cup of tea as open a book, since I’d have to put the book down sooner or later, whereas the puzzle will only take a few minutes.

I’m still an avid reader and a keen knitter, but I’m also hooked on the satisfaction I feel when I manage to solve a particularly fiendish puzzle, especially when I can do it with as few written notes as possible. I think of it as exercise for the brain, which, given my advancing years, is as important as exercise for the body, or at least that’s my excuse. Now where did I put that pencil?

Image via Wylio


  1. A thousand salams. I am in awe of anyone who can complete Sudoku.
    Words are my medium, crosswords and particularly the ones where only numbers and just two letter are given with no clues.
    That really stretches my grey cell and unfortunately I only have just the one, so figures are not on my radar.

  2. Ray, I'll return your awe with interest and add respect for anyone who can do crosswords without clues. It makes my brain hurt just to think of it, even though I love words in every other way! Mind you, I liked sums when I was a little girl at school, so I suppose this is just an extension of that...

  3. Hello Perpetua:
    well, if we might be so bold as to say, your puzzle addiction seems harmless enough to us. Sudoku, cryptic crosswords, noughts and crosses, solitaire....you name it, give us a puzzle and we are lost to the world for the time it takes to solve it.

    We are sure that you are right about exercising the grey cells and are confident that you are in good hands regarding this with your Sudoku at your side. But should, and we are certain that this is highly unlikely, you ever tire of your beloved number puzzle, then we suggest learning Hungarian!!

  4. Can't do puzzles of any sort, but mother's a whizz!
    Perhaps your comment that it might be linked to maths explains inability to understand what Sudoku is about!
    A great ape would be ashamed of my mathematical ability......

  5. Hello Jane and Lance. Yes, I suppose it is harmless, but it's a good thing I'm retired and have all the time in the world or lots of other tasks might be sadly neglected.

    I smiled at your suggestion of learning Hungarian. Having tried, and failed miserably, to learn more than a couple of words of Czech, I think Hungarian would be even further out of my reach :-)

  6. Fly, we can't be good at everything and your ability to use language with rapier-like precision and to such devastating effect fills me with admiration every time I read one of your posts.

    I'm certainly no maths whizz, as algebra and geometry bored me rigid at school and I had no feel for them at all, but I did, and still do, love good old basic arithmetic.

  7. I never understood Sukokdo - can't even say it - Sudoku - but my mum is an addict and when she came to stay, she tried to get me hooked too. It didn't work because she had taught me well to avoid pushers; those who say, "go on, just once can't do any harm". But I am tempted - and I have to ask myself, is this blog from an addict or a pusher?

    I shall resist a little longer - as you say, it can keep the brain nimble but can detract from other tasks and right now, time is something I could do with more of!

    Enjoy your puzzles, just wish I could remember how to pronounce it. I've spent too long thinking it was Soduko.


  8. You are an addict -- no doubt about it! I've tried to come to grips with sudoku -- always fail -- and the trouble with the failure it's always when most of the numbers have been filled in! Sounds quite a pleasant way to while away the British dark winters though! Enjoy!

  9. LOL, Annie! An addict, yes - a pusher, never! I reckon we are all capable of finding our own addictions without any help from others. :-)

    It's interesting that it's your mother and Fly's mother who are both puzzle addicts like me. Perhaps it's something that only develops when we have time on our hands. DD enjoys Sudoku, but hasn't time to be an addict.

  10. Entirely agree, Broad, but not a completely helpless one. Every so often I summon up the willpower to put my Sudoku book away for a while, often quite a long while, just to prove that I still have some self-control left.

    I certainly concur that it can be very frustrating to get almost to the end of a puzzle and find you've gone wrong! If you still decide to persevere, Sudoku definitely teaches you to concentrate.

  11. I'm useless at puzzles simply because I haven't the patience. This Sudoku is really popular though isn't it? I've come across a fair number of addicts.

  12. Ayak, how love to see you able to comment again! I do hope it lasts :-)

    As I said in my post, I'm pretty hopeless at most puzzles and have never really bothered with them, but for some reason Sudoku just suits me. I think it's because the rules are so very simple and yet there's plenty of challenge there and it never seems to become boring.

  13. Perpetua I seem to have discovered a way of posting comments on SOME blogs but not all...but even so it's very long-winded and involves signing in to my google account...even though I'm already signed in...a couple times before it actually works...I just don't get it!

  14. Tell me about, Ayak! I find the only way I can comment easily using IE is NOT to tick the "Stay signed in" box when logging in to Blogger. That's also the only way I can manage my blog from the front page without going into Design.

    I eventually found it so frustrating to have to sign in every time I wanted to use Blogger that I downloaded Google Chrome and have no problems when using that. This has been going on for months and there's no sign of it being fixed as yet. Sigh....


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