All right, internet, I need some help. My father, the inimitable Superdad, in addition to being cute, adorable, witty, completely lovable, and devilishly handsome, is a whiz-bang puzzler. I mean, the guy owns books about chess and has actually read them. Not that he needs to read them to dominate a game or puzzle, cause he's just about the smartest human being I've ever met, and I routinely feel really incredibly unbelievably dumb when I watch him do anything. I mean, this is the guy who, the night before he sat for the bar exam read a book about calculus. Calculus, for crying out loud. To help him think logically.
His puzzle d'jour is Suduko. Soduko? Sudoko? Shit, I can never remember where the O's and U's go. Anyway, he works those puzzles like they're crack, and sometimes I come in to his study and watch him work on them for a while. Initially, I tried to figure out the puzzles and help him solve them. Ha! What folly. Eventually I had to admit it: I am no match for the formidable strategic powers of the Amazing Superdad when it comes to these types of games. "But no fair!" cried my inner me. "I want to play, too!"
Well fear not, internet. I have a plan. You see, many, many years ago, a professor of mine wrote the following about me in a letter of recommendation: "While I would never say that Cheasty is brilliant, I will say that she certainly has a lot of smarts." I remember reading this as a callow 20-year-old and being offended, like who the heck was this person to decide whether I was brilliant or smart? OF COURSE I AM BRILLIANT! Time and experience has changed my mind, however, and I now consider it one of the finer compliments I've ever been given. In my years of graduate school I have met a handful of brilliant individuals, and while I certainly admire their intellect, I know for a fact that I am not among their ranks, and that's ok. I like having my smarts, because my smarts means that while I might not figure something out quickly, I can always figure out who can help me figure it out. So to speak. (Ah, Cheastypants, erudite as always, my dear.)
So here's where you come in, my dears. Below is a picture of a Suduku puzzle I tried to solve the other day.
As you can see, I knew when I was beat, and gave up. So help me out. When the answer isn't obvious, what are some of the methods I can use to structurally visualize where future numbers are going to need to go? Should I be thinking in straight lines? Boxes? Can I use diagonals? How, for example, can I figure out where to put the 9 on the bottom middle box? I've been using straight lines and intersections, but now I'm stuck, because my old methods aren't working anymore, and I don't know how to think strategically about this sort of puzzles. Numbers scare me!
Oh, help me, internet. Teach me the ways of Sudoku. I have an improbable dream of sitting by my Superdad's side one day to work a puzzle together. And on that day, I want to feel like I'm actually contributing something besides moronic comments like, "Oh, yeah, I was just about to put that, too." One day I want to lean over and say, "Hey, the 7 goes right here." And then maybe Superdad will look at me like this:
P.S. An apology to Crasey, who is convinced that I'm trying really hard to put every single bad picture ever taken of her up on the internet. Sorry, babe. Normally I'm unaware that you consider them "bad pictures," but I can kind of guess your reaction to this one. Loves ya! Squee!