New time suck
For you, gentle reader, (no doubt) anxious to know what has been keeping me from sharing my poetic insights with you, I can explain in one word: Sudoku!
When the N&R decided to start running the column I had already seen Sudoku in other places and wondered if my brain was up to it. I browsed a table full of Sudoku books at B&N the other week and came within a hair's breath of buying the "Sudoku for Dummies" book. But I figured: how difficult could these things be? Well, let me tell you...
For the first week or so I studiously ignored the puzzle and stuck to my regular morning brain-starters, Jumble and Brain Boggle. Then I mentioned the puzzle to a co-worker (a computer type) and the next thing I knew we were both doing the puzzles and comparing answers. I struggled with the first few "Gentle" puzzles - always coming up with ultimate failures. But then, one Sunday, I solved a "Tough" puzzle and I was hooked. Now I have to reserve a couple hours out of every waking day to do the puzzle and everything else - blogging, work, reading other parts of the newspaper - have all gone to Hell.
It's simple yet insidious: if eight can't go here, or here, it must go HERE - but that would mean the two is wrong so that must be six (erase erase erase). I can't really say I've developed a strategy for doing these things and I've come to realize that regardless of what the developers say, some of the "Gentle" puzzles are as hard or harder than the "Moderate ones." Sudoku does not believe in truth in advertising. But here is the real kicker, after you work through the puzzle in the paper (for better or worse) the Internet has hundreds of sites just waiting to supply the hopelessly addicted with a new fix. (I've had to institute a "NO SuDoKu after noon policy in order to stay employed)
But I've got to say, as far as puzzles go there is a huge sense of accomplishment in filling in those last few numbers and seeing no conflicts - IN YOUR FACE MICHAEL MEPHAM!!
I'll be starting a Sudoku support group soon. Instead of a twelve step plan ours will need only nine.