Saturday, May 27, 2006

Do You Sudoku?

We find words that enter common usage with little examination. It's usually a case of very specific meaning and frozen application. take for example sudoku. People hear this word and find out about the puzzle and leave it at that. This is probably a case of altered and focused interest. In this case the puzzle enters our sights and we ignore the reasons and history behind the label.

These are often proper nouns. And just like names of interesting people, we're more interested in getting to know the person and so we ignore the name.

But because it's a recent introduction and it's still the topic of much conversation there are bound to be many discussions alighting on the meaning of this word. We look and we find nothing too interesting. It's a shortened form - 数独 - of the Japanese "numbers for when you're alone" - 数字 独身. It's a brand name that would be loosely translated to "number alone" or "number singly." I'll choose to translate it as number solitaire. Makes sense to me (this is not based on any knowledge I have about Japanese; it's just my reasonable assumption given what information I've found out there).

I won't yet admit that I'm addicted to the game - but once I realized that I didn't have to actually count, and that game could just as easily be played with shapes or colours (though nine colours would be hard to manage visually) my math panic subsided and I tried a few. I was okay trying to complete one puzzle a day - until my sister suggested this site: . Now I'm developing a dependency on racing against the clock - and all other racers.

It's a wonderful site because it times every game and allows you to see how your time compares to the average of all players on the site while also keeping your average. My best time so far is 4:27. (game #5,548,314,839 ) not too bad - it put me in the 80th percentile. But that's on the easy level and I'm sure there are several people who don't take the easy level too seriously. I imagine I'm doing well only when compared to elementary school kids and soap opera fans. My average time over 25 "easy" games is over ten minutes.

The USER average time for a "hard" puzzle: 12 minutes 26 seconds
MY time on a "hard" puzzle: 38 minutes 24 seconds

That puts me in the very select bottom 3rd percentile.

1 comment:

  1. Whether I should be proud or not, I did your puzzle (5,548,314,839) in 15:53, which is half the time of the first puzzle I ever completed, soon I'll ruin the curve for everyone.


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