Solving Sudoku Puzzles the Easy Way

Sudoku MeaningI think of myself as someone who likes Sudoku puzzles. But that’s not really true. I never sit at home solving these puzzles. Instead, I do them when I am somewhere else where I don’t have the ability to concentrate on anything. I can solve a Sudoku puzzle 5 seconds at a time. Compare that with reading a newspaper, which I can’t do at that level of interruption. I probably shouldn’t say it, but if I’m doing Sudoku around you, it doesn’t speak well of my keenness to be around at that moment. And this may explain why I don’t do really hard puzzles.

Most Sudoku puzzles can be done purely deductively. That is to say that simply by looking at the numbers, you can directly deduce what some empty boxes must be. When I first started solving these puzzles, I found that there were harder puzzles where only a couple of empty cells could be filled in. Eventually, people learn that they can solve these puzzles by going one or two steps deep: since these cells can’t contain the number 5, that means these other cells must contain the number 5, and that means some other cell must be the number 3 — or whatever. That might sound complex, but it’s really very easy.

Difficult Sudoku Puzzles

Where things get difficult is where you really have no choice but to guess. Once you guess, you move forward deductively until you uncover an inconsistency or you finish the puzzle. Of course, most of the time, it is worse than that. After making a guess and trying one path, you may be forced to make a guess on that path — and maybe one after that. This is a complete pain. But there is an obvious way to use this method. Start doing the puzzle with a pen and then switch to a pencil for your first guess.

Now if you are lucky and your guess is wrong, you can then erase everything and fill in the non-guess with pen. Then you can continue on from there. But what about if you run into double or triple guesses? Colored pencils? They don’t erase well. And I don’t keep any around anyway. I only use pens. But I came upon a simple computer solution the other day, that works really well.

An Easy Solution

I was reading, Sudoku Meaning on Labor Day 2016. For that article, I used an unsolved Sudoku puzzle for the image. It occurred to me that I really should have solved it (it’s a very easy one). So I brought the image into Paint.NET. I added a layer and entered the solution in red. A thought occurred to me: if I needed to do any guessing, I could just create another image layer and change the ink color (though it is not strictly necessary).

Of course, I will never do this. I don’t have a computer in front of me when I am playing Sudoku. But if I ever decide to tackle the “Beware! Very Challenging” puzzles in Will Shortz’s The Little Black Book of Sudoku, that may be the way to go. And yes: of course the book was a Christmas gift. I would never buy such a book for myself.


Note: I’m sure there are programs written just to help people solve Sudoku puzzles. Of course, I could just write a program that simply solved Sudoku puzzles. It’s a question of how much help you want to get.

Could Trump Overturn the US Israel Resolution?

Donald Trump - HopeTrump could theoretically repeal the resolution by introducing a new resolution at the UN that completely revokes this one. He would then need to get at least eight other countries to vote for it, as well as ensure that none of the Security Council’s other permanent members — Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China — veto it.

Trump’s pick to be the next US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, would almost certainly support such a move. Haley is perceived as being staunchly pro-Israel: As governor of South Carolina, she passed legislation against the so-called BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) movement — an international campaign aimed at punishing Israel economically for its actions and policies toward the Palestinians.

She also publicly supported Netanyahu’s objections to the Iran nuclear deal when she delivered the Republican Party’s official response to Obama’s last State of the Union back in January. Haley said that if the GOP were to control the White House, “we would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.”

But it is extremely unlikely that Haley and the Trump administration would actually be able to get eight other countries on the Security Council to support a measure revoking this most recent resolution. That’s because, as mentioned above, the notion that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law is widely held by UN member countries.

Finally, even if the Trump administration did manage to get eight other countries to support such a measure, a permanent member veto would be likely, as Russia, China, Britain, and France — all of whom have veto power — all supported Friday’s measure, which passed 14-0.

–Jennifer Williams
9 Questions About the UN Vote on Israeli Settlements You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask