I just completed my first sudoku puzzle. For those of you who haven’t heard about them, sudoku puzzles is a style of arrangement puzzles made up of a 3×3 square and within these 9 squares are nine smaller squares. When you start a new game, a few of the squares are filled in with numbers. The object: fill in all squares so that each of the nine large squares, as well as each row and column contain all of the numbers 1 thur 9.
Interesting puzzle idea, except it’s just boring. One quickly discovers the basic stratagem and from there it is a simple plug and rearrange as necessary process that leaves you with a grid of numbers. Whoop-de-doo!
I don’t know about you, but I’m sticking with crossword puzzles, which require at the bare minimum a sliver of intelligence served with a side of wit. And when you’re finished you are presented with not only a grid on interconnected words, but a theme, usually enough to cause a grin, if not only for the cleverness of the author.
It is this connection with the author that I value most in my crossword solving. Someone spent hours, if not days, labouring over a ten-letter word whose fourth and fifth letters are ‘g’ and ‘l’ and it’s seventh and eighth are ‘d’ and ‘y’. And if she doesn’t find it, then her theme won’t work and the puzzle is a bust.
I spent many weeks writing my own puzzle and after that experience, every puzzle I look at I respect. Sure there are some that have a trite theme or contain too many “_ to a poet” clues, but nothing as mindless as the creation of a sudoku puzzle. You want me to make one for ya? Give me a second. No really.