I have been totally enraptured by the delightful antics and amazing combinations that the numbers are capable of.

Each game can catch your interest and keep you going like a good story line: It’s like an ongoing novel,  or a SITCOM with all its myriad particularities and all that entails;  conflict, confusion, mystery, and suspense.   Chasing numbers around can be so entertaining – like an amusement park ride. Sometimes the moves are so satisfying and pretty, the game is so loaded with captivating scenarios and surprising resolutions that I am thoroughly beguiled and there are always new and often amazing pickles to work your way out of.  There are d occasionally  huge tangles resembling  a plate of spaghetti,  frequently untenable predicaments, and undesirable nonnegotiable situations are frequent, just enough to keep the excitement level  floating high.

Imagine: this is an example of what can be done with a grid, some numbers, a pencil and a modicum of imagination.


There is absolutely no reason to think of Sudoku  as simply something to do  to take up some slack time or even  as a quick mind teaser. The numbers are just sitting there aching, itching for you to recognize how very much is hidden below the surface, and how much fun they have to offer to you if you would just permit them.

Forging an up close and personal rapport and relationship and over time they may well all seem like old friends.  Over time you might feel you were being greeted by old friends when you sit down to start a game as they do me. This is such a friendly way to start the day.        

this can satisfy any need for companionship for the day if you tend to be a hermit like me. An additional advantage is that it is the ideal way to acquire a highly desirable  ease in visibility  and familiarity as you pursue a solution.

  Follow my example and become friends with those numbers – they have a lot to tell you.  It’ll open up a whole new world of adventure for you


First for some interesting background information:

BASIC OBJECTIVE of the game of SUDOKU:  is to fill all the boxes with the correct numbers.  A small caveat associated with this simple direction is that this end must be realized by following  the basic instructions … 1-9 must be placed so that each row/column and square only contains ONE instance of each number.



After I got over the initial trauma of encounter,  I started to wonder about what I was that I was so essentially engaged in.  I wondered  for instance, about that  rather odd name?  and I discovered that it was acquired in Japan:   the word SUDOKU is a combination of the Japanese characters  SU meaning “number”,  and DOKU meaning “single”; consequently  “Single Numbers”.   Perfect!

For further elucidation in the evolution of the game I checked and discovered that it experienced an amazingly circuitous route in Its progress to fame which  involved more than a smidgen of imaginative thinking.  There were similar games as early as the 19th century: The version we are familiar with   was designed, or perhaps more correctly developed, by an American in 1979.  By 1984 and in its modern form it had appeared in the U.S. as well as Japan.

From there it continued on its path towards success thanks to a New Zealander who had encountered it in Japan.     Perceiving its commercial value, he proceeded to write a computer program specifically designed to generate puzzles. In 2004,  and  with the hope of taking advantage of his design,  he  managed to persuade a London newspaper to publish it.  The result of this was  immediate success:  Evidence  of this is a letter sent the very next day to the newspaper  by an aggravated reader complaining of having missed his stop on the “ tube” due to preoccupation with solving the puzzle.

 It swept England and from there it crossed the pond to the US.

 By   2005 it was well established and had in fact become a world-wide success; one of the most popular puzzles of all times.  There were TV shows, competitions, there was specialized merchandise, and every other commercial enterprise imaginable. 


Patterns,  Hooks, the Enabler and hopefully a useful gimmick are the basics.

Rule of two:  there can be no more than 2 pairs per line/column/or box.  Furthermore;  Two’s company,  three is a crowd, and it TAKES TWO TO TANGO. 

Always proceed along the most tenable, obvious path and with the utmost care.

Measure twice; cut once; multi- check questionable moves.

The importance of “working outside the box” is paramount.

One match per move is enough; and  there is ALWAYS a possible move.  Every kill opens up a door of opportunity

Missing a trick could prove fatal.

 Don’t forget to pick up the DEAD BODIES,  the detritus, the no longer viable, the remaining pieces. ie don’t forget to finish the move.

Don’t anticipate,  jump the gun, or get swept away by momentum.

If you’re going to be brave use great caution and not a pen.

If you make a mistake – you’ve always got a “post-it” close at hand;  works perfectly.


PATTERNS- MAJOR****----- The presence of these patterns is the single most important component for the use in arriving at a solution; the game is constructed  of and is essentially a collection of patterns.  I’d even go so far as to say it was the THEME or TUNE of the whole OPUS….YES,.now THAT’S fanciful.

Good patterns appear to be favored by the computer programmer so, by incorporating them in to your mental repository almost any puzzle becomes a breeze and strengthens your negotiating position immensely.

SYMMETRY aprimary  principle)–.There is a distinct  element of the symmetrical present in this game. I can not emphasize the importance of its presence enough.   It serves  as a point of reference for double checking, for verifying, and keeping order, thus encouraging  accuracy.

ANOMALIESare a beneficial biproduct of those  PATTERNS.  The  presence of an anomaly usually can be considered a heads up, an alert to point out  a beneficial move;   It could also mean there’s a mistake somewhere.


 This is my very own addition to the rules proscribed for the game of Sudoku and  my most original and functional invention;  I like to think it is  exclusive as well

IN MY humble opinion,  this is THE major KEY to the puzzle. 

So what is it?  Almost always in a game there will be a single number missing on the original grid:  this number automatically assumes the position of major impediment to the solution.  Absence of that number creates  a major uncertainty, an automatic vacuum,  and leaves all the others in limbo.

Possessing a term in which to refer to this entity gives you an essential tool:  it  ENABLES you to think.  .

I have elected to call it simultaneously THE CONFEDERATE and in its role as AN ENABLER- in fact these may often become two numbers working together- a very useful arrangement.  POI, or PERSON OF INTEREST works very well also.

Now that we’ve got the identity I should describe how  I use this most useful tool: my first order of business is to identify which number it is.   I then “run” this number in as many directions as is plausible; that action will usually  produce at least the one HOOK sufficient to  move the action forward.

A few extra useful permutations to keep in mind: Discerning the primary player can be a real bear,  the presence of two is twice as nice – one supports the other.  More than two and you are certainly in for trouble but even worse  is total absence.



THIS BEING THE CRUX OF MY SECRET and the major principle of my theme OF SUCCESS IN SOLUTION


And how I came about this rather unusual hypothesis.

.The whole crazy thing got started quite early in my association with the game, and  as a result of a nasty mashup caused by having missed a number.  That event made enough of an Impact that it caused me to look for the reason and in so doing I recognized the fact that the number I missed  possessed  rather notable and  distinct characteristics. I then came to the conclusion that this was a number with a unique and essentially strong personality. 

  This was my first encounter with individualistic behavior patterns being present in a number.

I started paying attention to what the numbers were doing;  their particular movement patterns, their action, and the relationships existing between them.

I soon was recognizing and identifying  these patterns as being similar to human behavior patterns and consequently those of  distinctly  human activities.

I know numbers are essentially lifeless and inert,   at least in casual encounter;  but upon closer inspection, and with some imagination,  it is quite possible to envision something to the contrary. When playing Sudoku it is quite possible to come to think of these apparently lifeless digits in a more personal way.   them.  With we achieved  an alternative way of looking at things; we have arrived at the magical action of attributing human characteristics to numbers.

My first term for this perception was “numeromorphism,  but I did not have to stretch quite that far to make it legitimate.

The definition of “anthropomorphism is “the  attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities”.  Numbers certainly fit in to this category.   This  statement was followed by further insights:  this behavior is actually considered an innate tendency in human psychology – and further,  using  human or humanlike attributes  helps simplify and make sense of complicated entities.  A case in point is that of gender.  There is evidence that numbers have been “gendered”:   the even numbers are considered feminine,  the uneven are male. That arrangement seems so plausible to me that obviously it must be a logical conclusion.

I’m  not alone in this admittedly unusual attitude of perceiving human traits in numbers.  In an article in The Washington Post about Elizabeth Williams, who is or was a Washington D.C. business research librarian, as well as a huge winner on Jeopardy (how’s that for credentials?).  In this article she  admits to being a “victim of ORDINAL LINGUISTIC PERSONIFICATION”, or as translated “imagines numbers as having distinct personalities”. How can anything with such a magnificently impressive title not be valid.  YES!! and I’m definitely in good company.

Surprise, surprise:  this is SO NEAT::   AND I’M NOT SO WEIRD.

l then went on to  realize that I was in even more familiar  company in the form of Disney and  its products.   I was reminded of that with a bittersweet memory:  those of us who were brought up in the era of Disney are almost guaranteed to have a built in close relationship to this world of anthropomorphism.  The movie Fantasia consists entirely of such images involving and including  even the weirdest of things like that fantastical water- slinging dancing mop … and that’s only the beginning.  I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention the phenomenal chorus line of dancing hippos.  Sorry, got carried away - I love Fantasia. Unfortunately we have been left with the tendency to attach such characteristics to animals (not so good) but also some contemporary machinery (not so bad and often very funny- sometimes if you didn’t laugh you might cry.)

Enough of that, It is now time to introduce the numbers. 

Over time I was recognizing the behavior patterns separated themselves into distinctly different groupings quite easily associated with “games” in the human environment the most glaringly obvious is the presence of warlike activities.  From there it progressed to include  a list of four distinctly recognizable games groupings encapsulated in the basic framework of the one game of Sudoku.

for the sake of expediency and to best be of service to my theme, I have cut out almost all of my original descriptive material  and  associated details.  




THE WAR GAME *****there’s no denying the existence  of  MORE THAN A HINT OF WARLIKE TENDANCIES in this game.

A fun description from the past  in describing the PLAYING FIELD cum battleground:   THERE HAVE BEEN OCCASIONS WHEN MY PAPER HAS TAKEN ON THE APPEARANCE OF A REAL BATTLEFIELD – WHAT WITH THE GARRISH APPEARANCE CAUSED BY ALL THE BANDAIDS AND SCARS which may be littering the field.   They are, of course, the unfortunate  result of an unintentional slip or two and the smudges remaining from no longer needed  markings.

Fortunately this has become an issue of the past but I am still left with at least a semblance of past situations:  a continuing encounter with the  rash of amusingly nasty adjectives and verbs I have noted.  The major representatives and still very much viable are the presence of acts of  ANNIHILATION and  ELIMINATION.  These are I’d say the primary ingredients of the game.   Eventually I noticed that I had a rather intriguing dichotomy going:  is my goal  annihilation, or could it be interpreted as a much more benign and positive state of liberation (of the numbers that is)?  Obviously the issue could go either way. As deadly as it sounds it is certainly a valid question. So which is it?  I thought this was a rather delicious conundrum. How about having an ethics battle associated with Sudoku

It is in this game of War that I have the best example of one of the things I love most about Sudoku is the memories it triggers;  it has the delicious capability of reminding me of all kinds of things that I’m happy to be reminded of.  In this case it is a memory from my youth.; this was the game of Capture the Flag I enjoyed  The fact that after hmmm 70 years I have rather wonderful vivid memories just shows how much I really enjoyed this.  Be it an actual flag, a piece of cloth or, in the case of Sudoku, the  last number to remain,  the results are the same. 

I’m  truly thankful to Sudoku for having reminded me of this particularly treasured memory. 

One final reminder:  Don’t forget to pick up the DEAD BODIES…the hopefully natural results of any move – the detritus, the no longer viable numbers.  Essentially;  don’t forget to pick up the pieces in order to finish the move.  


This is the most important – the basis for the …………of my theory.  It is in this game in which  the element of personalities is most visible;  and therefore the most obvious aspect of my revelation.

I think of this as my most imaginative and most original creation,  as well as my favorite

and their most individualistic characteristics.

The following is a very much condensed version of the numbers and their characteristics but it suffices to illustrate the subject.   

NUMBER ONE:  INVISIBLE (this is the one that got me started- that I missed), NUMBER TWO:  is graceful, #3 cunning and ingenious #4 like an acrobat on a trampoline, #5 and #7 my very favorite numbers I’ve adopted for personal service in email address, etc.  they work in tandem for twice the nice/effectiveness, #6 the middle like a fish swimming in the middle of the school for protection is so appropriately evasive and elusive and low profile, #8 a self appointed headliner – there’s no escape – she’s quite frequently,almost always, the mystery figure. #9 is so solid and being the end of course is the grandfather. One element, definitely not essential for my argument but to add additional spice to the proceedings: to these interpretations is the fact of gender: the evens are female, the odds are male.  And there you  have it – that family of numbers I’m so happily greeted by every time I tackle a game.

  I think you’ll agree with my descriptions and judgements. Follow the behavior of these numbers and you’ll not only be entertained but you’ll have a lot of new friends.



You can find vestiges/suggestions/shades/shadows of Sudoku is almost every leisure time activity imaginable. upon investigation I it is hard not to notice the resemblance in rules, objectives, movement, strategy ,etc.  It’s not surprising that and most of the childhood favorites are quite well represented.    

Chess is surely my contender for being most like Sudoku:  it also has  identifiable players with strong personalities -  pawns, rooks, castles,  king and queen, etc,  it is also very representative of an element I think most people aren’t aware of  in Sudoku:  a game plan involving three distinct segments:  part one setting up the board- or  in Sudoku performing the preliminary initially most obvious moves  and setting the scene, part two involves taking stock and running inventory,  and part three  with  the major moves the decisive moves of the game resulting in the final  denoument, the downfall of the opponent and the wrap up when in Sudoku the entire façade comes crashing down and the Winner is decreed.

With its broad band of inclusion there’s bound to be something for everyone and even plausibly, do so for a lifetime,  as neither age nor physical perfection are a factor.



I was surprised when I realized that music was definitely a candidate for inclusion in my list but   It doesn’t take much to find similarities.   Our musical scale  is based on numbers,  mathematical principles, and from there it’s not difficult to arrive at other similarities  as in comparing the rhythm of the game to the pattern of a musical score,  theme, tune, and eventually opus, all basic elements in classical music.  The  BEAT of the music corresponding to  the moves performed by the numbers across the grid can be reminiscent of  that of the tango or the smoothness of ballet.   Can I crank in “variations”, “movements”, as well?  Bet I could. 


“ Destination” sounds too  final,  so  I’ve cheated and added a subtitle.

what I’ve come up with so far


Sudoku is  a perfect occupation for anyone who likes to organize things;  who takes particular pleasure in having all their ducks in a row, or perhaps in  having everything in its proper place and “tidy” (currently a very hot buzz word- I just had to have it here).   This makes it a given for a librarian or an accountant;  Computer geeks would be a shoe in  if they weren’t so busy playing with their computers.

It offers the rare opportunity to be in complete control.  There are no arguments; it’s just you and the puzzle in harmony and hopefully in agreement.  It offers complete autonomy, not normally socially acceptable but eminently satisfying,  and who’s to know.

You’ve got complete FREEDOM OF CHOICE;  therefore the satisfaction and gratification of personal affirmation.

it has been strongly recommended as therapy to be used to counteract the effects of senility.   Exercising one’s brain in the form of logic is as essential and worthwhile as exercising one’s body. It serves as mental and emotional therapy.  It’s a good distraction to take one’s mind off of a significant amount of negativity,  as well as providing   much needed and appreciated “space” and personal time..

A really big plus is that very little physical effort is involved; and for this reason it can be  enjoyed by the sedentary(me),  particularly those who are sedentary not necessarily by choice but by necessity.

It frequently serves as good practice in “multi- tasking”. 

It serves as a Beneficial Reprieve from information overload and undesirable demands on our time, both  so very present in our frequently overcommitted contemporary lives.

Minimal tools are required;  all that is needed are pencil and paper.  It is a solitary pursuit so there is no need to find other players and there’s no waiting your turn – it’s always your turn.  Particularly  refreshing;  there is less stress, no competition, no or few controversies and at invitation only.  Games to play are available all year, every day 24/7, regardless of the weather.

It’s extraordinarily LOW MAIINTENANCE; easy setup, no messy clean up.  

And best: you are ALWAYS THE WINNER, no arguments.

Aside from all that, it’s a darned good game. 

Quite recently  I had a rather fun experience.  A rather light mystery book I was reading included  a Sudoku to play-– now how can I resist this;  I copied it out and set to, into the complete unknown- a very rare occurrence indeed.   I had no idea how it might be rated, and its design was so unlike any I’d seen – there was no symmetry for one.  That experience was quite satisfying – being brave without actually sacrificing anything, a cheap high, no less. ( NB: trying new designers is one of my suggestions for the future).


I am very fussy about the kind and style of puzzle I prefer:  I experience an emotional attachment to the process of solution;  this is not purely a mechanical process for me.  My first puzzle was supplied by The Washington Post,   but it no longer satisfies my needs; the presentation is fine now that the size has been corrected,  but  I don’t like the design, neither the layout or the  arrangement of the numbers,  and  I feel it is inconsistent in rating. I also dislike working on newsprint; any necessary  pencil marking is hard to see.  I do the puzzles hardcopy printed from on line sites;  I prefer pure white slick computer paper for ease in visibility,  and  I prefer to work  in pen.

An unusual affinity for the game is offered to me most probably due to the fact that I’m an artist.   it’s not only my  affinity for numbers as I described earlier, but I also love the feeling I experience as I etch in a conclusion.   I get special pleasure out of installing the numbers  in their proper places on the grid;  the way the numbers fall, perhaps seem to click in to place sometimes, so slick, so satisfying, but also the tactile sensation experienced as pen meets , which may be a particular sensual pleasure.  Some numbers are squeaky, others are silky smooth…. And here we have the lesson learned:  numbers are not created equal; some are more enjoyable than others.

One sitting – one try - is all I’m interested in; and one hour maybe two, is also about my limit.  I find that after that,  or if it becomes too much of a struggle, I begin to lose my patience.  No:  I get hungry, or I feel “I have to get on with my life.”

 I very rarely go back to an unfinished game.  So, let’s face it, I really am not overly serious about attaining the stated objective, ie like winning.  I have no problem stopping cold turkey right in the middle if any of the above occurs.

I must make a horrifying confession …I do not look at this as a competitive sport;  I’m in it  strictly  for laughs. I don’t look at it as a challenge; if things get too messy or too technical, I quit.  Tearing my hair out just won’t hack it:  I go do something else. There’s always another one.

Let’s call it what it is:  My ideal game; a challenge which is short and sweet, with minimal agony.

I’m more interested in the suspense and the  possibility of there being a  hidden delightful surprise.  There’s such a thing as being too serious.

And finally and eventually, it is one of my very favorite fun things to do, as well as my fall back; where once for escape I went to martinis and cigarettes, I now go to Sudoku;  undeniably far less detrimental to my health.

I am also  more than just addicted, and I pray this continues to be the case for as long as possible. (being a fad it’s very hard to predict its lasting power, but one can only hope).

I have so enjoyed my years of association with this game, it has provided me with many happy hours and surprising encounters, so many fun experiences, adventure and excitement, and It is this that has  GIVEN ME A TERRIFIC SUBECT TO WRITE ABOUT.

 Working on this has been a lot of hard work but also so enjoyable.   It’s offered me so many opportunities to learn;  thinking and researching, and all the details that involves.  I’ve had to work out the details creative writing entails like composition, spelling, and punctuation – there’s more to that than I ever expected and you can add to that lots of computer shenanigans and complications I probably never would have encountered otherwise.

A Good Sudoku is a continuing satisfaction. I suppose I shall always feel inclined to have that ongoing dialogue and memo taking urge. NEW DISCOVERIES ARE AWAITING EVERY DAY. And how else can you experience THE THRILL OF DISCOVERY before breakfast?

There are a few things I’d like to take on in the future, one of them being to try out other designs, other renditions or versions; there are a lot of them around.   There is always  the continuing promise of new and better approaches, new and better methods, and at the very least there will  always be the JOY involved in attempting to work out secrets, break the code, dream up  new analogies, and sort it all out.

  There is still new stuff making an appearance; new discoveries are always just one game away,  for instance;  two surprising  recent revelations:     the number 8 is good luck in some cultures – what a change in perception that is, and the 5 and 7 are BOTH MALE. Of course they are – how did I miss that?     



I LOVE PLAYING WITH THOSE NUMBERS, I love  the way the numbers do crazy unpredictable things;  I shall never get tired of the ever-evolving behavior of the numbers as they chase around their grid; I am constantly fascinated by the  interplay of the numbers. 

I LOVE THE WAY IT JOGS MY MEMORY, THE FREEDOM it offers me TO THINK:  they absolutely demand that I think beyond the confines of the moment, they  encourage my mind to wander and  float free,– triggering welcome memories, ideas, and thoughts, and therefore conjuring  up images of the past, present and perhaps future. 

I now I shall leave you with the closing thoughts –


Encounter such a disparate collection of characters all present and awaiting your pleasure.

Experience the satisfaction of attaining peace in a decidedly unpeaceful and violent world.

Eliminate all enemies, after all this is a game of elimination, but in a very benign way.

Can you participate in active sports or fly through space with only a small movement of your hand.

Watching those numbers dance can be like watching the tango or perhaps the waltz or even the ballet.

 Sometimes progress is so swift and uninterrupted it’s like a toboggan ride down a snowy hill or a roller coaster ride in an amusement park,  or in extreme instances even a runaway train.

Reencounter some of your favorite childhood games like Capture the Flag and Treasure Hunt,  construct a mahjong wall, chase the flag, and find the treasure.

Find yourself bouncing to the beat of a series of syncopated moves.

There’s a whole lot of armchair action, excitement, perhaps not quite adequate enough to satisfy  the real type A personalities or marathon runners, but at least a normally energetic individual.

Throw caution to the winds, toss off inhibitions, be brave and forceful;  all the characteristics you’ve always admired but were too timid or frightened to  attempt.

And then there is THAT MYSTERIOUS STRANGER and his multiple personalities one must locate and identify from the start.

This is a  game of all games;  an example of what can be done with a grid some numbers, a pencil and some imagination.



HAPPY SOLVING…………………………… 




the Washington Post Newspaper, January 22, 2019 by Chris Richards titled “And For Our Next Number: How Jazz Is Like Sudoku”.

The Washington Post, July 28, 2005, John Kelly, A Journey of Puzzles and Enlighttenment

THE SUDOKU PROFESSOR, at SudokuProfessor.com.


BOTTOM LINE           BOTTOM LINE.        WRAP UP ============ WRAP UP  

THE MAJOR   ATTRIBUTES     OF THIS ENTIRE EXCERSIZE BEING: PATTERNS, POI, build walls/hooks.  If you hit right starting point you are off., I am fairly lucky in this.

AS I’VE indicated before, this is a much abridged version of my paper on sudoku.  The complete unadulterated version  is also available in my website. 

Having reopened a subject which I had hoped was closed I have come up with more interesting thoughts I can’t resist adding; and admittedly if I don’t quit soon this may go on forever.  I take this as a very good sign: there’s obviously a whole lot more dynamics available to keep me fired up for the far distant future.

I shall do my quick additional observations:

There is absolutely no doubt of the basic  mood of this game  of Sudoku.  There is obviously no doubt of the presence of a huge dose of pugilism present in this decidedly warlike game.  On the attack..a hearty punch of deviousness is of the essence and is an desirable attribute for the solver.  I often feel a twinge of remorse as I perform an especially crafty or sneaky move.  This is definitely not me but boy is it fun.   LET THE GOOD TIME ROLL (MardiGras was a few days ago).

Admittedly once I’d arrived at the penultimate discovery of the POI, Enabler or Confederate – take your pick,  the huge issue and subject of numerical personification seemed to have lost its purpose.   But that’s thankfully with.


this is here as an example of one of my finished puzzles - how I work. also very special birthday edition WITH #8 as POI, and sidekicks 5 and 7 in attendants.