I learned about sudoku puzzles when I was in middle school and got addicted. For those who do not know what they are, please go to this link for an explanation. I would try to describe it myself, but these is a good chance you and I will both get confused. Therefore, please go to the previously mentioned link, where someone has already comprehensively explained this activity – including a step-by-step example.

When I first started working on sudokus, I found it was much easier than trying to solve a crossword puzzle since I rarely used the complex words that these games asked for. On the other hand, I loved math and it was quite fun solving a puzzle using arithmetic and logic to eliminate the possible choices for each box.

My algebra teacher, who taught the class about sudokus, would keep a pile of the puzzles on his desk for us to pick up whenever we had free time. I ended up taking a lot of those sheets and was solving them at every chance I had. He saw my interest and introduced me to kakuro puzzles. This game is similar to sudoku, but rather than me trying to explain the differences, here’s another link.

At that time, I was completing sudokus at a decent pace and felt confident about this new challenge. 20 minutes later, I decided that the kakuro he handed me … was difficult. I was never able to complete it. Eventually, the puzzle was lost and I forgot about it. Life went on and my time was filled up with all sorts of things. A few months ago, my schedule changed and I got about 10-15 minutes of free time each morning. Not willing to sit idly, I started to solve online sudoku puzzles. I quickly became stuck between the medium and hard levels. The medium levels were solved quickly, but the hard levels were so complicated, that I simply did not have enough time to work on them. Curious about what else I could do, I searched for similar puzzles and eventually found a site with kakuro puzzles. It took some time, but I actually managed to solve one!

I think the reason for failing so long ago was because kakuros resemble crossword puzzles, which I am not very fond of. Once I got over that displeasure, I started to focus on the problem and was able to eliminate certain numbers and figure out the correct combinations. It was frustrating because it took me a while to mentally calculate the sum of various numbers and subtract from the given number to see how much I was missing. This issue is a result of using a calculator for so many years. Now, that I have worked through a good number of these puzzles, my addition and subtraction skills are actually a lot better.

I’m glad I found these puzzles again and will probably continue to solve them until something new catches my eye or my little bit of free time gets eaten away.

To you who discovered this post, have you ever tried a sudoku or kakuro puzzle? How was it?