I get requests from a lot of viewers asking for help on the puzzles they’re stuck on, but…
Since there is only one of me, I can’t get to all these requests.
Of those I do get to work on, there’s one thing that make me really spittin’ mad.
I get so mad at these puzzles that are unsolvable!
I’m mad because you (the viewer) are frustrated.
You think you’re stupid or “not getting it” because you can’t solve the puzzle. So you’re demoralized and ready to give up.
I’m also mad because I spend sometimes over an hour trying to solve the unsolvable puzzle, which is a huge waste of time.
In this article series, I’m going to give you some examples of unsolvable puzzles, I’m going to show you how to spot the bad ones, and I’m going give you some tips on how to avoid getting stuck with one.
So let me start off here by showing you my all-time “favorite,” bad, unsolvable puzzle.
This one is courtesy of Sudoku Professor Member Chris K. who lives in South Africa.
When attempting to solve this puzzle (and I have attempted several times, just to make sure I wasn’t having a bad day), you wind up in what I call a “dead lock” situation.
There’s a point where you could flip a coin, pick an answer, and no matter what you pick it works.
This puzzle may have as many as a dozen different answers.
And any puzzle that has more than one answer is a BAD puzzle…
Here’s another one.
This one is recently received from another Sudoku Professor Member, Brian in Winnipeg:
The problem with this one is not immediately evident.
You’re just solving along and then you get stuck.
And even after I applied my Graduate Level techniques to the puzzle (many, many different times), nothing yields a solution.
Therefore, my conclusion is that it cannot be solved (at least not by a human being). I’m sure there’s a computer program out there that could solve it, but that doesn’t help either of us.
Just to rub salt in my wounds, this puzzle was rated by the program that generated it as “average” difficulty.
At least if you’re going to give me an unsolvable puzzle like this, at least have the courtesy to call it “murderously diabolically evil” or something like that.
By the way, if you need a computer or a “solver” to help you solve your puzzles, you’re not really playing Sudoku.
If you need answers or outside help on individual puzzles here what you need to do: 1) Get my lessons, 2) learn my techniques (especially pencil marking), and 3) start with easy puzzles and work your way up.
If you’re a masochist, give those two puzzles a try, and let me know what you think.
I’m going to continue this article in the next newsletter, where I’m going to give you the two common characteristic of bad puzzles (so you can spot them right away and not waste your time) then I’m going to give you my recommendations on good quality puzzle sources.