Monday, August 15, 2011

Nana Likes Sudoku

I like doing Sudoku puzzles.  My local newspaper publishes a puzzle daily.  I always finish reading the paper by doing the puzzle.  While I was in Texas for three weeks last month visiting my grandchildren, the spouse saved all the local papers for me.  When I got home I scanned through every issue to get caught up on the local news, but mostly to cut out the daily Sudoku puzzle.  My son commented, “You know, Mom, you can buy a whole book of those puzzles for $1.00 at the Dollar Store.”  Yeah, I know, but there’s something in my frugal nature that finds satisfaction in getting those puzzles for free.

Our local paper publishes three different levels of puzzles: bronze, silver, gold.  The bronze are too easy and the gold are occasionally difficult.  The silver are, as Goldilocks would say, just right.  They are challenging without being frustrating.

I don’t know what it is about Sudoku that appeals to me.  They really are a mindless activity.  If you are systematic in working through the puzzle, it is unusual to not find the solution…and that might be exactly what speaks to me.  Sudoku are governed by a set of rules and if you follow the rules, the outcome is predictable.  The numbers all line up, everything is in its correct place.  There are no gray areas.

Life doesn’t have those same rules.  Oh, there are rules that we’re taught and live by, but the outcomes aren’t guaranteed.  We tell our children to study hard and go to college so they can get a good job, and now we’ve got 10% unemployment and a lot of those kids who studied hard and went to college are now unemployed or under-employed and burdened with student loans.  We tell people to work hard and save money and then they can enjoy their golden years and now we’re rolling back pension promises and reducing Medicare. 

I know, I know…there are no guarantees.  But every time I see a job go to an insider rather than a highly qualified outsider, or a criminal get off without consequences, or children going without medical or dental care,  I wonder what has happened to the rules that govern our society. 

I like Sudoku.  It’s predictable.  You follow the rules and reach success.  I just wish life were a little more like Sudoku.


  1. I think you made a very good point with this post. Love it.

  2. A very thought-provoking post -- and so true! So many things we have counted on for us and for our kids and grandkids are in flux. I can really understand how something with no shades of gray could soothe one's soul!

  3. Oh boy, do I agree! Sometimes I am afraid to look too hard into the future for our children, these are such scary times (you may have heard of the UK riots last week?). Yet, hope springs eternal, I guess it must. In the meantime, I think I may also take up Suduko..?

  4. I tried Sudoku a couple of times but found it frustrating rather than fun, and now I realize that the reward was the order in finding everything line up just right. Good post. I also have stopped watching the news on TV so I can gain some perspective about life.

  5. I'm with DJan! I just get frustrated with Sudoku, but I have students who love them, and my daughter always has one handy to work on. I might try it again, as I love most puzzles, so maybe I'm not approaching them in the right frame of mind!

    I like the direction you took in this post, but I'm sometimes kind of an ostrich when it comes to looking toward the future. I don't want to see what is going to happen. My girls are getting one or more college degrees, in preparation for a hoped for future. I try not to worry too much about what I have no control over (when I'm paying attention, anyway!)

  6. I used to work Sudoko in the Seattle Times, but then I taught my husband and, since he gets up before I do, he does them. So I have a website I visit every morning. I keep at it until I finish a puzzle. I'm on level 8 out of 10 possible. Sometimes I get the first puzzle, sometimes it takes me well over an hour, and several puzzles.

    I'm not much into looking at the future. I get my news online, from a variety of sources, so I think I'm getting a reasonably balanced perspective. I think talking heads are a scourge on our society.

  7. Crossword puzzles, yes. Sudoku, no.

    Life is a puzzle people continue to change. It seems the rules are constantly changing. I politics the candidates are strongly for something one day, and strongly opposed the next day. It's hard to teach kids the value of consistency when the adults around them are so inconsistent.

  8. I can only do 'mild' ones and even then I sometimes make a mistake and can't find my way back. Then I try the crossword. Ditto.

  9. So true, but ... the kids who study hard and go to college are still better off than the ones who don't; the grownups who work hard and save money are better off than those who don't. Just like the people who exercise and eat right -- there's no guarantee they won't get some horrid disease, but the chances are they'll live longer, better, more rewarding lives.

    Like the old saw: The race does not always go to the swiftest ... but that's the way to bet it.

    But don't ask me. I dabble in crosswords, but haven't graduated to Sudoku.

  10. If life were as predictable and the outcome as guaranteed as all puzzles, ha, we'd all be laughing.

    Real life keeps changing the goal posts and we have to keep on changing with them. As a lady of mature years I find that a real trial.

    I much prefer my cryptic crosswords. At least logic will get me to the solution, just as Sudoku does for you. (I find Sudoku too hard because I dislike figures)

  11. More and more of my fellow bloggy friends are starting to vent their frustration with the current state of things, I enjoyed your approach. I don't play the game myself but the analogy is perfect! If you swing by my blog & check my blogroll click on View From the Couch, my friend KC has a pretty similar sentiment right now. I do too I just can't really think how to say how frustrating it all is. And on that note...

  12. I'm a huge Sudoku fan, too! We get the paper mostly so I can scan headlines, read the funnies, then do the Sudoku and the NYTimes crossword. One of life's greatest pleasures.

  13. Every morning I did the crossword and my wife does the sudoku (unless I can beat her to it). We just stopped our daily newspaper so she now has to do them in books.
    There are rules and there are ethics, it's too bad they aren't always followed in "real" life.


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