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Silver Rallier

Joined: 15 Jan 2014
Messages: 2

Hi Everyone,
I'm new to Sudoku, I've got to the stage where I can manage the easy ones without any pencil marks and have progressed the the medium ones.

I'm using full pencil marks on the medium ones and managing to complete them but would like to progress so that I can complete the medium ones without any pencil marks.

Any tips or advice would be appreciated.


Joined: 25 Jan 2014
Messages: 1

First, that is a challenge. I did it, and to be sure, that is not easy. It took me around four times as long as my personal best for a Medium puzzle, and while I do encourage more looking and less marking as good form for speeding up entry, I would not ever try to use No pencil marks beyond easy when trying for efficiency; it simply isn't more so. I do go without hints and validation, and have thought about turning off the "Flag conflicting values" help as a way of conditioning myself to be accurate in my clicking. I am not saying it does not make a challenge--but I would not tell anyone to add more challenge to the game until they were confident in mastering it as established. If you are pretty good at Hard and Extreme puzzles, are fast and make few mistakes, it certainly makes sense, but few of us can actually keep all the dimensions of a 9 by 9 by 9 updated mentally for each digit, and fingers only get you so far in marking position.

Happy Puzzling!

--I just tried again, and it took me five times as long as my lowest Top 10 score. :-S
Silver Rallier

Joined: 15 Jan 2014
Messages: 2

Thanks very much for your help. I have tried going back to the easy ones and completing them without pencil marks in the hope that I will become more familiar with looking at the 'complete picture' and be able to figure out the missing numbers without too much pondering.

Once I have got a little quicker on the easy ones then I will move back to the medium ones and try them.


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Messages: 17

In my experience, nearly all easy and medium puzzles can be completed with no pencil marks by using logical elimination. I cannot get below 1:20 with pencil marking, and my best times for easy and medium are both below that.

I can complete many hard puzzles with no pencil marks, but usually my times are slower that way. However, some of my best times for hard were achieved with no pencil marks. If I went without the pencil more often, I think I could eventually replace my entire top ten list with those times. I have been able to complete extreme puzzles without marking, but I never even try if I am aiming for a good time.

When it comes to the weekly completion puzzles, I will use pencil marks for anything but easy. For medium, I know the time I get won't be a personal best, but I can get a decent time consistently that way. For me, even if I know I'd have a 90% chance at a better time without marks, I still go for the consistency in the competition. Maybe that is why I'm rarely in the top handful of times, but nearly always in the top 5%.

In terms of advice, the best I can say is to put time towards practice, and practice without the pencil marks. You will start to learn techniques that work best for you, and see patterns emerge that help you perform logical elimination. Learning these through experience is infinitely more valuable than being told "how" to do them. Your times will naturally, though gradually, start to drop as you go, and that progress will help keep up your motivation. Remember to compare your progress to yourself, instead of to others. When you look at the times other people are posting, it can be distracting, and might motivate you complain, rather than to have fun and play more. Soon, you'll be posting the times that others will swear must have been the result of cheating!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 3 May 2014 16:31:37

Personal best times:
Easy 0:34
Medium 0:54
Hard 1:15
Extreme 1:19
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