I've received a lot of interesting comments and questions from Sudoku fans over the last few years and this page
is where I try to answer them. Please feel free to drop me a note on the side of the page or try the Facebook
comment box. Or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post a Comment or Question here...
... by: Robin Thornton, France
I have a problem concerning the Daily Killer for 23/5/2013
and I have spotted an error in your explanation for a step. However firstly I would like to complement you on your marvelous site and thank you for all the pleasure it has given me.
I was stuck in attempting to solve yesterday's Killer so I stepped through your solution and all went exactly according to my own progress until I reached the step in which you said that the 4's could be removed from A4 and A6 on the grounds that the valid combinations for a Cage of value 10 with 3 cells would not allow them. Here you gave the valid numbers adding up to 10 for a Cage of 3 cells in which you included 8 and 9 which are clearly not possible (the error). I cannot reproduce the puzzle so I can only refer to my own paper version. At this point I had possibles :-
As there is no 1 in B5 it would be perfectly possible to have:
A5 1 A5 4
A6 4 or A6 1
B5 5 B5 5
Hence no reason to remove the 4's from A5 and A6?
As your Solver managed to solve the Killer your action must have been correct but for the life of me I cannot understand your reasoning.
Keep up the good work!
Andrew Stuart writes (25-May-2013):
Very well observed and yes there was a bug in the output string. Took me all day to track down because a) the code is a few years old now in those parts and b) we are dealing with a cage that had been split, so the original 21 clue over 5 cells wasnít being used but the pseudo cage of 10 over 3 cells. What also throw me was the solver was splitting the cage even though there were no eliminations to be done - and then moving on to the next strategy, which is okay, since normally a split cage will make things easier. I have now added the word "split" to "cage" if it is a split cage.
I've also improved the text returned on cage combinations. I also spotted another bug where the last remaining cell in a cage wasn't being returned. A Bit of a howler that as itís an easy thing to compute and a human would fill it doing it on pen a and pencil. But it is now showing on the solver. The check was in my offline solver which is probably why I didn't spot it before.
Solvers all say version 1.94 now, so refresh a few times if you donít see that.
... by: Chris Williams, Fairford, UK
Easily the best killer solver available. Thank you, Andrew for making it available to us. A solver that just solves the puzzle is useless as we know it'll work; how is the question! This talks you through very nicely and has just got me through Times 3147 that had me stuck for days.
This isn't perfect yet and quite often runs out of ideas, but it's the best out there so well done!
Andrew Stuart writes (22-May-2013):
Cheers Chris, kind words thank you. Killer solver still lags behind Sudoku solver somewhat but I've been given some good hints by various people. I'll keep chipping away at it, you can be sure.
Share and enjoy
... by: Amy Hartner, U.S.A.
Thank you so much! A very evil sudoku plagued me for days until I came to this site and learned the X Wing Strategy. I look forward to using it in the future. I feel like a pro.
Andrew Stuart writes (16-May-2013):
Very glad the website is working for you, have fun!
... by: PeteTy, usa
was rather hard took me about 45 min by P&P
order of operations
5(2) cage with outie 4 next step...
Killer Hard Combinations
KILLER COMBO (Hard) on B7: cage of size 2 with clue of 5+ can only be 1/2/4/7/9, removing 3/5/6/8
just kind of wondering what easy combinations are
5(2) cage cant have 56789 which is probably a human ez step
a 2 cage with a 4 in one cell seems sort of obvious to me
also i was unchecking all the normal sudoku boxes i could
and noticed the check box for diabolical and extreme
preforms an xor with all the checked boxes
I assumed it would turn them all on or off
Andrew Stuart writes (30-Apr-2013):
I split the combinations strategy into two parts because one is much easier than another - in most cases. The 'easy' is where a cage has only one combination. From that it will be fairly obvious what candidates can be pruned. The 'hard' is where several combinations are possible and its more work to work out what can be removed just from the combinations. The solver does take into account what remains so easy and hard are not fixed. However, if you are half way through a puzzle lots of other eliminations may make a so-called hard relatively easy to work out, combination wise. I was thinking in terms of how a human would approach a puzzle and they, I assume, would want to pick off the easy combination cages first.
The XOR on the groups of strategies is by design but I can't remember why I did it like that : )
... by: Dale E. Kloss, Portland, Oregon, USA
I was working a Jigsaw Sudoku and it occurred to me to ask:
For a Jigsaw puzzle maker, how many unique puzzle shapes could be made?
Note that I'm asking about ONLY puzzle SHAPES not where each number goes.
Thanks. Dale Kloss
Andrew Stuart writes (30-Apr-2013):
I do not know, to be honest. Thatís a difficult combinatorics problem. For a jigsaw shape pattern to be 'nice' I prefer never to use cages that approximate a row or column, ie more than 7 cells in a line. That removes a large number. To still be Sudoku the shapes shouldn't map onto existing constraints. Reflection, rotation and other symmetries multiply the total number of 'unique' patterns.
... by: masonx, usa
This is great , I love to do these puzzles in the newspaper. I don't always have enough time before work and could use just a hint or two without screwing up the whole puzzle. If I have time I will do it alone. Thanks for sharing this , it works great.
... by: John, USA
What is the "solve path"?
Andrew Stuart writes (15-Apr-2013):
The series of strategies used to solve the puzzle. From the solver these are "minimally required" meaning that they are the simplest strategies at each step that gets some result. I cannot say that the solver solve path is perfectly optimal since it's down to my choice of the order in which strategies are tested, and in the advanced ones, its difficult to say which are more complex, but a computer is linear, so I have to give it an order in which to search. A truly optimal "solve path" would branch through all strategies and work out the least number of operations to solve as well as taking into account the complexity of each choice, but I can't present that on the website at this stage (too complex, too much CPU) but itís something I'd like to develop further.
... by: Geoff, England
Sorry Andrew, still getting the 'wait' state on naked quads
There is a Killer Sudoku board I would like you to look atClick on this link
Andrew Stuart writes (5-Apr-2013):
Your example puzzle helped me find another string with not enough space. Fixed and your puzzle runs through now.
Thanks for writing in and letting me know!
... by: Roman, Australia
Solver 1.91 is hanging up and giving message: Scripts out of date - clear your cache
Andrew Stuart writes (23-Mar-2013):
I just figured it out this morning. Iíd accidentally deleted a couple of lines of code in the last update Ė to do with the step-by-step solve part. Odd thing is they are so critical I donít see how it worked when I tested it. Or how it sometimes works and sometimes donít. Have a go now.
... by: ejshan, usa
the grader doesn't seem to be working any longer. use the site almost every day
Andrew Stuart writes (22-Mar-2013):
Are you seeing version 1.91 (the latest) or 1.90 ? I updated all the solvers yesterday and any cached pages will not in all likelyhood work
... by: Rich Rice, USA
having problems with naked quads says "wait" forever
Andrew Stuart writes (22-Mar-2013):
That "wait" message means the back end is not returning a result. I updated the solvers yesterday and I suspect itís a caching issue. Are you seeing version 1.91 (the latest) or 1.90? Windows or Mac?