If, like me and countless others, you’re getting addicted to Sudoku, you might want to read this article from the Financial Times. Steven Pincock writes:
"...the odd thing is that newspapers make a point of saying that the puzzles require no mathematics. This is perhaps unsurprising given the number of people who get scared off the subject in high school, but it is wrong... mathematicians don’t spend their days working through page after page of mind-numbing arithmetic. Rather, they bend their minds to finding ways to solve problems that are often deeply conceptual. They approach those challenges using the kind of strategic thinking you need to employ in tackling Sudoku puzzles."
But enough about Sudoku, let’s talk about me.
Pincock’s column was of interest to me because I was always pretty good at Maths in school, and more to the point I have something of a number fetish. I tend to be very clued in to people’s years of birth for instance (and not just people I know well) and enjoy thinking about number permutations and combinations in general. At times it gets very intense - even when I’m driving and see a car number plate I play around with the arrangements in my mind and more often than not succeed in relating them to something else. So I was somewhat bemused by all this talk about Suduko "having nothing to do with Maths". Oh well, glad to see someone agrees.
For anyone who hasn’t got in on the Sudoku craze yet and has access to the Hindustan Times, the puzzle now appears there daily. Started last week. It’s a bit silly the way they’ve gone about it - the first two puzzles were Difficulty Level 1, but then in the next three days they rapidly moved up to levels 2, 3 and 4. This is hardly a very user-friendly approach; the latest one took me more than half an hour to solve and it’s probably much worse for people who are scared of numbers to begin with.
Sudoku basics here.