A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Saturday, 31 March 2018

Hooptedoodle #298 - Donkey Award - The Man Who Bought the Same Puzzle Books, Two Years Later

The Donkey, let it be understood right at the start, is me.


I came to Sudoku rather late in life - I've been interested in the idea for years, but I swerved the craze (was it a craze? - is it now an ex-craze?) because I know myself too well; I always knew I would get hooked and would waste far too many hours - I find the puzzles very compelling, and the perfection of the game system has a strange beauty and rhythm. Love it.

This started in earnest in 2016, when I bought the first 4 of the Telegraph's Sudoku books to take on holiday to Austria. I very quickly became addicted, and got a lot of pleasure from them. I invested in a good-quality propelling pencil (Faber-Castell Grip-Plus model, 0.7mm lead, lose the pocket clip, keep a supply of fresh eraser inserts...) - with the pencil tucked in the current page of my current book, I'm a happy bunny on train journeys, in dentists' waiting rooms - you name it. I don't claim to be particularly brilliant at Sudoku, you understand, but I like to think I'm not bad, if a little slow sometimes.

The Telegraph books are structured so that the puzzles are graded - they start off "Gentle" and then get progressively more difficult, going through "Tough" (I can't remember all the actual grade titles) until they get to "Diabolical" at the end. Problem is that the faster you bash through the easier ones, the quicker you reach the near-impossible ones at the end. The end-state of one of my Telegraph Sudoku books is that I am left with only the very hardest puzzles, so that if I pick up an almost-finished book I have maybe a 20% chance of solving the next puzzle.

Thus I have started each new book before the previous one was finished - basically because I am not capable of finishing it, but also because regularly failing to solve the next puzzle is not entirely gratifying (though one appreciates a challenge, of course).

I believe I have now "finished" (more accurately, "had enough of") Telegraph books 1 to 7, though I suspect I never did purchase Vol.6. I've chucked out the "finished" books, and now started looking to see what further volumes the Telegraph is offering. It was only when I started looking that it suddenly dawned on me that, since there is no way I would ever remember, or even recognise, a particular puzzle I had already attempted, it would be perfectly feasible to start again with Volume 1. Thus I have ordered books 1 to 4, though Amazon helpfully protested that I had bought these same books just two years ago. One big plus (especially for us Scottish enthusiasts) is that the earlier volumes are available through Amazon's Marketplace, new, at 30 pence a pop, rather than the full price of £5.99. You do get stiffed a little for P&P, but it's still a big saving. Better and better.

So I've ordered up the same books again! If everything goes well, there's no reason why I couldn't order them up yet again sometime later. All right, I could get someone else's Sudoku books instead, I suppose, but I know and trust the Telegraph's gradings and organisation.

In passing, I was intrigued to note that some dealers on the Marketplace were offering even cheaper, used copies. A used copy of a Sudoku puzzle book? - if they're anything like mine, they will be full of scribblings, and filthy with the rubbings-out which are an important part of the solution. Sounds a bit dodgy to me - would you buy, for example, a second-hand paperback book of crosswords?

Hmmm.

Anyway - Groundhog Day puzzles should start here in a week or so.

Hee-haw.



15 comments:

  1. Best laugh I have had all weekend !!!

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    1. Hi Phil - the funiest bit will come when I find out I can't do the puzzles I managed quite easily in 2016. Maybe I peaked too early - there's a worry...

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  2. I did exactly the same thing with the Osprey on Vauban fortifications. That didn't work...

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    1. In moments of rare honesty, I can also admit to having bought books I had previously got rid of. I had a major book purge in about 2010 or so, and amongst much else I got quite decent prices on eBay for my earliest Featherstone books and similar - after all, I never read them any more.

      That's right - you guessed - within a couple of years I missed them so much that I bought a few of them all over again. In particular the original green-and-black Featherstone "War Games" hardback and the Charles Grant books. Some - e.g. the original Charlie
      Wesencraft classic - I was forced to buy in the paperback re-issue, which isn't quite the same (though thankfully we are spared any Grossmithian annotations in this particular volume). I still keep an eye open for the hardback.

      Check out a little appropriate nostalgia:

      https://youtu.be/CeicexenTmU

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    2. That's cryptic -"Grossmithian" - is that JC or BC?

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    3. BC; JC just does the copying errors and the typos.

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  3. Also a Sudoku fan, but I print my own...

    https://krazydad.com/

    Comes under the heading 'must do'

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    1. Rob - that is the one of the most useful links anyone has sent me for ages - many thanks. I've bookmarked that and printed out the first 8 of the Intermediate puzzles. I may be busy for a while.

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  4. Actually, I shoiuld rephrase that... I print my own copies from this site that I have found. I didn't do the puzzles myself. Which is what my original post implied. I use it so much I even made a financial contribution.

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  5. Numbers and I don't get along well so Sudoku has always appeared to me as form of self inflicted torture thus my avoidance of them.

    However, working out a series of puzzles and then after a suitable amount of time to allow you to forget the specifics, rebuying them to play over, strikes me as being similar to playing old scenarios and table top teasers again and again which is something I enjoy.

    Seems quite natural really since one might not like new ones as much.

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    1. I think we should always avoid unnecessary exposure to anything new. I like your reasoning.

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  6. I find myself buying the same military history magazines a few weeks after buying it the first time.

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    1. I've done a bit of that myself. Most annoying of all, I have occasionally bought an interesting book on Amazon, only to find it is simply a re-titling of one I already have. In fact, I fear I may be in the process of repeating this particular trick at this very moment.

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  7. If you use an android device, you should try the Sudoku app by Jason Linhart. It is free, has new puzzles of varying complexity every day, and electronically is the bedt way to do Sudoku IMHO.

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    1. I do have an Android tablet, so thanks for the pointer. I have to say I do like the old pocket-sized paperbacks. Less concerns about getting them broken or nicked, too.

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