Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sudoku and Perseverance

RECENTLY, in history class, since most other kids were taking the Algebra I End of Course Exam, we were just given sudoku puzzles and told, "Solve these, and you get a prize." HOWEVER comma, Samantha (yes Samantha from samtheantworld.blogspot.com) gave me her sudoku puzzle (half-solved, mind you), saying, "You'll need it." I had no idea what she was talking about, but I kept it cuz that's what I do.

WHEN the teacher came in and saw me with a sudoku puzzle, he recognized it as "cheating", even though we were going to get different puzzles. The punishment was that we would have to wait 5 PRECIOUS MINUTES to get our puzzles, and when we got them, at the top it said "DIABOLIC". For those of you who don't know what that means: www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diabolic. Yeah, so my group members (let's call them Martin, Graham, and Alex, names generated from behindthename.com/random) and I were pretty much screwed over.

THE first thing I thought to do was try and find the solution to the puzzle. At the top, it said:
GRID N° 99975165 - DIABOLIC
And at the bottom it said:
So, naturally I googled this on my phone and, followed by the word "answer". NOTHING even remotely resembling a solution popped up. I tried different keywords, mixed up the order, NOTHING. I tried this for almost 10 minutes until I gave ut p, thinking, "I guess we'll have to do this by hand." I kept grumbling about how. Also, note that we (along with everyone else) were given 2 puzzles to solve to get the prize, both of which were DIABOLICAL. Everybody else, meanwhile, got only HARD difficulty puzzles. 

So I put this minor defeat of failing to cheat behind me, and put my head to the puzzle. Or pencil to the paper. Or head to the paper? No, that doesn't make sense... ANYWAYS, We had 45 minutes to solve the puzzle, due to my "cheating" incident, and we used all 45 of them. We split up the work, one pair (Martin and I) would solve the 99975165 puzzle and the other pair (Graham and Alex) would solve the other. Martin and I worked and worked and WORKED until we reached a wall we couldn't break down without breaking. We looked at every empty cell, and tracked back our work several times, but nothing could be put down FOR SURE. SOOOOOOOO, Martin took a picture of the puzzle pre-guesswork, so that if our guess was incorrect, we would know how the puzzle was before. Also, this guess only involved 2 numbers, a "1" and a "3", both in the same 3 by 3 box. We first tried the 1 on the top cell and 3 in the bottom, filling in the entire 3 by 3 box, but after deducing about 10 more cells, we realized that this was the incorrect guess. Referring back to the picture taken earlier, and with common sense (and a logician's masterful deduction skills), we fixed our guess and solved the puzzle. At this point, there was only about 5 minutes left in class. BUT WE HAD FINISHED, YES! Throughout the solving of this ABSOLUTELY HORRID PUZZLE, I had felt, I dunno, a kind of stress build up in me, like "You won't be able to solve this! YOU WON'T!" Naturally I pushed it aside, kept working at it, and eventually, and WE SOLVED IT! We had persevered 'til the very end, and we had SUCCEEDED. 

The feeling of triumph and achievement felt SOOOO GOOOOOOOOD. Afterwards, Martin and I discussed the psychological effects of this sudoku puzzle, of stress, of perseverance, and of OUR EPIC PUZZLE SOLVING SKILLS.

TL;DR We got a really tough sudoku puzzle to solve. I tried to cheat, but failed. After we set our mind to it and pushed aside the notion that this was UNSOLVABLE, we solved it. After all, it's only a matter of time before you succeed in something you work hard at.

--PRANAV