10. Guessing usually leads to failure.
This is also a good warning for Jeopardy players.
9. Too many notes muddle my thinking.
I now put my initial conclusions, e.g. that a particular digit must go in a particular column, outside the grid whenever possible.
8. Puzzles labeled “hard” are sometimes easy and vice versa.
7. Each stage of the search provides its own fun and challenge.
I solve a puzzle in one sitting, if possible, and enjoy getting the most obvious answers out of the way (which reminds me of folding the brightest socks first) so I can get to the nitty-gritty.
6. It’s not necessary to learn popular terms for various strategies.
But knowing them helps when studying method books.
5. Sloppy writing of miniscule digits requires deciphering and wastes time.
I use ink because it contrasts better than lead. When listing the candidates (all possible numbers) inside their squares, I write them big enough to read easily.
4. I can—and must—trust my foundational logic.
If I can’t trust my If-Then conclusions from the very beginning, then I’ll never be quite sure I’m on the right path.
3. Look for patterns!
For example, when there are three cells in a column that share only three digits, I can eliminate those digits from the rest of the column. (When I can’t spot patterns any other way, I use a wet-erase marker on a clear plastic sheet over the puzzle to circle all instances of one digit among the candidates.)
2. Don’t give up! The solution exists—I just have to find it.
This could be said about searching for other things, such as lost objects or the meaning to life. Everything is built on reason.
1. The biggest thrill—the sudden breakthrough—comes just after the moment of biggest frustration.
Patience pays off!