Thursday, June 14


On my 8:07 train to work every morning I always see people doing sudoku puzzles in the commuter's rag of choice Metro. So this morning, rather than continue with Geling Yan's 'The Lost Daughter of Happiness' I decided to have a go. I had virtually no prior knowledge of the logistics of sudoku puzzles, but I did know this much:

- each row has to have all the numbers between 1 and 9
- each column has to have all the numbers between 1 and 9
- each little box has to have all the numbers between 1 and 9

I quickly gave up. The train was hot and moved around a lot and I couldn't concentrate. When I got to work I had another go. I managed to place a 6, but I wasn't even sure it was in the right place. So, as with all things that flummox me, I subjected Sudoku to google. This was very helpful. For the first two pages. Then I got confused again. I returned to my Metro puzzle. 'Maybe you're looking at it wrong', I thought. 'Maybe it's a bit like Magic Eye'*. So I tried relaxing my brain, to see if the answers would just swirl into my head like they do for John Nash. I thought I'd got halfway through it just now, and then realised I'd put two 4's in the same box. It made my brain hurt. And it made me feel a bit sick. I'm buggered if I can figure it out.

Why can't I do them? I have an IQ of 145. Surely that means Sudoku should come naturally to me, like eating and blinking. What's wrong with me? The man who gets on at South Tottenham in a dirty tracksuit bottoms with egg on his t-shirt can do it while picking his nose and drinking from a can of Tennents at 8.15am, so why can't I after a glass of orange juice and a bowl of Shreddies?

I think it's a bit like rubix cubes, once your brain clicks the technique it's piss easy. I think soon I'll just have to accept that I can't do them and go back to crosswords.

*I can't do those either.

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Do Google searches and that...