PUZZLE addicts could soon enter a whole new world of pain – and pleasure – as an advanced concept in mental challenges comes into being.
Possum Creek man Stephen Jones has devoted hundreds of hours creating a fiendish form of logic test – a Sudoku on steroids – to inflict upon the puzzling fraternity.
His creations are, quite literally, a consequence of thinking outside the square, and represent the shape of things to come for those seeking what Mr Jones calls ‘a more adventurous’ challenge for their minds.
Shapes are the essence of the new puzzles, which move beyond the conventional forms of Sudoku – the nine square ‘clusters’ inside a square, each containing nine smaller squares in a three by three format.
Mr Jones’ Muddled Puzzles go further, forgoing the internal square clusters in favour of rectangles and L-shaped figures, in often asymmetrical configurations.
And that’s just for the basic level Arithmions. The tougher Pandemonions go another step, breaking up one cluster to scatter its nine squares throughout the puzzle.
On top of this, Mr Jones reveals as few numbers, or clues, as possible – an economy that demands observation, elimination and application of logic, but also calls upon sharper deduction and inference skills.
“The irregular shapes mean that you can easily miss things,” Mr Jones said.
“The really hard ones are like an illusionist’s art, with feints and misleading suggestions. In some of them you feel as if you have to fight for every number.”
Although the puzzles use numbers, they are not a mathematical challenge, Mr Jones said.
“It’s the use of cast-iron logic – the same logic you need for Sudoku, but this requires you to think further along. The hardest ones are much tougher than the ‘diabolical’ level Sudoku,” he said.
Mr Jones has developed 400 of the games, and spends up to five hours a day during the week creating new ones.
“It’s never ho-um. The thrill of creating a grid with a new shape, and getting that last number in that meets all the requirements – I get a real sense of elation,” Mr Jones said.
Michelle Day, Mr Jones’s wife of 31 years, is his ‘tester’, making sure the puzzles are actually solvable.
The couple are hoping to find a business partner to help market the concept.
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