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A Less Frustrating Pencil ?
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Posted on: Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:25 pm

Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:50 pm
A Less Frustrating Pencil ?
Could the pencil entries appear in the order they are entered and not rearrange themselves into ascending order?
Simple example: if you know the two cell answer to 10+ must be [3][7] or [4][6] , have pencil entries showing 34 in the first box and 76 (and not moving itself around to 67!) in the second. That way a quick glance would tell you that the first possibility is the first pencil number in each box, and the second...

Avril

Posted on: Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:28 pm

Posts: 2258
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Re: A Less Frustrating Pencil ?
Yes, that's possible, but will require some (re)programming.

What do other people prefer?

Posted on: Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:07 am

Posts: 193
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 4:55 pm
Re: A Less Frustrating Pencil ?
It may be neat in some specific cases (like avriljp's example) if you could determine the order of pencil entries yourself rather than having them automatically rearranged. But I think automatic rearrangement comes in handy for most purposes.

Depending on the puzzle, a puzzler will often want to arrange all pencil entries in ascending order in their respective cells because it helps identify candidate pairs and hidden muliplets in rows and columns (and, in the case of sudokus, 3x3 boxes) more easily. Automatic rearrangement into ascending order makes this happen even if you discover and enter the candidates in non-ascending order.

In larger puzzles where you use letter keys for entering numbers larger than 9, sometimes it is quicker and easier to hit keys without regard to order when you pencil in candidates. This is even true of smaller puzzles when you are working on a laptop keyboard without a numeric keypad.

To me the general benefits of automatic rearrangement outweigh the negative aspects it has in some situations. I think it should remain the default option. "Don't rearrange pencil entries in ascending order" could then be offered as a tickbox (as is currently the case with "Continuous error checking" and "Show coordinates") if enough puzzlers want it. Speaking only for myself, I doubt that I would use it much, if at all.

Posted on: Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:20 am

Posts: 226
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:15 pm
Re: A Less Frustrating Pencil ?
I agree with Bram that the negatives seem to outweigh the positives for me. I'm imagining a scenario where one cell of a three cell addition cage has been narrowed down to two possibilities and that in turn implies the other two must equal either 15 or 16. [67] and [98] might represent the 15 option well, but the 7+9=16 option gets sort of lost.

In addition, I can imagine working through a puzzle and thinking I could exclude a number, realize I was mistaken and put it back only to find that [1346] has become [1463].

That said, if Patrick wants to add this as an option, why not?

Posted on: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:31 pm

Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 3:18 am
Re: A Less Frustrating Pencil ?
I often get frustrated with the automatic ordering. Like avrilp, I would like to have the option of determining the order. Many times I have wished there was a way of "stacking" the possibilities in vertical cages so that the leftmost column of guesses represents one scenario, and the columns in the middle or right represent another scenario.

For cages with a subtraction operatior, the guesses usually line up that way, but for addition or multiplication, not so much.

Regarding the ease of entering the digits in any order: If you provided the option to display the guesses in order of entry and I wanted the guesses in numerical order, I could always press the keys in that order.

So my vote is to provide the option to order guesses manually.

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