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 I'm a solver 
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Posted on: Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:11 pm

Posts: 219
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:15 pm
Post I'm a solver
Hi. My username is jaek. And I'm a solver.

I started like a lot of people do, 'carrying the one' in primary school. We memorized multiplication tables as a class. Everybody has to be able to multiply, right? Most people multiple responsibly their entire lives.

In high school I would do a puzzle or two on the weekend with friends. But a lot of kids experiment with numbers at that age. No worries.

Sometime after college I was doing a sudoku every single day. Sure, I was getting the puzzle out of the back of a crumby local newspaper, but a lot of people solve a puzzle after work. No worries.

I didn't really notice the progression, but as an adult in my late 30s I found myself doing 6 'ken ken' a day. But at least I had a reputable source now - The New York Times online. That had to be legit. No worries.

But a couple of years ago, I was hanging out with a friend. He had a PhD in math so I should have known better, but he told me about these new, high grade puzzles that were coming out of northern Europe, the Netherlands maybe. That first day I did it all. I did zeros. I did modular arithmetic. I even did bitwise OR. And it was awesome.

But then things got out of hand. I was solving instead of playing MMORPGs. I was solving at work. I was solving killer sudokus at the end of the day just to keep solving. I wasn't just solving - I had subscribed and a year later I subscribed again.

To be honest, I don't really want to stop. But where things are right now seem pretty stable. I solve about 10 puzzles a day. Some are easy, some are difficult, most days I'll do at least one puzzle with more advanced calculations. But when I come across a 15x15, I know that's too much so I let it go.

Yeah, things seem about right for now.

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Posted on: Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:22 pm

Posts: 2209
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: which puzzles to drop?
jaek wrote:
Hi. My username is jaek. And I'm a solver.

Great story jaek :-)

(re: Northern Europe, yes, I started the site when living in London,
now I'm back in the Netherlands (since August))


Posted on: Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:43 pm

Posts: 693
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 6:51 pm
Post Re: which puzzles to drop?
jaek wrote:
Hi. My username is jaek. And I'm a solver.


But a couple of years ago, I was hanging out with a friend. He had a PhD in math so I should have known better, but he told me about these new, high grade puzzles that were coming out of northern Europe, the Netherlands maybe. That first day I did it all. I did zeros. I did modular arithmetic. I even did bitwise OR. And it was awesome.

But then things got out of hand. ...

[thumbup] Very interesting thoughts, you are expressing what is the feeling of many people here ... and I am affraid there is no medicine for that, you are engaged (like many other) because of the beauty of numbers, it's the absolute beauty, the absolute fascination, the numbers never fail you. Who was the first in saying that numbers are the language of the Universe?: "The 'irrational' number pi is the same here and in the most remote quasar and it will continue being the same for another 15,000,000,000 years" (well the number pi itself has many many more digits than 15,000,000,000). I like that phrase of Carl Sagan: "Science is the only candle we have within so much obscurity ... ". And perhaps (let's apply here the Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle) we are doing "science" when doing Calcudokus, fighting against the obscurity, "fighting" against numbers in the more noble war, but I understand what you mean: ... we are human and we "suffer" to learn in the different phases of life, and we have other motivations and other things to do, and our time is short, then: Where is the limit?.

(Sorry, Patrick, if all this is a little off-topic)

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Posted on: Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:47 pm

Posts: 108
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 6:44 pm
Post Re: which puzzles to drop?
clm wrote:
(Sorry, Patrick, if all this is a little off-topic)

Good point, I moved these posts to a new topic as you see..


Posted on: Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:26 am

Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 3:18 am
Post Re: I'm a solver
Hi. My username is pharosian, and I'm a solver.

Like jaek, I first started doing ken ken on the New York Times site. I kept track of my times and worked hard to keep getting them lower. But after I'd finished the last one of the day, I was left feeling unsatisfied, anxious, wanting more.

Eventually I turned to the all-knowing Google to help me find another source, and I stumbled across a site offering "calcudoku." What? Well, it looked the same as ken ken, and the site offered more puzzles per day. And some new varieties not available at NYT. Even better, I got points for doing them, and I could move up in the rankings!

At first I couldn't do all of the puzzles. I was getting maybe 42 points per day. Anything above 8x8 was too hard (except for the Friday 10x10). Some days the 12x12 seemed impossible. When I started doing the timed puzzles, the best I could do was 18-20 seconds for a 4x4. But I was hooked, and I kept trying and eventually, after doing about a thousand of them, I broke 10 seconds... I kept pushing for another few hundred until I closed in on 8.5 seconds.

When Patrick offered the option to subscribe and get even more puzzles, I took the bait. Like jaek, I re-upped after the first year.

By this time, I was able to earn 70 or 80 points in a day. Sometimes more. And now there was a 15x15 each week, and I did every one of them. The 12x12's that had seemed impossible before looked easy by comparison. But I was spending too much time getting those points. I'd get home from work and immediately grab the laptop to start puzzling. I'd spend most of the weekend puzzling, doing book puzzles when I ran out of the online variety. Sometimes I puzzled from work. All my spare time was devoted to calcudoku.

So when I hit 50,000 points, I quit. Cold turkey. At first it wasn't too bad. I had more time for reading. I started taking online classes at I thought I was cured.

But the itch wouldn't go away. I'd do an extra puzzle here and there (just one can't hurt, right?), and save it with one or two cells to go. I built up a reserve of these, leaving my 50000 points on the board, trying to decide whether to walk away or not.

I couldn't do it. I finished the extra puzzles I'd nearly completed and worked through the backlog of the ones I hadn't. I couldn't give it up. Not completely.

So here I am. An addict, trying to manage my addiction. The first few weeks back, I would only do the extras. But then Patrick introduced the 8x8 timed puzzles, so I'm trying to get better at those. Then I started doing the 10x10 on Fridays again... Oh, and the 12x12's... And sometimes a Killer... [blush]

There is no cure for this addiction. Not really. But I think I've reached a balance I can live with. [cool]

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Posted on: Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:53 am

Posts: 2209
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: I'm a solver
I should rename the thread to "Calcuholics Anonymous" [tongue]


Posted on: Fri Jul 29, 2016 1:32 pm

Posts: 216
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 2:17 pm
Post Re: I'm a solver
Hello! My username is marblevolcano, and like jaek and pharosian, I am a solver.

I was just a smarty-pants kid in my 7th grade math class, getting straight A's in every subject. Then I noticed a piece of paper on my teacher's desk, with the title "kenken." I was intrigued. What was this thing?

A few days later I asked, and she explained to me how it worked. That was when I started solving. I was instantly hooked. I finished those puzzles in a flash, and asked for more. But she only had so many. What was I going to do?

At home, I started searching online for kenkens. One of the news sites - USA Today or the New York Times - offered around 6 per day, but they didn't feel comfortable. I kept looking. looked promising, but in reality was smothered with ads and the input process was complicated. I moved on. Then I found One click brought me to the best website the world has ever known.

Needless to say, I created an account almost immediately.

At the beginning, the overwhelming majority of puzzles I solved were 4x4's. However, I soon moved on the 5x5's, and dove into the timed puzzles as well. Just a few weeks after I found the site, I ordered two books, just to solve more puzzles. I started solving larger ones, twins, bitwise OR, modulo, even exponentiation puzzles and no-ops.

Just a couple weeks ago, as I was starting my third month on the site, I solved a 10x10. The next week, I solved the 12x12. I got faster and faster on the timed puzzles - at my best, I was under 10 in the 4x4's, 30 in the 5's and 1 minute in the 6's. I couldn't stop. The calcudoku fever had me. After just three months, I had 4,000 points, and I hadn't even subscribed.

I'm the type of person who says computers are bad for you. But then, here I am, solving for hours on end, and going to the forum when I have nothing else to do. WHY DO I DO THAT?!? I could be playing games. But instead, I am solving 'till the cows come home.

That is, until summer vacation is over [crying]


Posted on: Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:28 pm

Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:03 pm
Post Re: I'm a solver
I joined the site just over a year ago and became a subscriber just over two months ago. Initially, I didn't become a subscriber because I was concerned that solving puzzles might take over my life and I would end up spending most of my day doing puzzles.

But as I got quicker at solving them (though by no means a speedster), I decided to take the plunge and become a subscriber. I got two PDF books when I became a subscriber and my objective became to solve all the daily puzzles and submit two book puzzles each day. Some days I managed to do more than two book puzzles, which meant I built up a bank I could use on days when I didn't have enough time to do new book puzzles.

It all went pretty much according to plan and most days I managed to solve all the puzzles and submit two book puzzles. With some of the larger puzzles where you had more than one day to submit a solution, I would need the extra day or two to solve it. Occasionally, I would run out of time and not solve all the puzzles and I recently struggled with the Friday difficult KS, failing to solve it three weeks in a row, but managing to do so for the last three weeks.

I discovered there was a free book of puzzles and downloaded this and also purchased the PDF version of the holiday puzzles book. I then got two of the advanced puzzles books as a Christmas present. I finished off the first three books I got (apart from one of the 5 point puzzles). And I started working on the advanced puzzle books and did the first few puzzles in each book fairly quickly (particularly the twin puzzles). The 168 points I was picking up each week for submitting two 12 point book puzzles each day brought me up to the top of the weekly rankings and I became somewhat obsessed with trying to stay there.

As time went on, I had depleted my reserve of previously solved book puzzles and found it harder and harder to solve two 12 point puzzles each day as I was now mainly down to the more difficult 5 and 6 star puzzles. So I started working on the unfinished holiday puzzles and I have now solved most of these, although I am struggling with the final 5 or 6. I was still working on the advanced puzzles at the same time and managed to solve a few more of these, but I am really struggling with the remaining ones.

For a couple of weeks, I managed to submit at least one book puzzle on most days, but I found I was spending more and more time on them and it was interfering with lots of other things I should be doing. So I have decided to take a break from book puzzles for a while and haven't submitted any for the past 3 or 4 days. I'm sliding down the rankings as I'm not at all fast on the timed puzzles and usually score only 4 points each day, although from time to time I get a top ten in the 8x8.

When I've caught up with all the other things that I should have been doing, I may try reintroducing myself to the remaining book puzzles, but I will probably impose some sort of time limit on how long I spend on them as I want to avoid getting into another obsessive chase for maximum points. It was getting to the point where it just wasn't fun any more.


Posted on: Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:05 pm

Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:28 pm
Post Re: I'm a solver
Hi. My username is jpoos, and I'm a solver.

I got to know this site through my dad. He is a math teacher in high school here in the Netherlands, and as such, he one day stumbled across this site. He made this account, and started doing some puzzles. He soon introduced me to it as well, as I'm quite the math lover myself, now studying math in university. Even though I wasn't immediately hooked, I soon got the hang of it as well, and we eventually subscribed.

I took me a few months to actually click on the timed tab, but once I did I started doing the timed puzzles as well. This was 'back in the day' when Sheldolina was still around, and I, like everyone else, was obviously amazed by her times. I didn't think I'd ever get close to those, but that didn't stop me from getting faster and faster. I still remember working my way up from the bottom; getting my first sub 10 4x4, being in the top 10, never being able to get sub 30 6x6's, etc. Looking back on those somewhat arbitrary milestones has to be one of the most satisfying things ever [lol]

Right now, my dad and I work together to get everything solved daily. It most often follows the following pattern: At 12 pm when the new puzzles come out, I start solving the small puzzles and the timed ones, and depending on how those go and how I feel, I continue doing the bigger ones or I go to bed. The next morning and afternoon my dad starts solving whatever I haven't solved (or simply repeats the puzzles I have solved), and if needed, I help him finish up everything in the evening.


Posted on: Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:15 am

Posts: 6
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 8:53 pm
Post Re: I'm a solver
Hi, my username is sietse, naturally a solver.
Each puzzle is solved by my own.
With all due regards for jpoos : you are not a solver,
you are solvers.

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