by Ed Glysson
(Morgan Hill, CA.)

Sudoku Puzzling Materials

OK… So, minimally all one needs is a puzzle and a pencil (or pen) and it’s “Game On!”. But some Sudoku puzzles necessitate making notes which can assist in the resolution of spaces and subsequently the entire puzzle. Also, puzzlers are sometimes motivated to guess at the contents of a space or are simply incorrect in their first entry into the space; resulting in puzzle corrections that generally make a mess of the original puzzle material.

So, it would be preferable to have the puzzle entered onto a material that can be modified as needed without concern for “messing up” the play area on the puzzle. Additionally, the materials that I am about to recommend provide a more “playful” puzzling experience allowing the puzzler the freedom to experiment with personal preferences in making puzzle notes and informed guesses.

The benefits of using Puzzling Materials are:

  • A larger puzzle template that provides larger spaces for notes.
  • The ability to easily make corrections or erase entries.
  • The ability to easily erase all puzzler entries and start over.

List of Puzzling Materials:

  • Avery Heavyweight Presentation Sheet Protectors (Product Number 75304)
  • Expo Vis-a-Vis Wet Erase Marker (Fine Point, Black)
  • Expo Dry Erase Marker (Fine Point, Green, and Blue. (Red leaves a shadow.)
  • Sudoku blank template, one puzzle per page.
  • Clipboard (or a cardboard insert that will fit into the sheet protector with the template)
  • Small damp sponge; kept in a Zip-Lock bag
  • Tissues (such as Kleenex) or soft cloth.

That’s it. OK… some assembly required. Take one of the blank Sudoku templates and insert it into a sheet protector and then place it on the clipboard. Now, use the Black Wet Erase marker to enter the starting puzzle onto the sheet protector within the spaces of the blank template. (Check your work! Make sure all entries are there and in the correct space.) Yes… now it’s puzzle time.

Now you can use one of the Green or Blue Dry Erase markers to make your puzzle entries into the puzzle. Also, when adding any puzzle notations within the puzzle or margins use the Dry Erase marker. When you are ready to change or remove a note use a dry tissue, soft clothe, or your finger to “wipe off” the previous entry or note. Continue to the end of the puzzle.

If you decide to restart or redo the puzzle just use a dry tissue to remove all entries. The original puzzle will remain as it requires a wet/damp tissue (or finger). When you are done with the puzzle simply remove it from the surface of the sheet protector with a wet/damp cloth.

If you are working on a particularly hard puzzle and you want to experiment without affecting your existing entries and notes, just add another transparent sheet protector over the top of the puzzle and use an alternate Dry Erase color. In this way you have “layered” the puzzle and can explore resolution ideas without disturbing any work up to the point of exploration.

Good puzzling materials provide puzzlers with the freedom to explore the puzzle and test alternative approaches to resolving the next space. I am certain that employing these materials and this process will improve your puzzling experience and enjoyment.

Ed Glysson, Morgan Hill, CA. Summer, 2014

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