There is an investigator in everyone. In nature, a walker, armed with a smartphone or plants, tries to find out what kind of plant grows there. In the kitchen who has been searching for the perfect creme brulee recipe for years. And in Sudoku puzzle game, which looks great as a number cracker with correct solution.
The first fun is anticipation: knowing that a good outcome is possible. After all, nothing is more satisfying than a mission doomed beforehand, like a jigsaw puzzle where a piece is known to be missing. But Sudoku promises redemption.
Then there’s that stare at the numbers that manages to dispel even the bleakest of thoughts.
If you have a tendency to worry, it’s best to buy not a self-help book, but a puzzle book: the perfect rumination treat. Sudoku asks for focus.
But the most beautiful thing is the completion. The moment you know it will work, each number will be in its correct box. Sometimes the puzzle seems a little battered — fiddling with numbers in the margin, cross out — but even those flaws get overlooked the moment everything is in place. Oh, that lavish straight line of 1! Game 2’s funny neck, including the cute ball for the number 9… The code has been broken. Numbers have never been so beautiful.
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of August 19, 2021
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