Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Discuss all puzzle-related subject here
Post Reply
LichbannMejolaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:21 pm

Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by LichbannMejolaro » Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:29 pm

Hello everyone!

I'm a puzzle lover from Brazil and would appreciate some help over here.

For the last few months I've been following the whole "puzzle scene" if you can call that, visiting some blogs and seeing some competitions develop (from Logic Masters India & Germany, USPC, UKPA and so on). Thing is, here in Brazil, there is not a general knowledge or support to puzzle competitions. Puzzle here, for the general population, are Jigsaw Puzzles. Very few people know about the existence of Sudoku, not to mention the whole of grid puzzles available over there.

That being said, I'd really love to get into these competitions as well. I know that Brazil is not even a member of the WPF, but even with that, I'd like to give a try and compete in the online contests, even if it's just for fun. The thing is, being a total amateur, and knowing that these puzzles in general are for people with a fair share of knowledge in sudoku and the other grid based stuff, so I've set a goal to enter in this contests in a year from now. So I have 12 months to learn techniques and be a better puzzle solver than I am right now.

So, I ask you: Where should I start? Are there some books, blogs, youtube videos and so on that you recommend for a newcomer? I'd really appreciate any help that you can give me!

Thanks in advance!

Puzzle_Maestro
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon 11 Mar, 2019 5:23 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by Puzzle_Maestro » Thu 12 Mar, 2020 9:16 pm

I would highly recommend visiting gmpuzzles.com. They aren't publishing many puzzles at the moment but they have a massive backlog of puzzles, including many suited to beginners: in fact, the main method by which I improved was working through the puzzles found there. There are a few tutorials there too (although most are only available to subscribers).

Other good sources of puzzles include https://gp.worldpuzzle.org/ and https://logicmastersindia.com/home/. https://hausigel.de/blog/ has also recently started publishing, and there are a few puzzle sets intended for beginners there.

pinkagape
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon 30 Apr, 2012 4:11 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by pinkagape » Sat 14 Mar, 2020 7:24 am

I agree with everything Freddie says. If you search back in the logic masters India history, you’ll see some beginners competitions, where they have some puzzle sets on some of the more common types, getting gradually harder. This is a good way into some of the key types that I found.

LichbannMejolaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:21 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by LichbannMejolaro » Sun 15 Mar, 2020 1:17 am

Thank you both for your help!

As for guides and or techniques, is there a book or a youtuber that you'd recommend?

Puzzle_Maestro
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon 11 Mar, 2019 5:23 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by Puzzle_Maestro » Sun 15 Mar, 2020 7:40 am

I can’t recommend a book for puzzle techniques because I don’t think one exists! There are a lot of blogs and Youtubers I can recommend though.

In terms of Youtubers, cracking the cryptic is the best for puzzles: although they mostly concentrate on sudoku, they have quite a few puzzle guides as well. Another is fleb: he doesn’t post anymore, but I found some of his past videos very useful.

As I mentioned, gmpuzzles.com has some tutorials under the series ‘ask dr sudoku’. Aside from that, I was mostly blog-hopping to improve my solving skills (most blogs have a few tutorials as well as puzzles). Some good ones, as I recall, are the following:
-mellowmelon.wordpress.com (a few tutorials and some puzzle packs focusing on a particular puzzle)
-hausigel.de/blog (some puzzle packs with short tutorials). Hochhausigel.de was excellent for skyscrapers puzzles but unfortunately it is currently under repair.
-wikihow has some articles on how to solve puzzles

That was all I needed to get good at puzzles, to be honest. Most of it is just about doing puzzles and discovering things for yourself. If you are struggling on a particular type, don’t hesitate to ask for help here!

PS a few links I should add (not directly related to techniques but still good resources) are
-maybepuzzles.com (active)
-logic-masters.de (active)
-ihnnpuzzles.blogspot.com (active)
-deceptivepuzzles.wordpress.com
Most blogs have a blogroll so it is easy to find other blogs.

Ken Endo (probably the world’s best solver) has a YouTube channel EKBM: good for some insight into speed solving.

Feadoor
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu 17 May, 2018 7:08 am

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by Feadoor » Sun 15 Mar, 2020 8:33 am

LichbannMejolaro wrote:
Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:29 pm
The thing is, being a total amateur, and knowing that these puzzles in general are for people with a fair share of knowledge in sudoku and the other grid based stuff, so I've set a goal to enter in this contests in a year from now. So I have 12 months to learn techniques and be a better puzzle solver than I am right now.
I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, but I would honestly recommend just jumping in! I can't think of any benefit to this 12-month waiting period.

PuzzleScot
Site Admin
Posts: 2748
Joined: Fri 18 Jun, 2010 10:45 pm
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by PuzzleScot » Mon 16 Mar, 2020 3:16 am

Have a look at the other subforums here...

In the meantime, I'd add the following recommendations:

http://puzzlepicnic.com/

https://www.janko.at/Raetsel/Uebersicht.htm

LichbannMejolaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:21 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by LichbannMejolaro » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 11:05 am

Puzzle_Maestro wrote:
Sun 15 Mar, 2020 7:40 am
I can’t recommend a book for puzzle techniques because I don’t think one exists! There are a lot of blogs and Youtubers I can recommend though.

In terms of Youtubers, cracking the cryptic is the best for puzzles: although they mostly concentrate on sudoku, they have quite a few puzzle guides as well. Another is fleb: he doesn’t post anymore, but I found some of his past videos very useful.

As I mentioned, gmpuzzles.com has some tutorials under the series ‘ask dr sudoku’. Aside from that, I was mostly blog-hopping to improve my solving skills (most blogs have a few tutorials as well as puzzles). Some good ones, as I recall, are the following:
-mellowmelon.wordpress.com (a few tutorials and some puzzle packs focusing on a particular puzzle)
-hausigel.de/blog (some puzzle packs with short tutorials). Hochhausigel.de was excellent for skyscrapers puzzles but unfortunately it is currently under repair.
-wikihow has some articles on how to solve puzzles

That was all I needed to get good at puzzles, to be honest. Most of it is just about doing puzzles and discovering things for yourself. If you are struggling on a particular type, don’t hesitate to ask for help here!

PS a few links I should add (not directly related to techniques but still good resources) are
-maybepuzzles.com (active)
-logic-masters.de (active)
-ihnnpuzzles.blogspot.com (active)
-deceptivepuzzles.wordpress.com
Most blogs have a blogroll so it is easy to find other blogs.

Ken Endo (probably the world’s best solver) has a YouTube channel EKBM: good for some insight into speed solving.
Thank you very much for all the recommendations!

I've had watched some videos of cracking the cryptic, and even though I enjoyed them, I couldn't learn that much from them. I'll definitely take a look at everything you mentioned, I really appreciate it!

Also, since you're being so kind (and I'm hope I'm not abusing here), do you recommend any particular android/windows app for solving puzzles/sudoku?

LichbannMejolaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:21 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by LichbannMejolaro » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 11:07 am

Feadoor wrote:
Sun 15 Mar, 2020 8:33 am
LichbannMejolaro wrote:
Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:29 pm
The thing is, being a total amateur, and knowing that these puzzles in general are for people with a fair share of knowledge in sudoku and the other grid based stuff, so I've set a goal to enter in this contests in a year from now. So I have 12 months to learn techniques and be a better puzzle solver than I am right now.
I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, but I would honestly recommend just jumping in! I can't think of any benefit to this 12-month waiting period.
I feel that I'm not able to solve anything there yet :?

Maybe 12 months it's a bit too much, but I think I need at least some time to get the gripes of solving and feel like I can at least solve half of the puzzles in the given time.

Not to mention that I don't know anything about specific techniques yet, so if a puzzle requires a X-Wing or Swordfish, for instance, I'd be totally lost.

LichbannMejolaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:21 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by LichbannMejolaro » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 11:08 am

PuzzleScot wrote:
Mon 16 Mar, 2020 3:16 am
Have a look at the other subforums here...

In the meantime, I'd add the following recommendations:

http://puzzlepicnic.com/

https://www.janko.at/Raetsel/Uebersicht.htm
Thank you! I'll take a look on those and at the forum as well!

LichbannMejolaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:21 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by LichbannMejolaro » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 11:12 am

Also, since nobody mentioned, I just recently found out about Krazydad's website: https://krazydad.com/

It has a huge amount of puzzles of some different kinds. It looks like a great source as well.

Puzzle_Maestro
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon 11 Mar, 2019 5:23 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by Puzzle_Maestro » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 1:51 pm

LichbannMejolaro wrote:
Tue 17 Mar, 2020 11:12 am
Also, since nobody mentioned, I just recently found out about Krazydad's website: https://krazydad.com/

It has a huge amount of puzzles of some different kinds. It looks like a great source as well.
Krazydad puzzles certainly aren’t bad. The thing to bear in mind is that they are computer generated, meaning they may not have a fully logical solve path. Gmpuzzles, I would argue, is by far the best source of puzzles on the web.

Puzzle_Maestro
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon 11 Mar, 2019 5:23 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by Puzzle_Maestro » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 1:59 pm

LichbannMejolaro wrote:
Tue 17 Mar, 2020 11:07 am

I feel that I'm not able to solve anything there yet :?

Maybe 12 months it's a bit too much, but I think I need at least some time to get the gripes of solving and feel like I can at least solve half of the puzzles in the given time.

Not to mention that I don't know anything about specific techniques yet, so if a puzzle requires a X-Wing or Swordfish, for instance, I'd be totally lost.
I’m assuming you’re talking about taking part in the puzzle GP, not the sudoku GP? Because then X-wings and swordfishes are basically irrelevant.

A big part of getting better at puzzles is ‘learning by doing’. You will gain little by simply reading tutorials and not doing many puzzles: instead you should attempt as many puzzles as possible, and when you get stuck you can look for advice. It is completely untrue that you wouldn’t be able to solve any puzzles there yet: there are a lot of low point puzzles which are doable by anyone regardless of puzzle background.

By the way, solving half the puzzles would be a really good result! It would almost certainly place you in the top 100.

LichbannMejolaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:21 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by LichbannMejolaro » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 6:50 pm

Puzzle_Maestro wrote:
Tue 17 Mar, 2020 1:59 pm
By the way, solving half the puzzles would be a really good result! It would almost certainly place you in the top 100.
Wow, maybe I overestimated myself then. Maybe I can reach 20% then :lol:
Puzzle_Maestro wrote:
Tue 17 Mar, 2020 1:59 pm
LichbannMejolaro wrote:
Tue 17 Mar, 2020 11:07 am

I feel that I'm not able to solve anything there yet :?

Maybe 12 months it's a bit too much, but I think I need at least some time to get the gripes of solving and feel like I can at least solve half of the puzzles in the given time.

Not to mention that I don't know anything about specific techniques yet, so if a puzzle requires a X-Wing or Swordfish, for instance, I'd be totally lost.
I’m assuming you’re talking about taking part in the puzzle GP, not the sudoku GP? Because then X-wings and swordfishes are basically irrelevant.

A big part of getting better at puzzles is ‘learning by doing’. You will gain little by simply reading tutorials and not doing many puzzles: instead you should attempt as many puzzles as possible, and when you get stuck you can look for advice. It is completely untrue that you wouldn’t be able to solve any puzzles there yet: there are a lot of low point puzzles which are doable by anyone regardless of puzzle background.
That's good to know, I'll print some stages from a previous Puzzle and Sudoku GP and see how much I can solve without a time restraint.

LichbannMejolaro
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed 11 Mar, 2020 1:21 pm

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by LichbannMejolaro » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 6:53 pm

Puzzle_Maestro wrote:
Tue 17 Mar, 2020 1:51 pm
LichbannMejolaro wrote:
Tue 17 Mar, 2020 11:12 am
Also, since nobody mentioned, I just recently found out about Krazydad's website: https://krazydad.com/

It has a huge amount of puzzles of some different kinds. It looks like a great source as well.
Krazydad puzzles certainly aren’t bad. The thing to bear in mind is that they are computer generated, meaning they may not have a fully logical solve path. Gmpuzzles, I would argue, is by far the best source of puzzles on the web.
That's surprising. I thought that computers could only generate standard sudoku, and not the whole amount of variants and other puzzles that he offers there, but thanks for the heads up, anyway!

detuned
Posts: 1943
Joined: Mon 21 Jun, 2010 2:25 pm
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Where should a beginner start with puzzles?

Post by detuned » Tue 17 Mar, 2020 8:07 pm

Recent competitions are a good start - even if you don't solve many of the puzzles, lots of more experienced solvers will have them fresh in the memory, and will generally be happy to explain how things work if you ask

Post Reply