A three-year puzzle-solving journey is complete

nikoli-books

Last year I wrote here on the blog about my return to regular puzzle book solving, a habit that’s been part of my life since I was in middle school, as the end result of determining what to do on my commute. One of the things I mentioned in passing is that I was slowly working my way through the challenging Nikoli series of logic puzzle books. This week, a bit of a milestone: I completed the last of the 14 books that they have released.

I had been solving them, on and off, for the better part of three years, so it’s an odd moment to hit this point.  While I have other books by them that await being tackled (I’m resting a bit and moving on to something else for awhile, and will return at some point), it’s a combination feeling of accomplishment and sadness that the last book is finally done.

Interesting to me, as I keep track to a degree, is that in the beginning, taking two to three months to complete one of the books wasn’t unusual. However, by the end, it was taking closer to four to six weeks; I’m not quite sure whether I just found the last round of books easier, or if in general I was getting better at it and just figuring out ways to solve them more easily.

It makes me want to go back to other types of puzzles that I had trouble solving when I was younger, and see how I do today.

Oddly, I went back to another type of puzzle, KenKen, and in one cycle of commuting solved a third of the 300 puzzles in the book. Granted, it’s the easiest book of a four-book series, but it’s a bit weird to go from struggling on a puzzle for the better part of an hour and chewing through a puzzle a minute. But for now, I chew on those.

I’m tempted to order some of Nikoli’s Japanese publications so I have some more to work with, but given I haven’t worked through other books in awhile, I’ll take a break, see how things go, and can always order them when the time is right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *