Thursday, January 04, 2007

Addicted to Numbers

Substance abuse, apart from chocolate, has never been attractive to me, maybe luck, maybe genetic, but I made it through my teens and twenties with only the barest of whiffs of other people’s joints in passive smoking passing. No so with meaningless number games.

My son was given a Sudoku board game for Christmas. We must be truly in a backwater because this was the first time I’d come across it, though apparently it is all the rage the world over. The challenge of arranging little squares of card numbered 1 to 9 into coherent and unrepeated sequences has grabbed me, tied me up and rendered me impervious to general conversation, behindhand with cooking supper, neglectful of bedtimes....must be an addiction.

The last time this fatal tendency had me by the short and curlies it was Minesweeper on the computer that was my undoing. Through my first pregnancy I spent disproportionate amounts of time clearing minefields by rapid fire assessmemnt of the numbers, constantly trying to improve my speed, without getting blown up by the slip of a mouse click. Who knows what the attraction is, but even now when my eight year old is beginning to explore the treacherous ground of computer games, I have to be careful not to get too involved with demonstrating the ways of Minesweeper...he probably absorbed all he needed to know in the womb anyway!

Luckily there are only 100 possible puzzles in the Sudoku box to work through, so there is a finite amount of time I can dispose of honing my numbers skills. The Minesweeper section of my computer I leave to my son now, the fatal buzz of clear space exploding out to a rim of numbers all his. I’m trying to put my numbers to use, harnessing them to learn numerology, which is a demanding combination of number ability and intuition, but for relaxation and down time, organising numbers into patterns for no reason whatsoever has got me hooked.


  1. I know how you feel. As a stocking stuffer, I bought a Sudoku book, and it is quite addictive.

    And I could do the same thing with Tetrus.

  2. Don't mention Tetrus..I'd forgotten that one..also horribly moreish!

  3. I'm aware of Sudoku and, from a distance, I must say it holds almost no appeal whatsoever.

    However, based on what I've heard from others, I'm pretty sure I will, ultimately, have exactly the same experience as yourself and many others.

    Maybe it's less like trying that first cigarette and more like losing one's virginity, in the sense that once you take the plunge, there's no going back.

    (Oh, and may I say, the "short and curlies" comment made me giggle. In my mind you were a bit more staid than all that. Of course, I'm just sitting down to write a post about a dog's, erm, private affairs, so I'm hardly one to talk.)

  4. ok the only addiction of mine not mentioned so far is freecell and well ... mahjong ... there's this one exceptional version ... i don't even keep a link to the creator's web site in my favorites ... i make sure my video card is inferior just in case i should stumble upon said mahjong ... and then it helps that i can't remember the correct spelling of it 90% of the time.



  5. Treadmills for the body, and Su Doku for the brain! If numbers are boring try my variation by clicking on my name. Only been up since December, so only easy 9x9 puzzles, but once I'm happy that there are no goggas (afrikaans for bugs), it will have 16x16 and 25x25 with full range of difficulties.

    PS I'm a long time Tetris and Mah-Jongg addict - remember playing tetris on original IBM PC about 20 years ago.


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