Solving a Logic Puzzle: Brain Teasers

Learn Four Logical Methods to Solve Brain Teasers, Including the Popular Sudoku Puzzle

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Logic puzzles come in literally hundreds of different shapes and sizes, but they all have very one simple thing in common: an answer can be obtained if you work through it slowly and carefully. These puzzles may seem overwhelming and frustrating at times, but answers can be worked out if you pay close attention to details and clues, and search for wording that is meant to trick or mislead you.

The basic structure of these games usually features a couple of people of interest. Each has a different name, each did a different activity, and maybe each ate a different thing. Through clues, you can discover all the various names, activities and meals, but the real trick of this logic puzzle is to determine which individual did and ate what.

Another popular brand of logic puzzles are math-oriented. A+B=C, and we know they must all be different numbers, none are zero, and C is 3. It is pretty easy to figure out from there what the possibilities for A and B are. The real trick, especially as logic brain puzzles get more complicated, is to narrow down your options, and eliminate possibilities. Follow these simple steps, and you will be well on your way to solving and finding answers to logic puzzles.

  1. Start with a chart. The first thing you will want to do when tackling most forms of logic or brain teaser puzzles is to start with a chart. Line up your topic of interests (names/letters) as your rows. For your columns you will want the activities people have done/numerical values. This will give you a complete chart display of all the different options in the puzzle. If your topics of interest aren't initially provided, scan through the clues to figure out all the different topics and fill them out on your chart.
  2. Start eliminating options. This is done by following the clues. If you are able to draw a connection that someone did not perform an activity, put an X in the corresponding box on the chart. If a clue tells you exactly what someone did, give them a check mark, and X out all of the other possibilities for that person, as well as everyone else for that activity. Slowly but surely, you will begin narrowing down your fields. Once you start seeing only one option for a particular person, you will then know that the individual can be the only person who fits that part.  You've just solved the first bit of the logic puzzle!
  3. Take one clue at a time. One of the most important things to remember when solving puzzles is to tackle information slowly and one clue at a time. If you've finished all the clues and haven't solved the logic puzzle, don't be frustrated. Tie up any loose ends, and then start reading through the clues once again. You will find that now that you have made some basic deductions, you will be able to learn new things and come closer to solving the logic puzzle.
  4. Diligence. Often you will need to run through your clues many times before you can solve the logic puzzle. If you get stuck, check each clue slowly one at a time and check your chart to make sure you can't deduct some further information. Scan for any tricky or misleading language.  A clue to finding this sort of language is to notice any wording that is a bit different than how you would normally expect something to be worded.

There are many other types of logic puzzles. One that has garnered huge popularity recently is called the Sudoku puzzle. Originally big in Japan, this brand of logic puzzles has very recently made an appearance in American culture, and caught on in a big way with the general population.

Sudoku's playing field resembles a huge 9 by 9 grid separated into 6 smaller 3 by 3 grids. These smaller grids are called regions. There are 9 digits in total, 1 through 9. Each row, column and region must not contain the same digit. The key trick is that portions of the logic puzzle are already filled out, and these are called the givens, around which the rest of the logic puzzle is formed.

  1. The key to solving a Sudoku board is to be very meticulous. Start from the easiest point of reference, where the most amount of givens are provided.
  2. Once you have identified that column or row, you can begin filling out the remaining digits accordingly, keeping close watch on other rows or columns pertaining to the one you are working on.
  3. The best thing to remember when working with any sort logic puzzle is that it is all a process of elimination. Compare your results to what has already been defined in corresponding areas to eliminate the possibilities. You will find that sometimes you don't know the answer, but if you know what it isn't, you can usually make a very good deduction.
  4. Take your time when working with Sudoku, as it is very easy to slip up. When you have completed any row or column, double check to make sure that you haven't doubled a certain digit by mistake. The longer you go on with that mistake remaining, the harder it will become to backtrack and fix it.

Logic puzzles come in nearly all different shapes and sizes. From things like the game mastermind to algorithms and cross sums, they can come in literally hundreds of different forms. But they all share one very simple thing in common: the way to solve a logic puzzle is to look at the possibilities and make eliminations until only one solution remains. The best way to solve a logic puzzle with complicated scenarios is to resort to the charting method but you will find, over time, that you can handle simple problems solely in your head.

If you follow these simple guidelines and steps, you will be well on your way to solving logic puzzles. Just remember, keep at it, take it slowly and carefully, because even one small error in judgment can skew your results.


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