View Full Version : Is the next step "What If?" or are these puzzles all straightforward logic?

04-02-2013, 05:46 PM
I keep hitting brick walls with these puzzles. Many can be solved by following the logic and associations and doing math where necessary. However, when I hit a brick wall, I'm left with going into "What If" mode.

I do a screen print; post it into Windows Paint; and fall back to that puzzle when I realize my "what if" option leads nowhere.

Is this the right way to solve these puzzles?

04-02-2013, 11:17 PM
I've had to use that approach on the harder ones occasionally. I've found the solve sometimes requires seeing that X is either Y or Z, then "what if" X=Y and follow the conclusion (on a notepad) listing the consequences for awhile (A=B, C=D)...

...and if that doesn't lead to a contradiction, then look at X=Z and hope that there's a clue that does conflict. If A can't be B then X can't be Y so it's Z.

After awhile it feels less like logic than guessing. I don't know if this the right way or not.

04-03-2013, 12:09 AM
I don't know if it's the best way, BillsBayou, but when the clues don't lead directly to a solution, I also print screen into Paint to try different directions. Sometimes that quickly shows that a particular path won't work. Like Quazar, I also try X=Z if X=Y didn't work. Then I go back and try the other option.

I only use that as a last resort, because most often if you look carefully at the clues (especially the before/after ones), you can solve the puzzle.

04-03-2013, 12:16 AM
There's of course nothing wrong with using a "What If?" or trial-and-error method if you get stuck, but none of our puzzles actually require that - each and every one can be solved using just logic. Some require more advanced logic than others, however.

04-03-2013, 12:43 AM
That's funny, I was just wondering this exact same thing! I came across it by accident one time, and ever since then I find myself trying it (or looking for it) in almost every puzzle I do.

04-03-2013, 01:04 AM
BillsBayou, if you encounter one of those brick walls again, post the screen shot of the grid and the clues, and we'll see if we can come up with the logic to get the next X.

04-03-2013, 10:26 PM
Quazar, the method you suggest is actually logic used more often in higher math courses. I sometimes use it to great effect. You need to be good at "seeing" that kind of logic and using only green dots as you have to back up if you hit a contradiction. But, it does often work well when you get good at it. Also, it is best if you only have 2 possibilities for a particular variable. It's harder when you have more 4 paths instead of 2.

04-04-2013, 09:35 PM
Is there a way to share the link to the puzzles? Or do I have to do it by screen shot alone?

04-05-2013, 12:11 AM
No one can access the puzzle while you're working on it -- what will appear is a message that says, "This puzzle was initiated by another user." You'll need to use a screenshot.

04-06-2013, 03:36 AM
I am a very new user and I occasionally hit the same brick wall and was doing the same thing you are, screen shot, etc. I then found this video on youtube...


I found it from a link on the logic puzzles site somehow, but I can't find it again. Anyway, in the video there are two "advanced techniques" discussed. If you employ the "advanced techniques" when you hit a brick wall, you will never have to resort to trial and error.

04-08-2013, 04:03 PM

Thanks for the link to the video. I was able to solve this puzzle using the techniques found there. I used an equivalency to substitute "1980" for "chemistry" in clue 5. This meant that the other two values in clue 5 could only be those two years. That put me on the road to solving the puzzle.