Stephens’ Extremes Snaps III

This post finishes the  snapshots of significant solving events from Extreme review puzzles found in Paul Stephens’ books Mastering Sudoku Week by Week, and Sudoku Addict Workbook.  

In the last post, we left Addicts 138 with removals you could follow up for a 3-chain removal in r7c7.  The next snapshot is the coloring after that.

Addicts 138 coloring 1It’s truly remarkable to have a unique rectangle generating a color bridging conflict. Blue and red leave a deadly rectangle in r59c79, therefore either green or orange is true. The unfortunate 3-candidate sees both.

With this removal the red/orange cluster expands to paint the 3-candidate in r5c9 orange, removing the one in r5c7, and thereby merging orange and blue.  Traps of the enlarged blue/green cluster confirm blue.

Addicts 146 AIC ANL from URThe next happening I have for you occurs in Addicts 146. It did provide a hidden pair in line marking, but then an ordinary XYZ and XY change was putting me to sleep, when I decided to return to an implausible UR before coloring.

I was trying forcing chains from the 1-candidate in r2c1 to see if it could possibly see the 2 in r9c5, when they joined up, I don’t remember where,  to form an almost nice loop eliminating my 1-candidate!  The ANL  is almost an XY  chain, but actually combines XY chains with one, optionally two slinks.  So it is an AIC ANL.

Addicts 146 trFortunately, the removal also removed the threat of a deadly rectangle.  At right is a trace to the coloring of  Addicts 146. The 9-wing and 17-wing smile at you from the next snapshot.  The 9-wing removes two 8-candidates; the 17-wing, two 8-candidates.


Addicts 146 xwing fxwing

Then below, the finned 8-wing  removes two more 8-candidates from r6.  When the two-cluster coloring is completed, blue and red candidates in the same cells announce that either green or orange is true.  With of the removals from r6, when 8 in r6c8 is banished for seeing green and orange, the removal confirms orange.



Addicts 146 color bridgeStaggered but refusing to fall, Addicts 146 endures a color trap which generates a naked triple, which triggers a 249-wing proving green, before collapsing.

Our snapshot of Addicts 150, the final puzzle and our last review puzzle, is a bit of a bummer. Paul’s introduction anticipates a swordfish to start, with many advanced techniques then required. Paul even hints of a WXYZ-wing, which I have probably passed over many times, but have never found. 

Addicts 150 fc URWhat happens is a near BUG in box marking, then a quick defeat by a forcing chain treatment of the UR that Paul must have spotted.  

The 7-candidate starting the chain manages to “see” both the 7-candidate and the 4-candidate that prevent the deadly rectangle, so it must go.  But then the bv riddled puzzle collapses in a heap.

It’s a case of a puzzle being extremely tough under Stephen’s basic  solving,  but offering up too many bv under slink marking.  Its not a fault, really. We want the possibility of a collapse anywhere along the way.Beware 160

Next up in the blog is a review of Will Shortz’ toughest puzzles from Ferocious Sudoku. Perhaps you’d like to see how far you can go with the box marking of Beware 160:





About Sudent

I'm John Welch, a retired engineering professor, father of 3 wonderful daughters and granddad to 7 fabulous grandchildren. Sudoku analysis and illustration is a great hobby and a healthy mental challenge.
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