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The Parabolic Puzzle Pleasure Principle

My addiction to puzzles sometimes gets the better of me. Like yesterday, I did four Kenkens, as Charles Dickens sat by idly watching, whispering occasionally, "read me!" "read me!" But to no avail.

I realize now that if you were to graph the pleasure involved in solving a Kenken, the resultant figure would be an upside-down parabola. The x-axis is time, starting on the left at the beginning, before a single answer is filled in; and ending on the right with a completed puzzle. The y-axis is the pleasure you derive from solving the puzzle. At the beginning, it's pretty much routine, as you fill in the possible answers for each cell. The pleasure rises as the puzzle gets harder and starts to require more creative thinking. The vertex is at the moment you make a key logical discovery, a turning point, starting a chain of answers for the cells. Little by little the pleasure decreases as you simply fill in the cells, using a process of elimination (e.g. if it can't be 1,2, or 6, it must be 3). Once the puzzle is completed you're back on the x-axis.

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sledding

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