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Any set of well-known techniques/ tips for a new Logic Puzzles player?

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  • Any set of well-known techniques/ tips for a new Logic Puzzles player?

    I'm a new Logic Puzzles player and struggling to get up to speed - I seem to keep making avoidable mistakes, and end up solving a very low percentage. Is there some guidebook or available list of general techniques, tips that people have found useful and apply to these puzzles? I'm not trying to ace every puzzle, it's just discouraging to work 30-40 minutes on something (where the average solve time is 12-15 minutes!) only to find that I've flubbed something. Probably over a long time of doing these I'd figure out my own techniques but it would be nice to jump-start my learning so that I can get to a competent level faster. Any advice/help would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    Try this:

    Logic Puzzles | How to Solve a Logic Puzzle (puzzlebaron.com)
    If you enjoy our puzzles, please consider upgrading to a premium account to remove all ads and help support us financially. Thanks for your support!

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    • #3
      That tutorial looks very useful, I probably should have gone through it when I started on the site. Oops.

      One of the great advantages of this site over paper puzzles is the "Clear Errors" button, and I'd advise using it a lot. After every move, even. It helps you catch mistakes early before they propagate through the whole puzzle.

      The hint button can be useful as well. When you get stuck, instead of guessing, get a hint and pay attention to the reasoning it gives. Sometimes this is more useful than others, of course.

      Apart from that, you don't say what level or size you're working on, but I do think it's worth starting small and working up, just like it's worth starting with the easy ones. I still don't do the largest ones because they're just too much information for me to hold in my head.

      Good luck!

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      • #4
        Thank you very much! The tutorial looks really good, and the advice to try using the site rather than paper sounds really good too. thanks for taking the time to write back to me.

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        • #5
          If you're playing on the site, a big help for me was changing the way the puzzle is displayed (or rather, the icons used for the checks and crosses). If you go to
          https://forum.puzzlebaron.com/settings/profile
          and scroll down a bit, you'll see a section called "Custom Grid Icons" and you can pick the set you prefer there. I like V3 since it offers much greater contrast between the true and false squares and helps me identify what the tutorial calls "pseudo-true pairs" and when there's only one possibility left in a column/row.

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          • #6
            Welcome, Paul - #1 - don't rush. #2 - stick with it! #3 - start with the smallest and easiest puzzles. #4 - Use the tutorial. #5 - Read through all of the clues before you start marking anything. Then mark the really clear ones first, especially those that are "True", as doing so will automatically fill in a bunch of squares. #6 - figure out a reward for yourself as a treat when you do well on a puzzle. #7 - don't give up, but don't get mad if you seem to be slow. You will get faster, the puzzles will start to seem easier, but it might take a few weeks. JMG

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            • #7
              Hi Paul,

              I'll admit I have never used the tutorial on this site, but I've been doing these puzzles since I was a kid. My dad used to buy me Dell Logic Puzzle books to take on road trips to keep me entertained. So this site is a bit of escape for me and I often use it to clear my head when I'm stuck on a problem at work.

              But to your question: Everyone has their own methods I imagine so I'll just tell you what I do. (Also, kudos for the tip on contrasting icons. I've never been in the settings field so had no idea that was an option. )

              1. I don't read through all the clues before starting. For me, that's too much of an info dump all at once. But I'm also a gal who has like 50 browser windows open in my mind and on my screen. I take the clues one at a time in the order they are given, marking what I know to be true from each one.

              Here are 3 common types of clues: used in these puzzles:

              a. A clue that is definitive - meaning there is one distinctive true piece of information.
              Ex. 1: Adrienne's film received 8 nominations. So you may not know what film title received 8 nominations yet, but you definitely know whose film got that many. So at the Intersection of Adrienne and 8 nominations, you'd mark true.

              Ex. 2 Sea of Dreams was Not directed by Maddie. In this case, you know definitively which film is NOT Maddie's. At the intersection of Maddie and Sea of Dreams, you'd mark false.

              The great thing about working these puzzles on the site is that it will highlight the row and color where you're about to mark something so watch those side highlights to avoid accidentally marking the wrong box. This can happen if you're going too fast.

              b. Either/or clue.

              Clue: The action film is either the film that received 2 nominations OR the film directed by Paul.
              Although the clue starts off talking about the action film, you can't mark anything true or false about the action film yet (on your first pass through the clues). But the clue does give you definitive information about both Paul and the # of nominations.

              If the action film is Either A or B - A cannot = B. So Paul's film did NOT get 2 nominations. You mark that intersection as false. Later, as other clues give you more details about the action film, you will be able to determine whether it is A or B.

              C. A is more/less than B clue.

              Clue: Sea of Dreams received fewer nominations than Paul's film. This clue gives you 3 pieces of information.

              1. Sea of Dreams is NOT Paul's film. Mark that intersection as false.
              2. Sea of Dreams does NOT have the MOST nominations. At the intersection of Sea of Dreams and the biggest number of nominations, mark as False.
              3. Paul's film does NOT have the LEAST nominations. At the intersection of Paul and the smallest number of nominations, mark as false.

              As you read through more clues, you will get information that builds from these and helps you to eliminate possibilities.

              Below is a section of a larger puzzle grid to illustrate the clues above: (x = False mean the same. I'm using words to illustrate what came from each clue more clearly and the Xs to illustrate what was inferred. Ex. If Adrienne has 8 noms, no other director can have that so everyone but Adrienne gets an X for the row with 8 noms.
              # of Nominations Adrienne Maddie Paul Zoe Film Style ABC Murders Comedy Capers Sea of Dreams Annie Get your Gun
              2 x False
              4 x
              6 x x x
              8 True x x x x False
              Film Title
              ABC Murders
              Comedy Capers x x
              Sea of Dreams x False False
              Annie Get your Gun
              Here are some things you would probably determine upon a second read through of the above clues:

              1. If Adrienne has the most nominations: (from the first sample clue) and Sea of Dreams does NOT have the most..... Adrienne's film is NOT Sea of Dreams.
              Mark that intersection as False.

              2. Based on the last clue, we know Paul doesn't have the least amount of nominations. But we also know Adrienne has the most.
              So the most nominations Paul can have is 6.

              Also, based on the last clue, Sea of Dreams has fewer nominations than Paul. So Sea of Dreams can NOT have 6 nominations.
              Mark the intersection of Sea of Dreams and 6 as False.

              I go through the clues one at a time, and mark what facts each clue offers on the first pass.
              Then I go through the clues a second time, using them to build on each other. Then it's just rinse and repeat as you continue to whittle down choices.

              So take the clue: The action film is either the film that received 2 nominations OR the film directed by Paul.

              Eventually, other clues would eliminate one of those possibilities. A clue might say: "The action film has more nominations than Comedy Capers."

              That would tell you that A. The action film is NOT Comedy Capers - and it has more than 2 nominations.
              B. Since the action is A or B - and we've just eliminated A (2 nominations), the action film is Paul's film.
              C. That also means Comedy Capers is NOT Paul's film.
              D. Comedy Capers also does NOT have the most nominations.... so it's also NOT Adrienne's film.
              E. Since Comedy Capers has fewer nominations than both Paul and Adrienne's films, it can AT MOST have 4 nominations.
              So we mark it as false for having either 6 or 8.

              See how that one clue (having built on information from previous clues) helped us eliminate so many possibilities?

              Hope it helps. Happy puzzling!








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              • #8
                I guess going through all the clues first may be helpful, but it just seems like a time waster to me. However, I do scan the ends of all the clues for these words: "are all different", then I start with that clue. Sometimes a puzzle will have one clue that has multiple pieces: "Scott, the person who bought the bike, the person who paid $375, the person who went second, and Nellie are all different people". That's a lot of information right there, so use this to eliminate a bunch of possibilities before moving on to other clues. There's never more than one of these large clues. Some puzzles have smaller versions with only three pieces, and sometimes there are two clues like that. I always start with these clues. On some puzzles though, they throw a wrench in the works by phrasing it differently: " The seven people are.." Same kind of clue, just worded differently.

                Also, use the grid itself. (This is really hard to put into words) For example, say Scott could have bought seven different items at an auction, but you've eliminated five of the possibilities. So Scott has all those boxes filled in as negatives except for the two remaining possibilities. Scan across the grid for other columns that have those 2 items blocked off as negatives - now you know that since those columns can't be either of the two items that Scott may have won, those columns can't be associated with Scott. Use the grid as a visual aid, not just the text clues.

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                • #9
                  Start with what you know is true. Then go to the clues that are like "Table 1, Bryan, and the person who ordered fish are all different diners" because then you know that Bryan isn't at table 1 AND he didn't order fish. Go from there.

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                  • #10
                    If your goal is to learn logic puzzles, go slower, read the clues, fill in everything you can based on the clue and if you get stuck use a hint. When you use a hint don't just mark the thing the hint tells you, stop and figure out what the hint actually means and how the clues interact with one another. Each hint should be a learning opportunity to learn to see the clues better.

                    Once you know how to solve logic puzzles and want to get faster, start trying to solve things in the top row before you go back through and use the rest of the grid.

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                    • #11
                      I think I have solved maybe 2 puzzles in the hard section (7) without having to do trial and error or hints and having no errors. I usually go through the clues 3-4 times and then if I don't have enough clues (which I almost NEVER have enough clues or the right kind of clues) I just try putting an X somewhere and then checking to see if it's right. 50% accuracy on that. After I get a correct answer in top left corner, I always x off the boxes to the bottom or right that correlate. Make sure when you get a "Sarah had 3 more than Kansas" that you go down and x off that Sarah can't come from Kansas. If it's "Of Sarah and Kansas, one is right-handed and the other made 120 points" x off the connection of Sarah and Kansas. Then I usually shove that clue to the used section and come back to it later to see if I can answer it.

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                      • #12
                        Easiest method for me is to mark what is true 1st (ex: Mark wore blue shirt) then go back & determine the other answers. Start with small puzzles & work your way up to the bigger ones.

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                        • #13
                          These are good suggestions. One thing I tried that really cut down my time was starting with the last clue and working my way up.

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                          • #14
                            per CALLIE10 "Make sure when you get a "Sarah had 3 more than Kansas" that you go down and x off that Sarah can't come from Kansas. If it's "Of Sarah and Kansas, one is right-handed and the other made 120 points" x off the connection of Sarah and Kansas. " Also x out the right-handed and 120 pts connection!

                            act_now - I too often find that clues further down on the list are more straightforward and allow one to quickly discard earlier clues with little analysis.

                            I posted earlier about reading all the clues first, and got some negative comments on that. I did/do not mean that you have to understand all of the details in each clue, but by quickly going through the list, you can mark the obviously true or false relationships, e.g., "Tony paid $6.75" or "Brenda did not buy ham and cheese." The TRUE relationships are particularly helpful and time-saving as so many boxes get filled in automatically. Sometimes there will be another clue that you can then automatically discard, such as "Tony did not pay $9.75." Or a clue will contain within it a relationship you can then easily see is false, such as "Of Tony and the person who ordered club soda, one paid $8.75 and the other had turkey on rye." Well, you already know Tony paid $6.75, so he must have bought turkey on rye, and whoever paid $8.75 had club soda. By entering the TRUE Tony = $6.75 , you don't have to spend as much time thinking about the Tony v club soda/$8.75 v turkey on rye clue.

                            I then do the clues that say such things as "Tony, ham and cheese, and $9.75 represent 3 different people" or "The five contestants are: blah, blah, blah". Some books/guides say to do these types of clues first, as it can be easier to make sure all of the relationships are entered before the graph gets too cluttered. I have tried both ways, but not really analyzed which method works better for me.

                            Then look at the tougher clues for those that share common items. This can really help you narrow the choices for different items to paired with. By quickly reading all of the clues first, it can stick in your mind that Brenda (or the price, or the drink, or the sandwich) is mentioned in more than one clue , and you can compare those clues before tackling the more obscure ones.

                            As you practice, it will become easier to see the relationships and understand the clues. Above all, celebrate your achievements and have fun!

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                            • #15
                              Starting out, my suggestion is to not worry about your time at first and don't guess - if you get stuck, use a hint. this will help you learn how to work the puzzles better.

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