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Ask Marilyn: Those Numbrix Ratings

Mindy Salkind of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, writes:

Marilyn: I enjoy doing the Numbrix puzzles, but I think I would enjoy them more if the rating system wasn't so frustrating to me. I often find the "beginner puzzles" the most difficult. Once you fill in the squares adjacent to the border, there are still a number of choices for how to proceed, and it is easy to get off course and then have to start over. The puzzles I find the easiest—that I can whip off in a minute and a half—are the ones that have patterns given, not just a border. They seem to lead me, to require me to proceed in a certain direction. They almost do themselves. Those puzzles are often labeled intermediate, expert, or blueberry.

It's satisfying to so easily complete a puzzle with a higher difficulty rating. Conversely, it is frustrating and embarrassing to have trouble with a puzzle that's designated "beginner." But I don't take it too much to heart because I think the rating system is misleading and inaccurate (for the reasons I described above).

I would appreciate an explanation from you to justify the rating system, including any comments about what I have written. Do you see my point? Or do you think that my mind works differently than most people's? This has been a peeve of mine for a while, but after a particular struggle on the "beginner" puzzle, I finally felt pushed enough to voice my complaint.

Marilyn responds:

You just can forget those ratings! They're not my idea, and if it were up to me, they wouldn't exist. Numbrix puzzles cannot be rated. The "flavors" (which are my idea) are all different, and that's the only way the puzzles can be categorized.



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