Cracking the Cryptic

These fellas have a good thing going. Simon Anthony and Mark Goodliffe essentially solve puzzles, mostly Sudoku, for our entertainment. The YouTube Channel has nearly half a million subscribers, but the videos routinely go a bit viral as you can see from videos somewhat regularly getting many more likes than they have subscribers. Everybody knows sudoku, so there is a bit of a gasp moment when you are presented with the idea of someone solving one with, for example, only one, two, or even zero digits (they are typically additional rules beyond “classic” sudoku rules that make it possible). I suspect the YouTube algorithm likes them.

A collection of random thoughts:


The big thing? Watching someone think, really think hard, on the fly, is mesmerizing. You almost hold your breath during the tensest parts, not because you’re also thinking, but because you almost know an Ah! moment is merely seconds away when we’ll be rewarded with a big brain revelation in logic.


You’d think programming YouTube would be full of people thinking really hard, but I don’t think it is. It’s more like people teaching you things they already know pretty well. Once and a while you get it, like when Ben Awad fake interviewed Dan Abramov and you get to see Dan have to really think on the fly. More raw-thinking YouTube, please.


The British accents doesn’t hurt. I mean they literally sell merch with their cute wholesome phrases on them like “Oh! Bobbins…”.


I wonder if it hits some people’s AMSR? It doesn’t for me but I wouldn’t doubt it. More of a whisper guy myself.


The level of skill and thinking on display is massive and it would take years of dedicated effort to get there, but it doesn’t mean you can’t understand what is happening and even have little revelations of your own. Simon will straight up stop and explain the proof of the Phistomefel ring for example, and it’ll make perfect sense.


If you’ve got the time, my favorite recently was The Masterpiece. Fair warning though, the logic in this one was nuts. Simon ends it like “I’ve gotta go and have a quiet cry.”


Yet another example of success partially coming from being consistent. They deliver one or many videos every day.

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