SudoCue

Clueless Helper

 

Introduction

The Clueless Helper is a program that makes it easy to solve the Clueless Specials and Clueless Explosions which are published on this website. With the latest release 1.1 you can also play Samurai puzzles with the program. It is not a solver. You have to do the solving yourself. The program will help you by working on each of the constituent puzzles separately, or check the overview of the complete puzzle. Pencilmarks are automatically removed when you enter a number. The interaction between the constituent puzzles and the blue central puzzle is taken care of by the program. A number entered in a blue cell shows up in both puzzles. When you remove pencilmarks in blue cells, those will also the synchronized in both puzzles.

Pencilmarks are always visible. There is also the option to filter on a selected digit. This filter uses a green color to show where candidates for that digit are present. Ideal for pattern recognition. A single key or mouse click lets you switch between puzzles and the overview.

You can open puzzle directly from the website, even the archived puzzles. You can save your progress on your harddisk, including the solved cells and pencilmarks. A timer can be used to keep track of your solving time. This timer is also saved, so you can take a break and continue later.

This program is not freeware. You can try it for 30 days, after which you must decide to buy it or not use it again. I kept the price low: 5 USD for a single computer license with unlimited free updates. Details of how to make a payment can be found at the bottom of this page.

User Guide

I've kept the program simple. If you are already using SudoCue, you will already be familiar with the mouse and key operation.

Getting Started

Download this Windows installer package and install it on your computer by right-clicking the file and choose Install from the context menu. You need version 1.1 or 2.0 of the .Net Framework, which is also required for SudoCue and SumoCue. This framework requires Windows 98 or any later version.

The next step is to register the program. Start it from the programs menu and choose the Help/Register menu item. This brings up a dialog in which you can enter your name and email address. Enter this information carefully, so that I can verify it against received payments. I'm not into guessing, and do not want to spend my days matching payments against incorrect registrations. To register your program, you need an Internet connection. The information is sent to my website where it is kept safe. Check my privacy policy if you want to know more. Immediately after you registered the program, you can start using it for 30 days without any limitations. When the trial period expires, you can still use the program, but my website will no longer allow you to download Clueless puzzles. As an extra security measure, you cannot open files which were saved on another computer.

With a valid registration, you can open Clueless Specials and Clueless Explosions from the menu. Get the latest of each and start puzzling. Do not forget to use the timer. Simply click it to start or stop. The timer automatically resets to zero when you open another puzzle or restart it.

Navigation

You start with an overview of the complete Clueless or Samurai puzzle. The blue cells will tell you whether you are solving a Special or an Explosion. When there are only 5 grids, you are playing a Samurai. Use the Page Up and Page Down to cycle the constituent puzzles. A full cycle brings you back to the overview. The Home key selects the overview. The End key selects the blue central puzzle. A small box in the left to shows where you are. You can click a puzzle in this box to select it. In the overview, you can also click a puzzle to select it.

Use the arrow keys to navigate inside a puzzle. In the overview, the arrow keys are not used. You can also click a cell to select it.

Numbers and Candidates

The number keys (those on top of your keyboard and those in the numeric keypad) will place that number in the selected cell. To clear a cell, use number 0. The Delete and Backspace keys will also clear a cell. On the overview, the number keys are used to jump to that particular puzzle.

To highlight candidates for a particular digit, click one of the filter buttons. Like in SudoCue, use the < and > keys to cycle through these digits.

When there is only a single candidate in a cell, or when there is a visible hidden single for the filtered digit, you can Double-Click this cell and the single will automatically be placed into the cell.

You can only remove or restore candidates with a filter button active. Select a cell and press the Space Bar to erase or place the pencilmark for the selected digit. The background color toggles between green and ivory.

Below the grid are the candidates for the selected cell. Click these candidate boxes to remove or restore them. Alternatively, you can use Control+Number key to toggle a candidate for the selected cell.

Use the menu function Copy Possibilities to copy the remaining candidates for the active puzzle to the clipboard. You can then paste this grid into a solver program such as SudoCue. Use this function for emergencies only.

Save your data

Choose Game/Save to save your work. Use Save As to save it with a different name. Use Game/Open to continue a previously saved game. Saved games can only be opened on the same computer on which they were saved.

A word of advice: Save often! Although transcription errors are a thing of the past, the program will not prevent you from making mistakes. I have tested the program, and at some point I made a mistake that forced me to restart, because I had not saved the game along the way. Pretty frustrating when you spent several hours working on it.

If you can remember where you went wrong, use the Undo function to revert the last step. The Undo goes all the way back to the moment you loaded the puzzle.

The Timer

If you like to keep track of the time spent on a Clueless puzzle, you can use the timer. It resets when you download a new puzzle. Click the timer to start it. Click it again to pause. When you minimize the program window, or when you access one of the dialogs, the timer automatically pauzes. The timer position is saved when you save a puzzle. The timer does not start or restart automatically. Do not forget to start it when you continue.

Release Notes

The current release is 1.1.1, dated January 26, 2007. An error in the save format has been fixed.

Release 1.1.0, dated January 21, 2007. In this release, the following changes were made:

  • Play Samurai from SudoCue.net
  • Paste Samurai grid
  • Undo moves
  • Possibilities for selected cell below grid
  • Control+Number key to toggle candidate
  • Copy possibilities
  • Double-Click to place single

There is an initial release 1.0.0, dated September 12, 2006. Thanks to PeteTy who came up with the idea to swap between the puzzles. You do not need to re-register your program after upgrading to the latest version.

Payment Information

I have decided not to release any new freeware, because the donation model does not work. The ability to download everything you want without ever paying for it does not motivate people to make a volutary donation. Still, I spend a lot of time writing code, documenting it, supporting users, answering questions and maintaining this website. Only a few people have acted upon their concience and made a donation. So, I'm not giving away another freebee.

The price for a permanent licence (for a single computer) is $5. That is no rip-off, because the program saves you a lot of time in solving these terrible puzzles. No need to prepare another Excel worksheet and write down all the candidates. Instead, just a simple click to download any Clueless puzzle you want, without any transcription errors.

You can make a payment to my PayPal account by clicking this bag:
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