Puzzle difficulty rating

As promised, I’ve implemented a difficulty rating system in my Perfect Sudoku software and from now on I will be publishing the level for each puzzle. I’d like to get some response from you on this – how do you rate these puzzles that I’ve been posting?

Here is what I came up with. These are the categories that each puzzle can fall into: easy, cool, thinker, brain, iq, insane. Insane is reserved for September 27 and similar puzzles :). I checked the rating of the puzzles that are currently available in the archive and I got these ratings:

October 7 = thinker
October 8 = iq
October 10 = thinker
October 11 = cool
October 12 = brain
October 13 = thinker
October 14 = thinker
October 15 = brain

This is all still being defined, so it’s not final. It is very likely that it will be changed.
What do you think? The more responses I get – the more accurate will the rating system be!

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One Comment

  1. Eos
    Posted October 17, 2005 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    While “easy” and “insane” seem clear enough, the other four categories do not immediately convey any clear indication of difficulty. (There’s no intrinsic reason (in any other context) why “thinker” should be easier than “brain” or “iq”, and “cool” doesn’t fit in at all with any of the others.)

    A label-based rating system would seem to be best suited for three (easy, moderate, hard) or at most four levels of difficulty — any more than that seems to lead to semantic imprecision, as noted above.

    So, given six levels of difficulty, it would probably be best to use a simple numerical system (1 for easy, 2 for moderate, up to 5 for very hard and 6 for what’s now “insane”).

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