The personality of numbers as revealed in sudoku


Something’s just become clear to me: the reason why I like sudoku is because it’s a sociable, strategic game. Sure, I play alone, in theory. But equally, the numbers are playing me. Each one has a distinct personality and they use their unique strengths to the hilt.

Anyway I’ve just spent a happy pointless hour with my pals, numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and 9. I’m still getting to know them, but so far, here’s how I read them. They’re all female except for 6, 7 and 9.

  1.  is the head prefect, calm and reliable but without charisma
  2.  is a cooperative type, often negotiating with best friend 3
  3. is placid, phlegmatic, floating along with no apparent interest in proceedings, easily underestimated
  4. is probably my favourite: bolshy and rude, sometimes sneaking in the shadows, sometimes elbowing her way into the action; does her dirty work with an umbrella
  5.  is kind and will help you when she can
  6.  is a dancer, musical, enthusiastic, but often clumsy
  7. is an entrepreneur, bold, sharp, super-energetic and a bit scary
  8. is large, hungry, a squatter
  9. is enigmatic and dignified. He has his mind on higher things. He has more natural authority than number 1 but never needs to exert it: the others just get out of his way.

I have no idea whether the personalities of numbers are due to genes, environment or star signs. And I have no idea whether they show different characteristics outside of the sudoku playground, or maintain their identity in all circumstances.

For answers, I’m looking to you. I’ve googled the psychology of numbers etc. to no avail but I cannot be the one person in the world to whom they have revealed their personalities. Please share your knowledge: knowledge is power, and you could earn the gratitude of sudoku players worldwide.

In fact there’s a business here for somebody, an industry even … you’re welcome!

27 thoughts on “The personality of numbers as revealed in sudoku

  1. Numbers and I lost each other in the fourth form – year 10 – after starting off well. So I am totally lost but I will be very interested to see what you find out.

  2. I have no idea as to why we think numbers have personalities but I do believe, as a society, we do. Maybe it has something to do with the conditioning we’re subjected to by these numbers in our lives. However, I think of two of those numbers as having different personalities than you’ve assessed. I think of 3 as being child-like and mischievous. I think of 5 as being cantankerous.

  3. Sounds like Numerology, Rachel. In that, each number has a ‘meaning’. I used to be into – not anymore, but it’s interesting. Have a google for it. 🙂
    Apart from that, I have dyscalculia (number-version of dyslexia).

  4. I would think the roundish numbers are the female ones, that is the 2 and 3 and 6 and 8. The 9 is still undecided which camp she wants to belong to. The 1 is truly male, the 4 and 7 as well and the 5 was female in early times, but has decided for now that it is better to belong to the male camp.

  5. I’ve only recently taken up Sudoku and I have become a little obsessive. I can certainly see where you are coming from and 7 is my favourite and often elusive. 9 in my book has to be female but she is dominant.I tend to work the numbers backwards from 9 down. Of course that is probably identified as a personality disorder these days.

  6. Was told at school I was a mathematical ignoramus when I returned after Whooping Cough to struggle with 100s, 10s and Units … ah, happy days! … so I love doing number puzzles now to prove those *&£>%@**#’s wrong!

  7. What a funny post this is, Rachel. i’d never thought about numbers as having personalities, but since you’ve forced me to, I have to say that all numbers have the same personality: arrogant, hard to get to know, unwilling to compromise even a little bit, and difficult to manipulate. Does that give you an idea of what sort of math student I was? However, I, too, love sudoku.

  8. And then there are the individuals for whom numbers are represented by colors in their mind as neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote about — synesthesia.

  9. 1 is mean and sarcastic, narrow-minded. 4 is a jolly fatty 5 is a stolid, worthy bore. 7 is calm, Zenish. 9 is Machiavellian. This is all quite clear, I don’t know how you could have got it so wrong.

    1. Well OK, we can’t all have the same emotional sensitivity, and perhaps you know them better than I do. Or maybe there are swarms upon swarms of numbers out there, like princedoms or street gangs.

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