a second medium! Can there be a Hard in the near future?
2 mediums - this one was slightly more challenging than yesterday's
ng/ng/ maybe ~ 24
@TallMike: you only asked what people did first when they started on a puzzle, so I only posted my first -- admittedly habitual -- step. Unless the puzzle is so easy that working through the numbers actually solves it, scanning through the numbers settles me down and gets me in the right frame of mind to use more advance/comprehensive techniques.
@TallMike: My next step I start concentrating on groups -- rows, columns, 3x3 squares -- and figure out what's missing. Frequently this will reveal boxes that can only have a single value: boxes like these are my Achilles heel, even after all these years.
DING. I think I noticed the Medium trick this time, but it wasn't very tricky. A respectable Easy otherwise. 20.
@Jim: I sure relate to your comment about starting with a simple technique that settles you down and gets you in the right frame of mind for more complicated stuff. That's probably the main reason why I start with looking at a group of 3x3 cells, such as the top three rows of the puzzle, but seeing it as three 3x3 groups which must contain three 1s, three 2s, three 3s, etc., with one in each 3x3 group. If there's a 7 showing in the top row and a 7 in the third row, I know that there needs to be a 7 in the second row AND I know which 3x3 group the missing 7 must be in. Quite often there is only one cell possible and I am one step closer to solving the puzzle. If I make a mistake, it's easy to spot when I go around the whole puzzle again, and if I miss something I find it the next time around. And pretty soon I am warmed up.