ACT English Practice Test 86: Puzzling Numbers

DIRECTIONS: In the passages that follow, certain words and phrases are underlined and numbered. In the right-hand column, you will find alternatives for the underlined part. In most cases, you are to choose the one that best expresses the idea, makes the statement appropriate for standard written English, or is worded most consistently with the style and tone of the passage as a whole. If you think the original version is best, choose “NO CHANGE.” In some cases, you will find in the right-hand column a question about the underlined part. You are to choose the best answer to the question.

You will also find questions about a section of the passage, or about the passage as a whole. These questions do not refer to an underlined portion of the passage, but rather are identified by a number or numbers in a box.

For each question, choose the alternative you consider best and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. Read each passage through once before you begin to answer the questions that accompany it. For many of the questions, you must read several sentences beyond the question to determine the answer. Be sure that you have read far enough ahead each time you choose an alternative.

Puzzling Numbers

The Japanese number game Sudoku has taken the world storm. While crossword puzzles seem to be the game of choice, only sit in an airport or doctor's office in any city to see how Sudoku is slowly overtaking the popular word game.

In the most common game of Sudoku, the player is faced with a nine-by-nine space grid with a total of 81 spaces. The solution to the puzzle requires a number, one through nine, to be placed in each box. 48 Each number must appear only once in each row and only once in each column. A Sudoku puzzle will begin with a few digits already in place. The solver's to figure out which numerals belong in the remaining empty spaces. While being a math whiz is no requirement for this seemingly simple process, a level of logic and reasoning necessary in order to choose the correct number for each space. As with most such activities, practice makes perfect with Sudoku. The puzzles that seem impossible at first glance more manageable.

The name Sudoku is derived from the phrase single number in the Japanese language. its definition refers to the placement or allotment of a single number. This puzzle is aptly the misplacement of a single number spells the beginning of an incorrect solution. For this reason, Sudoku played using a pencil with a good eraser. It is nearly impossible to discern the solver has placed incorrectly once an error is discovered. If you don't have a pencil, use a pen to write the digit as a series of light dots. This way, , you can retrace your steps to locate and correct the original errant placement.

There are certain strategies involved in solving a Sudoku puzzle, including the process of elimination. For example, if a row of nine spaces already has the number 4, that row cannot contain another 4. This goes for columns as well. The solver can use these clues and a bit of deduction to limit the possible combinations of numbers. By attacking the puzzle using you can turn the process into an amusing challenge rather than an impossible task.

[1] The origin of Sudoku is attributed to Leonhard Euler, the Swiss mathematician who developed the game Magic Squares in 1783. [2] In fact, Euler's game was actually based on a game derived from Chinese folklore. [3] The primary difference between Magic Squares and Sudoku is that Euler's game has no grid dividing the puzzle and it is somewhat easier to solve, since there are multiple possibilities for a solution. [4] In true Sudoku, each puzzle has only one solution. [5] The puzzle's difficulty varies according to the number of digits that are initially provided. [6] When faced with a puzzle with only one 3 provided, for example, you can be sure that it will be more difficult to solve than a puzzle that already has half of the numbers placed in the correct boxes. 59

One has only to examine a local newspaper to ascertain the popularity of this addictive brain teaser. Where comics and crossword puzzles reign supreme, it is often easy to locate a grid of spaces and numbers tucked off in a corner, or even sitting boldly next to the time-honored crossword.


G. by
H. of
J. DELETE the underlined portion.


B. one needs
C. it needs
D. which need

3. The writer is considering deleting the preceding sentence. Should this sentence be kept or deleted?

F. Kept, because the reader needs to understand the process by which he or she can solve the puzzle.
G. Kept, because it helps the reader visualize the solution to a specific puzzle in a magazine.
H. Deleted, because it is not relevant to the preceding sentence.
J. Deleted, because it is unnecessarily wordy.


B. task; is
C. task is
D. task - is


G. are
H. were
J. is being


B. became eventual
C. eventually becoming
D. eventually become


G. Specifically,
H. Ultimately,
J. Largely,

8. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would be LEAST acceptable?

A. named because
B. named, as
C. named, while
D. named;


G. should be
H. should being
J. should of been


B. that number
C. a number
D. number

11. Which choice fits most specifically with the information at the end of this sentence?

G. if you want to
H. time permitting
J. with your pen


B. logic, and
C. logic, so
D. logic

13. The best placement for the underlined portion would be:

F. where it is now.
G. before the word origin.
H. before the word attributed.
J. before the word Swiss.

14. If the writer were to divide the preceding paragraph into two shorter paragraphs in order to differentiate between the origin and evolution of the game and the difficulty of playing the game, the new paragraph should begin with Sentence:

A. 2.
B. 3.
C. 4.
D. 6.

15. Question below asks about the preceding passage as a whole.

If the writer were to delete the final paragraph from the essay, which of the following would be lost?

F. A detailed description of where to find Sudoku games.
G. A comment on the similarities between Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
H. A reference to the opening paragraph's mention of Sudoku's popularity.
J. A plea to the reader to avoid Sudoku because of its addictive nature.