I can't solve most of the alphametics I come across, and I feel dumb. Is this normal?
The frustration that arises from oneīs not being able to solve most of the puzzles we find today is a pretty common situation . A nasty one. You start feeling dumb!
This has to do with the way alphametics are constructed and made available to the public.
Until the advent of the computer, cryptarithms were created by trial-and-error procedures using paper, pencil and eraser. By then, puzzlemakers couldnīt create a problem that exceeded their own mathematical knowledge. And when publishing those puzzles the authors even used to screen out the very hard puzzles, thus avoiding put their readers to flight.
The arrival of computer alphametic generators changed everything. The algorithms they use are very strong ones making easy to create puzzles by the hundreds, most of them impossible to be solved by a normal human creature. On publishing their works authors should now make a vigorous screening, abandoning all that stuff not solvable by common people. Not doing that, they discourage the public and hinder the future of cryptarithmetic as a popular kind of recreation.
Surely there must exist a place for creativity, art and the advancement of cryptarithmetic, research to be done about new genres of puzzles, etc. etc. But these works should be tagged and shown on appropriate niches, never packed and distributed for overall use by us, common alphametic fans.
A report about the impact of computers and Internet on cryptarithmetic is available on the article "Will cryptarithmetic survive innovation?".