“The nice thing about doing a crossword puzzle is, you know there is a solution.”
I won’t for one moment try to convince you that there is a single right answer to your OSS puzzle like there is for crosswords as Stephen Sondheim suggests. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many ways to skin an OctopOSS.
However, the OSS / crOSSword analogy comes more from the line of thinking suggested by Bill Clinton below:
“Sometimes you have to go at a problem the way I’d go at a complicated crossword puzzle. Sometimes I’d pick up the Saturday Times crossword puzzle and I’d go over way over half the clues before I’d know the answer to one and then you start with what you know the answer to and you just build on it and eventually you can unravel the whole puzzle. And so I rarely work a puzzle with of any difficulty from one across and one down and all the way to the end, in a totally logical fashion. And I think a lot of difficult, complex problems are like that. You have to find something aspect of it you understand and build on it until you can unravel the mystery that you’re trying to understand.”
OSS are definitely a mystery, so it’s a common quandary for people to get stuck knowing where to start or to try to solve all of the “what-if?” concerns prior to starting. Others will be more than happy to throw their “what-if?” scenarios into the mix too, just to confuse you more.
In my experience, it’s impossible to solve all the what-if scenarios on paper. You just have to get in and start building upon the parts that you do understand and resolving problems as you go. Many of the what-if questions won’t be applicable, but other unknowns will pop up unexpectedly.
You need a vision for what you want to achieve and build up step-by-step towards achieving that goal.