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Oh Level 158 of Candy Crush… You Almost Ended Me

King Charles in Pippin croons that “it’s smarter to be lucky than it’s lucky to be smart.”  And while that may be true for war, it is most definitely true for level 158 of Candy Crush.  Here is the thing, I don’t mind working my ass off towards a goal, knowing that all the brainpower I am putting towards solving a problem or completing a task will pay off in the end.  But I hate luck-based situations.  And level 158 of Candy Crush is a luck-based board.

It’s one of those levels that frustrate me because it feels a lot like infertility: there is nothing you can do to make those candies cascade as you need them to cascade in the same way that a person cannot make an embryo implant despite the New York Times misusing that word every time they write about IVF.  A doctor cannot implant an embryo; she can only transfer it.  Which means that treating infertility is like throwing spaghetti at the wall with the goal of making the pasta (or embryo) stick.  Sure, you can do things to up the chances that the wall will hold the pasta such as using a non-glossy paint or not washing the starch off a strand of spaghetti, in the same way that you can do things to up the chances — such as building a beautiful lining or taking PIO injections — that the embryo will burrow in and stay for nine months.  But ultimately, it’s luck, it’s chance, it’s doing the same thing over and over again until it works.

In other words, like this level of Candy Crush.

Is that, perhaps, why this game has such a hold over me?  Because my mind is so accustomed to lather, rinse, repeat?  To failing and failing and failing, but still trying again anyway?

For those who don’t play (or haven’t reached this level yet), it consists of a two-sided board.  Candy from the left side falls into the right side, and the goal is to move a single nut or cherry to the bottom of the right board.

Level 158

At the bottom of the right side are two pieces of candy encased in licorice.  There are also two chocolate machines on the right side, generating chocolate with each move.  The point is to use striped candies to blow apart the chocolate and licorice on the right side of the board.  It’s not that there isn’t skill involved, but it sort of doesn’t matter how smart you are, because if you can’t make those horizontal striped pieces, you pretty much can’t win this board.

And I had a lot of rounds where I couldn’t make a horizontal striped piece at all.

As I was rounding on that point where I just wanted to give up on Candy Crush because I was no longer having fun, I had a board where I could break one of the licorice pieces in the first move.  My second move created a speckled doughnut.  My third move dropped that doughnut on the right side of the board via a cascading of candy.

And then everything fell into place, like getting asked to prom, getting a college acceptance letter, and passing your physics test… all in the same day.

In 9 moves, the board cleared with little effort and my nut dropped out the bottom while I tossed my head back in relief.  I had 11 moves leftover in which fish and striped candies ratcheted up my score.  I took a screenshot of my victory.  I’m not ashamed to admit that.  Well, yes, I am ashamed, but I’m pretending that it’s totally normal to take screenshots of my Candy Crush victories.

When Josh walked in the door, I asked him how his day was, and then volunteered that I had passed Level 158 of Candy Crush.  I reported on it as if it were my job, a fantastic break at work that will change our lives for the better rather than a random level in an iPhone game.

“What made you finally pass it?” he asked.

“It didn’t take any particular skill,” I remarked.  “It was just luck.”

“Smarter to be lucky than it’s lucky to be smart.”

There are times in your life when you want to be smart; when you want to be able to see the solution, make things happen, have the great idea.  I can’t think of anyone who has succeed in their chosen endeavour who didn’t have a type of brilliance in their back pocket.  And then, there are times when you just want to get lucky.  When you want all the elements to fall into place, ensuring success, because intelligence is little help in these situations.

Would you rather be lucky or smart (and no, you can’t pick both)?


1 ANDMom { 08.19.13 at 8:09 am }

I would rather be lucky, if I was choosing.

So many of the important things in life are more a roll of the dice than anything your intelligence can orchestrate. If I was lucky I wouldn’t need to be smart.

But since I’m decidedly NOT lucky, I’m glad to be smart to make up for some of it.

2 Jess { 08.19.13 at 9:22 am }

I am on the same freaking level! Hate it! And jealous that you passed it. Right now, I want to be lucky so that I can pass this level too. :)

3 a { 08.19.13 at 10:31 am }

I’d probably choose smart, as long as that didn’t mean I was also unlucky.

4 Tigger { 08.19.13 at 10:44 am }

I think I’d choose lucky. A lot of luck can make up for being not smart, and if you’re REALLY lucky, you will also BE smart. :)

5 missohkay { 08.19.13 at 11:02 am }

I always thought that was an apple, not a nut. You just blew my mind 😉

6 Jodifur { 08.19.13 at 11:03 am }

245 is going to KILL ME

7 StacieT { 08.19.13 at 12:49 pm }

You’re ahead if me some, so I don’t yet know the joys of 158. I did get a tip, though, that blew my mind. You can set the time on your phone ahead by 2.5 hours and get 5 more lives without the wait!

8 Catwoman73 { 08.19.13 at 2:47 pm }

Smart. Definitely. I’ve had some luck come my way over the years, but it’s my intelligence that has really gotten me through… so far.

9 GeekChic { 08.19.13 at 3:34 pm }

Hmmm…. interesting question. I’m smart (according to both other people and “objective” tests) and by some measures I’m very unlucky (3 cancers, very abusive childhood, other illnesses). So would I want the reverse? I don’t think so.

It’s hard to articulate why but a large part of me has been born out of my struggles. I also don’t like feeling I’ve been “given” something – even by luck. So, I’ll take smart.

10 Mina { 08.19.13 at 3:51 pm }

I am lucky. In what matters most (marriage, children, choosing doctors) I am very lucky. I am relatively smart (smarter than the average if foreign languages is the reference point, surely quite dumb if we’re talking chemistry; over all, I’d say I am smart enough to know I am not so smart). I think this is the perfect combination.

I have a very good and old friend, about whom most people would say he is definitely not smart. But everyone agrees he is very kind (ok, many would say naïve, but only because he is truly, genuinly kind). He is also a very lucky person. He is one of the oldest friends I keep in touch with, and whom I appreciate today even more than ever, precisely because kindness is such a rare occurence these days. I think that his luck helped him have an easier (than most) life and to preserve his innate kindness.

So, I think I choose lucky over smart.

11 Persnickety { 08.19.13 at 6:13 pm }

I am feeling particularly unlucky at the moment, so would kind of like to be lucky rather than smart. But only if I didn’t miss being smart. My luck tends to be of the minor/ random kind- I win third prize in raffles a fair amount.

I have a love/hate relationship with flowers for algernon for that reason- I would hate to be smart, become less smart, and feel it slipping away.

12 May { 08.19.13 at 8:41 pm }

Mel, I saw your posts on Candy Crush and had to try it. I’m in the 70’s. I miss sleep and free time.

13 Diana { 08.20.13 at 12:39 am }

This is specifically a hazelnut, which is often used as a candy ingredient. :)

14 Jessie { 08.20.13 at 2:01 am }

I’d prefer lucky, especially while I have no hope of success with fertility and while I keep getting one bad break after another with work. Being smart isn’t getting me shit right now.

When it comes to luck, I tend to feel like I always lose out. Luck is what happens to other people. Other people win the lottery. Other people make it onto game shows from the contestant pool. Other people randomly wind up pregnant with someone new after years of infertility with exes. Never me.

Also, Bear says to tell you that if you feel that way about 158 (which I also hated), wait till you get to 350. We were both stuck there a while (he still is), and luck is why I got past it on Friday. That is one where they try to make it hard and make you pay (and even take away the ability to ask for more lives, which you get back after you pass it), but it IS beatable with the right luck and without paying for extra moves, I promise!

15 JustHeather { 08.20.13 at 6:44 am }

I think I’d rather be smart, if that didn’t exclude lucky from happening on occasion.

Yes, 158 was annoying and totally lucky when I cleared it. I am not stuck on 165 for some time…The best I can get is 15 or 18 blues left to clear. Ugh!

16 Tiara { 08.20.13 at 1:35 pm }

If you pick Lucky does that mean you’re dumb or if you pick smart then you’re unlucky? Because if that’s the case, I’d rather be lucky because what good is being smart if you have bad luck all the time…unless you’re smart enough to circumvent the bad luck…still, as a relatively smart but unlucky person, I’d really love some luck!

Now if you pick Lucky & that means you have average intelligence or if you pick Smart then you have average luck…I think I’d go with Smart in this case…

Did I over think this 😉

17 deathstar { 08.21.13 at 8:46 pm }

As someone who has spent two weeks on Level 65, I’d rather be lucky than smart. I have been smarter than some people my whole life, but they were luckier and so they got rewards that never came my way. Having said that, I probably could have been raped or killed a couple of times in my life, so perhaps I was luckier than I think.

18 Gertrude { 08.30.13 at 10:42 pm }

It is a hazelnut.

19 Sue { 08.31.13 at 5:35 pm }

Mines cherries!

20 Julie { 09.02.13 at 6:28 pm }

Can I ask people approximately how many attempts you tend to have tried this, or maybe some other difficult levels?

21 Lollipop Goldstein { 09.02.13 at 6:31 pm }

I play at least 10 lives per day (and sometimes more than that) for at least 5 or 6 days before I start thinking of myself as stuck. I don’t get “stuck” that often: maybe once per episode.

22 Irene { 09.08.13 at 2:13 pm }

Level 158 is a nightmare. Anyone give me hints on how to move hazelnut to right hand column? Sometimes it moves over sometimes it stays stuck at bottom of left column. Its driving me mad

23 Marti Stupka { 09.12.13 at 9:09 am }

when I play Candy Crush and I don’t like to pay for anything. 158 requires luck and my luck has not been good for a long time. I don’t like the levels that require luck more than brains because it means I will be stuck at a level for a good long time. I do appreciate the pointers.

24 Marti Stupka { 09.12.13 at 9:12 am }

P.S. I, too, thought that it was an apple but I get a cherry on this level. No sign of a hazelnut.

25 Don McLean { 09.22.13 at 10:46 am }

Being smart in and of itself confers no special advantage.

26 Jaime { 09.24.13 at 7:38 am }

Sounds as if you are smart and lucky. I’d prefer luck, then maybe I’ll be stupid enough to think its just my smarts that got me there

27 Lisa { 09.29.13 at 8:22 am }

2 weeks on level 65? Try 2 months over here…when I passed it I felt like I reached the top of mt everest!

28 Sal { 09.29.13 at 11:20 am }

After reading this I was hoping for some luck- and got it! I only tried this level twice. On the second try, I finished the level in two moves. First move made both a striped candy and a sprinkle donut . Smashed them together and boom- the cherry dropped down. I probably used up all my luck for a very long time!!!!

29 Sweet crust { 10.02.13 at 7:56 pm }

I’ve been both. Lucky is better.

30 Terri { 10.05.13 at 2:00 pm }

I’m stuck on 158 which is how I came upon your article. Really made me smile. I, too have noticed how these games can feel like metaphors for life & I loved how you articulated it. Luck vs. intelligence – that’s a tough one. Intelligence with no luck is pretty depressing. Luck with no intelligence can create a delusional moron who thinks their successes are justified. A bit of both is probably ideal. Without kindness (as someone mentioned above) neither means much (IMO).

31 Linda Lucas { 10.06.13 at 5:28 pm }

Hazel nut…It’s an acorn

32 Judy { 10.06.13 at 6:21 pm }

I am just about to go crazy with this level…and I too always thought they were apples…goes to show we just don’t pay enough attention – thank you for giving me hope – I’ll try try try again.

33 nic { 10.09.13 at 2:18 am }

oh gosh I remember this level! Pure torture! I think I wasted at least 100 lives on this! Good luck to everyone who’s stuck here, I’m sure you’ll get it one day :)

34 Marcel { 10.09.13 at 5:10 am }

This level made me delete candy crush.
Pretty simple solution, huh?!
It was fun while it lasted. Now it’s merely bs

35 Michelle { 10.10.13 at 4:16 pm }

This is, hands down, the most entertaining candy crush post I have ever read!

36 Karen { 10.11.13 at 12:11 am }

It is all luck. I found Level 76 and Level 153 the worse.
Level 158 for me has cherries!!!

37 Linda { 10.13.13 at 11:04 pm }

Heck, I think you are all brilliant!!! Great posts!! Oh, and I figured it to be an acorn. 😀

38 michelle { 10.18.13 at 9:10 am }

Awesome post on this game. After a couple of tries I figured it would just be luck that helped me pass. Haven’t gotten there yet. Eventually the game will feel pity on me and give me what I need.

39 Kate { 10.20.13 at 4:38 pm }

Googled “fuck candy crush level 158” and landed here. Was not disappointed.

My time in luck will come. Beautifully written piece.

(Also, fuck level 158.)

40 Lindsay { 10.27.13 at 4:33 am }

Oh my gosh. Read your article. Immediately beat level 158 the very next game that I played, in just 9 moves.

I guess this answers your question. Love this blog!

41 Nicole { 10.28.13 at 8:29 pm }

You have given me hope.

42 Meg { 10.28.13 at 9:39 pm }

I know one thing. This blog is lucky and I was smart enough to read it. As soon as I went back to my game after being thoroughly entertained by this blog and ensuing comments I beat level 158.
I restarted the game by going back and forth until I had a move giving me a striped candy on the right side of the board. I was soon able to detonate that candy and down dropped the cherries. The cherries sat in the second row from the bottom with chocolate creeping dangerously close when I got a chocolate sprinkle candy on the left. Was able to choose the color underneath the cherries and there they went. Good luck!

43 May ProblemUterus { 11.02.13 at 12:49 am }

Mel, I’m nearing level 185, and I thought I remembered that one as being your nemesis. I checked your blog, and it seems I’ve already passed the level I was so worried about! I’m embarrassed by how relieved I am!

44 Steph { 11.03.13 at 7:41 am }

By the way…there’s no penalty for quitting a level before you’ve made a move. I beat 158 in two days by restarting until I could not only break licorice on the first move, but specifically the licorice that would be directly below the nut. It still took a lot of patience and luck, but at least I could give myself the best possible chance.

45 Jackie { 11.04.13 at 10:40 am }

Still stuck on level 158. I’m waiting for my 4 year old granddaughter to come around and help me. I was stuck on one level for a couple of weeks. She loves to help me find freckles and stripes. Anyway she went off with my I pad and then came back and said “look nanna, I’ve won it for you” and she had too. Just shows that, although my granddaughter is pretty smart, she must also be fairly lucky. Hopefully she will beat level 158 for me!

46 Alexandra Browne { 11.05.13 at 12:30 pm }

Your article brought me good luck! I was stuck on this level for quite sometime. Read your article and on the 3rd try after reading your article—it happened just it happened to you! WOW–thanks :)

47 Mitch { 11.08.13 at 4:26 pm }

I will go with smart and the luck will come at its own pace.

I regards to level 158 (I would add 147 to this one) it has absolutely nothing to do with how you play, its all about the luck of the draw, dice or whatever candy that comes next. Its what makes me hate this addictive game so much.

48 Sylvia's Recipes { 11.09.13 at 2:27 pm }

Patience is a virtue… still working on being virtuous… thanks for the luck update – will save on potential frustration. Just sit back and enjoy the swaps…. Like waiting for a cake to bake

49 jj { 11.10.13 at 12:42 am }

Smartest, wittiest cc help out there. And it’s not the question you asked, but I’d rather read a more expansive wit than a brief strategist.

50 Cargo0d { 11.13.13 at 10:36 pm }

Well, I choose smart. Level 158 enlightened me greatly. I’ve uninstalled the program from my phone based upon the decision to rediscover a real life. I believe it’s called going cold turkey.
For the rest of you who continue the wicked madness that is called “Candy Crush Saga,” what else can I say but GOOD LUCK!

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