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The Cruciverbalist


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May 26, 2005


It’s a 9 x 9 grid, 81 squares; it’s found in newspapers – a small crossword puzzle?  No.  It’s the latest addiction in Britain.  It’s called Sudoku.  It’s kind of like a crossword puzzle, but there aren’t any words – just numbers. 

They’re brainteasers that have been puzzling the Japanese for years.  Finally, it hit the Times in London last November.  It now has thousands of devoted fans.  Apparently the British boom can be traced to Wayne Gould, a retired judge and New Zealander who discovered Sudoku on a visit to Tokyo in 1997.  He then created a computer program to generate the puzzles and offered them to the Times for nothing.

Sudoku consists of a 9 x 9 grid of boxes that must be filled in so the numbers 1 through 9 appear just once in each row and each column.  Also each number can only appear once in each of the nine 3 x 3 squares that make up the puzzle.  Some numbers are given at the start. 

I worked on my first Sudoku puzzle today.  I have to admit it was quite satisfying.  I can certainly understand why the Brits are becoming addicted.  Will it ever take the place of crossword puzzles?  I don’t think so.  Crossword puzzles are a much more social activity.  They’re much more conducive to working together with friends.  And even when one works a crossword all by himself it’s fun to ask for help on a clue that’s stumping you.

Try a Sudoku puzzle for yourself.  Go to: Let’s Play.  Let me know how you like it.

May 1, 2005 Spell-check

April 16, 2005 Frequency

April 7, 2005 Keyhole

March 19, 2005 A New Champion

March 12, 2005 More Great Links

March 1, 2005 Chicken Strata ala King

February 23, 2005 Solution!

February 21, 2005 Letter Rip?

February 12, 2005 Spelling Bee

February 1, 2005 A 75th Anniversary

January 29, 2005 Video Google

January 22, 2005 Unexpected Pleasures

January 4, 2005 Invisible Ink

January 1, 2005 Let The Adventure Begin

Paul Stynsberg, © 2004