Saturday, October 22, 2005

Puzzled about sudoku?

This might shock my number one son,* but I don't actually know everything. For instance, I'd never heard of sudoku until yesterday.

I'm sure a lot of you were way ahead of me on this one, but for the handful who haven't heard about it yet, check out this item at Stuff:
FRANKFURT: Sudoku is adding up to big sales for book publishers, who are pushing out more new titles ahead of Christmas in case the number puzzle mania fizzles out.

In Britain alone, more than two million sudoku-related books have been sold since the Times newspaper first introduced the addictive puzzle to readers just last year.

At one point earlier this year, six of the country's top 10 nonfiction bestsellers were sudoku books, and if publishers' predictions are correct, it could happen again as shoppers stuff Christmas stockings with sudoku.

Hmm, I thought. Whatever this sudoku is, a lot of people appear to be very excited about it. Obviously, it has something to do with sex. Or chocolate.

I couldn't have been more wrong. Reading on, I learned that:
Sudoku (or Su Doku) requires filling in a 9x9-square grid so that each column, row and nine smaller 3x3 grid contains the digits 1 through 9. It requires no mathematical skill, and eliminates the language barriers created by other puzzles.

Britain's Times newspaper was the first to publish a sudoku last November after a retired New Zealand judge, Wayne Gould, called to tell features editor Michael Harvey what he had discovered during a trip to Japan.

I still couldn't picture it in my mind, so I Googled and found this example of a sudoku. Roll your mouse over the puzzle to see the solution and you'll "get" it.

Gee. If people are really that eager to make sense out of nonsense, this blog should be getting more traffic than it does.

* He's been known to phone his mother in the middle of a date to ask the definition of a word. Yes, really. I just wish I could remember which word he and his girlfriend were arguing about and why they decided his mother would be a better authority than hers, because it would have made a good post for this blog on a slow news day, don't you think?


Julana said...

Our paper has been publishing these for awhile. My husband does them. I will never have enough time in my life for it.

Camy Tang said...

I just found out my dad does them religiously. I think it's a good thing because it exercises his retirement-bleary mind. Anything that might stave off dementia...


Bonnie Calhoun said...

I love to sudoku. I have a picture and link for it on my Blog. It takes me about a half hour to do one in the medium range. One of my girlfriends can do the expert(hard) ones in like seven minutes

I have a hard enough time trying to figure out the stupid squiggly letters in the word verification, let alone do a number puzzle!

Brenda Coulter said...

Sorry about the stupid squiggly letters, Bonnie, but since I started making commenters jump through that little hoop I haven't had a single spam comment on this blog.

Here's a giggle: Right now, I'm being asked to type in "antigarf." I'll probably spend the rest of the day wondering what an "antigarf" is.