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Sudoku Revisited

The November 13, 2005, issue of Math News focused on the popularity of the "new" puzzle Sudoku. Though seven months have passed, I am still not hooked on doing Sudoku's...give me a crossword puzzle any time in their place.

My opinion aside, the world of Sudoku's continues to florish. In addition to more than 120 Sudoku books currently in print, newspaper columns and web sites get considerable attention daily. Thus, it seems appropriate to share some trivia related to the Sudoku world:

  • The first World Sudoku Championship was held in Lucca, Italy, in March, 2006. Faced with competitors from 22 countries, the winner was Jana Tylova, a 31-year-old Czech accountant.
  • The London Independent reports a 700% increase in the sale of pencils due to the Sudoku mania.
  • Orignally called Suuji Wa Dokushin Ni Kagiru, ("the numbers must be single"), Kaji Maki, President of the Japanese Nikoli puzzle magazine, abbreviated it to Sudoku ("single number")
  • According to Eric Wesisstein of Mathworld fame, the number of possible Sudoku grids is 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960 , though only 5,472,730,538 are unique when considering solutions.
  • In a MAA On-Line article, Ed Pegg Jr. suggests that 17 is the smallest number of "given numbers" that will yield a unique solution, plus provides a wealth of mathematical insights relative to Sudoku puzzles.
All interesting.....but I will still choose a crossword puzzle.

Source: Ed Rothstein's "In Sudoku, 9 Little Numbers Create a Big Challenge," The New York Times, May 1, 2006.