No Math Required: The Appeal Of Sudoku Puzzles

A growing number of people are showing that they’re “hip to be square,” thanks to a simple-seeming-yet, at times, deceptively difficult-number puzzle that’s quickly becoming one of America’s national pastimes.

Sudoku is a number-based brain teaser that requires no math skills-just a bit of logic and deduction. Although variations have been introduced in recent years, sudoku is most frequently a 9×9 grid, filled with a few “starter” numbers.

The goal is to fill in the empty cells, one number in each, so that each column, row and 3×3 region contains the numbers 1 through 9 exactly once. Each number in the solution therefore occurs only once in each of three “directions,” hence the puzzle’s name, from the Japanese words su (“number”) and doku (“single”).

Originally called simply Number Place, the first sudoku was created by Howard Garnes, a freelance puzzle constructor, in 1979. Decades later, it’s still wildly popular, with millions of people gearing up for the challenge each day.

Sudoku is even moving beyond puzzle books and newspapers, now appearing on Nintendo DS Lite portable video game systems. This lightweight, portable unit revolutionizes the way video games are played-at home and on the road. Because it’s so easy to take along, it makes for an excellent way to get your sudoku fix while traveling; you don’t even need a pencil-just your gray cells.

Sudoku fans are currently finding themselves in number-puzzle heaven with “Sudoku Gridmaster” for Nintendo DS Lite. The system’s Touch Screen makes choosing or writing numbers easy. Players will find more than 400 puzzles to entertain and challenge themselves.

Sudoku is the most popular puzzle game in the world right now, and “Sudoku Gridmaster” puts hundreds of puzzles in portable form, making it a terrific idea for travelers. To satisfy novices and sudoku experts alike, the puzzles come in four difficulty settings: practice, easy, normal and hard.

“Sudoku Gridmaster,” available for the Nintendo DS Lite system, is sold online and at major retailers.

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