After the introduction of Sudoku in newspapers, there’s now another reason to quarrel for the morning paper. For the number of people turning to the Sudoku puzzle section right after laying their hands on the newspaper, is steadily increasing.
The game of Sudoku had its humble beginnings in a French newspaper named Le Siecle way back in 1892. Sudoku had not yet acquired its present form then, using double digits instead of the now familiar 1-9 format. In 1895, another French newspaper, brought out a Sudoku puzzle that used the 1-9 number format but not the conventional 3×3 sub grids. Both these formats were throwbacks on the Latin Squares game, created by the Swiss mathematician Euler.
The Sudoku puzzles now became regular features in the newspapers, and this popularity of the game continued till the First World War.
The Japanese gave the Sudoku a fresh lease of life around the middle of the 1980s. This deceptively simple puzzle game had the Western world raking their brains like nothing else, since then.
How Sudoku won the West is an interesting story. It all began when Wayne Gould, a retired Hong Kong judge was browsing through a Japanese bookstall in 1997. He spotted a partly filled up puzzle and felt drawn towards it. The puzzle was the Sudoku and it inspired Gould enough to create a software that could create puzzles quickly. Publications like The Times have been carrying Gould’s software-generated Sudoku puzzles since November 2004 till date. Sudoku was then “Su Doku”.
Next to jump on to the Sudoku bandwagon was The Daily Mail, who published it as “Codenumber”. The publications under The Telegraph group soon lapped up the “fastest growing puzzle in the world”. And why not! The Sudoku alone had managed to raise The Telegraph’s mileage in terms of sales figures.
However, the other UK newspapers took note of Sudoku only after the British Daily Telegraph featured it in their publication. This was around February 2005.
Britain’s favorite pastime, to solve Sudoku, soon caught up with the world, with newspapers around the globe starting to feature regular Sudoku puzzles.
In Argentina, Sudoku is giving soccer a run for its popularity with Argentineans of all age and intelligence level lapping up the puzzles of varied degrees of difficulty dished out by the daily newspaper Clarín. The Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, meanwhile is daily served by Wayne Gould’s Sudoku-generating software house.
All the major newspaper houses in Canada have not lagged behind in introducing the Sudoku section in their publications. Thus the Toronto Star, the Metro International, the Calgary Herald, the National Post, the Montreal Gazette, the Dartmouth Daily News, the Edmonton Journal, Le Devoir, La Presse and Le Soleil all started featuring Sudoku segments by the beginning of the year 2006.
The Colombian newspaper the El Espectador dedicates a whole page to its weekly Sudoku puzzle, while the Finish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat brings out a weekly Sudoku puzzle in color.
Spain’s El Mundo newspaper seeks to attain new highs in Sudoku gaming with their variation, Sudoku Killer consisting an empty grid and a series of arithmetical solutions and touted to be trickier than the conventional Sudoku puzzle.
From Iceland to India, Sweden to Singapore, Chile to the Czech Republic, Sudoku in newspapers is looking to surpass the venerable crossword as the favorite breakfast accompaniment.