The Number Puzzle has exploded into the popular consciousness of Western culture in the last few years.
It has gone from an obscure Japanese game to a mass addiction. Virtually every newspaper and magazine carries a Number Puzzle these days and the bookshelves are positively littered with Number Puzzle books.
If you are a serious addict, you can even buy programs for your computer to create a seemingly infinite number of Number Puzzles.
Though how many people know where this fiendishly addictive game came from? Some, I am sure, believe it originated in the warped mind of a newspaper puzzle creator, but its actual origins are much older.
The Number Puzzle was born in the 18th century in Japan, though some say it was China. It is a logic based puzzle known in the USA as Number Place, which translates as Nanpure in Japanese.
The word Sudoku TM – a contraction of a longer phrase ‘suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru’ (数字は独身に限る) which means ‘the digits must remain single’ – is actually trademarked by the puzzle publisher Nikoli Ltd in Japan. Hence the references to the puzzle as Number Place by some publishers. In this publication, we refer to the puzzle as the Number Puzzle to avoid any possible trademark infringement.
The Number Puzzle itself draws upon the theory of magic squares, which were held in high regard by earlier cultures such as the ancient Greeks, Chinese and Babylonians.
Now you can learn how to solve them …
Solving Sudoku Number Puzzles