Just what we need. Another way to use up the little time we have left on planet earth. Pencil and paper, or Mac or PC, Sudoku is the latest rage whose time has come to take more of your time. My question of the day is: ‘*Do we need to spend time on Sudoku*?

Sudoku is a logic-based puzzle game that’s akin to a numerical crossword puzzle. Without the words.

Pencil and paper are the tools of trade for Sudoku, though there are plenty of Sudoku applications for Mac and PC. Too many? Yes.

Why? As with any good puzzle or game, Sudoku can be addicting. Addictions take time and energy. There’s no warning of that in Sudoku for Dummies (*yes, I bought the book*).

Sudoku, as the story goes, was actually started in the US back in the 1970s, caught on big in Japan less than a decade later, and has gone world wide in the past couple of years.

If you’re a Mac user, there’s about a dozen Sudoku applications available; even more for Windows. Mac users will find all the Sudoku utilities you need when you Click Here.

After a whole day of head scratching, keyboard clanking, and listening to the sound of gray matter falling to the floor, I figured out Sudoku What is Sudoku? It’s a puzzle in which you bleed time for no apparent reason. Crossword puzzles stimulate the brain and help with your vocabulary.

Sudoku stimulates that part of your brain which controls frustration. The same part that golfers use.

The idea of Sudoku is to enter a number from 1 to 9 in each cell of a 9×9 grid. The grid is made up of 3×3 subgrids, called regions. Each row, column, and region can contain only one instance of each of the numbers, 1 through 9.

What tools do you need? A pencil. Patience. Logic. And time (*seems to work best with patience*). Or, get the book, ‘Sudoku for Dummies,’ now in 3 volumes.

How much of a ‘*dummy*’ does a person have to be to have all three volumes?

Sudoku on your Mac or Windows PC works the same way, except you don’t need the Sudoku magazines and books. Each puzzle is provided by the computer application.

Surprisingly, there’s actually a strategy for solving a Sudoku puzzle.

First, you scan. *Scanning* is the typical starting strategy, though it’s not limited to the beginning of a Sudoku session. You can waste time scanning at any point during the puzzle chase.

Next, it’s *Marking* up. If you can’t find any more numbers, then you need to mark specific numbers in the blank cells using what’s called subscripts and dots. Now you’re wasting time using the utility of a #2 pencil.

Then it gets complicated. What’s great for Mac and PC users is that Sudoku lets you waste time and gray matter simultaneously while using a $2,000 electronic device instead of a cheap paperback booklet.

Don’t you love the progress we’ve made in the past 100 years?

I’ve been walking more in the past month and came upon a middle school girl playing Sudoku at park near my parent’s home in LA. Without ever taking her eyes from the Sudoku booklet, she described the action of scanning, marking, and difficulties inherent with that particular puzzle.

She was 12 and had been there for two hours. No swings. No monkey bars. No merry-go-round. No soccer. Just a Sudoku book and a pencil and more intensity than any 12 year old should display in public.

I bought a *Sudoku for Dummies* book (volume 1), then downloaded a few Sudoku puzzle applications to try on my Mac. My favorite was *Sudoku Companion*, though it wasn’t a lasting relationship. I found myself cheating with *Sudoku Susser*. Neither relationship was satisfying.

After a whole day of head scratching, keyboard clanking, and listening to the sound of gray matter falling to the floor, I figured out Sudoku.

It’s a Satanically inspired puzzle designed purely to keep mankind, womankind, and the smaller versions of each from utilizing our time in an efficient and effective manner.

No more Sudoku. I just don’t have the time. I closed my laptop and headed to the park for a swing and a whirl on the merry-go-round.

Kevin Willis says

Funny. I tried SuDoku because my kids had some of the booklets with puzzles. Whew. My brain gets sore everytime I hear the word ‘SuDoku.’ I want to think there’s some mental value in there somewhere, but I’m not sure where. Maybe it’s just me. I tried to find the book, ‘SuDoku for Really Dumb Dummies’ but it was out of stock.

Christian Stewart says

Stick at it and it does start to come together – don’t fall into the trap of marking all the different possibilities in each blank square, instead move onto another where there are fewer options. Do use a bit of reverse logic and don’t let it take over your life – soon you’ll be going straight to the fiendish ones and then starting to go up against the clock.

It’s no different from cryptic crosswords – all about training your mind to work in specific ways.

Wonderful for long-haul flights – you’ll be brain dead and then fast asleep within an hour – guaranteed…..

John F says

For myself, Sudokus are very relaxing, usually. They help me unwind my brain from all the garbage that went into it earlier in the day. I think I fall asleep easier after doing a Sudoku before bed. I’m more productive at w2ork when I work on one at lunch. But that’s my story. Your own results may vary.

Stephen Magladry says

here’s a few tips

Look at a sub column/row (3 3×3’s). See if there are at least two of the same numbers in the sub colum/row. For instance if there is an 8 in the first and second column/row, then there has to be and 8 in the last column/row. Additionally it has to go in the 3×3 that has no 8. Check the sub row/column of the tagret 3×3 often times there are 8’s already in the puzzle that can be used to eliminate other possiblities.

A mark squares with small numbers with what numbers could go there. This is is time consuming at the start but plays major dividends in solving. Here’s how this can help.

1) If there is one and only one possibility in any given square, that’s the number that has to go there. (Perhaps a statement of the obvious, but often time I use that to check my work)

2) Check a 3×3 for unique numbers. If there is only one 8 in a 3×3, it has to go there.

3) Check a row for unique numbers. If there is only one 8 in a row, it has to go there.

4) Check a column for unique numbers. If there is only one 8 in a column, it has to go there.

Remeber to remove numbers from the possibilities and numbers are placed otherwise the system quickly breaks down.

Here’s a couple of other helpful tips.

When checking a column/row for possiblities, remember to check 3×3’s and not just the row/column to see if numbers can be eliminated.

I often times find it help to pick 3×3’s/row/columns are have more numbers in them. Since there are more possiblities eliminated, often times placing the remaining numbers are easier.

Hope this is helpful and not confusing.

Dan says

Then there’s Sudoku for the Palm OS and Pocket PC as well. Good page with strategies on solving Sudoku puzzles is located at

http://www.sudokuoftheday.com/

Vic Stevens-Stoklosa says

No Sudoku thanks, way too scary. I know my limitations – I’m 70% right brained, 30% leftie. I’d rather do patternless crosswords. Now there’s a challenge for ya. Painful, but at least it doesn’t involve numbers.

You can find out which side of your brain hurts most at

http://www.blogthings.com/rightorleftbrainedquiz/

-but don’t come running to me if you flunk.

Danny says

Many people see the numbers and think that Sudoku is a math puzzle. The numbers are actually not necessary at all, you could just as easily use the letters ABCDEFGHI to fill in the grid, making sure that each letter is used once and only once in each row, column and 3×3 section. Then the Sudoku puzzle looks much more like a crossword puzzle.

karo pones says

My IQ is somewhere in between idiot and plain stupid, so I have not been able to go farther than medium sudokus, does not matter how hard I try or tips I get. If you are smart, you’ll do tough sudokus, if you are a genius, you’ ll solve diabolical ones. My conclusion, sudoku is a cheap and simple way to find out how smart u are or in my case, how dumb .