All of us, by now should have heard of SuDoku... if you haven't, you must have been living in a box. Or maybe it is the other way around, those of us that are hooked on SuDoku are now living in a box (in the form of a 9x9 grid).
Anyway, if you have always wondered about how this little number puzzle came about, it actually first appeared in the U.S. in the May 1979 issue of Dell Pencil Puzzles & Word Games where it was called Number Place. It is believed to be the creation of a retired architect named Howard Garns, age 74 at the time.
Several years later, in 1984 it was adopted by a puzzle group in Japan and named "Suuji Wa Dokushin Ni Kagiru" ("the numbers must be single") As it became popular, this was shortened to SuDoku (Su=number, Doku=single) and was trademarked.
Other magazines in Japan, soon copied the puzzle but went with the more generic name Nanbaapureesu (phonetically "Number Place") and often just used the English spelling. Later when it was rediscoved in the U.S. and the U.K. it was titled "SuDoku" which leads to an interesting scenario. Japanese speakers call it by its English name (Number Place) and English speakers call it by its Japanese name (SuDoku).
If you are interested in reading more of the historical details or learning about numerous sudoku variations (including Killer SuDoku a.k.a. Samunamupure or Samunanpure, Greater Than SuDoku, Samurai SuDoku, Relay SuDoku, etc.) here's a link to Ed Pegg Jr.'s article on
The History of Sudoku and Sudoku Variations.