Thursday, September 29, 2005

History of Sudoku and Killer Sudoku Variations

Daily SudokuAll 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.

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 2) - Four-letter O-word

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Oct 2) - Four-letter O-word
Q: Think of a four-letter word starting with O. Change one of its letters to a new letter and rearrange to get a new four-letter word that's a synonym of the first. Then change one of its letters to a new letter and rearrange to get a third four-letter word that's a synonym of the first two. What words are these?
I think there is only one answer that fits the clues of this puzzle... but I'm not going to give you the answer until after the deadline.
Edit: Yes, I believe there is ONLY one answer that fits the clues...
ONLY --> LONE --> SOLE

Friday, September 23, 2005

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 25) - A book becomes a writer/TV Personality

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 25) - A book becomes a writer/TV Personality
Q: Name a well-known book in seven letters. Hint: it's spelled as a solid word. And it's so well known that many people can 'quote' from it by heart. Add three letters to the end of this title and the result will name a late writer and TV personality, with four letters in the first name and six letters in the last. What book is it and who is this celebrity?
When I first started working on this puzzle, I thought the quotable book would be the Bible, but that isn't seven letters... I guess you'll just have to wait a week and all will be revealed.
Edit: The clues were there, "first (beginning)", "Bible", "book", "week (7 days)"
A: GENESIS --> GENE SISKEL

Thursday, September 15, 2005

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 18) - Island Hopping

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 18) - Island Hopping
Q: Name a country, somewhere in the world. You can change its first letter to name a well known island. Or, you can change its third letter to name another well know island. What country is it?"
I won't give away my answer until after the deadline but I will give you a big hint. At least one of the islands is part of the Hawaiian island chain.
Edit: Okay, once again NPR didn't call me, so I'll just tell you my answer.
A: MALI --> BALI, MAUI

Thursday, September 08, 2005

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 11) - Two-word place name

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Sept 11) - Two-word place name
We are back from camping so I can once again give you the answer to this week's NPR puzzle.
Q: Name a well-known place in the United States, with a population of at least 40,000 people. It has two words in its name. If you reverse the last three letters of the first word you'll get the first three letters of the second word. What is it?
Since the deadline has passed, here is the answer.
A: Atlantic City