According to MSNBC, the word sudoku was officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2007. The sudoku-type puzzle has been around for quite some time, but started gaining real popularity when it was introduced as a daily feature in the Times of London in 2004. The logic puzzle didn’t show up in my local paper until late 2005, and by that time, it was a worldwide phenomenon. The puzzle consists of a nine-by-nine array of single digits and empty spaces. The goal is to use logical reasoning skills to determine the value of the missing digits. Unlike a crossword puzzle, sudoku does not rely on any knowledge other than the individual’s ability to think critically, and since it is based on mathematics rather than language, it has international appeal.
I find sudoku to be very relaxing. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it helps my brain stay focused. In an interview with Newsweek, puzzles expert Will Shortz had this to say about sudoku and stress:
Sudoku is really great for just refreshing your brain. You all have challenges everyday, and you’re worried about your work and your home and your family or whatever. Sudoku just lets you put everything else away for those minutes you spend on the puzzle, and then you feel renewed and refreshed and ready to tackle whatever challenge life throws at you.
There are many free sudoku sites on the web. WebSudoku has a nice interface and is easy on the eyes. You can either do the puzzle online or print it out so you can work it out with a pencil or pen. If you would like a simple explanation of how to solve a sudoku puzzle, visit Sudoku.com.