The puzzling popularity of Su Doku
By Paula Dear BBC News
It's the latest craze in games but there isn't a computer graphic in sight.
Su Doku began its gentle attack on the nation last year, and versions can now be found in four national newspapers. Addicts are as obsessed as 1980s teenagers fixated on the Rubik's cube.
So what's the big deal about these little rows of boxes on a page?
An unscientific poll of this office brought two types of reaction to the hybrid Japanese name Su Doku. While some bemused colleagues had never heard of it, others rather uncomfortably lined up to confess their addiction to the game. For those who don't know, it's a puzzle found in newspapers, books and online. A simple-looking grid of nine rows by nine, split into nine boxes, each containing nine squares, it looks like just another numbers game. But, say Su Doku experts, the difference is it can be played using logic alone, so maths phobics read on. If I don't complete a puzzle before noon I get suicidally depressed for the rest of the day -Bernard Stay, 71
To be pure Su Doku each of the unique puzzles - which come in varying levels of difficulty - must have only one solution. The aim? To fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every box contains the digits one to nine. This simple game has spawned a complex industry, according to the man who brought Su Doku to the UK via the Times newspaper. Plans are afoot to add the game to mobile phones, and a board game and television show could soon leap on the bandwagon.The internet is awash with chat about Su Doku and programers are tapping away to find the best system for solving the puzzles.