For the few who are yet to hear about it - Sudoku is an ancient Japanese game which has 81 squares with a few numbers between 1 to 9 written on it. One plays the game by filling out the empty squares to ensure that all the numbers 1-9 appear in all the rows and columns as well as on grids of 9 squares without any repetition within these grids. For people conversant with computational theory, Sudoku is an NP complete problem that can be expressed as a graph-coloring problem. The stars of sudoku started to rise first in Japan around 1986 and then in the UK in 2005. Nowadays the game cliams to be the fastest growing puzzle in the world - the Rubics Cube of the 21st century, with the Japanese alone buying 600,000 sudoku magazines a month. British newspapers including The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, The Sun, and The Daily Mirror have all started publishing the game like the daily crossword. Some say it was promoted heavily by the Brit newspapers after the Brit general elections to fill up the space previously filled by election coverage. The Times provides a mobile version of the game chargin 4.5 pounds for 10 game versions.
Ancient games have been making a comeback. Games like Go, Thai Boxing etc. are widely popular now. Some social observers say that the intellectual level of the society can be understood by studying the games popular in the society. If that is true, then are we coming full circle? Sudoku has become popular because of it's simplicity in understanding and it's complexity in solving. Also its very paper-format and screen friendly. Will Sudoku replace the crossword? Only time will tell.
For the more initiated: try www.sudoku.com, www.sudoku-solver.com, www.sudoku.org.uk/