The world’s latest puzzle craze, Sudoku, has made it to Australia.
Today, News Ltd papers across Australia are running the addictive
Japanese number puzzle – billed as “the biggest brain buster since
Rubik’s Cube” – for the first time.

Sudoku is already massive in the UK, after debuting in The Times last November. The New York Times is reportedly considering introducing the puzzle in its Sunday magazine. As the current issue of The Economist reports:

To its fans, it is addictive. To the media, it is a
promising money-maker. Sudoku, an old puzzle long popular in Japan, is
fast in gaining popularity the world over. In Britain, a sudoku book is
a bestseller and national newspapers are competing feverishly to
publish the most, and the most fiendish, puzzles. (Last week The Guardian printed a board on every page of one day’s features section.)

The
game’s appeal is that its rules are as simple as its solution is
complex. On a board of nine-by-nine squares, most of them empty,
players must fill in each square with a number so that each row (left
to right), column (top to bottom) and block (in bold lines) contains
numbers 1 to 9.

The concept was sold to The Times
by New Zealander Wayne Gould, who discovered the game in a Japanese
bookshop in 1997 and spent six years developing software that can
generate viable puzzles. He has since syndicated Sudoku to papers in
ten countries – including Croatia, South Africa and the US, reports Time magazine this week.

You can find more information, including a free trial of the Sudoku computer program, at www.sudoku.com.