Sudoku FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Sudoku.

What does 'Sudoku' mean?
Why is it so addictive?
Where did it come from?
How long does it take to solve the Sudoku puzzle?

What does 'Sudoku' mean?

Sudoku or 'Su Doku' translates 'number allotted' or 'the number that is single' in Japanese. Details on the origin of the word and the correct pronunciation are available at

Why is it so addictive?

Once played, Sudoku is utterly addictive. It has been described as the Rubik`s Cube of the 21st century.

It is simple, yet fiendish, accessible to all in its various levels of difficulty.

Where did it come from?

Although it is a Japanese import, its roots lie in the work of an 18th-century Swiss genius. Leonhard Euler, who was born in Basle in 1707 and has been described as one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.

Euler introduced "Latin Squares" in 1783 describing them as "a new kind of magic squares". This was a grid of equal dimensions in which every number or symbol occurs once in each row or column. It differs from the Sudoku grid only in that the latter is subdivided into blocks of nine.

Sudoku modern worldwide vogue can be traced back to the early 1980s, when it appeared in an American puzzle magazine under the name of the "Number Place" game. This was noted by the Japanese puzzle magazine publishers Nikoli who copied the idea and introduced it to its readers in 1984.

It was such a hit that there are now five Sudoku magazines published in Japan each month, with a total circulation of 660,000. The Sudoku name is registered as a trademark in Japan, so rivals run it under the original US name of Number Place.

Source: Can you Sudoku? By Richard Pendlebury, Daily Mail (12th May 2005)

How long does it take to solve a Sudoku puzzle?

Solving time is typically from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on your skill and experience.

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