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3 Common Myths About Sudoku
Sudoku (which literally means “unmarried number”) is one of the most popular puzzles today that entertains people of all ages. Although it might be confusing when trying to solve one for the first time, it gets you hooked and over time you will spend hours and hours playing it. In fact, it’s slowly stealing the show from the crossword puzzles we all grew up with.
The name of the puzzle sounds foreign and can be the source of different misconceptions. So, for this article, we are going to look at some of the common myths associated with it and clear things up once and for all.
Myth number one: Sudoku was invented by the Japanese.
It is a known fact that this puzzle has been popular in Japan for 25 years now since Nikoli, a local puzzle publishing giant, introduced it to readers in the country. However, the Japanese did not invent it. Sudoku has its roots in the West. A late 19th century Swiss mathematician, Leonhard Euler, is credited with inventing the concept of having a square grid where symbols are placed within the squares with the restriction of having each symbol appear only once in each row and column. This was known as the “Latin Square” and is considered the father of the modern Sudoku puzzle. At the time, it was not intended for entertainment, but rather for statistical and mathematical calculations.
Two hundred years later, Howard Garns, a retired architect from Indiana, took the concept of Latin Squares and created what he called the Number Place puzzle, which was published in 1979 by Dell Magazines. Garns’ creation was improved by Nikoli, a Japanese puzzle publisher, and became the Sudoku puzzle we know today.
Myth number two: sudoku requires advanced math
When people see a Sudoku puzzle, the first thing that comes to mind is math. I think it’s safe to say that the majority of the population either fears or hates math and tries to avoid it in school. This is the reason given by the majority of those who are new to the puzzle as to why they prefer not to play it. Sudoku has nothing to do with math or using a math equation. You can see the numbers 1-9 placed in the squares and grids, but the numbers aren’t the only thing that can be used for the puzzle. His father, the Latin squares, contained Latin symbols and not numbers. In fact, you can use any set of 9 symbols to replace numbers, such as hieroglyphs, shapes, letters, colors, etc.
The only thing that is required in this puzzle is logic. Some people may argue with me and say that logic is in the realm of math, but let me correct that misconception as well. Logic actually gave birth to mathematics, not the other way around. Thus, it is safe to say that mathematics cannot claim a monopoly over logic, and in fact the opposite is true.
Myth number three: A Sudoku puzzle can be solved using different solutions
A correctly constructed Sudoku puzzle can only have one solution. It is the norm and the rule that cannot be broken. No exceptions. You may be scratching your head now thinking that it’s not possible since you may have been able to solve a puzzle and find a different solution than the one offered by the puzzle creator. If this happens, then the puzzle you solved was not built correctly and you may want to find another Sudoku puzzle editor to provide you with better puzzles.
However, it is a fact that there are approximately 5 billion possible Sudoku puzzles that use different grids. Amazingly, there are over six permutations of sextillions available for correct answers. So that means you won’t run out of puzzles to solve in your lifetime!
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