New puzzle game is very addictive

There is a new addictive game that seems to be sweeping North America.
A game that causes an individual to lose track of time. A game that causes the player to find his or her own separate world.
It’s called Sudoku, which means “the digits must remain single.”
Also known as number place, the game is a logic-based numbers puzzle. Originally published in a U.S. puzzle magazine in 1979, it caught on in Japan in 1985 and roared back to life in North America last year.
The aim of the puzzle is to enter a numerical digit from 1 through 9 in each cell of a 9X9 grid made up of 3×3 sub-grids (called “regions”), starting with various digits given in some cells (the “givens”).
The trick is that each row, column, and region must contain only one instance of each numeral.
I always have been fascinated by numbers and sequences, and this past Christmas someone gave me an easy Sudoku puzzle book. With pencil—and eraser—in hand, I quickly became committed to mastering the puzzles.
Later, I went on the web to find puzzles there and discovered—much to my chagrin—that when playing against the clock, I was in the slowest percentile in mastering the puzzles.
Puzzles often are measured on a five-star difficulty scale, with a single star being the easiest to master and five stars being the most difficult. Single and double-digit stars give you lots of “givens” to work with.
Difficult five-star puzzles often limit themselves to just 22 or 23 numbers spread out over the entire 81-cell grid.
I cringe when I look at them, yet that does not prevent attempting to solve those Sudoku puzzles. And my family can attest to the fact that I have lost hours sitting with my computer in my lap trying to solve the logic of a puzzle.
It is as if you begin to exist in another world.
As you work on more and more puzzles, your logic skills increase and the speed at which you can solve puzzles increases, as well. While others look to increase their vocabulary doing crossword puzzles, I have kept my skills confined to the nine single-digit numbers that make up the puzzle.
Looking at various puzzles on the ’Net, I have yet to see a duplicate that I already have completed. And for that matter, I even have redone puzzles to be stumped the second time around when I wasn’t the first time.
More than 5.5 billion solutions are possible to the puzzle.
On some of the sites I play, a drum roll sounds and the announcement is made that you are successful in solving the puzzle. At which point I finally feel vindicated that my efforts for the previous hour were not in vain.

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