Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Gift For You

Okay, as of today, there's just one week left until Christmas. It's cold and wet outside, and I plan to spend the day inside baking. The Dallas Post Office has a final outgoing mail for the weekend at 5 PM, and I plan to have all my cookies and breads ready for that mail. If I get done early enough, we're going to see "The Family Stone" which has gotten great reviews.

All this is to say that today's blog is going to be short and sweet.

On December 10th, I blogged about the announcement that "podcast" had been selected as the Word of the Year by The New Oxford American Dictionary of English. I also mentioned that they had declined to include the word "sudoku" in the upcoming new dictionary.

If, like me, you’re a lover of logic puzzles, you need to acquaint yourself with sudoku. And, yes, Sloane, I'm talking to YOU.

Sudoku is a logic problem that uses either numbers or letters. There is no math involved. In its most common form, there is a grid of nine squares containing nine spaces each. Some of the spaces will have numbers from 1 to 9 (or letters from A to I) already filled in. The player must fill in the remaining numbers (or letters). The catch is that no row or line or square may contain the same number more than one time.

I did a Google search for the word "sudoku" and found 16 million entries. My favorite website among these is It offers a 28-day free trial, or you can purchase the service for $14.95. The site includes puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty as well as a timer so that you can play against your own best time (it even keeps track of your average time for you).

This is my gift to you today. Try it. If you love puzzles, you'll find it addicting. I like to play on line, but you can print the puzzles out if you prefer to work on paper. I was in my local Barnes and Noble store yesterday and they had an entire table devoted to sudoku. These would make nice gifts for that person on your list who loves puzzles.

Stay warm and have fun!

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