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Q: Who invented the Number Place (Sudoku) puzzle? ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Who invented the Number Place (Sudoku) puzzle?
Category: Sports and Recreation > Games
Asked by: onigame-ga
List Price: $120.00
Posted: 12 Apr 2005 15:54 PDT
Expires: 12 May 2005 15:54 PDT
Question ID: 508523
Here is some history from Jimmy Goto at the publishing house Nikoli:

"Sudoku Puzzle is not our original puzzle.
We found this puzzle in American puzzle magazine, titled 'Number Place'
And we introduced this puzzle to our Japanese readers at 1984. First our
title of this puzzle is "Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru" It's means that
number is limited only single (unmarried). But this title is too long,
then it was abbreviated as "Sudoku".  So "SU" means number, "DOKU" means

At those days, Sudoku was not so popular.
In 1986, we made a rule for making this puzzle.
1) Digits must be arranged by symmetry pattern.
2) There are under thirty digits on the board.
After our improvement, this puzzle got a big hit.

Now, five publishers are publishing Sudoku magazines every month. Total
circulation will be 660,000. "Sudoku" is Nikoli's registered mark in
Japan. So, other companies call it "Number Place".

Sudoku is the most popular logic puzzle in Japan.
It is very simple to learn, requires no calculations, and provides a
surprisingly wide variety of logic situations."

However, Jimmy does not remember the American magazine that the puzzle
came from.  I know from personal memory that the puzzle appeared in Dell's
"Math Problems and Logic Puzzles" in the late 1980s.

Please tell us, if you can, the name of the person who invented the puzzle,
how that person came to invent the puzzle, and the puzzle's first appearance
in print or published form.

Request for Question Clarification by leapinglizard-ga on 12 Apr 2005 16:49 PDT
Sudoku puzzles are derived from the Latin Squares introduced by
mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1783. Should I go on? Would a brief
history and analysis of Latin Squares and their relationship to Sudoku
answer your question?


Clarification of Question by onigame-ga on 12 Apr 2005 19:29 PDT
Sudoku puzzles are Latin squares, but they add the additional
constraint of the 3x3 subsquares.  Therefore they are no more invented
by Euler than, say, skyscraper puzzles.  We want to know:
  Who first came up with the extra 3x3 subsquare constraint?
  Who first called them "Number Place" puzzles?
  Who first published these puzzles regularly (as opposed to, say, 
    a one-off design)?

A discussion of how they relate to Latin squares would be interesting
but not worth $120.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Who invented the Number Place (Sudoku) puzzle?
From: bdude-ga on 19 May 2005 11:02 PDT
i like sudoku puzzles
Subject: Re: Who invented the Number Place (Sudoku) puzzle?
From: douglebert-ga on 23 Jul 2005 15:44 PDT
Check out history links of SuDoku at Essential Guide and Links to
Sudoku at

You will put together the whole history of the puzzle from Latin
Squares, to Number Place by Dell, to Japan and how Mr. Gould took it
on from there.

<a href="">Essential Guide and Links to SuDoku</a>
Subject: Re: Who invented the Number Place (Sudoku) puzzle?
From: maling-ga on 13 Aug 2005 11:00 PDT
I remember doing these puzzles, years ago. So, someone, in the British
puzzle book world, must know about the ones that I used to do.
I got fed up with them, because after doing a few of them, they became
boring. I prefer the numeric crossword type puzzles, there is a more
variation to them.

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