"The secret of its allure? Like all the greatest human pastimes — football, drinking, sex — it is a game with very simple aims and rules, but limitless scope for complex ramifications and subtle strategies. But perhaps its phenomenal success really only proves that, whether in Bangkok or Baldock, people everywhere love to escape from the real world, with all its unresolvable dilemmas and random irritants, into a realm where reason rules supreme, and where every problem has a perfect solution — even if the process of finding it leaves us frothing with frustration."
So says Richard Morrison. He isn’t writing about crime fiction, although he could well be, he’s writing about Sudoku, on the occasion of the 600 day anniversary of the Times first publishing the puzzle, and yours truly (as well as Morrison) becoming addicted. A knighthood for Wayne Gould, please.
The article is in the witty Morrison style. If you want to read it and it is behind a subscription wall, drop me an email and I will send it to you. It contains short paragraphs from correspondents all over the world about the appeal of Sudoku, but perhaps Mary Ann Sieghart, who recently travelled round South America on the backpackers’ trail, sums it up best: "There were endless long bus journeys and we had only a limited number of English-language books between us. Once we had read them all, they were hard to replace. But wherever we were, we always managed to find a Su Doku book. It didn’t matter if the country’s people spoke Spanish, Su Doku is international. The only words we had to translate were "easy", "moderate", "hard" and "fiendish".