Sharpen your pencils and track down an eraser, Sudoku has arrived at The Daily Astorian.

These highly addictive logic puzzles first gained popularity in Japan in the 1980s, and quickly amassed a following in England after newspapers there started publishing the puzzles a year ago. Now, Sudoku puzzles are making their way across America. An search turns up 146 collections of the puzzles for those who need more than one a day, and two books made it onto Book Sense's top 10 paperback nonfiction list this week.

So what's so great about Sudoku? For one thing, you don't have to know anything to solve them.

Sudoku isn't like crossword puzzles, where you have to know the capital of Estonia or decipher the writer's puns. And although it's all about numbers, the only math skill you need is to be able to count from one to nine.

Instead, Sudoku puzzles are all about logic and the ability to reason things out.

The puzzle has one rule: Fill in the grid so that each row, each column and each 3-by-3 block contains the numbers one through nine once and only once.

Each puzzle has some squares already filled in to provide a framework. Depending on which numbers are given and which squares are filled in, the puzzles can range from easy to "diabolical." But with each puzzle, there's always only one correct solution, and it always can be reached using logic.

There are a number of strategies people use to solve the puzzles, like scanning across or down the boxes to see which numbers are missing from that row or column, or using a process of elimination to determine which digit goes in a particular box. Web sites like ( and puzzle books offer solving techniques and hints.

So clear out a block of time and try a puzzle or two, then let us know what you think about this trial run by e-mailing (

Good luck!

Answer in link below