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First modern Sudoku puzzle published

First modern Sudoku puzzle published by The Times

12 November, 2004

The Times in UK publishes the first modern Sudoku puzzle on 12th November 2004. Surprisingly, the newspaper received a complaint regarding it the very next day. Ian Payn’s grievance described how he had missed his bus because of being engrossed in the puzzle.

Though the name is Japanese, Sudoku is not from Japan! It was created by American architect Howard Garns and first published in the May 1979 issue of Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games. The puzzle was known by its original name Number Place. It, however, received little success.

In 1984, Number Place was published in the Nikoli magazine in Japan and soon became popular in the country. Thus, contrary to what you may believe, Sudoku is not of Japanese origin!

Wayne Gould, a Hong Kong judge, came across the puzzle and realised its potential. He spent six years in developing a computer program that would create the puzzles of varying difficulty. Finally, Gould convinced The Times to publish it with the name Sudoku.

Here is a fun fact. The term “Sudoku” is copyrighted in Japan by Maki Kaji, the president of the company that publishes the Nikoli magazine.

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