Puzzling Evidence

By Neal Comment

Those insidious folks at Penguin slipped a copy of Penguin Sudoku 2006 into their latest crate of review copies, and let me tell you: it’s not as if I was expecting to get a lot done over the holiday weekend anyway, but damn, those things are addictive. “A year’s supply of sudokus”? Not hardly! Sure, maybe if you did just one a day, but who can be expected to show that kind of restraint?

Yesterday’s Boston Globe has a profile of Wayne Gould, the man who pretty much created the sudoku tipping point. And while I could tell you any number of stories about how the “number place” craze is sweeping the nation, to the point where instructional seminars are packed (because sometimes even math profs get stumped), you’re probably wondering where the publishing news angle is.

So I’ll tell you: Over in England, DC Thomson is expected to pay as much as £85 million for Puzzler Media, which claims to reach more than half the nation’s puzzle book market. And what’s been driving the price up? You guessed it: the popularity of Puzzler’s sudoku offerings, reported to sell as much as 280,000 copies a month.