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SUDOKU PUZZLE COMES TO PD PAGES, ONLINE

Don't be puzzled by Monday's puzzle page in The Press Democrat. We've made

a few changes, the most notable of which is the addition of a new daily

challenge: sudoku.

Popular for years in Japan, the puzzle is a crossword-style numbers

challenge with simple rules.

Sudoku, which roughly translates to ''single digit,'' is a grid of 81

squares, nine across and nine down. The grid itself is segmented into nine

mini-grids, 3-by-3 each. The object is to fill in the grid so that each

horizontal row, each vertical column and each mini-grid contains the numbers 1

through 9.

Grids come with some numbers filled in, the degree of difficulty determined

by how many numbers are supplied at the start. Although it involves numbers,

the game does not require mathematics. It's all about logic.

According to some researchers, the game's earliest published appearance was

1979 in the United States in a Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games magazine.

It caught on in Japan in the mid-'80s and came back to the United States in

the late 1990s. In the past couple of years, more than 150 sudoku books have

been published and the game now appears daily in dozens of U.S. newspapers.

Sudoku will run Monday through Saturday in print, and starting today an

interactive online version will appear seven days a week at

http://go.pressdemocrat.com/sudoku.

You may notice other changes on the daily puzzle page involving columns.

Starting this week, ''Miss Manners'' will run Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

''Elder Advocates,'' by Tillem & McNichol, moves from Tuesday to Monday.

''Ask Dr. H,'' by Dr. Mitchell W. Hecht, moves from Friday to Tuesday.

''Tell Me About It,'' by Carolyn Hax, will run Wednesday, and Sunday as space

allows.

A new column, ''Can This Marriage Be Saved?'' from Ladies Home Journal

magazine, will run Thursdays. ''Energy Express,'' by Marilyn Preston, moves

from Thursday's puzzle page to another inside D-section spot on Tuesday.

''Dear Abby'' continues to run daily. ''Among Friends,'' by Tad Bartimus,

which ran Wednesdays, will be discontinued.

''We've taken a long look at the inside pages of our daily features

sections with an eye toward ensuring they're relevant, lively, engaging and

accessible,'' said Features Editor Joanne Derbort.

''You'll find the pages better organized and displayed, the advice columns

freshened to appeal to a broad range of readers, and the puzzles energized by

the addition of a sudoku puzzle.''

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