## Sudoku – The Hottest Puzzle Craze Since Rubik’s Cube

Written by Jacqui O'Brien

Sudoku is addictive number puzzle that has taken UK by storm and is now taking over rest of world. Since it first appeared in The Times in late 2004 its popularity has grow so that it appears in most UK newspapers and has spread to countries from India to Canada, Australia to South Africa. So what is Sudoku all about? Sudoku is played on a nine by nine grid which is divided into nine smaller squares. The object of puzzle is to fill in digits from 1 to 9 so that it appears only once in each column, row and small three by three square. You are given some of numbers and you have to use logic and deduction to find position of other numbers. Simple? Well, it depends! A Sudoku puzzle can vary from easy to absolutely fiendish. Certainly more numbers you are given to start off with, easier puzzle, but it also depends on which ones puzzle setter offers. Traditionally there should be no more than 30 numbers given. Sudoku first appeared in a US puzzle magazine in late 1970s, but was then picked up by Japanese publisher Nikoli who dubbed it Su Doku or ‘Solitary Square’ and puzzle-hungry Japanese loved it. From there it was discovered by The Times and rest is history. Sudoku is solved simply by logic; there is no maths required. You may at first be able to fill in a couple of numbers where it appears in every column and row but one. Next you may need to mark up possible candidates in empty squares until only one possibility remains. Like so many puzzles there will be times when you stare hopelessly and others where answers jump out at you.

## Batman Begins VS the Fantastic Four. What Next?

Written by Dave Gieber

Well, it looks like Hollywood keeps it continual pot of revenue filled with, guess what, comic book heroes. Batman Begins and The Fantastic Four are about to duke it out on Hollywood and Vine. An age-old comic book company rivalry is yet renewing heat this year. I guess all of us comic book aficionados always wonder who would win battle between such and such superheroes.

Well at least in next few months one way to keep score is to watch revenues generated between recently released “Batman Begins” and soon to be released “Fantastic Four”, which were both childhood fascinations of mine. Not only are there superhero “what ifs” going on here, but which comic book company will stand to gain most economic substantiation? Batman punches daily time clock at DC Comics and Fantastic Four was brainchild of Stan Lee and crew at Marvel Comics.

And don’t tell me there is a small comic book hero market. Batman Begins claimed number one spot in gross revenue on its opening weekend. It is going to be very interesting to see what Fantastic Four does. Hollywood is definitely increasing thickness of its silver lining these days with comic book hero movies. Batman took in almost \$49 million it’s opening weekend. How many mint condition old comic books would you have to sell to make that kind of dough? Are we in wrong end of comic book world (ha ha)?

The rivalry between Marvel and DC used to be a major dividing line amongst tight knit group of comic book collectors. When comic book interest started to decline in 1970s, this issue became largely irrelevant. But now as video games, online role-playing games and major motion picture productions are spreading across globe, classic Marvel-DC conflict is springing back to life.

Superman is coming back to life on big screen as well as Wonder Woman. Marvel has been riding high off their major successes with X-men and Spiderman. They are now digging deep into their catalog of characters and are working on screen adaptations of Iron Man, Submariner, Thor and Silver Surfer, among others. Have we entered a new comic book age that will have to be defined around major motion pictures? Maybe it could be call “Greenback Age”. Do you have another definition?

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