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Boxed in?

My name’s Gav, and I have a problem. I’m hopelessly addicted to Sudoku.

Allow me to set the scene: right now it’s ten minutes to midnight, I’m sitting in bed with my laptop atop my… er… lap (original, huh?) and unlike any other self-respecting student who at this time of night should be (a) schmoozing or (b) betting the year’s drinking budget in poker – and you’re lucky if you’re immune from that addiction, but that’s another column – I am flipping between in one window in which I’m writing about being addicted to Sudoku, and one in which I’m actually doing a Sudoku.

If you’ve been living in a bomb shelter for the last few months, allow me to quickly explain. Sudoku is a Japanese number game in which the objective is to fill in a 9×9 grid such that the digits 1-9 are in each row, column, and 3×3 box. It’s now a staple of any national daily (it was a sad day in the Reilly household when the Irish Examiner latched onto it – boosting my daily intake to nine. Honestly, nine.) and heck, it’s even made it into the hallowed pages of The University Observer, surely the only zeitgeist worth reading.

Why it’s so bloody addictive nobody really knows. It can’t be blamed on maths (when it was introduced it was a ‘crossword for mathematicians’) because the methodology of solving it has no maths in it. But therein lies the beauty – everybody is hooked on the damn things. If you’re one of the lucky few who can do them in moderation, spare a thought for those of us whose every idle thought is consumed by wondering whether that rogue 7 may have just fit in between the 8 and the 3 on the bottom line.

At this point I’m going to give up the ghost and sleep. If it’s a bad night I’ll dream of endlessly messing up a 4×4 SuperSudoku. If it’s a good one I’ll solve them instead.