A PuzzleNation First Look: Will Sudoku

Sudoku puzzles haven’t been around all that long, especially when compared to the hundred-plus years of longevity that the crossword puzzle brings to the table. Nonetheless, Sudoku puzzles remain one of the most popular puzzles these days, whether solved with pen and paper or in app form.

I’ve written about some of the many Sudoku variants before, but today’s post is something different. It’s the debut of a brand-new type of Sudoku. That’s right! I have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to Will Sudoku, the creation of topnotch puzzler Bassey Godwin.

This is a standard Will Sudoku grid. (Not to be confused with the Will Shortz’s Sudoku magazine.)

Named in honor of puzzle master and New York Times Crossword editor Will Shortz, Will Sudoku offers a challenge that your average Sudoku puzzle cannot match.

Instead of placing the numbers 1-9 in a 9×9 grid so that each row, column, and 3×3 box features all nine numbers without repeats, Will Sudoku tasks you with filling in the grid in such a way that the numbers 1-8 appear only once in each of the rows and columns as well as the 4×4 boxes.

As you can see, each row and column is split into two tracks, inside and outside. Horizontal lines are indicated by the similar triangular cells in the corresponding boxes in a row. For instance, horizontal line 1 contains 45238761; horizontal line 2 contains 23816457, as shown above.

The vertical lines work the same way, with outside and inside tracks within each column. This tight arrangement means a LOT of information is available to a keen-eyed solver, but there are also more spots to place your numbers.

There are numerous variations included in this puzzle bundle:

  • Will Triangular Box Sudoku: Instead of 4×4 squares, the grid is divided into large triangles that contain all 8 numbers
  • Will Horizontal Bar Sudoku and Will Vertical Bar Sudoku: Instead of the 4×4 squares, the grid is divided into vertical or horizontal bars that contain all 8 numbers
  • Will Variable Boxes Sudoku: A mix of 4×4 squares, vertical and horizontal bars, and triangles appear in a single grid

In addition to these variations, Bassey experiments with the form and offers a few new twists on his established template.

  • Will Sudoku Word Search: Instead of the numbers 1-8, eight letters appear in a grid, and once you’ve finished placing them all, you search the grid Word Seek-style to find an 8-letter word reading out in some direction
  • Will Trigonal Sudoku: A Will Sudoku grid is divided diagonally, leaving you half a grid to solve. Cleverly enough, each of the three sides of the triangle also adhere to standard Will Sudoku rules, with all 8 digits appearing once each.
  • Finally, and most challengingly, there is Will Samurai Sudoku, where you confront five interconnected Will Sudoku grids in one monster puzzle.

This debut collection of Will Sudoku offers 150 puzzles for $10!

As a solver, I was very impressed with how many different solving styles emerged from the Will Sudoku template. And going from nine numbers to eight certainly didn’t decrease the puzzle’s difficulty! (The new inside and outside tracks in each column and row certainly took a little getting used to.)

The puzzles marked “average” will keep you on your toes, and some of the ones marked “tough” will really test your deduction and logic skills. But for the price, you simply can’t go wrong.

Thank you to Bassey Godwin for giving PuzzleNation Blog the exclusive first look at Will Sudoku and allowing us to share this clever new Sudoku variant with our fellow PuzzleNationers and the online puzzle community at large!

But before I go, I want to leave you with one last surprise: a video of Bassey himself solving a Sudoku puzzle blindfolded! It’s mind-blowing stuff, and the perfect sendoff for this post. Take it away, Bassey!


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5 thoughts on “A PuzzleNation First Look: Will Sudoku

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