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Sudoku Syndication by Sudoku Puzzler

Syndicated or custom, 9x9 and 6x6 Sudoku puzzles for newspaper, magazine, book, and web publication by the Sudoku creator for the Tacoma News Tribune and The Olympian.

Sudoku Puzzler has the broadest difficulty range compared to most syndicated Sudoku puzzles. You could settle for a space filler or you could truly add value to your daily newspaper, book project, magazine or other publication. When applied to daily Sudoku puzzles, flatline refers to a barely discernable increase in difficulty from Monday to Sunday. Normally one would think of the challenge level of a daily feature, such as the Crossword, as rising steadily throughout the week, and culminating on Sunday with a real doozy. But what I found instead, with most syndicated Sudoku puzzles, was that their weekend versions hardly registered above their Monday or Tuesday versions. If you were to graph this week-long trend, the result would be a virtual flatline.

In contrast to the flatline model, Sudoku Puzzler increases steadily and sharply throughout the week, from the elementary Super Easy to the fiendish Diabolical. According to a comparative study I performed recently, Sudoku Puzzler ranks near the top among the nationally syndicated, classic Sudoku puzzles in terms of difficulty. A graph that represents the results of this study is displayed further down this page.

Are you a weekly newspaper? Sudoku Puzzler is free for weekly newspapers in exchange for a link to this website. The rate for daily newspapers is negotiable; it is my goal to work with every newspaper's budget in order to make quality, high-end Sudoku possible for even the smallest budgets. Sudoku Puzzler, online version, is free, whether you subscribe to the print version or not. Please email me at if you have questions or if you would like more information.

Link text:

Ultra Easy | Easy | Medium | Hard | Diabolical | PDF

Sudoku Puzzler
Free Sudoku Web Feature

Free interactive Sudoku web feature for your newspaper's Sudoku web page. Even if you don't subscribe to Sudoku Puzzler's daily print puzzles, you are still welcome to use this Sudoku web feature for your web site. All I ask is that you retain the link to Sudoku Puzzler. Here's the code:

Copy and paste the code above to get the embedded page below.

Sudoku Puzzler
Sudoku Puzzler's daily rotation:
  1. Diabolical
  2. Easy
  3. Ultra Easy
  4. Medium
  5. Hard
  6. Medium
  7. Hard

All Sudoku puzzles are 1200 dpi, ready for print, with solutions. For samples, please see the PDF below; for more information, please email:

As you can see from the plot below, most Sudoku puzzles appearing in newspapers don't present a significant challenge. Universal Uclick is the only one that matches the caliber of Sudoku Puzzler. King Features and Creators Syndicate offer barely a freshman-level challenge, and United Features doesn't even show up anymore since they merged with Universal Uclick. The New York Times goes with PZZL and they're one of the worst.

Samples from each vendor were entered into the third party solver referenced in the plot, and the number next to each graph is the time (in seconds) it took for the program to solve that puzzle. Typically, the shorter the solution time, the more elementary the Sudoku puzzle.

Comparative analysis of syndicated Sudoku puzzles and Sudoku Puzzler

Reader takes extra step for his favorite puzzle

This story can be found at:

From the Tacoma News Tribune, 1/30/11, by Karen Peterson:

Sudoku man, meet your No. 1 fan. And when it comes to Sudoku puzzles, TNT reader James Lee knows what he's talking about.

Our managing editor, Dale Phelps, and a number of staffers serving as reader representative got to know Lee two years ago during what amounted to The Great Sudoku Wars.

Early in 2009, our original puzzle vendor imposed an outrageous price increase, so we switched to one with a more reasonable price. Readers - Lee the most prolific among them - began calling the reader rep to say the new puzzles were too easy. Lee declared them "distressingly easy," "defective" and "kindergarten stuff."

We petitioned the new Sudoku vendor to toughen up the puzzles, but the upgrade did not impress Lee.

"If they were eggs they would be graded F," he told us. Later, he called to say, "Today's puzzle, it was pathetic." Another day it was "a real letdown." Thankfully, on the rare occasion we met his tough standard, Lee also called to thank us.

Next, Phelps collected Sudoku puzzles from other vendors and appointed a reader panel - including Lee - to test them. Lee even applied his own complicated scoring method. Still, we couldn't find a suitable Sudoku.

Finally, we found Ian Riensche, a Gig Harbor man who had written a book of Sudoku puzzles and was willing to sell us one a day. Lee tested his puzzles and found them suitable, which played a role in our choosing Riensche as our new Sudoku vendor.

We considered the Sudoku Wars over, and we hadn't heard from Lee for more than a year.

Until Friday.

That's when the bundled stack of completed puzzles (see photo) arrived in a manila envelope. Each puzzle is marked with the time it took Lee to finish and other notations that apparently lead to a circled numerical score.

In the envelope was this note: "Mr. Phelps, All of 2010 enclosed - Ian Riensche is averaging 5.7 on a 1-to-10 scale of difficulty. He's right down the pipe and well on, on his estimates. Still a winner. Hang on to him. Sincerely, James Lee."

Readers often are quick to criticize, but rarely do they go to the lengths of James Lee to make this paper better. For that, we offer our thanks. And we'll keep trying to measure up.

Below are the results of James Lee's assessments, in graph format. The first graph shows the solution times, as recorded by Mr. Lee. The second graph shows his assigned difficulty level, based on his own formulation.

2010 Sudoku Puzzler solution times, as recorded by Mr. Lee

2010 Sudoku Puzzler difficulty scores, as assigned by Mr. Lee