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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 Ian Riensche, the Sudoku creator for the Tacoma News Tribune, The Olympian and Reader's Digest Canada. Premium Sudoku at a budget price.

Sudoku Puzzler has the broadest difficulty range compared to every syndicated Sudoku puzzle that I've tested. Why does this matter? Because some readers have told me they only do the Diabolical Sudoku; in other words, they only care about the hardest Sudoku of the week and not the easier puzzles. These days, who wouldn't seek to give their newspaper as broad an appeal as possible, by including readers that crave the most challenging puzzles.

Are you a weekly newspaper? Sudoku Puzzler is complementary for weeklies in exchange for a link to this website. It is my goal to work with every newspaper in order to make premium Sudoku possible for every budget. Sudoku Puzzler online version, is free, whether you utilize the print version or not. Please email me at if you have questions or would like more information.

Copy and paste the code below into your web page in order to link to this website:

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 available difficulty levels:
  1. Ultra Easy
  2. Easy
  3. Medium
  4. Hard
  5. Diabolical

All Sudoku puzzles are ready for print, with solutions. For samples, please see the PDF (above); for more information, please email:

Below is a graph that numerically compares the difficulty level of Sudoku Puzzler (blue) with Universal Uclick's Daily Sudoku (red) and Universal Sudoku (green). All three Sudoku puzzles start off at about the same difficulty rating at the easy end, but as we move right along the graph some separation begins to occur. When we get to the difficult end, Sudoku Puzzler is clearly above the other two in terms of difficulty, yet without being ridiculous. Sudoku Puzzler's Diabolical is typically what would be printed on Sundays.

Sudoku Puzzler vs Universal Uclick

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
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