History of sudoku
The real origin of this number game is quite old. Sudoku comes from the « latin square », a chinese « magic square » cousin, studied by mathematician Euler at 18th.
However, Sudoku how we know it today was born in 1979, when Howard Garns creates his first puzzle. The Dell Magazines company puts it into a new-yorker magazine, the Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games, under the name Number Place.
The Nikoli company introduces sudoku in Japan in April 1984 in the Monthly Nikolist magazine and names it Suji wa dokushin ni kagiru (that translates to « the number must be unique » or « occurs once »), which litteraly means « alone » ou « single ». Later, the name changes to « Sudoku », following the tradition of making smaller words in taking the first kanji of the expression.
In 1986, Nikoli adds two elements that will make the game popular: the number of given cells is 30 at most and puzzles must look symmetric.
Today, most japanese papers have their sudoku page, even if it is within another name.
It should be funny to notice that Japanese developed the Sudoku because their alphabet has too many signs to make 'industrial' crosswords.