Is this scholarly and inaccessible, scholarly and accessible to non-math majors, or pop mathematics?
When last I checked there were several unknown questions, like what the lower-bound of filled in squares for even a 9x9 puzzle was to allow a unique solution.
And most of the time I do Sudoku in pen. It's about theorem solving and you don't erase proven theorems. :)
That's awesome! How'd you find time to do this while writing the Ev/Cre book you were working on?
Awesome! So when is the book tour so I can get a signed copy?? :)
I'll be sure to get this, but the nature of the topic raises an important question for me: would you advise getting the paper form of the book instead of the electronic version? (If there are examples to be solved, I would prefer to avoid defacing my Kindle.)
I know that you probably had no say in the cover design... but why doesn't (at least) the second S in SER1OUSLY get turned into a 5?
For those interested... I found Laura Taalman's article of the same name from 07: http://www.math.jmu.edu/~taal/sudoku_mathhorizons.pdf
The jigsaw variant is interesting because it allows any size grid - square numbers are nothing special.
rpenner @1, solving in pen is of course de rigueur (and you certainly have the name for it) but I do resort to pencil occasionally when my tricks run out and I am forced to a trial.
Pencil? You do Sudoku in pencil?
Who knew? I just blast ahead in pen, and if I mess up -- oh well, that puzzle's dead (unless it's an error I just made and I can back up one step).
Sometimes, it's OK to lose. Teaches one to be less loose-thinking the next time.
That's a great cover design.
Thanks for all the kind words.
This is one case where I think the electronic version of the book really won't work very well. This is both a math book and a puzzle book so you will want to have a paper copy for working out the puzzles. There are also a very large number of diagrams (many of them in color!) which I don't think will come out very well in an electronic edition.
The book is mostly nontechnical, and we think nearly all of it will be accessible to non-math majors. There are a few sections where we decided to include more of the technical detail than some people will appreciate, but the book is structured so that you can easily read around those sections.
The “minimal clue” problem is still unsolved, though the circumstantial evidence points strongly to 17 being the minimum number of starting clues for a puzzle with a unique solution (or 18 if you want the starting clues to be rotationally symmetric). Yes, we do have a chapter on this!
The book is partly a discussion of math problems related to Sudoku (How many Sudoku squares are there? How many fundamentally different squares are there?) But it's also an introduction to higher mathematics using Sudoku puzzles as a gateway. For example, we have a chapter showing how the sort of reasoning one naturally goes through in solving a Sudoku puzzle is the same sort of reasoning mathematicians employ to solve their problems.
Laura and I were both pretty happy with the cover design. OUP's art department does a good job with these things! Incidentally, Laura is the coauthor, with her husband Phil Riley, of three books of original Sudoku puzzles: Color Sudoku, Naked Sudoku, and the just released No-Frills Sudoku. I encourage you to buy multiple copies of all three!
The large number of color diagrams is the reason he production process is going to take even longer than usual for these things. Hopefully the finished product will be worth the wait!
Pah! Why would I buy a book written by a Junior New Atheist?
Yeah Jason, did you start at least on chapter by saying, "Oh, and by the way, the God of the Old Testament is malevolent, capricious, megalomaniacal, etc., and also sucked at Sudoko"? If not, how do you ever expect to get promoted to full New Atheist status?
@Kevin - 6
"...I just blast ahead in pen, and if I mess up -- oh well, that puzzle's dead (unless it's an error I just made and I can back up one step)."
This is the way it should be done; no trial and error, no erasures, just forging on through. If you mess up, then learn from your mistake.