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Singapore Math

Thursday, April 29, 2010

SUDOKU for Goondus and Suakus

The Sudoku fever has subsided significantly from the time one could witness dozens of teenagers and working adults (and even some seniors) on morning and evening trains and buses, frantically trying to fill in the empty squares from sudoku puzzles published in newspapers or paperbacks – it looks more like some self-imposed or self-inflicted deadlines to complete the puzzle before they reached their destinations.

However, the cult of diehard sudoku addicts has kept the world’s number-one logic puzzle alive, with publishers never failing to inundate an already-saturated market. Recently, I visited Borders, Kinokuniya, and some local bookstores to have an idea of the number of sudoku titles each one carries. Not surprisingly, the Japanese bookshop has an entire shelf dedicated solely to sudoku titles.

A common sight at these locations is the number of recreational math and science titles being outnumbered by sudoku titles under the Puzzles/Games section. In terms of shelf space, only feng shui, numerology, and other New Age titles (subtly promoting pseudoscience, innumeracy, and fear) seem to be able to compete with sudoku titles (indirectly marketing logic, numeracy, and sanity) these days.

Let’s look at some of these creatively christened titles sold in Singapore bookshops:

Killer Sudoku
Mastering Sudoku
Absolute Sudoku
The Original Sudoku
Extreme Su Doku
Hard-As-Nails Sudoku
Expert Sudoku
Mammoth Book of Sudoku
The Big Book of Sudoku
The Little Book of Advanced Sudoku
Sudoku Genius
Stylish Sudoku
Chic Sudoku
FEROCIOUSLY FUN Sudoku
Super-Smart Sudoku
Su Doku Gold/Silver/Platinum
White/Brown/Green/Black Belt Sudoku
Third-Degree White/Brown/Black/Green Belt Sudoku
Su Doku For Dummies*
Sudoku for Dummies
Extreme Sudoku for Dummies
Kids’ Sudoku for Dummies
Sudoku Jokes (Easy/Difficult)
Tough SUDOKU
Sudoku GRAND MASTERS
Sun, Sea AND Sudoku
Sudoku Shite

Like timesharing sales personnel, writers and publishers of Sudoku titles are never short of creative titles to keep the craze alive. Like the 15-Puzzle and the Rubik cube, Sudoku may be just a fad for some, but one thing we can learn from the rich list of sudoku titles is that there is more than one creative way to market the same old content to tens of thousands of lovers of logic puzzles. Probably, creative publishers and writers could substitute ‘sudoku’ by ‘math’ in the above list to capture a bigger market for their future math titles.

While some of us are waiting or hoping for some non-vanity publishers to approach us to write or co-write some Sudoku titles for some Asian young (and senior) audiences, in particular the X and Y generations, let me leave you with a list of titles, which may be worth publishing.

I doku, therefore I am
Sudoku for Seniors
SUDOKU for Priests, Pastors & Pro...
Sudoku à la Singapour
The Asian Sudoku Calendar
Kung-fu Sudoku
A Model Approach to Mastering Sudoku
Sudoku-Lite
Why Sudoku May Be Bad for You!
Why Men Doku and Women Don’t Q
Doku your babyBe the next Euler!
Lucifer sUdOkU
Sudoku 4 Lovers–Play in Pairs!
The Hype about Sudoku
The Lighter Side of Sudoku
Sudoku for Kiasus⁺
Sudoku for Dementia-Prone Citizens

Sudoku-fully yours

Suakus and Goondus are the Asian equivalents of Dummies, Idiots, and Morons.
* I only have a vague idea how Su Doku for Dummies differs from Sudoku for Dummies.
 Kiasus are those who are afraid to lose out in life.

© Yan Kow Cheong, April 28, 2010