Confession 1:
I’m a newspaper junkie.
The Internet is great, and I do get a lot of “breaking news” there, but for me there’s nothing like reading the news of the world in black-and-white. I have pages to turn, information from reliable sources, and a variety of opinions to ponder.
Confession 2:
I’m a Sudoku junkie.
The news in newspapers loses its punch when I don’t know the language. And yet I picked up abandoned newspapers off train seats and in airport terminals and coffee shops in Poland, Belgium, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, and everywhere we went on our last trip.
There are the pictures which sometimes actually are worth a thousand words, sports scores, gossip comprehensible in its simplicity — and Sudoku.
I never heard of Sudoku before five years ago or so, and yet now it’s one of the things I do on a regular basis.
I don’t like Sudoku books. Five or six puzzles in, any given collection of puzzles starts to repeat its patterns.
But newspaper Sudoku — that’s another story.
And of course, no translation is needed: it’s all numbers.
Yet, somehow or other, the Sudoku puzzles in the newspapers of Norway had a different spin from the Sudoku puzzles in Portuguese newspapers. How can that be?
And the Sudoku in the International Herald Tribune — fiendish! There must be a consensus among the editors who chose the IHT Sudoku that their readers have a lot of time on their hands: each puzzle has a secondary puzzle within its parameters. One friend says this makes the puzzle easier to solve. (She spends half a year abroad.)
Who would have thought there’s an international mindset that comes into play in the numerical puzzle of Sudoku? Who can explain it?
Anyway, it’s something to do on a rainy day in a European coffeeshop when my husband wants to have the computer to himself. While he travels the “cloud” connecting with friends, making hotel reservations, getting weather reports and reading news from home, I scan the empty tables, spot an abandoned newspaper of one sort or another, flip through its pages, and — voila! — find another Sudoku to work.