As I was writing the introduction for my **Pattern Squares Puzzle Book** comparing the *Pattern Squares* puzzle to the crossword and the sudoku, I realized that the sudoku is not a math puzzle. It is not even a numerical puzzle. It uses numbers, but numbers are not vital to the puzzle. Any set of different symbols can be substituted for the 9 digits. Thus, in a way, the sudoku is a visual puzzle just like my *Pattern Squares* puzzle.

Furthermore, I realized that I already created just the right graphic symbols to substitute for the numbers. I created these symbols for my **Labyrinthos** maze puzzle book. Now I can reuse them to create the *Visual Sudoku* puzzle.

I was so excited by this, that I quickly created two sample *Visual Sudoku* puzzles to put in the **Pattern Squares Puzzle Book** before it went to printing. These two samples represent two kinds of sudoku puzzles. The first one is the "regular" sudoku in which 9 different symbols appear once and only once in each of the 9 columns and 9 rows. The second sudoku is where the grid of 9 columns and 9 rows is sub-divided into 9 smaller areas, each one being a 3 column and 3 row grid. In this sudoku, the 9 different symbols appear once and only once in each column and each row, and they appear once and only once in each of the 9 subdivided areas.

After I sent the** Pattern Squares Puzzle Book** to the printers, I decided to create a **Visual Sudoku Puzzle Book** to complement it. It is the same size, has the same number of pages and the same number of puzzles. It also has two bonus *Pattern Squares* puzzles at the end.

When I was creating the *Visual Sudoku* puzzles for the book, I realized that I needed a more systematic way to create them. And I needed to better understand the puzzle and how it is created. After making a few puzzles, I noticed that you can use a pattern of manipulating the symbols to create the puzzle in a more systematic way. I also realized that the two different types of sudoku require two different patterns of manipulation.

Once I figured out these patterns, creating the puzzles was fun.

The sudoku puzzle is, of course, not my idea. It originated in a 19th century French newspaper (I think) and was developed into what it is now in 1979. But the *Visual Sudoku* is my original idea of translating numbers of the puzzle to visual symbols. In doing research to understand the puzzle better, I have not come across a "visual" sudoku that uses graphic symbols rather than numbers. Thus this variation of the sudoku puzzle is my original idea and, as the saying goes, "All rights are reserved" (just a verbal precaution targeted toward large publishers of sudoku puzzles, and the plethora of internet idea scavengers who do not consider the theft of Intellectual Property one of the seven deadly sins, or if they do, they disregard any potential for punishment that may be incurred from committing this sin by committing it(I am protecting myself and my ideas by sharing them here in this blog and thus establishing a public record)).

Having a tireless creativity, I already began creating variations of the *Visual Sudoku* puzzle. These variations include using square rather than circular symbols and using more and less column/row grids. While the grid of 9 columns and 9 rows has certain advantages and has been used for obvious reasons, the *Visual Sudoku* is not tied to this tradition. I am now in the process of writing an introduction to my **Visual Sudoku Kids Puzzle Book**. This collection of *Visual Sudoku* puzzles includes puzzles that use a 4×4, a 6×6, an 8×8 and a 10×10 grids. It introduces children to the sudoku puzzle, the *Visual Sudoku* puzzle, with simple puzzles and challenges them by slowly increasing size and difficulty.