The history of Sudoku puzzles likely has it roots in the mathematical concept of Latin Squares.
Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician, in the 1780's developed the idea of arranging numbers in such a way that any number or symbol would occur only once in each row or column. Latin Squares is used in statistical analysis.
Sudoku rules add the restraint that each region may only have the numbers (or symbols) occurring but once. Howard Garns, an architect from Indianapolis, is credited with creating this rule when he developed the puzzle we know as Sudoku.
Dell Magazines published the puzzle under the name of Number Place for over 25 years. It is a staple of Dell Magazines to this day. You can find Number Place in Dell Collector's Series.
Presently Dell Magazines publishes several Sudoku puzzle books with such titles as Dell Original Sudoku, Dell Extreme Sudoku, and Dell Maximum Sudoku to name a few.
Sudoku is definitely an American invention, but the name isn't. Introduced into Japan by Nikoli under the name of 'Suuji wa dokushin ni kagiru' roughly translating to mean the numbers must be unmarried or single. Thankfully the name has been shortened to Sudoku.
The history of Sudoku continues to expand. Wayne Gould, a retired Hong Kong judge, author of Su Doku The Official Utterly Addictive Number-Placing Puzzle, first encountered the puzzle in a Tokyo book store.
He began to create his own puzzles and was soon addicted like the rest of us. He introduced his puzzles to The Times, a British newspaper, as Su Doku. His puzzles first appeared there on November 12, 2004.
As they say, the rest is history. The puzzle has crossed the pond back to the United States from England. It now appears in many major newspapers across the USA. It's popularity is gaining daily.
The history of Sudoku continues to grow. Today you will find not only Sudoku puzzle books, but Sudoku hand held games, Sudoku board games and a growing list of merchandise.
Is Sudoku a fad? Time will tell. I suspect that it is here to stay. As long as newspapers publish a Sudoku puzzle, there will be people who will want to solve it.
I give credit to Wikipedia for facts contained in this article "The History Of Sudoku".