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Issue 345
23 October 2011
Updated Weekly
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Sven-doku

OLD BAG: This is an archive story from Issue 110 - 12 Sep 2005
Sven Goran Eriksson

Sven: Brain teaser

Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney

England players: Delighted with the formation

David Healy

David Healy: Only took 73 minutes to work it out

The numbers game craze that's sweeping the nation

Sven Goran Eriksson has left the nation scratching their heads with his version of the popular newspaper puzzle, Sven-doku.

Based on Sudoku, the Japanese number puzzle game popular with commuters and idiot savants all over the world, the England supremo has come up with his own number cruncher that he hopes will leave all his opponents baffled.

One from the top

For those unfamiliar with the original, the object of the game is to place numbers in a 9x9 grid so that no pairs of numbers appear on the same line. Sven hopes his version, where no formation or player position is ever the same twice, will be a sure fire winner with lovers of logic.

Always with an eye for a quick buck, celebrity maths puzzler Carol Vorderman has already had a crack at the coach's conundrum.

Three from the middle

"It's very tricky," she told The Onion Bag's intrepid reporter Larry Gak. "At first the solution looks quite easy, but you soon realise that Sven's made things far more complicated than they need to be."

She took the top off a jumbo permanent marker and explained more on a wall mounted piece of paper: "It's seems pretty straight forward - you think everything is going great. But then it all goes wrong and you end up with the number 9 stuck in the top left hand corner doing nothing."

Join the dots

However, she soon completed the problem with a flourish. "The puzzle becomes particularly easy to crack once you discover that the number 7 always goes in the middle rather than on the right where it seems most obvious - even if other numbers (say 4 or 8) look far better suited to going in the middle. Once you work that out - it quickly unravels."

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