It is a 12×12 Sudoku puzzle with a twist. Here is the scoop.
A typical 12×12 Sudoku puzzle puts the numbers 1 through 9 plus A,B,C in every row, column, and 4×3 box.
Stars & Stripes adds a new wrinkle. Instead of using letters A, B,and C, the puzzle uses three stars in the form of an asterisk (*).
The difference is the 3 stars (*) are the “same”. Each row, column, and 4×3 box will contain three stars in a finished puzzle.
When I solved a sample online game on www.sudoku-usa.net, I found it easier to solve for all the numbers. The remaining open cells had to be stars.
Likewise if you find a row, column, or 4×3 box already has three stars, then the empty cells have to be digits.
I did find that the stars added a degree of difficulty in that you can’t use the scanning method in relationship to each other. A star in a row and column doesn’t eliminate the possibility that the intersecting cell isn’t a star. It may be.
The puzzle has shaded areas such as red stripes and a blue field. These are just cosmetic. They do not have any bearing on solving the puzzle.
Matt Mayfield the creator of this Sudoku 12×12 puzzle, called Stars & Stripes Sudoku, has written an interactive online game of the same name. The game comes in four difficulty levels.
You will need to download and install a Microsoft plugin called Silverlight. It is Microsoft’s version of Flash. You can download the plugin at www.microsoft.com/SILVERLIGHT/ or www.sudoku-usa.net.
Prefer a paper puzzle? Matt has also written a book with 100 of his Stars & Stripes Sudoku 12×12 puzzles. It is available at Amazon. Give it a try!