## 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, and C in every row, column, and 4×3 box.

Stars & Stripes adds a new wrinkle. Instead of letters A, B, and C, the puzzle uses three stars as an asterisk (*).

The difference is the three 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, the empty cells must 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 also wrote a book with 100 of his Stars & Stripes Sudoku 12×12 puzzles. It is available on Amazon. Give it a try!