The objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 sub-grids that compose the grid (also called "boxes", "blocks", "regions", or "sub-squares") contains all of the digits from 1 to 9. The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid, which typically has a unique solution.

Completed puzzles are always a type of Latin square with an additional constraint on the contents of individual regions. For example, the same single integer may not appear twice in the same 9×9 playing board row or column or in any of the nine 3×3 subregions of the 9×9 playing board.

The puzzle was popularized in 1986 by the Japanese puzzle company Nikoli, under the name Sudoku, meaning single number. It became an international hit in 2005.

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