New angle: New Jersey college professor creates version of Sudoku for math lovers

For those who are puzzled by math problems, a New Jersey college professor has published a book he believes will make the numbers less baffling.

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David Nacin, a professor of mathematics at William Paterson University, published "Math-Infused Sudoku: Puzzle Variants at All Levels of Difficulty" last month, reported. The book contains 81 puzzles and is a variation of the Sudoku game that requires filling a 9-by-9 grid with single-digit numbers in such a way that each column, row and subgrid contains all the numbers.

Nacin, 45, who has taught at the Wayne, New Jersey, school for 14 years, said he wants to take the intimidation factor out of math.

"It's almost a little deceptive, to make people learn without realizing they are learning. Games are a great way to do that," Nacin told

According to the American Mathematical Society, which published the book, the puzzles "introduce new challenges by adding clues involving sums, differences, means and divisibility."

"One puzzle for each square on the Sudoku board," Nacin told "I think all math problems are a little like puzzles."

Nacin, 45, said he was “intimidated by math” until attending Rutgers University, the website reported. He became enamored with equations, factors and formulas and switched his major from computer science.

The book's first eight chapters present a mathematical rule system, followed by puzzles connected to those rules, according to the William Paterson University website, which featured an article about Nacin. The final chapter puts all eight concepts from the previous chapters into a single complex puzzle.

"I teach math, but I'm sneaky about it. I don't say, 'Do this problem, solve this equation.' I'm always looking for an angle," Nacin told

Perhaps it is the right angle.

“I’m looking to maybe lure people into doing more math than they realize they’re doing, and to teach math through the puzzle. You might be learning math, without realizing you’re learning math,” Nacin told the website.

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