I have to admit it: I have become hooked on Sudoku. Before I elaborate, let me give a little bit of background on me.

I love puzzles. In any shape or form, be it a conventional puzzle with a picture that's broken in pieces, the 3-D version of these, word searches, word twists, logic games, crossword puzzles, anagrams, jumble, you name it. I'm not sure when this love came about, or why. All I remember is that I loved the way they made me think, and I can never get enough of them.

Recently, this hankering branched out into Sudoku, the "number puzzle crossword" that involves not math, but logic. The concept is simple enough, and if you aren't familiar with the puzzle, allow me to elaborate here:

There is a 9 X 9 grid, broken up into 9 3 X 3 subgrids. In each row and column, the sequence 1-9 must be present, with no repeats, and each subgrid must also contain the 1-9 sequence.

The concept is simple enough. But I never in my wildest dreams imagined that they could pull you in hook, line, and sinker, the way they do. After having done many, however, I can tell you exactly why: these are some of the most satisfying puzzles to complete ever. When you finish working one, you're left feeling as if that hole in your life has been filled, and that the earth has returned to balance. That is, until you start the next sudoku puzzle.

Enter the vicious cycle of sudoku. As I read in one review, but unfortunately cannot quote exactly, things in life fall by the wayside as sudoku captivates you. People will try to hold conversations with you, and the only response you'll be able to garner is a pathetic grunt. Chances are, though, that this person just might get a glimpse of what is distracting you, and become enraptured himself. So it's not all bad.

For me, these puzzles are a great way to escape from reality, avoid responsibility, and enjoy a little time to myself. Believe me, it is a challenge to maintain control of yourself, and only allot yourself a certain amount of time each day to sudoku (i.e. one puzzle a day), but it can be done. I'm happy to say that I am, at least most of the time, able to control myself. But it isn't always easy.

At least now, though, I know what I'm doing next time I travel by plane.