Onions never cry

Last week I picked up The Onion and started to do the Sudoku puzzle. Within a few seconds I realized there was a problem: The middle square in the second-to-top row had to be a “1”, because of the positions of two of the printed “1”s. But that same square also had to be a “3”, because of the positions of two of the printed “3”s.

The puzzle wasn’t just unsolvable – it was obviously unsolvable, almost at a glance. I had never seen a broken Sudoku before. It’s one of those unexpected first-time experiences, like the first time you ever bit into a juicy red apple and realized that a worm had gotten there first.

I thought to myself “Well after all, The Onion is a parody newspaper. Maybe they thought it would be funny to print a parody Sudoku this week.” But that didn’t seem quite right. This puzzle wasn’t funny, it was just … broken.

For the last week I’ve been wondering how The Onion would handle this crisis, and what might show up in the place where they usually print puzzle answers from the previous week. Would they print an apology to their readers, perhaps a retraction of some sort, a plea from the editors for understanding, and a promise to do better in the future? I’m not suggesting that this is a major world crisis as earth-shaking as, say, an guy pretending to be the Mayor of Paris who emails a letter to The New York Times to trash Caroline Kennedy.

But still, something would have to go there, in place of the puzzle answer, yes?

Well, no. The Onion solved the problem in their inimitable flip-the-bird style. Apparently, as of this week, there is no Sudoku on The Onion puzzle page.

Vanished. As if it had never existed.




Update: My friend Charles just suggested that this may have been the plan all along. Perhaps The Onion deliberately published a broken Sudoku so that nobody would object when the feature was gone the following week. Hmmm, a puzzle of a different kind.

3 Responses to “Onions never cry”

  1. Dennis says:

    Since we are guessing reason here, why not just email The Onion and ask them directly?

  2. admin says:

    What would be the point of that? They’d probably just tell us the real reason, and I’ll bet it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as all the stuff we can make up. 😉

  3. VRBones says:

    I like the irony of an unsolvable sudoku, especially if it was the last in a series. Feels like one big set up for an irreverent laugh at the genre.

    A counter would be to solve the sudoku by ignoring only one of the numbers, then publicly stating their typo. Double Irony. (so overwhelmingly over the top with naivety that it begs the question that maybe it was planned also).

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