Here's a heads-up: Plan a little extra time to spend with Monday's edition of the Appeal. We're starting a new puzzle, called sudoku, which will run Monday through Saturday on the comics page.
Sudoku has become very popular, and now you'll have your chance to see what it's all about.
I took that opportunity myself this week on a sudoku puzzle that was labeled as easy. Easy enough that, according to instructions, the average player would require about 10 minutes to complete it.
In defense of my approximate half-hour completion time, I would like to remind you that it was my first time.
Here's what I can report. Sudoku is fun, frustrating and tremendously satisfying when you - finally - complete it. In other words, it's everything a puzzle should be.
So how do you play? It's a deceivingly simple game. The object is to place the numbers 1 through 9 in each row, column and 3-by-3 grid of the puzzle, but each number can only be used once in each row, column and grid. Sudoku is a Japanese word meaning "the digits must remain single."
There's no addition, subtraction or other form of math involved.
Above is an easy one for you to try, but try not to peek at the answers below.
My only advice, offered humbly, is to not give up. Once you figure out a system and get your first few numbers filled in, you'll breeze through the puzzles.
To get you going on this puzzle, a good place to start is to fill in a 7 in the last square of the middle row. You know that only a 7 fits there because every other number from 1 to 9 is already taken in the row, column or 3-by-3 box that corresponds to that square.
The beauty of the game is that every number you complete gives you insights into solving another row, column or grid.
So enjoy sudoku and plan for a few extra moments starting on Monday. How many extra minutes? Far less than 30, I'm sure.
Readers who called about the new version of the TV guide that debuted in the Appeal last week will be happy to know we're working on some changes.
Several callers said they watch TV during the day and wanted us to bring back the daytime TV grids. You'll see that change happening soon.
You can tell it's election season in Nevada. The first candidate signs have gone up, and been knocked down and put back up along our roads. And the candidates themselves are coming out of the woodwork as filing opens on Monday.
Most recently, Jack Carter and his wife, Elizabeth, along with a small entourage, came through on Thursday. It was my first chance to meet the son of the former president. For the most part, he gave, in an unmistakable Georgia drawl, his unabashed views on any question he was asked (see the story on today's page A1).
And Carter conducted himself exactly like you'd expect of a savvy candidate while swinging through Northern Nevada. He wore blue jeans and a sport coat with a prominent pin shaped like the state of Nevada. He talked about fundraising (tougher than he expected, but he had raised $620,000 as of the end of March, mostly from out of state); his disdain for the Bush administration record (which he says is so extreme that it makes the policies of his father and Ronald Reagan seem close); and his opponent, John Ensign (who has been in lock step with Bush on nearly every issue, he says).
Jack Carter's father worked his way up in the political world, serving in the Georgia Legislature, but Carter's Senate run represents his first run for office. He does not hide from the fact that it is his father's name, rather than his own accomplishments, that has made him a viable candidate.
But then again, some would say that's a formula that worked for our president, so you never know.
• Barry Ginter is editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1221.