Wayne Gould — (born 3 July 1945 in Hawera, New Zealand) is a retired Hong Kong judge, most recently known for helping to popularise sudoku puzzles in the United Kingdom, and thereafter in the United States.
He pioneered the global success and popularity of the Sudoku puzzle outside Japan where it had been popular for many years. Gould spent 6 years developing a computer program, known as Pappocom Sudoku that could mass-produce puzzles for the global market. His work led to the publication of sudoku puzzles in many UK newspapers.
Part of his strategy in the U.S. market was offering newspapers a daily puzzle at no charge, unique to each paper, for publication accompanied by an offer of its solution via the Pappocom website. The website also offered those consulting it a low-cost program that generates and, if desired, assists in solving, unlimited Sudoku puzzles of a difficulty and style specified by the user.
He is also editor of several paperback collections of the puzzles called Su Doku: The Utterly Addictive Number-placing Puzzle, published in 2005 by The Times Books (ISBN 0-00-720732-8, ISBN 0-00-721350-6, ISBN 0-00-721426-X).
He was named one of the ‘World’s Most Influential People’ of 2006 by Time magazine.
He is the brother of the former British politician Bryan Gould.
Not since—well, ever—have the numbers 1 to 9 been so popular. In less than a year, sudoku, the numerical logic puzzle with the funny name (pronounced soo-doh-koo), has swept the globe. Nearly every major newspaper in America has now started a daily sudoku, as have a multitude of papers abroad. Sudoku books rule the puzzle and game best-seller lists, beating out crosswords, poker and everything else. And it’s not just on paper. Handheld electronic devices, capable of generating a seemingly infinite number of original sudoku puzzles, sell briskly.
The man responsible for the mania is Wayne Gould, 60, a mild-mannered New Zealand puzzle enthusiast, formerly a judge in the criminal courts of Hong Kong. In 1997 he spotted a sudoku volume in a bookstore in Tokyo. He fell in love with the game. During the next few years he wrote a computer program for generating sudoku puzzles and—just as important—rating their difficulty. In November 2004 he persuaded the London Times to print them. The rest, as they say, is history.
While Gould didn’t invent sudoku (credit goes to Howard Garns, an Indianapolis architect, in the 1970s; the puzzle eventually made its way to Japan, where it got its modern name), Gould had the genius to recognize its elemental, addictive appeal. He also had a brilliant if counterintuitive marketing model: give the puzzle away. More than 400 newspapers worldwide run his Pappocom sudoku puzzles free in return for promoting Gould’s computer program and books. The results must be lucrative, as sales of the books alone have passed 4 million.