Dear Puzzler,

Thank you for purchasing Pippin Publishing’s Terribly Torturous Sudoku. We apologize in advance for the pain and frustration it will bring over the coming weeks until, fearing for your sanity, you put it down once and for all.

This book marks the natural end of our Sudoku series, finishing what we started with Seriously Strenuous Sudoku and Tremendously Tricky Sudoku. The primary difference is that those two books featured difficult puzzles, while the puzzles in this book cannot be described as such because the word “difficult” implies that, with effort, they can be completed. This is simply not the case.

First, there’s the small issue of being able to read the numbers in the boxes. The font used within is a creation all our own. It is severely ugly and incomprehensible from all but the most awkward viewing angles. Before printing, we showed the proofs to a collective of typographers. They had a hard time fully expressing their distaste through the tears.

Then, there are the numbers in the boxes themselves. On some of the pages, what you see is what you get. On others, the numbers represent different numbers and you must crack the code in order to proceed. On others still, the numbers must be rearranged to form a phone number that, when called, will play a recording of the puzzle’s actual numbers. We don’t remember which ones are which. We had a guide at one point, but we shredded it and fed it to the fish in our office’s aquarium.

Certain puzzles (like those on pages 12, 23, and 487) will alarm you with their architecture alone. These are hybrids: half Sudoku, half crossword. Except the answers to the crossword-halves aren’t words; they’re complex equations built from a solution-less quasi-calculus whose operations include not just numbers, letters, and mathematical symbols, but also lunar phases, emoticons, colors, and tastes.

One puzzle (page 532) appears complete aside from a single blank square. The solution will be clear, but still, you will never be able to write it in. You see, that square is covered with a thin coating of experimental plastic designed to reject ink, graphite, wax, and paint. Etching into it, meanwhile, produces a high-pitched tone that is inaudible to humans but drives cats to commit acts of grotesque violence.

Another puzzle (page 985) appears completely blank, but this does NOT mean you have the freedom to complete it any way you like. No, as the instructions below it state: “The field, when filled in correctly and placed at a distance, will create the illusion of a babbling brook running through a forest on a fall morning.”

The width and angle of the brook, the tree density of the forest, the time of morning, the clarity of the image as a whole: none of this is specified. You’ll work on it for days, unsure if you see a brook because it’s there or because you want it to be there. Even when you put down your pencil and step away from the page, it will haunt you. You will start to measure numbers by their brook-ability rather than their value. 1s and 3s and 7s and 9s will appear in every river and stream you see. Nature and math will be forever fused in your mind.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. After all, you haven’t even started the book yet. Go ahead! Turn the page and give the first puzzle a try! Who knows? Maybe we were just joking! Maybe you’ll solve it without any trouble at all!

At least, you’ll have to, because there is no room for mistakes here. Each entry you make must be correct the first time. The grade of paper is such that the simple stroke of a rubber eraser is enough to send the entire book up in flames. Cover-to-cover incineration will be swift and unstoppable, occurring in just shy of three seconds.

Consider this a favor. It’s the only one you’ll get.

The Numerical Dominatrixes of Pippin Publishing’s Fun & Games Department