Sudoku debacle engrages students

If something goes wrong at the paper, I should be hearing about it from you while I’m at work.

Tim Franzen

Don’t let my pleasant picture confuse you. I’m upset.

It’s not just because of a lack of letters to the editor. It’s because I worked all day last Wednesday and didn’t hear peep about the pre-filled in Sudoku. I had to find out about the goof from my goon of a roommate.

“Hey! Daily-boy. What’s with the Sudoku today?” my eloquent roommate calmly and politely inquired as I traipsed through the door Wednesday evening.

“Huh?” I gracefully countered.

I spent about three hours at work that day and heard nothing about this whiter-than-white belt Sudoku.

I know that people noticed. When I ask about that fateful day, people tell me how upsetting it was for them and their classmates. Other employees at the Daily got earfuls of criticism while off the clock. But not one person let me know by e-mail or by telephone that this mistake happened.

I enjoy the Sudoku as much as the next person. In fact, it is responsible for my sanity, as it was all I occupied my mind with at my summer job. I would have hated to open my paper to see a complete Sudoku staring back at me – almost laughing at me, telling me I have to do some actual work.

Even though I love the Sudoku, I didn’t have the time to do it myself that day. Now imagine if the Daily repeated this error the next day because no one told me about it.

Riots in the streets. Cars tipped over. Burning effigies of Moe, the Daily mascot. People trolling the streets for young virgins to sacrifice to appease the Sudoku gods.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I know how seriously people take their in-class diversions. I heard that one student left, mid-class, to go print out a Sudoku in lieu of the Daily’s puzzle.

Some thought it was a joke by the Daily. No, the Sudoku debacle was simply a mistake. The Daily has recently lost our managing production editor and our copy desk chief. In the shuffle of promotions and reorganization, the Daily’s production team was suffering from staff shortages. And while they have done remarkably well under adverse conditions, the Sudoku managed to slip by.

Fortunately, the Daily got its act together and printed a legitimate black belt Sudoku the next day without needing my intervention. But that’s not my point.

My point is that my job here is to be a representative of the readers. And frankly, you guys are dropping the ball. It’s extremely hard to represent you people when no one lets me know what is making them angry.

You readers are the Daily’s main source of quality control. Although I read the Daily daily, I don’t comb through it looking for mistakes. I rely on the readers to tell me about the issues they have with the paper. If no one tells me about problems, no problems get investigated or solved.

So pretty please, with a cherry on top, call or e-mail me with complaints. For example, instead of running out of class to print a Sudoku, flip open your laptop and send an e-mail to [email protected]

I’d much rather have an inbox full of angry e-mails than an ignorance to the problems of the readers.

Tim Franzen is the Readers’ Representative. He welcomes comments at [email protected]