Life’s a number for Sophie the sudoku kid

Sudoku expert Sophie Merritt has a way with numbers. Picture: Michael Gillen
Sudoku expert Sophie Merritt has a way with numbers. Picture: Michael Gillen

Many people would not even attempt a sudoku puzzle but one 11-year-old girl completes them in double quick time – then creates her own.

Ladeside Primary School pupil Sophie Merritt was only introduced to the popular numbers game a couple of months ago, but she is already a sudoku master.

The Stenhousemuir youngster said: “It was just before Christmas when my teacher Mrs Barber brought in a sudoku book for the class. I completed it and then started making up puzzles of my own.

“My friends Orla and Taylor enjoy sudoku too, but I really enjoy maths and I like problem solving – when I’m creating the puzzles I like figuring out where the numbers will go. When I completed a puzzle quickly my teacher would say I don’t know how you do it.”

Sudoku now plays a big part in Sophie’s life, which was already filled with sporting pursuits and other hobbies.

“I bought a sudoku book from the supermarket and I sit doing puzzles in the living room while everyone watches television. I even sit doing them in bed before I go to sleep.”

Parents Jason and Jane and big sister Rebecca and little brother Ethan are all amazed at Sophie’s numerical dexterity.

A footballer with Falkirk FC’s girls team, Sophie is not even close to being a stereotypical maths geek. She also dances, runs and swims to keep her body as fit as her mind.

She does admit finding it harder to create sudoku puzzles than complete them.

“It’s a challenge, but I’m thinking about making a sudoku puzzle book and selling it to raise money for Strathcarron Hospice, because they helped my grandad Jim before he died.”

The primary seven pupil will be heading up to Larbert High School after the summer holidays and will no doubt help to increase the school’s mathematics exam success rate.