Meet the 'Sudoku Guy,' B.C.'s internet puzzle sensation

Kelowna resident Robin Jarman has produced more than 80 web tutorials teaching people how to play sudoku. The videos have been viewed 1.5 million times and he has more than 9,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.

'I don't think he'll ever run out of things to say about sudoku,' his wife says

Robin Jarman calls himself the 'Sudoku Guy' and has produced more than 80 web videos with puzzle tutorials. (Robin Jarman/ YouTube)

If you are stuck on a sudoku puzzle, Robin Jarman has you covered.

The Kelowna resident, who also goes by the name "Sudoku Guy," has put together dozens of online tutorials, which have been viewed approximately 1.5 million times worldwide.

"The key is what to look for," Jarman said to Alya Ramadan of CBC's Daybreak South.

"It's absolutely amazing the number of different little tricks and techniques you can learn. It really does help if you know a lot."

Sudoku is a number placement puzzle that involves filling a grid with the numbers one to nine vertically, horizontally and in sub-grids.

Jarman said he became hooked on the game about 15 years ago when he was travelling the world as a tour guide after retiring from teaching. 

"I had a lot of spare time, so I sort of taught myself," he said.

82 videos, thousands of subscribers

At the time, he said the game was relatively unknown with little instruction available online, so he decided to combine two passions and create web tutorials.

"A lot of the stuff that I had seen on the internet was done by academics and it wasn't so easy to understand, so I thought I'd use my teaching background and my theatre background to put together a bunch of videos that were fun and easy to understand."

Jarman has since produced 82 videos ranging from beginner to advanced — including children's videos —  and has more than 9,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.

He wrote a jingle, created a caricature, shoots the majority of the videos in his kitchen and incorporates costumes whenever possible.

"Just to keep it interesting ... period costumes, tuxedos, casual, Hawaiian, whatever I can come across," he said.

He says he never anticipated such an "unbelievable response."

"It's been very flattering, I've got people praising me from all over the world and I've got hundreds and hundreds of people who make comments under the videos," he said.

One viewer wrote: "I've always wanted to learn this but no one has ever made it easy for me and then I came across your video ... thanks man!"

'Strange ... but it's also wonderful'

Jarman's wife, Cathryn Wellner, says she was initially skeptical of the online lessons, but now even she can't get enough.

"I have to be honest, I didn't think it would go anywhere. I mean, what do you have to say about sudoku?" said Wellner.

"Now he's got this whole video thing going. He's got me hooked and I swore he never would."

Jarman produces the videos and operates his website from his Kelowna condo. (Robin Jarman)

Jarman admits there is "the odd puzzle" that he has a challenge with, but overall he's "pretty good."

As for the videos, his wife says viewers can expect to see many more.

"I don't think he'll ever run out of things to say about sudoku. I mean isn't that strange? But it's also wonderful."

With files from CBC's Daybreak South and Alya Ramadan.

About the Author

Jaimie Kehler

Jaimie Kehler is a web writer, producer and broadcaster based in Kelowna, B.C. She has also worked for CBC News in Toronto and Ottawa. To contact her with a story, email jaimie.kehler@cbc.ca.