Say hello to the 7 Little Words puzzle in the Erie Times-News Showcase starting Oct. 7 –

Crossword Tournament champion winner time lapse

Howard Barkin, the 2016 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament champion, does a cross word puzzle while he chats.

Anne-Marie Caruso, NorthJersey

There are immutable truths to this existence, we'll agree, among them:

At the risk of upsetting the laws of nature, not to mention some puzzle lovers, we have to do some fiddling.

The Erie Times-News offers a puzzles and games page every Thursday in the Showcase entertainment section. The vendor that provides those puzzles and games ceased offering one, Universal Sudoku, as of Sept. 30.

It's one of 10 sudoku puzzles the Times-News has publishedeach week. Nine will continue the Monday-through-Saturday puzzle in the classifieds,the double puzzle each Sunday in the Living section and the puzzle in the Screen Time TV and entertainment guide on Sundays. No other puzzles on any day are affected. No comic strips are affected.

We hoped we couldreplace the terminated puzzle with a different sudoku, but we discovered that we already use every sudoku option our vendor offers.

So starting this coming Thursday, you'll see 7 Little Words in the spot in Showcase where the sudoku had appeared. It's a puzzle that's been around for a decade and brings together crosswords, word finds and anagrams into a fun challenge. It's not sudoku, but maybe it'll become your next puzzle habit.

If, however, you can't get enough sudoku, let me point you to a free daily puzzle at In fact, there are plenty of other free games there as well word, card, arcade, quizzes, crossword and more. Some require email registration but no payment.

If it's not just games but also more comics that you'd like including "Calvin and Hobbes," "Doonesbury" and "Peanuts" daily strips head

And if you're a crossword maniac, USA Today offers a subscriber-only, advertising-free crossword for $5.99 a month that syncs across a dedicated app, desktop and mobile. It offers unlimited daily puzzles and daily reveals and access to an exclusive crossword archive, with unlimited time to complete unfinished puzzles.

So while we're sorry that there's one fewer sudoku to complete in print, there's no absence of games to enjoy. Whether you tackle those that might invite you to mess around with Jim, or Slim for that matter, is on you.

Matt Martin is the executive editor of the Erie Times-News and the USA Today Network's Western Pennsylvania Region. He can be reached at and 814-870-1704. Twitter: @etnmmartin.

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Say hello to the 7 Little Words puzzle in the Erie Times-News Showcase starting Oct. 7 -

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