This cartoon has at its root, a cartoon from 3/4/2007, called Linear Sudoku. For those that wish to describe a Sudoku puzzle to others, particularly by Email, the best way is to create either an 81 character text string or a 9 strings of size 9, where the dot represents the blank cell in both cases.
The site: Sudoku @ Paulspages permits the selection of a Sudoku puzzle, be it random, non-symmetric or from a gallery of puzzles and from that point, it is possible to export it as a text file as shown to the right of the Board in this Cartoon.
There are several benefits for this format, not the least of which is communicating with another puzzler to verify a difficulty or a solution. For those who are visually impaired, they can employ a software program that converts text to speech, thereby permitting the person to hear what the puzzle elements are, so that they can be solved mentally, or transcribed to a braille-writer for reference.
Now that text messaging is becoming most popular, these text strings can convey a puzzle in a minimum of words. This can be useful in timed competitions, where the winning solution is “texted” over to the contest judges for least time and solution correctness. See, for example:
Sudoku Text Challenge sponsored by the TimesOnline and retrieved June 17, 2008.