"The Next Sudoku?" - KenKen, a puzzle trademarked by NexToy, has recently been getting a significant publicity push including publication in The New York Times beside their famous crossword puzzle. As a writer of logic puzzles, I decided to try my hand at constructing better KenKen puzzles (since the ones in the Shortz books have never been interesting to me as they are both too easy and too computer-generated). For three weeks in my blog, I outdid the NYT KenKen and made many themed puzzles, fixed the standard rules with respect to subtraction and division, and even added the concept of "zero" to the puzzle. Since this series, I've written a book of hand-crafted, themed puzzles for this type which was recently released. These 20+ entries provide my thoughts on what the NexToy "puzzle" is, what the puzzle should be, and how to make the type interesting.

Sample puzzles from my entries:

3/02 - Thomas Snyder Does the NYT KenKen Puzzle (a joking entry along the lines of Rex Parker's NYT Crossword blog)

3/03 - Thomas Snyder Outdoes the NYT KenKen Puzzle (my first themed puzzle (above, left), 5x5, for square root day)

3/04 - The Great Divide (6x6 puzzle with a huge central diagonal region)

3/05 - Where's The Beef (in which I discuss my problems with KenKen, especially its clumsy rules, and give a 7x7 puzzle with better rules)

3/06 - Downward Spiral (7x7 puzzle with decreasing values as one spirals towards the center)

3/07 - Here Comes The SunSun (a challenging 8x8 sun-shaped puzzle)

3/08 - Cashing Out (a huge $ region in a 9x9 puzzle)

3/09 - This is not really a puzzle (a 2-region puzzle that looks neat)

3/10 - Almost Perfect (5x5 puzzle where all cages equal 10)

3/11 - Powers of Two (5x5 puzzle where all cages are a power of 2 and a large 2-shaped cage is also present)

3/12 - Stacked Boxes (6x6 puzzle with a fun solving path)

3/13 - Bracelet (7x7 challenge)

3/14 - A Whole Lot Of Nothing (7x7 puzzle in which I introduce zero to create an interesting puzzle by constraining multiplication)

3/15 - Trapped!!! (9x9 puzzle with a big person [Ken?] trapped inside a cage)

3/16 - One Is ... (4x4 operationless puzzle with only 1's as values)

3/17 - Bowtie (5x5 puzzle with my new rules)

3/18 - Spot The Differences (6x6 all subtraction puzzle that was harder than intended - I remade it here)

3/19 - Divide and Conquer (6x6 puzzle with large division regions)

3/20 - What? (7x7 puzzle with unknown digits at play)

3/21 - Last Hurrah (9x9 challenge that is almost a sudoku, but not)

6/28 - [0-5] USPC Victory Calcudoku (for getting 360/400 and winning a 4th straight USPC)

The above puzzles are collected in a PDF here.

Since the initial series, I've written more puzzle (and variations) on TomTom/Calcudoku/KenKen.

Multi-Op puzzle - with 23 theme

More Multi-Op puzzles

One Year Later - anniversary puzzle for the series

So Long, and Thanks for All the TomTom - For Friday Puzzle 42 I wrote two puzzles including one with a blatant 42 theme. Each puzzle uses a non-standard number sets in place of 1-N.

1-9 TomTom puzzle - Operationless puzzle with a big challenge

Book Release Extras

Kenword - variant from BANG 23 that combines Crosswords and KenKen, part of Ken Evil's master plan to get rid of the NYT crossword.

Map Puzzles - puzzle with 23 theme from BANG 23

Creative Commons License
All puzzles on this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.