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03 March 2009 @ 09:03 am
Thomas Snyder Outdoes the NYT KenKen  
So yesterday I made the bold step to redesign my blog, and it got a fair bit of attention in the blogosphere. I fortunately beat out crossword_fiend who was apparently planning to switch to blogging on this amazing new puzzle as well. However, I couldn't keep others like thedan from ruining the pure, brilliant KenKen puzzle with unnecessary and awkward variants, like Battleship KenKen. Really! Battleship KenKen? It will never catch on.

Unfortunately, all the attention led to the notice of some higher powers. I quickly received a C&D letter from the NYT saying that my posting about the KenKen was likely to cut into their profits from the soon-to-launch 1-900-4KENKEN hint number. I tried to convince them about how brilliant the kenken.com theming of puzzles was, and how I should educate the other solvers of the NYT KenKen to notice these things. They had no idea what I was talking about and said I could not continue to post the puzzles with all the digits in the grid (apparently the rules are different with crosswords).

So, instead of anger, I developed a new goal. Thomas Snyder will now outdo the NYT KenKen. We're going big time, baby!

Since this is only Tuesday, I figured I shouldn't go too tricky. But it is 3/3/(3x3) and I figured I could write a nice themed puzzle for that date. I wanted to make sure my audience got to add and subtract and multiply and divide so I got that all in here too. You can do the NYT KenKen today, or you can do this one. I'll let you vote for the better puzzle.

Rules: Fill each row and column with the digits one to five exactly once. The bold regions indicate the value of a mathematical operation performed on those cells in some order. For example, 33+ means that the 11 digits in that region collectively add up to 33. Digits can repeat within bold regions, but certainly not within rows or columns.
(Anonymous) on March 3rd, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
Lol, who says Americans don't get irony?

The NYT kenken yesterday was made (slightly) harder when you dropped the assumption of knowing what the binary operations were.

Actually, speaking of irony, I read the other day (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7912379.stm) that the whole brain training craze that has popped up in the last few years was essentially all mouth and no trousers. A study shows the mental health benefits are no more pronounced than simply doing a crossword puzzle.

Perhaps you'd like to pass this on to the NYT?

motrismotris on March 3rd, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
If most of the hype for a thing (like playing Mozart to your unborn child) is coming from someone trying to profit from the concept, then its always best to worry about the factual backing. Any mental activity is good stimulation for the brain, and puzzles are fun so they are a good choice, but physical exercise is as important if not more to fit into each day.
seekingferretseekingferret on March 3rd, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
I've always wondered what would happen if you played Schoenberg for your unborn child. But I think that's too cruel an experiment to be ethical.
thedan on March 3rd, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
I'm still trying to improve my logic construction skillz, but one thing I'm certain of: as long as I live, I will never produce logic puzzles as aesthetically elegant as yours, Thomas. Nice job, fun solve.

(And thanks for the plug, although many of your readers will probably run headlong into a friendblock; feel free to repost the BK here if you like.)
cyrebjr: Numberscyrebjr on March 5th, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
I think you should have named this puzzle with an awful pun: Battleship O' KenKen.
Mike Selinkerselinker on March 3rd, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
Yup, definitely a KenKen PuzzleCraft in your future.
(Deleted comment)
motrismotris on March 3rd, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
"Square Root Day" observers see everything in mod 100.
Jammermeeko713 on March 5th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
i am really blow away by this puzzle construction!!! thanks for sharing. motris>nyt anyday!
Henrytahnan on March 6th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
Really lovely. Remind me to hire you away from the Bombers if we ever have to write a Mystery Hunt.
motrismotris on March 6th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Being paid to write a Mystery Hunt? I might actually come back to Boston if that were the economics of it.
devjoedevjoe on March 6th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Time to do the unsolved Kenkens!

Two threes are freebies in the single cells, and 3/ must be 3,1 with the 3 forced to the left by the other existing 3. 3+ must be 1,2 in some order, which puts the 4 and 5 in the first column into the 3000x block. The remaining digits in that block must have a product of 150, which can only be 5x5x2x3. Since each of the three rows of this region need a 5, two of these 5s and the 4 in the first column can be placed. Then there is only one place for the 3, and the remaining digits can be placed. Now the other small regions can be filled in, and the rest of the puzzle by elimination.


Not very difficult, but much more interesting than those Kenkens with no regions larger than size 3.
(Anonymous) on June 7th, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC)
Nice 3 Puzzle !
That was a very nice puzzle !
Was it so obvious that nobody cares to mention the nice shape of the 33+ region ?