AWOKK, Day 4: My Puzzles
It’s Day 4 of the MJ4MF A Week of KenKen series, and I’m very excited about today’s offering. But first, in case you missed the fun we’ve had previously…
The puzzles that appear at KenKen.com and within the KenKen app are automatically generated by something that those folks call the KENerator. (Clever, no?) Likewise, the puzzles that appear in the MathDoku Pro app are also generated by a computer algorithm. The benefit is that both of these sources will provide a nearly infinite supply of puzzles. The downside is that computers don’t think as well as humans, so the puzzles range from mundane to amusing, and, in the words of Thomas Snyder, are “too easy and too computer-generated.” Rarely do they fall into the category of truly interesting.
That’s why Thomas Snyder attempted to outdo The New York Times KenKen puzzle back in 2009, when he presented a new KenKen puzzle every day. His themed puzzles were meant so show “what the puzzle should be” and how to make them interesting. Of the 20+ puzzles he presented, this is my favorite, which he created for March 3 (3/3).
You can see the large numeral “3” formed by the cage along the right edge of the puzzle. Further, every cage includes at least one digit 3 as part of the target number.
I also like his “Perfect Ten” puzzle, where every cage has 10 as the target number.
Like Snyder, I agree that KenKen puzzles are generally more interesting — and, usually, more difficult — when they’re created by a human instead of a computer. The following are several themed puzzles that I’ve created.
This puzzle is relatively easy, but I like that it uses only 8’s and 4’s. In honor of the small town of Eighty-Four, PA — which apocryphally is said to be named after the town’s mile marker on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad — I call this the “B&O” puzzle.
You may know that 1! = 1, 2! = 2, 3! = 6, …, 6! = 720, and that these numbers are known as factorials. Consequently, I call this the “Factorial” puzzle, since the target numbers are the first six factorials.
Of all the puzzles that I’ve created, my all-time favorite is a special 8 × 8 puzzle that I created in honor of the current year. But if you want to see it, you’ll need to check back on Sunday, September 25, for AWOKK, Day 7.