Google Docs Math If Cell Equals X Then Add Cells 9 Killer Tips for Solving Kenken Puzzles

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9 Killer Tips for Solving Kenken Puzzles

These intriguing math-based puzzles are easier to solve than you might think, and are also a fun tool for sharpening mental arithmetic skills. Here are some great tips for those new to Kenken puzzles, and you’ll be familiar with the logic behind most of them if you already do Sudoku puzzles.

TIP 1: USE LOGIC DON’T GUESS

Kenken puzzles are like Sudoku puzzles in this respect. If you make a mistake, it’s never immediately obvious and when you find out it’s almost always impossible to retrace your steps and start over. So use deletion and only fill in a number if you’re 100% sure it’s correct. In simple puzzles, sometimes there is a cage with only one cell, so only one number can fit into it. There, you’ve already started.

TIP 2: WRITE THE NUMBERS ONLY YOU CAN USE

So if, for example, you’re solving a 4 x 4, write the numbers 1 through 4 somewhere near the grid. It is good to keep the different combinations of numbers and their relationships in mind at all times. This is easier if you can see the numbers.

TIP 3: WRITE IN THE CANDIDATES

Kenken puzzles are also like Sudoku puzzles in that it is a good idea to write candidates in the cells. Candidates are lists of numbers that could go in a particular cell and can be written in pencil in the corner. You will find that later on you can narrow them down to a single candidate as you begin to solve.

TIP 4: USE SCANNING TO ELIMINATE CANDIDATES

With Kenken puzzles you know that the number can only appear once in any row or column. So if you find a number, it is removed from both the row and the column that intersects that particular cell. Therefore, numbers can be removed from candidate lists when cells are resolved using this logic.

TIP 5: LOOK FOR ROWS AND COLUMNS THAT ARE ALREADY MOSTLY FINISHED

If a row or column has only one unresolved cell, since you cannot repeat a number, only one number can go there. For example, if you had a row or column of five with the numbers 2, 1, 5, and 3 already filled in, the last unfilled cell must contain a 4.

TIP 6: USE MATH

Remember that Kenken puzzles use math, and this can further eliminate candidates.

For example, if you’re solving a 6 by 6 grid and you have a cage that sums to 11, only two numbers can go in there, 6 and 5, so we can put them as the only candidates. Always look for cages like this where only a few numbers can fit.

TIP 7: LOOK FOR PAIRS AND TRIPLES

Above is an example of pairs, and again this makes Kenken puzzles similar to Sudoku. So if you have two cells in a row or column where only two numbers can go, those cells can be removed from other candidate lists in that row or column.

TIP 8: BE FLEXIBLE IN YOUR THINKING

If you get stuck switch techniques ie go from looking for pairs and triples to scanning. When we get stuck on puzzles, it’s usually because we’ve missed something, and changing focus can usually uncover something we’ve overlooked.

TIP 9: COME BACK LATER

Even the best solvers get stuck from time to time. If you’re really stuck, save what you’ve done and come back to it again. With a fresh mind, you will discover something you previously missed.

Kenken puzzles are a lot of fun, so happy solving!

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