# Kakuro

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Sick of all of this sudoku nonsense flying about the place? Need a break from all this "one of each in every row column and square" rubbish? I've got the perfect solution for you... sorta. Kakuro—or Cross Sums or Sum Totals, depending on what school of puzzling you were raised in—is another number puzzler that has gained popularity in recent months.

Like sudoku, kakuro is played by filling in all of the open squares with a digit from 1 to 9. At the top of each column or at the left-hand side of each row of blocks is a number in a triangle. Your job is to fill in all of the blanks with digits that will add up to that number. For example, a row of three blocks with a sum of 14 on the end could be 1-5-8, 3-4-7, or several patterns of numbers.

A few key rules to keep in mind:

1. There are no zeroes in the puzzles at all.
2. No digit is repeated within any sum grouping.
3. The order for a string of numbers may vary. You may end up with 1-2-3, 1-3-2, 2-3-1, 2-1-3, 3-1-2, or 3-2-1. The only way to determine the correct order of a string is to solve for the row or column perpendicular to it.

To input numbers onto this grid, use your arrow keys to move the yellow box to any square and type in the number you want to put there. If you prefer using the mouse, click and hold your cursor on any square, and a small number pad will appear nearby. Mouse over the number you want, and release.

If you've never tried a kakuro puzzle before, I would strongly recommend using the never-changing practice puzzle for a quick start. After a few games in the easy level, you might pick up on some patterns and tricks to make the game a bit easier. (A sum of three in two boxes is always 1-2, a sum of 17 in two boxes is 8-9, and so forth. There are many more that I could mention, but it's probably better that you figure them out on your own.) In no time, you'll be tackling all three levels of play.

But that's not all, kids! The game also comes with some dandy features to help you on your way. If you can't decide on which number to put into a box, the pencil feature lets you write in several numbers in a box, until you've reached a final decision on what number you'd like to use. This is found in the bottom row of the mouse's keypad, or in the top-right hand corner of the game. Also in the keypad is a question mark. If you've marked in every number in a row except for one, using the question mark in that box will automatically fill in the space with the digit that completes the sum for that row or column. Plus, if you click on one of the triangle numbers at the end of a row, a small box pops up showing you all of the different number combinations possible for that row (although you still have to decide the order of the digits on your own). Also, if you put in a string of numbers that do not add up to the required sum, they change color to signal you to try again.

Analysis: For a puzzle-lover like myself, this game surely is a delight. The game's interface is convenient and easy to understand, and there's no doubt that they want to make the kakuro experience as enjoyable as possible. All of the puzzles are created so that only one solution is possible, and it does appear that there are a lot of puzzles to tackle. I would easily recommend this online version to anyone who's ever wanted to try kakuro.

The audio in this game is also quite enjoyable. While you're solving a puzzle, you're treated to a nice little latin piece in the background. Sadly, the musical selections are only about two minutes long, so they might sound a little repetitive after a while. Also, every time you input a number into the grid, you hear what sounds like a dying guitar being plucked. This was a bit hard to bear at first, but I eventually learned to ignore it. Truth be told, for such a puzzle like this, it wouldn't hurt at all to hit the mute button and play whatever music floats your own boat.

So if you're ready for a new puzzle twist, give Kakuro a try!

Play Kakuro

Cheers to Anthony for the link!

Three blocks summing to 14 could be several things, but 3-4-6 is pretty unlikely.

On the other hand, hooray Kakuro!

Really, art, what *were* you thinking?! xD

If you like this and want some for offline fun, conceptispuzzles.com has some free every week along with sudoku, battleships, picross, and other pencil puzzles.

July 31, 2007 9:29 PM

I must say I've been playing Kakuro for awhile now, and it's always so hard. I rather prefer picross or sudoku :) But nice find to crash my brain!

"Fighting evil by moonlight
Winning love by daylight
Never running from a real fight..."

interesting victory music! :)

thanks for spotting that, hanoj. exactly the error i need when introducing a game about adding numbers... XD

July 31, 2007 11:33 PM

My guitar gently weeps as I pluck the strings of confusion.(brain.....over....load). BTW, nice review Art!

A classic.

Although the book I bought of it that was worked on by a New York Times crossword editor had one puzzle (out of 150, yes, but still) with three squares under a 5... that was dumb. But I digress...

(I am not connected with any of the sites mentioned below.)

Times Online "killer" sudoku - a combination of sudoku and kakuro. A nice variation.

Conceptis has some great puzzles - the irregular sudoku is interesting, pic-a-pix and fill-a-pix are fun - but the kakuro is on paper only. (Or capture the screen and fiddle with it in a paint program.)

For playing kakuro online, here are two sites I visit that have free puzzles:

indigo puzzles - registration required, 2 new free each day, archive available, combination help

kakuro.com - 1 new free each day, combination help

Lol, I finished one and thought hmm....Sailor Moon? I hope'd I'd never hear that song again.

Awesome implementation of a classic! I played for longer than I should have yesterday :P

I wish the penciled numbers fit better in the boxes. The fourth number I enter usually goes outside the right margin.

On a separate note, Flash seems to work well on Linux with Firefox. Sometimes the fonts are off, though.

My browser will now crash....

Great implementation of Kakuro. I actually noticed that there are puzzles within the same difficulty level that are just rotations of one another. Sneaky.

I actually find these easier than Sudokus. I think that I probably just haven't mastered the higher-order strategies of Sudoku, though. (I've read a few strategy guides online, and there were some techniques that I hadn't been using, and don't remember them anymore. :P )

Still, Kakuro is fun. I first encountered it in a foreign newspaper as I was flying from Europe.

Hello Art,
I just want to thank you for reviewing my game. I noticed my play count went through the roof and could not at first figure out why. I am constantly updating the game with a lot new unique easy, medium, and hard puzzles (using my generator) which is why you will notice on occasion the version # will increase. I am also thinking about changing the "guitar pluck" to a high note "pling" to make those lone guitars stop weeping,
Thanks,
Anthony

Like "sudoku," I've been playing Cross Sums since long before we had to call it by a Japanese name to make it cool. This is the best online presentation of the game I've seen, name notwithstanding. So glad this is here!

DOES ANYONE KNOW THAT THE MAIN MUSIC IS SUPER MARIO LAND WORLD 4?!?!

I have been playing Anthony's hard Kakuro puzzles for over a year and typically every day. I find them to be a wonderful mind challenging experience, which I enjoy very much. Anthony makes the puzzles challenging but they are solvable. Some are pretty tricky, I keep track of those that require me to perform scenario probing.

Overall, a wonderful site that Anthony has created, this has helped me spend hours in challenge of the awesome puzzle. At times, I give up and ask Anthony to confirm it is a valid puzzle and he does. That itself is great help!

Just enjoy the site and the great little interactions I have with Anthony once a while...

Mani

September 15, 2011 9:14 PM

Luv luv luv these puzzles. They are very challenging and the furthest I've gotten is medium. Can't wait to get better and move to HARD. Thanks for all your hard work!

Tiffany

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