You were in my dreams last night...

I love puzzles. I usually do two crossword puzzles, and three Sodukus in a given day. Recently, I have stumbled across Kakuro, and it has become my new obsession.

For those who don't know, Kakuro is essentially a crossword puzzle, but with numbers. In the puzzle, a given row or column must add up to a given number. The trick is that only the numbers 1-9 can be used, and a number may only be used once per row/column. For example, if two spaces add up to 8, 4+4 cannot be a solution. Here is a link to the best free website that I can find. The game is pretty self explanatory once you see it. The linked website is nice because you can solve puzzles online, and check your answers.

What I like about Kakuro is that it reveals the mechanics of a crossword puzzle. In Kakuro, there are some answers that have multiple possibilities, like 15 over three spaces could be 1+5+9, or 2+6+7, etc. There are also clues that have only one possible solution, like 23 over 3 spaces, which is 9+8+6. One solves the puzzle by using the unique combinations of certain clues to glean the specific combinations of others.

Crossword puzzles work in the same way. The crossword equivalent of 23, or 17 is aria or oreo. These are clues that arise frequently and supply the letters that allow one to find the unique solutions to other clues with multiple possibilities. I believe the secret to solving a crossword puzzle has nothing to do with knowledge, or trivia. It is knowing the common unique solutions, like aria, or epee, or olio. When you complete a Kakuro puzzle, this whole process is revealed in an obvious way.

Also, I have been answering the telephones at my office for 4:30 hours now and these puzzles, which were the saviors of my sanity about an hour ago, are now slowly driving me mad.

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