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Kakuro Instructions

A kakuro puzzle will look like the one below, but of course bigger:
kakuro grid 2

Each kakuro puzzle is composed of a number of rows and columns, some cells are empty and light coloured, others some have numbers in them. At first look therefore it looks like a crossword.

Every sequence of cells in either a row or a column is called a 'run'. At the left of each horizontal run, and at the top of each vertical run, you will see a number.

In the image above, you can see, for instance, a '5' in the second cell on the top row. This means simply that the sum of the two cells underneath it is 5. Next to the '5' is '21' - this means, therefore, that the three cells underneath it sum to 21. And so on, throughout the puzzle.

Using this information alone, you can solve a kakuro puzzle. The key constraint is that you can only use a number once in each run. Therefore if you need to make '6' from two numbers, you cannot use '3' twice, but must rather use 1 and 5 or 4 and 2. You may only use the numbers 1 to 9.

Kakuro Hints

Here are a few hints to help you solve the puzzles:

  • Try to look at the lowest value and highest value small runs first. That's because these have the lowest possible combinations (for instance '17' from two cells can only be 8 and 9 or 9 and 8.
  • Look for common numbers between runs at the point they intersect. For instance, if two runs that intersect only have a 4 in common, that must be the number at the intersection
  • Practice a lot and learn combinations of numbers for each sum
  • Use pencilmarks to note down possible remaining values for a cell
  • Each time you place another number, work back through to find the implications for the rest of the puzzle
  • Remember all puzzles have one unique solution

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