Ken Ken

Ken Ken

KenKen and KenDoku are trademarked names for a style of arithmetic and logic puzzle invented in 2004 by Japanese math teacher Tetsuya Miyamoto, who intends the puzzles to be an instruction-free method of training the brain. The names Calcudoku and Mathdoku are sometimes used by those who don't have the rights to use the KenKen or KenDoku trademarks.

The name derives from the Japanese word for cleverness (賢, ken, kashiko(i)?).

As in sudoku, the goal of each puzzle is to fill a grid with digits –– 1 through 4 for a 4×4 grid, 1 through 5 for a 5×5, etc. –– so that no digit appears more than once in any row or any column (a Latin square). Grids range in size from 3×3 to 9×9. Additionally, KenKen grids are divided into heavily outlined groups of cells –– often called “cages” –– and the numbers in the cells of each cage must produce a certain “target” number when combined using a specified mathematical operation (either addition, subtraction, multiplication or division). For example, a linear three-cell cage specifying addition and a target number of 6 in a 4×4 puzzle must be satisfied with the digits 1, 2, and 3. Digits may be repeated within a cage, as long as they are not in the same row or column. No operation is relevant for a single-cell cage: placing the "target" in the cell is the only possibility (thus being a "free space"). The target number and operation appear in the upper left-hand corner of the cage.

In the English-language KenKen books of Will Shortz, the issue of the non-associativity of division and subtraction is addressed by restricting clues based on either of those operations to cages of only two cells. Some puzzle authors have not done this and have published puzzles that use more than two cells for these operations.

Read more about Ken Ken:  History, Example, Extensions

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    Sean O’Casey (1884–1964)