Playing KenKen in the New York Times requires filling in each square in the puzzle with the correct number. Most squares in the puzzle involve a math operation that must be performed, and the numbers must match the operation and the answer given.
- Look over the puzzle
Look at the puzzle and the different equations. Each puzzle is equal in length and width, and the number of squares in a row or column is equal to the highest number you can use. For example, in a five by five puzzle, you can use any number between one and five. Certain groups of squares have a darker outline. These are called cages and group the squares into operations you must perform. The equation and answer is in the top left corner of the cage. If "5+" is in the top left corner, the numbers in that group of squares must add up to 5. Numbers can only be used once per row and column.
- Make notes and fill out freebies
A cage consisting of one square is called a freebie, and you only have to write the number given in the square. Fill these first. Then, make small notes of which numbers can be used to correctly answer the equation in each cage. Also, note next to each column and row which numbers are available to use so you can cross them off as you go.
- Solve the equations and fill out the puzzle
Compare your notes on which numbers are needed for each equation across the puzzle. Use the process of elimination to rule out numbers that are impossible to use for certain cages and squares. Continue consulting your notes as you fill in squares. Progress through the puzzle as you narrow down the numerical options for each square.