Real life problems are more complicated than KenKen puzzles, but there are some similarities in their routes to solutions.

In KenKen you have to fill a grid (for example, with numbers from 1 to 6 in a 6×6 grid) and no number can appear more than once in any column or any row. All the boxes in the grid are also grouped into various cells or cages, and the numbers that you put into those cages have to combine to equal a designated arithmetic answer. For example, “24x” in a 3-box cage means that the 3 numbers, when multiplied, have to equal 24 (you could do that with 1, 4, 6, or 2, 3, 4, but the numbers would also have to fit the rest of the puzzle). To solve the puzzle, the number in every box has to satisfy the requirements of every column, row, and cage.

Hmm. Complicated. So when you first look at, say, a 6×6 KenKen puzzle, your initial reaction might be “there’s no obvious solution to this and I don’t even know where to begin” (like some real life problems?). But you enjoy a challenge, so, keeping in mind what you’re trying to accomplish overall, you immediately examine the problem and see what you can learn about it. As you study it, you find some reasonable places to begin (such as a piece that can only have one solution). So you start with one of those, and see what else emerges. Then you persist, learn, adjust, and soon you put in a piece and discover that there are no more blanks—you did it!

And you smile and savor your success. Now take that and go solve one of your other problems.

George M. Pomonik

Pomonik Consulting, Inc.

“Chaos Removal Services”^{SM}

www.pomonik.com

Copyright © George M. Pomonik, 2012. All rights reserved.