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Will Shortz Presents The Dangerous Book of KenKen: 100 Very Hard Logic Puzzles That Make You Smarter Paperback – July 3, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

TETSUYA MIYAMOTO, the creator of KenKen, is a math teacher whose use of KenKen in his classroom has proved so successful that it has lead to a worldwide demand for his puzzle to be published in book form.


WILL SHORTZ has been crossword editor of The New York Times since 1993. He is also the puzzlemaster on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250004438
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250004437
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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In Terrifying KenKen the puzzles are fun and varied in difficulty, as expected. After all, it's KenKen. I think we have to assume they were made by the Kenerator, the software that the puzzle's inventor Tetsuya Miyamoto guided David Levy in developing. I'm grateful that Mr. Miyamoto personally created as many fine puzzles as he did. He deserves a break from what must have been a huge amount of work.

The 100 puzzles are labeled as Medium, Difficult and Very Challenging. The algorithm for assigning these levels of difficulty is not perfect. The actual level (as experienced by this solver) went up and down by a lot haphazardly among puzzles in any puzzle size. Many of the Difficult puzzles in a set were harder than many of the later, Very Challenging, puzzles in the set.

I think Mr. Miyamoto tried for a bit of geometrical artistry in his personal creations. I may be wrong, but I imagine that the larger and more orderly collections, Ferocious KenKen (200 puzzles) and Ultimate KenKen Omnibus (500 puzzles), were done by him. Most of those puzzles have a rough near-symmetry. If you fold the top half over the bottom half, the cage shapes sort of match, much more than would occur randomly. The puzzles have a pleasing look. Each section, for example the 8x8 puzzles, progresses fairly steadily in difficulty. Meanwhile the near-symmetry edges toward perfection, almost getting there at the last puzzle. With their orderly progression, these two collections are ideal for developing your skill. Also, they reach a level of difficulty higher than Terrifying KenKen.

Oddly, puzzle #97 stands out in being much harder than any other in the book. It has a lot of big cages. It has two 4-cell +cages (addition), two 4-cell xcages (multiplication), and two 5-cell +cages.
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I bought this book as a gift for a nerd in my life who loves things like Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Any type of brain teaser or word problem thing like this is right up her alley - and this book was a HUGE success! Seriously, if you're shopping for someone who likes those things then this is the PERFECT gift choice. I actually bought this book for her in July and now it is January and she is still not through the book but loving every minute of it. I know I'll be buying more of these KenKen books in the future.
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There are not that many hard puzzles in this book, if you are looking for really challenging Kenken then this is not it.
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I noticed, as mentioned in some of the other reviews, that the difficulty levels assigned to each of the puzzles appear to be 'randomized'.

Why would that matter?

Sometimes I'm tired, or maybe I only have a few minutes and I would like to complete a puzzle - in these cases it's nice to be able to select a 'medium' (or easy) level puzzle. For this reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

Still, it's KenKen! Some of the puzzles are quite challenging; I can get that special satisfaction, scratch that itch in my brain... If you're hooked on KenKen then you know what I'm talking about.
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On the cover is says 100 very hard puzzles but when you open it up the first puzzle are 6X6 moderate.
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They're KenKen puzzles all right, like you've come to expect. The only thing is, if you're looking for *really* challenging puzzles, and you thought "ah, 'terrifying' kenken, this must be it!"... no. They're not as hard as what you can already get on the web site.

I had a chance to talk to Will Shortz today and I asked him "so where are they really, really, REALLY hard kenken puzzles?" and he pointed me to "Tom Tom Puzzles" by Tom Snyder. Unfortunately I have that one already :-) but he's right: it gives you a level of challenge that none of the books Shortz is associated with ever will.
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love the ken ken books. hours of wonderful entertainment and brain solving problems. ken kens keep you on your toes
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I like having a challenge, and these puzzles certainly provide it. They are not for the faint at heart. Even though I can't do a lot of them, when I do get one done, I'm ecstatic.
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