New obsession

On our annual family Labor Day camping trip to the Rifle River Recreation Area, we developed a new obesssion.

Sure, we did the kayaking and fishing and hanging out at the beach and all that – more about those later. The jones we brought home, though, was a new puzzle.

A while ago we succumbed to sudoku. I started, just wanting to know what the big deal was. Soon I was rooting through the recycling bin for old newspapers. I quickly tired of waiting for each day’s paper and the easy puzzles that start the week, so I turned to the web and found a site with billions of sudokus, ranging from easy to evil, with varying levels of hints that can be requested.

I hooked my math-loving son. My daughter tapped in. Now my husband is thinking he might have to check this out.

Ah, but we have moved on. I am the sort of camper who still likes to have a daily newspaper if possible, so I picked up the Detroit Free Press on Friday. There it was, lying in wait on the puzzle page: kakuro. Fill in the numbers. Don’t repeat on any line. And they have to add up to the right sums.

I showed it to my son right away. How hard was it? Agony, agony.

The first one, anyway. Another trip to the store produced ice, wood and the Detroit News … and another kakuro. This one went much better.

The weekend passed with us doing all sorts of outdoor stuff, sure, but also periodically with heads bent over paper, sometimes madly erasing.

Eventually I got some of the patterns down: 23 in three numbers? Have to be 6, 8, 9. 16 in five? 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. Got a 14 lurking and only two boxes? Can’t put that 4 there, then, because the other box can’t hold a 10.

My son said it before I did: When we get home, we have to find kakuro on line. So he did, and here it is

You can thank us/curse us later.

This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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