Puzzle No. 517-519: Nikoli! (Tribute to Maki Kaji)

I haven’t posted in a while. There are a bunch of reasons for this, including travel and a bad reaction to my first vaccine dose.

Anyway, today’s post is a tribute to Maki Kaji, who passed away last week from cancer. I was going to elaborate on my thoughts more, but honestly this post by Thomas pretty much says exactly what I wanted to, perhaps in a better way.

I got into Nikoli.com pretty late, and just had a year of solving before the online solving portion had to close. I do purchase their books from time to time and I absolutely love the giants series.

Like Thomas, my note of thanks will be for his broader contribution to the puzzle community via Nikoli, influencing me and so many other puzzlers positively.

As a tribute, I have written 3 Nikoli style puzzles, and by that I mean ‘Nikoli style’ – I’ve tried to keep look, difficulty and dimensions as I remember them from Nikoli.com.



  1. Place light bulbs (circles) according to the following rules.
  2. Light bulbs may be placed in any of the white squares, the number in the square shows how many light bulbs are next to it, vertically and horizontally.
  3. Each light bulb illuminates from bulb to black square or outer frame in its row and column.
  4. Every white square must be illuminated and a light bulb can not illuminate another light bulb.


  1. Place black “triangles in squares” (see 2) in the grid under the following rules.
  2. There are four kinds of black triangles you can put in the squares (shown below)
    . You cannot place black triangles in the black squares.
  3. The parts of the grid that remain white (uncovered by black triangles) always form a rectangle or a square.
  4. The numbers indicate how many black triangles are around it, vertically and horizontally.


  1. A rectangle, bordered by bold lines, is called a “room”. Fill in cells under the following rules.
  2. The numbers indicate how many painted cells there are in a room. Rooms with no number may have any number of painted cells.
  3. White cells cannot stretch across more than two rooms in a straight line.
  4. Painted cells cannot be connected horizontally or vertically. White cells must not be separated by painted cells.

Rule credits: https://www.nikoli.co.jp/en/puzzles/index.html

Penpa links

P517: https://git.io/J0aKg

P518: https://git.io/J0aP0

P519: https://git.io/J0a1f


Puzzle No. 513: Shakashaka

Lets start with an unrelated self-plug – https://www.gmpuzzles.com/blog/2021/08/japanese-sums-by-prasanna-seshadri/ Check this out!

Now to today’s puzzle. This is a “fresh” puzzle, i.e. only 2 or 3 people have seen it before.

Rules – Shade a right triangle in some empty cells, each of which occupies exactly half the cell it’s in. Each unshaded area must be rectangular in shape. A number in a cell represents how many of the (up to) four cells orthogonally adjacent to the clue contain triangles.

Penpa link to solve: https://git.io/JRCdn (Click+drag slightly to a corner to draw in that corner’s triangle, just click for dot)

Puzzle No. 472, 473 : Shakashaka, Fillomino

Heh. Will get back to Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday from the coming week. Also, my Puzzle posts will be Tuesday and Sunday now, and the Daily League post will be on Thursday. This is to accommodate Richard Stolk on Tuesdays.


Rules – 

P472Rules for Shakashaka.

P473 – Rules for Fillomino.






Puzzle No. 444-447 : Puzzles from the Visa Application office

In addition to my usual puzzle related activities, I have been managing Team India’s visa application submissions. This has been quite a tough process. As part of the process, I have to stand in queue outside the office for 4 and a half hours, and then sit inside for about an hour more. The puzzles below were part of 9 I wrote when sitting in the office. I was obviously exhausted, and this was more of a “oh, I found a pen and paper, lemme just have a little fun to pass the time” kind of activity. Also, with a pen, I couldn’t erase stuff which makes construction infinitely harder, at least for me. So out of the 9, only 2 ended up working when I reproduced them on the computer. 2 others had easy fixes. The other 5 will have to be discarded as I can’t see what I can do to make them work. This hopefully makes up for my inactivity on this as well as next Thursday. Other than the league post on Tuesday, my next post will be a week after this.

Of the 4 puzzles that made the cut, 3 are Tapa related. This is fitting, as the TVC and CTC are nearing their end. I feel fairly certain of a top 10 finish in CTC, and hopefully somewhere thereabouts in TVC too. Generally happy with how I’ve done this year. The 3 puzzles below have a nice mix of a Classic Tapa, a variant that appeared this year, and a variant from the past. The 4th puzzle is a Shakashaka, which is nothing special.

In other news, the “Around the world in 80 Puzzles” Instruction booklet is out! As announced on this blog before, one of the 4 sets is written by me. I’d like to thank Amit Sowani, for test solving each puzzle and providing some good inputs along the way. I thank Ravi Kumar too, for coming up with the name Indian Intrigue which I liked the most out of the possible names. It was a pleasure working with Zoltan Nemeth and the other Hungarian team members too.

Anyway, puzzles!

P444 : Tapa. Rules for Tapa.

Rated : Medium (could be hard).

P445 : Twopa. If both grids are considered together using the following rule, they will each have a unique solution. In each solution, every clue must behave at least a little bit differently. This means, in a multi-digit clue, some of the digits can have the same behavior, but not all.

Rated : Medium.

P446 : Tapa Trimino. Follow regular Tapa rules (above). Additionally, the wall should only be made up of “L” shaped triminoes without overlapping.

Rated : Hard.

P447 : Shakashaka. Rules for Shakashaka.

Rated : Easy.