Way back when I used to make kaidoku more frequently (… over a decade ago) fellow kaidoku enthusiast Joon Pahk had an insane idea to make these harder. You see, normally in one of these puzzles you’d look for unusual letter patterns to help you get a foothold. Joon decided it would be fun to completely remove that avenue from the solver by making all the entries isograms, i.e. words with no repeated letters. We ended up making a few of them and they were … mean, but solvable.
Another innovation in the genre we came up with was the following: what if not every entry in the grid was a common English word? We ended up calling these “variety kaidoku” to distinguish them from the vanilla type. This makes the puzzles slightly more interesting, as they give the puzzles a theme to uncover, and the solver is left wondering which entries are real words and which are not.
I don’t think we ever combined those ideas, so here we are today with an isogrammatic variety kaidoku. Let’s formalize what’s going on in this puzzle:
Most entries in a variety kaidoku are common, lowercase English words. A few entries are not, and they are for you to find. The numbers 1 through 26 each represent a different letter of the alphabet, and instances of a given number stand for the same letter throughout the entire grid.
Impress your family by solving this in front of them! Or, struggle mightily and convince them that this type of puzzle is unsolvable. If you get a good solving time, I’d like to hear about it in the comments!