Balance Quest

Update 1/10/14:

Stephen, thanks for your very positive comment.  I have quoted you below:

“Balance Quest has a fairly prominent position on our “Puzzles” page on that site, a larger number of LP users are clicking over to try BQ.  ( is now our biggest traffic source for BQ.)”

By the way, your redesigned site, is beautiful and now has a wide selection of logic puzzles for those interested in playing.


Update as of 12/01/13:

Dear Frank, I really appreciate your links to BQ from the Sumsum and Contest Centers.  You have a creative selection of interactive puzzles and books.


Update as of 11/29/13:

Mr. P. , you have a great math and puzzle site.  I hope your guests will enjoy playing a few BQ puzzles. Thanks for linking and posting a few sample puzzles:


Update as of 11/22/13:

Doug, your site, “” is the best.  Thanks for the nice
write-up and for including BQ on both of your BLOGS:


Update as of 11/21/13:
Best wishes to Kim at “” and for the following beautiful BQ page:


Update as of 11/20/13

Thanks, Dave Fisher at “” for this sweet review of BQ:

Thanks Erik @ “Math in English” for your nice write-up:

Thanks for linking from from “The Math Form” @ Drexel University


Balance Quest is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle played with numbers.   Complete with grid with numbers so that each cell value is equal to the sum of its adjacent cells, without repeating the same number twice in either the white or the grey sections.



  • Use simple addition to complete the grid (e.g. Top left 11 + ? = 26, center (58 + -5 + ? + ? = 0, etc.)
  • Leave no duplicate numbers in the white cells or in the grey cells.
  • Use every unique number from -16 to 16, except zero, in the grey cells.

There is one unique solution to every puzzle.



Instructions video:

Book orders:


Google Blog:


Detailed Instructions and Sample Puzzles:


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Unique Clues Tapa

Welp. I was going to call this one Mystery Tapa but then I saw GMPuzzles’ Sunday Surprise posted yesterday. What a coincidence. I started making this one last Thursday, before knowing anything about any upcoming Sunday Surprises anywhere.

Mystery Tapa 1


  • Regular Tapa rules apply.
  • Question marks represent nonzero integers.
  • Asterisks are wildcards: they represent a nonzero amount of question marks.
  • No clue may appear multiple times, hence the name.

Gah, this puzzle took a lot of wrangling to make it work. I gave up on having a symmetric clue placement.



I think this might be my first entirely vanilla puzzle.  About time I made one instead of all the variants and hybrids.

Clouds 1

It’s a Clouds aka Rain Clouds aka Radar puzzle. Oddly enough, I didn’t find any satisfactory sites explaining the rules.


  • Shade some cells to form rectangular clouds. The clouds don’t touch each other, even by corners.
  • The numbers tell the amount of shaded cells in that row/column.
  • A cloud must be at least two cells tall and wide: no 1×n or n×1 clouds allowed.

I find Clouds puzzles to be pretty hard, so I’m going to call this one pretty hard. Plus or minus a few arbitrary units of difficulty. *shrugs*


Easy As Skyscrapers

This puzzle is probably on its 20th layout iteration, but I’m finally happy with the it. In the end I used less repeating adjacent clues than I intended, but at least I managed to get symmetrical clue placement.

Easy As Skyscrapers v3


  • Each clue is either a Skyscrapers clue, telling the number of skyscrapers it sees
  • or an Easy As ABC clue, telling the first number it sees
  • but not both.

Liar Futoshiki

It’s pretty much what it says in the title. I like this one.

Liar Futoshiki 1


  • Fill in the numbers 1-5 each row and column such that the inequalities hold.
  • Additionally, every row and column has one liar cell. The inequalities involving these cells are false.

Hall Of Mirrors

This is a puzzle I made about a month ago. It’s one of the few puzzles I feel I actually constructed, as opposed to just browsing the shelves of the Puzzle Library of Babel, trying layouts and seeing what works out.

I set out to make a harder version of Hitori. I’m not quite sure whether the puzzle successful or not, as it isn’t that hard. Adding blank cells as givens might improve the puzzle.

Hall Of Mirrors 1


  • Place mirrors in some of the cells such that no two equal numbers see each other.
  • The mirrors are right triangles such that the hypotenuse cuts a cell in half diagonally.
  • A mirror in a cell doesn’t obscure the number it’s on: if the hypotenuse can be seen, the number can also be seen.
  • As in Hitori, two cells with mirrors can’t be orthogonally adjacent, and the empty cells must form a single polyomino.

I hope I was clear with the rules.



Welp, haven’t made anything in a while. Anyways, I found these while going through my puzzle excels. There were more, but they were broken and I didn’t feel like fixing them.

I like using blank cells as givens with Snail puzzles.

Snail 1

Snail 2

Snail 3


EDIT: Here’s a 4th one. I wanted to make one with only blank givens, but couldn’t make a good enough puzzle yesterday. The tetromino theme is an added plus.

Snail 4


  • Fill in some numbers such that every number in the range (here 1 to 3) appears once in every row and column.
  • Additionally, starting from the tail of the snail (the top-left corner) and following the spiral, the numbers must be in sequence: here 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, …
  • Cells with • in them are blank.

The puzzles are in no particular order.

Star Tours

I appear to be in the mood for Star Battle derivatives.

I haven’t seen this kind of puzzles anywhere else, so I named it “Star Tour”.  As weird as Star Battle, in my opinion.

star tour 1


  • Place two stars in every row and column such that no two stars touch each other, even by corners.
  • The stars are numbered from 1 to 2n. Moving orthogonally from star to star in order must result in a loop that visits all stars. 2n loops back to 1.
  • A number along the edge of the grid tells the number of the star first seen on that row/column.
  • An arrow along the edge of the grid tells the direction where the next star in sequence is looking from the star first seen on that row/column.

star tour 2

The first one is rather easy, but the second one with the arrow clues is tricky.

Birthday Puzzle

It’s my 18th birthday! \o/

Today’s puzzle took some wrangling. I started with the regions spelling out ’18′ and spent a day trying to develop various puzzles around them (I tried to make another Tents & Trees, for example), but I didn’t really get anything done. The next day,  frustrated,  I was looking for puzzles to solve and stumbled upon Erich Friedmann’s Gap puzzles. They only added to my frustration, really, but I realized to try and make a puzzle using gap clues, and this came out in a few hours. I think I’ve seen Gap puzzles elsewhere, but can’t remember what they were called. Something something satellite something, or something.

Birthday Puzzle

Rules: A hybrid of Star Battle and Gap. Two stars in each row and column such that no two stars touch even by corners, two stars in each shaded region (the 1, the 8 and the two boxes inside the 8). Additionally, the clues outside the grid tell the gap between the two stars on that row/column. The crossed out cell is blank.

I’m not happy at all having to cross out a cell, but the rest of the puzzle turned out so nice that I let it pass. That, and desperation to get at least a puzzle done in time. It’s pretty easy, but I really like it.

In other news, I’ll be ordering this book as a gift to myself. Hopefully it’ll help improve the quality of my puzzles.

Crypto Skyscrapers

Here’s two Skyscrapers. Every letter stands for a different number. Ranges are 1-5 and 1-6 respectively.

Crypto Skyscrapers 1

Crypto Skyscrapers 2

If I hypothetically had to say something about their difficulty, I suppose they aren’t hard. Both have a spot where you have to pause and think, but other than that things flow smoothly. That seems to be common in my puzzles.