Sunday Stumper: Japanese Sums (Cipher) by Murat Can Tonta

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This year, we have started to have some extra difficult Sunday Stumpers, about once a month. These will be quite tough puzzles, but with a logical path to be found (and solution videos to help). This seventh Sunday Stumper is a Japanese Sums (Cipher) puzzle with a hidden theme.

Japanese Sums by Murat Can Tonta


or solve online (using our beta test of Penpa-Edit tools; use tab to shift between number entry, sudoku, and shading modes. Note that any extra numbers (in green, blue, or red) or shaded cells outside the grid will interfere with solution checking. So we suggest using the Number mode in black to write notes over the outside clues or in the cipher box below the grid; make sure only blue digits are inside the 11×11 grid and not outside the grid.)

Theme: Hidden

Author/Opus: This is the 203rd puzzle from our contributing puzzlemaster Murat Can Tonta.

Rules: Place the digits 1-9 in some of the cells, so that no digit is repeated in any row or column. Also, all numbers are encrypted with J, A, P, N, E, S, U, M, H, D letters and each letter represents a different digit from 0 to 9. Numbers on the outside of the grid indicate the sums of adjacent digit groups in that row or column, in order. Each sum is separated by at least one unused cell. Single-digit clues cannot be a 0, and also multi-digit clues cannot start with a 0. A question mark indicates a sum value of unknown size, and can be single- or multi-digit.

Or see this (non-cipher) example of Japanese Sums:

Japanese Sums Example

Difficulty: 5 stars

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 27:30, Master = 37:00, Expert = 1:14:00

Solution: PDF; a solution video is also available here.

Note: Follow this link for other Japanese Sums puzzles.

  • Michael says:

    Contains spoilers!

    Z ivrccp veafpvu jfcmzex kyzj jkldgvi. Z kyzeb kyrk kyzj zj kyv wzijk fev kyrk Z’mv tfdgcvkvu! Kyv jfclkzfe grky kyrk Z wfleu nrj fev fw kyv cvrjk wiljkirkzex Z’mv vetflekvivu ze yriu glqqcvj.

    Z uf yrmv fev zjjlv nzky kyv jfclkzfe: R yriu glqqcv jyflcu efk sv vrjzvi wfi jfdvfev nyf ufvje’k leuvijkreu kyv glqqcv ilcvj. Zw jfdvfev krbvj wfi xirekvu kyv jld fw r tfclde fi ifn, Z zdrxzev kyrk kyzj glqqcv zj dlty vrjzvi.

  • Aaron Chan says:

    The solver tool defaulted to Black, which I thought was one of the solution colors, and was confused at why it wasn’t marked as correct when I transferred it from paper.

    • Avatar photo drsudoku says:

      Thanks Aaron for the feedback. The black is set up first because marking outside clues likely precedes marking interior cells if you are only solving in the applet. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a way to confirm just certain cells in a puzzle which is why the black and blue entries were queued up here. It is interesting you went to check the solution from paper, so maybe we should just post the PDF immediately?

  • sudgy says:

    I was solving this puzzle, figured out the secret theme, then realized I had broken the puzzle. I figured out that I had messed up something at the very beginning. However, upon solving the puzzle for real, the secret theme was still the same! I wonder what the likelihood of that happening is.

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