Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

What Is a Cross Number (Nonogram) Puzzle?

Picture grids have long been used in puzzles, especially in crosswords, containing images as part of their layout. Nonograms or cross numbers kind of puzzles are relatively new in the way that cross-references are used to determine the image and not deduce the contents to obtain the final result.  

How Were Cross Numbers (Nonograms) Invented?

Non Ishida, a Graphics editor in Tokyo, won a competition where she designed an image by having individual lights on or off in a skyscraper. This very idea led her to create a puzzle based on the same concept, but in the published form. It was in 1988 that she got three of such puzzles published in a magazine. In 1989, Non Ishida met James Dalgety, an English puzzle collector, designer, and the owner of Puzzle Museum to show him those puzzles. He invented the name Nonogram (Non + Diagram) in 1990 and arranged to even commercialize her puzzles outside of Japan. On a trial basis, these were published in The Sunday Telegraph, Britain’s largest national newspaper. After receiving immense success, these started to come out continuously. In 1993, Nonograms were re-imported and posted by Mainichi Shimbun, one of Japan’s most prominent newspapers. It was in the same year that Non Ishida came out with her very own Nonogram book. Since then, there was no looking back.

Puzzles of this type have now started to appear as handheld toys, computer programs, and smartphone apps. Solving these is a fascinating exercise. The game, also called hanjie, picross, picture cross, paint by numbers, cross numbers, or nonogram, is designed to use only human logic and not assumptions. You may not be able to solve these with guesswork, no matter what the level of difficulty.

Try Yourself!

Cross numbers or nonogram is a puzzle in which you paint the correct cells or pixels to complete a hidden image. Along the edges of the primary grid are a few numbers that give you a clue about the particular rows or columns. These digits are placed right on top and towards the left, indicating how many pixels must be painted in that specific line. If you identify that a row or column will not have more cells to paint, you can mark those with an X showing completed boxes. Simple! The game seems easy at first, but it is very challenging!

You can find tones of puzzles online, but choosing the accurate one is the key! So, to test your aptitude and engross yourself in this compelling game, download the mobile application on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, and experience what fun it is! Not only will it enhance your problem-solving skills, but it will also give a sense of accomplishment once you solve the puzzle and get a beautiful pixel image. 

Tip: to begin solving a cross number or nonogram puzzle, find the number/s that is larger than the half of the distance across. Once you start, you will automatically make way for the rest of the solution.