There are two types of PATH puzzles: ABC Path and 123 Path. Both use the same rules and grid size, but one is played with letters and the other is played with numbers.
PATH Puzzle Rules
The rules are simple:
- each letter/number will appear only once
- each letter/number will be in the same row/column/diagonal as its clue
- the letters/numbers will make a consecutive path
How to Play ABC PATH
ABC Path consists of a 5×5 grid. Around the edges of the grid are the letters B to Y. The letter A has been placed.
The goal is to fill in all the cells so that the letters A to Y appear exactly once. Each letter must appear in the row, column, or diagonal corresponding to its clue. Furthermore, each letter must be a neighbor to the letter that comes before and after it.
How to Play 123 PATH
123 Path consists of a 5×5 grid (just like ABC Path). Around the edges of the grid are the numbers 1 to 25. The number 1 has been placed.
The goal is to fill in all the cells so that the numbers 1 to 25 appear exactly once. Each number must appear in the row, column, or diagonal corresponding to its clue. Furthermore, each number must be a neighbor to the number that comes before and after it.
Path Tips & an Example
ABC and 123 Path use the same tips and tricks. The following example is an ABC Path puzzle.
“A” & “B”
A is pre-placed in the grid.
The rule, “the letters will make a consecutive path” means we know that the B will be in one of the squares surrounding the A. I’ve circled those cells in green.
The rule, “each letter must appear in the same line as its clue” means we know that the B will be in the circled row.
There are only 2 squares that meet the criteria of both rules, so we know the B must be one of those.
It’s important to mark (in small writing) these potential letters down for future reference.
We know the C must touch the B, so we’ll circle that.
We know the C must appear in the hint column, so we’ll circle that.
There are only 2 squares that meet both rules, so we’ll mark down mini-C’s in them.
We’ll circle our known rules (touching C and column) and see that this gives us 3 potential D’s so we’ll mark them down.
There’s nothing special happening here. Check out where you could put E’s and mark down the possibilities (2).
Keep going through the alphabet. There are only 2 possibilities for where an F can go so mark them down.
At this point, you might be wondering if we’re ever going to write a permanent letter. And we will, next in fact.
“F” and “E”
Look at where we placed those 2 F’s.
Remember, the E must touch the F. That means the E cannot be in the bottom-right corner which leaves only one place for an E. Mark it down!
Now that we have a permanent E, we should also check our potential D’s. In this case, we can remove the top D.
And back to the regular alphabet.
When we cross the potential F’s and the G row, we’re left with 2 places G’s could go. Mark them!
Where can the H go? There are only 2 places!
“H” and “G”
Now that we have those two potential H’s, it affects our potential G’s.
The G has to touch one of them which leaves us with only one place for a G. Mark in that permanent G!
Back to the alphabet. It’s time to mark our potential I’s.
The J is our first diagonal clue. But otherwise, it’s the same! Find where the potential J’s could go and mark them.
Diagonal clues make for much larger circles of potentials for the next letter.
For the first time, there are 4 potential places our letter K could go.
Find and mark down the potential L’s. There are 3 of them.
How many potential M’s are there? 2!
Backwards from “M”
There are only 2 potential M’s and both of them only touch one potential L.
So we can write in permanent L. YAY!
We should also go back some more. A permanent L means our potential K’s might change (they do, there’s only 2 now so we can remove the other 2).
Fewer potential K’s might affect our potential J’s (they do, we’re going to cross out 1 J).
Fewer potential J’s might affect our potential I’s (they don’t). Since the I’s weren’t affected, there’s no need to keep going backward.
Back to the regular alphabet checks.
How many potential N’s are there? Just 2!
Looking for O’s and I see 3 potentials.
Let’s find our potential P’s. Mark down the 4 of them.
There are three potential Q’s.
This also affects our potential P’s (we can remove two of them that don’t touch our potential Q’s).
How many R’s could there be? 2!
Lucky us, it also reduces one of our potential Q’s.
Now, I’m going to quickly do S, T, U, V, W, X, and Y. There’s nothing new or complicated. I’ll just be marking down the potential letters (and erasing and potentials that are no longer possible).
Now that we’ve got all our potential letters marked in, we can clearly see some boxes that only have one letter.
So great, those letters go there!
At the same time, we can cross off the remaining potentials for those letters.
Can you finish?
That’s everything you need to know. Now it’s time for you to finish the puzzle. Good luck!
The solution is at the very end if you want to see it.
Get Path Puzzles
Now that you know how to play Path, why not grab some free Path puzzles or buy a book of Path puzzles.