I have a puzzle for you all! But first, a few quick notes regarding recent releases:

  • Berryz Koubou’s Dschinghis Khan PV: This is definitely Berryz’s best video to date, and one of the freshest things to come out of H!P in recent memory. I had it on repeat for an obscenely long amount of time while I was working on the puzzle below. You can count on this being in the top 10 on the Countdown next year (speaking of which, I’ll resume this year’s countdown soon…), unless H!P manages to top this in the months to come.
  • Buono!’s Café Buono! album: While waiting for my physical copy to arrive, I listened to the tracks recently floating around on the Interwebs. I must say, this is by far the best album I’ve heard in a while, and I actually enjoy every single track. To put this in perspective, almost every one of my favorite albums has a few duds. Out of the entire corpus of non-classical music I’ve ever listened to, which spans a number of diverse genres, there is only one other album for which I honestly enjoyed every single track. That album was M2M’s Shades of Purple (2000). So this is quite an extraordinary achievement for Buono!, and I’m looking forward to the group’s future work.

OK, now on to the puzzle.

One of my hobbies is solving and writing puzzles, particularly the kind featured in the annual MIT Mystery Hunt. These are typically not traditional-type puzzles (crosswords, sudoku, etc.), though many of them borrow the format of traditional puzzles or combine different kinds of traditional puzzles. Generally, the puzzles come with few or no instructions (and those that are present are usually cryptic), and part of the challenge is to figure out how to solve the puzzle before actually solving it. The solution in each case is usually a word or short phrase. The entire Mystery Hunt is generally organized into rounds of puzzles, so the answers to the puzzles in each round combine to produce a meta-puzzle, and so forth.

Recently, I decided to combine my interests in puzzling and H!P and produce an H!P puzzle. The following is the result of an all-nighter soundtracked by nonstop repeats of Dschinghis Khan. I have another puzzle too, but I need to work out a few bugs before I can present it.




Hello! Project no Puzzle desu yo.



  1. Figure out how to fill in the grid.
  2. Fill in the grid, one character per square and leaving no blank squares.
  3. Figure out how to get the final answer.
  4. Get the final answer, which is the title of a Hello! Project recording.



  1. Knowledge of Japanese is not required to solve this puzzle; however, basic familiarity with katakana and hiragana may be helpful.
  2. Ignore all blank spaces in titles. Everything else counts, though some of it has already been filled in for you.
  3. In the case of a discrepancy regarding information about a title, the official Hello! Project discography is correct. (In the case of W, please refer to the official entry for W, which has been deprived of a link from the main discography page for mysterious reasons. Also deprived of a link, for even more mysterious reasons, is Taiyo to Ciscomoon / T&C Bomber.) That said, Wiki.ThePPN may be easier to use and is probably accurate, the last time I checked.
  4. I’ll probably put up hints later to help you out. Hints are at the bottom, and I will add more as time goes on.
  5. Good luck!



(Resized slightly to fit on page. Click to see full-size original.)



  • 2:5[6] 2.5:2[12] 4:8[8] 1:9[7] 1:3[5] 3:8[4]
  • 1:3[5] 5:11[8] 1:5[7]
  • 4:10[7] 2:8[3] 2.5:2[8] 1:9[2] 2:11[6] 3:10[6]
  • 2:5[5] 2:11[8] 1:5[4]
  • 3:4[4]
  • 1:7[5] 1:4[18] 1:8[7]
  • 1:1[11] 1:1[14] 1:4[10] 2:4[19]
  • 1:6[7]
  • 2:10[6] 7:6[8] 2:3[5]



Hints: (highlight to read, but use at your own discretion; some of these may take away part of the fun of solving the puzzle)

  • You can ignore the letters in the grid at first; they’re only useful after the grid is filled in.
  • Break the puzzle into three stages: (1) deciphering the titles; (2) filling in the grid; (3) getting the final answer.
  • Hints on deciphering the titles:
    • Think about what kind of “titles” these are.
    • Look at the distribution of numbers on the left side of each colon.
      • Why are there so many 1’s? Why only one 7?
      • What’s with the 2.5’s?
    • Look at the distribution of numbers on the right side of each colon.
      • Are they evenly or unevenly distributed? How far up do they go?
    • Add up the numbers in parentheses. How is this related to the grid?
    • Each “x:y(z)” refers to a single title.
    • If you find more than one possible candidate for a title, look at the number in parentheses, and look at the overall ordering of the titles. Only one candidate is correct.
    • All titles are in kana + punctuation. No romaji, no kanji.
      • If you have to convert stuff to kana, you either have the wrong title or are consulting an incorrect source.
    • The titles are given in a specific order. If you’re not sure about the ordering, try looking at a kana table.
    • Once you figure out how to decipher a title, it’s probably faster to decipher ones that appear to match what you’re looking at, rather than do everything in sequence.
    • (spoiler) It starts and ends with W.
  • Hints on filling in the grid:
    • Look closely at the smaller grid at the top of the puzzle.
      • The color of squares is important.
    • All punctuation has already been filled in.
    • The order has already been given to you.
    • Treat the titles as one long connected string.
    • Two corners are marked. This is important.
    • It’s probably very difficult to fill in everything in order. Try filling in disconnected parts separately.
    • The path cannot cross itself, nor skip between non-adjacent squares.
    • When filling in the grid, avoid stranding squares.
    • Use logic.
    • (spoiler) It starts and ends with W.
  • Hints on getting the final answer:
    • Think about how the titles are arranged in the “Titles” section.
    • The letters A, B, C, D, E, F, and G are important at this point. Treat them individually and see what you get.

More hints are below, in the comments section.

The solution is now posted. You can view parts of it without revealing the rest of the puzzle.