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Sum to Twenty-One Puzzle

Today I’m sharing the Sum to Twenty-One Puzzle with you. Previously, I have shared similar puzzles called Sum to Twenty and Sum to Thirty. These puzzles are the creation of Marcy Cook.

They were shared in THINK ABOUT IT! Mathematics Problems of the Day which was published by Creative Publications in 1982.

The book is out of print and very hard to find copies of online.

Think About It by Marcy Cook

In the Sum to Twenty-One Puzzle, students are given a 4 x 4 grid that already has six numbers filled in. Their task is to place the numbers 0-9 in the grid so that each row, diagonal, and column sums to 21.

sum to twenty-one puzzle

If you like this magic square style puzzle, I also recommend checking out the Big Magic Puzzle.

sum to twenty-one puzzle

Interested in even more puzzles? Check out my puzzles page!

Free Download of Sum to Twenty-One Puzzle

I have created a printable PDF version of this puzzle. If you would like to edit it, I have uploaded the editable Publisher version. Since we’re currently in the middle of a pandemic, I have also created some digital versions which I will share below.

Sum to Twenty-One Puzzle (PDF) (2494 downloads)

Sum to Twenty-One Puzzle (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (451 downloads)

Digital Version of Sum to Twenty-One Puzzle


sum to twenty-one puzzle

Click this link to make a copy of the Jamboard version of this puzzle.

Google Slides

I also created a Google Slides version of this activity.

sum to twenty-one puzzle

Puzzle Solutions

I intentionally do not share solutions to the puzzles I feature on my website because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are not google-able. I would like other teachers to be able to use these puzzles in their classrooms as well without the solutions being easily found on the Internet.

However, I do recognize that us teachers are busy people and sometimes need to quickly reference an answer key to see if a student has solved a puzzle correctly or to see if they have interpreted the instructions properly.

If you are a teacher who is using these puzzles in your classroom, please send me an email at with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.