Solution to Blind Calculation

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by Evan Chen

As hinted by the title and the choice to have three beads per box, this is a puzzle about Braille. So, we need some way to convert the Japanese characters to Braille.

The correct choice is Japanese braille. The corresponding Braille dots then correspond to which beads to move on the abacus, yielding a two-digit number for each Japanese character, as shown in the table below.

Thus, for the left half of the abacus we get the following calculation.

Hiragana × × +
Abacus 17× 56× 71+ 15= 67607

We also get the following analogous calculation on the right half.

Hiragana × × × + ×
Abacus 15× 50× 55× 67+ 26× 76= 2765726

These numbers fit nicely in the red boxes provided, so we input those numbers into the abacus now. Taking the pink box into account (which clues to just mark the bottom dot in every row — something not possible using just the digits), and applying the process in reverse gives the following.

Abacus 67 60 7. .2 76 57 26

The answer seihin tesuto translates to the English phrase PRODUCT TESTING.

Author’s Notes

We were pedantic and used katakana テスト in the cluephrase above, since it is the transliteration of the English word "test", even though the puzzle uses hiragana everywhere else. (This was previously mangled — we thank a team for pointing this out to us.) The corresponding hiragana for tesuto would have been てすと. This has no actual effect on solving the puzzle since the clue phrase is extracted phonetically either way.