Welcome back to George vs the Listener crossword and a last chance in the year of numberhell – I have not only failed, but failed spectacularly on the other three numerical puzzles this year, and so along comes Oyler, who was even taunting me in comments last week.

So now it’s Oyler, who is a regular reader, so hi Oyler! Last year Oyler gave us one of my favorites, the cube-net cutting puzzle 2X2X2 (which I got), before that was Elementary Number Theory, which I messed up near the end, Digimix, which I messed up near the middle, Pentomino Factory, which I got, and the less said about Odd One Out the better.

I know it’s not in the spirit of the numerical Listeners, but given my run of luck on number transcription, I opened up Excel straight away… there’s only 8 numbers to find, they are all primes, and they add to 600… hmmm, so that must eliminate most primes. Playing with the combinations leads to 97, 97 and 83 having to be present, and nothing smaller than 41. There’s only 5 combinations I found that added to 600. Brute force may not be necessary!

A lot of answers seem to be just sums of these which would limit the first digit of the answer. This gave me what seemed like a logical starting point… 4 down is W+E+T which has to start with 1 or 2. 3 across is (D-A)D which has to be even, so it ends in 2. E and W both have to be at least 10 more than D and D has to be bigger than A, which means D has to be 79 or smaller. N has to be bigger than A… but since 28 down is a multiple of 16 across, N has to be just a little bit bigger than A.

OK this initially gives five options for D and A- (79,71), (71, 59), (67,61), (61, 59) and (47, 41). I can eliminate (47, 41) since none of my “add to 600” lists has both 47 and 41. 12 down is the square of A, the third digit of which is the first digit of 18 across, which has to be between 248-548. This eliminates it down to(67,61) and(79,71). (67,61) leaves nowhere for N to go, so (79,71) it is. This makes N 73 and W and E have to be 97 and 89.

Wow! One long logic step and more than a half of the numbers are pretty well nailed down. Just a few more checks and there is a full grid.

Now to those dates… 1?1? and ?0?3. Hmmmm… symmetrically positioned zeroes – there’s not many of those in the grid. There’s a 3 in the bottom left and an 0 near the middle… 2013 along the diagonal? Well that is this year. What’s on the other diagonal? 1413. 600 years… Wikipedia 1413 and find that the University of St Andrews was founded around then. Their website is touting this year as the 600th anniversary, and the eight letters used are in ST ANDREWS. So I believe we have it!

Barring any horrible transcription errors (and I did this all from a spreadsheet, so I hope it’s OK), I think we can call this a Victory to George! With a major assist to Excel.

97 | 9409 | A | W(41-73) | 97 | SET | Combinations | ||||||||||||

89 | 7921 | 559 | S | E(41-73) | 89 | SET | 97 | 97 | 97 | 97 | 97 | |||||||

83 | 6889 | 600 | D(>A)(<E) | 79 | SET | 89 | 89 | 89 | 89 | 89 | ||||||||

79 | 6241 | 596 | N | 73 | SET | 83 | 83 | 83 | 83 | 83 | ||||||||

73 | 5329 | 590 | W | A | 71 | SET | 79 | 79 | 79 | 79 | 73 | |||||||

71 | 5041 | 546 | S (less than W) | 41 | 83,41 | 73 | 73 | 73 | 71 | 71 | ||||||||

67 | 4489 | 582 | R | 83 | 83,41 | 71 | 71 | 67 | 67 | 67 | ||||||||

61 | 3721 | 620 | T | 67 | SET | 67 | 61 | 59 | 61 | 61 | ||||||||

59 | 3481 | SUM | 600 | 41 | 47 | 53 | 53 | 59 | ||||||||||

53 | 2809 | 600 | 600 | 600 | 600 | 600 | ||||||||||||

47 | 2209 | X | X | X | X | |||||||||||||

43 | 1849 | |||||||||||||||||

41 | 1681 | 3ac (3) | 632 | 1d(3) | 186 | |||||||||||||

5ac (2) | 85 | 2d(x2) | 1.2993E+133 | |||||||||||||||

7ac (3) | 377 | 3d(x2) | 1.797E+136 | |||||||||||||||

10ac(x2) | 1.98E+132 | 4d(3) | 253 | |||||||||||||||

11ac(3) | 213 | 6d(8) | 57610810 | |||||||||||||||

269 | 348 | 12ac(2) | 56 | 8d(8) | 70844282 | |||||||||||||

421 | 184 | 13ac(3) | 480 | 9d(8) | 61519418 | |||||||||||||

243 | 269 | 14ac(2) | 52 | 11d(3) | 202 | |||||||||||||

492 | 131 | 16ac(2) | 10 | 12d(4) | 5041 | |||||||||||||

304 | 17ac(3) | 219 | 13d(2) | 40 | ||||||||||||||

283 | 18ac(3) | 404 | 15d(4) | 2911 | ||||||||||||||

125 | 20ac(2) | 79 | 19d(3) | 414 | ||||||||||||||

404 | 21ac(2) | 18 | 20d(x2) | 7.97246E+75 | ||||||||||||||

128 | 22ac(3) | 121 | 24d(3) | 243 | ||||||||||||||

18max | 548 | 23ac(2) | 41 | 26d(3) | 533 | |||||||||||||

18min | 248 | 24ac(3) | 214 | 27d(2) | 30 | |||||||||||||

25ac(2) | 61 | 26d(2) | 20 | |||||||||||||||

27ac(3) | 322 | |||||||||||||||||

29ac(2) | 83 | |||||||||||||||||

30ac(3) | 330 |

2013 tally: 35-7-6

Feel free to tell me I didn’t need to do the spreadsheeting (and then read how terrible I am at punching numbers into a calculator), and see you next week when Nudd takes behaviour… to the extreme!

Oh and if you’re still reading – you might want to check out the Christmas Turkey – a puzzle set by the collected bloggers and commenters at Times For The Times. It’s guaranteed to make Duck mad!

Filed under: Listener Crosswords |

Alastair Cuthbertson, on December 20, 2013 at 11:18 am said:Absolution from numberhell is granted. Well done. I’m fair chuffed!!

georgethebastard, on December 20, 2013 at 11:56 am said:Yep, got it! Good thing I hadn’t looked at last week’s Listen With Others yet, giving the game away!

ADRIAN JOHNS, on December 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm said:George, – Merry Xmas – it’s been very entertaining reading about your efforts. And we even let you have the Ashes back for a a while …….

Alastair Cuthbertson, on December 24, 2013 at 6:14 am said:Ashes only on loan till 2015 … they’ll then be back in England’s hands again!!