Am I the operator of my pocket calculator?

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossnumber – yep, it’s that quarterly trip to numericalville.

And shall we shed a tear for the near end of LCD computing?  I still have an ancient sharp calculator (I think I got it for university in 1988) and one of the last Texas Instruments calculators that used the single screen, but the 7-line number system is on the verge of extinction.  Soon kids will not know the fun of typing 0.7734 and turning the calculator upside down (or 5318008 if you were so inclined).

Whoopsy – I seem to have posted this rather than saving it as a draft… that’s odd.

In general the numerically ones print on one sheet of paper for me so yay trees!

What an interesting prospect – these are minimal clues, particularly the downs.  The 180-degree symmetry means there can’t be any 3’s 4’s or 7s in the grid, and that numbers transpose specifically:  0. 2, 5 and 8 to themselves, and 6 and 9 to each other.

There seemed to be a way in – 6 and 16 had to be squares that transposed to each other, combined with pretty specific requirements of 10 and 18.  Filling the grid was only about 40 minutes of playing with an excel spreadsheet to look at lists of primes, and a handy web app that calculated prime factors.

My working grid for Listener 4360, What a Turn-UP by IOA

1 across wasn’t clued, so with 6606655 there – the last two digits suggesting SS then CLUELESS (and I’m guilty of once setting a crossword with that chestnut of not writing a clue for the entry CLUELESS) it wasn’t too difficult to verify the letters could be generated by removing a few segments.

Woohoo – that was a rather fun little puzzle – not as challenging as it looked at first glance, and an interesting theme for numericals!  Thanks IOA, and I think we can claim a Victory to George

2015 tally:  25-2-5

Feel free to tell me I shouldn’t have given away the answer almost two hours before the solution came out, and see you next week when Monk asks us to BOGOF!


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