Primeycomb

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Numberword – it’s the final trip into numerology for 2015, and boy have I made a meal of the numberical ones this year!

Fortunately, at a first glance this seems to be more along the lines of the classical numerical Listeners that I used to be able to solve in one sitting – prime numbers reversed, no two adjacent cells contain the same number, and a tight set of clues, in fact the whole puzzle fits on one sheet of US Letter paper – that doesn’t happen often!

The setter is Kea – four years ago Kea also gave us the last numerical of the season, so there is some precedent here, though he is better-known for word puzzles, and I guess editing.

Anyhoo – there does appear to be a way in – N (two characters) is the reverse of a prime, and O (three characters) is N squared multiplied by U, which means N reversed is less than 31 and U is probably 1, 2 or 4.

There appears to be two possibilities for O:  392 and  784, which makes N 14 and U 2 or 4.

N appears again, in the clue for I, which shows B+B has to be divisible by 14, which means B is divisible by 7.  The requirement that both digits of B have to be 1,3,7 or 9 limits B to being 91.

This means that (and I messed this part up three times trying to get there) 13 + Y = 34 or 74, so Y has to be 17 or 61, and there has to have a multiple with 9 as the middle digit that is the reverse of a prime.  This makes D 793, Y 61 and T 13.

Since A is D + O/W and D is 793 then A has to be 797 or 799.  Neither possibility for O is divisible by 6, so A is 797, H is 713, O is 392, U is 2, W is 98 and S is 31.  Wow, that’s a lot sorted out in one logic flash.

Nearly home and hosed – there was a little mathematical fiddling needed to sort out E (made easier by the “no two adjacent cells have the same digit” part of the preamble, but in the end all was done and dusted within about an hour.

I scanned the grid but then switched computers (in a possibly rule-breaking statement, since I’m going to be out of town for the next two weeks I figured I’d get ahead by scanning three puzzles in a row) so I’ll have to add the grid later.

Fun puzzle, not too tricky, definite gateway in and I only had to cheat a fair bit by having a page of the first 1000 primes on my screen while I was solving!  Woohoo and I think I can claim this one as a Victory to George.

2015 tally:  38-2-5

Feel free to tell me that I should have memorized those primes by now, and see you next week when Salamanca finally gives us a chance to lay out a setter!

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