Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossnumber, your quarterly dissection of the more logic-based numerical puzzles.

I think the difficulty in numerical puzzles has really been ramped up over the last few years, and in particular I have had a difficult time with Elap. Now we have a sequence I have heard of – the Collatz conjecture. Long preamble for a numerical – it’s a jigsaw, there’s only two 4-digit entries, and capital and lowercase numbers are hailstones of each other.

There was a clear starting point here – N to the power of 4 is a 2-digit number, so N has to be 2 or 3 – if it is indeed 2, then the first few 2-digit answers have to be smaller than 16, so 4 of the numbers from 10-15 are represented.

I’ll save you the details, but I did my usual job with the logic puzzles which is to make a complete bosh of it, and after about half an hour I had a few impassable points.

Time to start again… I figured I’d gone wrong by assuming 95 and 96 for 29 and 27 down. So back to careful calculation and, I’ll admit, Excel to make sure I was doing the maths correctly. This worked – I had a grid!

Now to decode – I don’t think it has anything to do with the letters used in the clues, since there’s no E. It says in a thematic direction, which may mean top to bottom… PRODUCE makes it look promising.

PRODUCE CH HAILSTONE NUMBERS FROM IHH and FILL GRID…

Aaaah, they are actual numbers – produce 38 hailstone numbers from 988 and fill grid. Really? Wow.

After a near false start from (which made too many 4-digit hailstone numbers) we have a list, and in they go as a jigsaw.

Wow that was an impressive crossword and grid! I really enjoyed the challenge and it was quite a piece of construction, I’m amazed at how Elap could have come up with this, and I believe we can call it a Victory to George!

2016 tally: 7-1-0

Feel free to tell me that I should put far fewer grids in the post, and see you next week when Emu invents a band that can cover one man.

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