2x2x2 by Oyler
Posted by shirleycurran on 8 June 2012
For once the less numerical numpty is not complaining. There was plenty to do once the mathematical part of Oyler’s 2x2x2 was completed. The numerical one had established values for the down clues within half an hour and this looked like being one of the easiest numerical Listeners yet. A couple of arithmetic errors delayed progress with the across clues but a couple of hours’ work with pencil and paper produced a full grid.
We immediately noticed how cleverly Oyler had delineated the area that our eight dice nets were to use, by leaving only 7s, 8s and 9s in the remaining area. We are wondering in what order he created this puzzle (and hope we get a setter’s blog!) Did he begin with little paper cubes, dismantle them to form shapes then fit those into a grid and do the maths, or was it the other way round or …?
There were three obvious dice shapes at the foot of the grid and these were almost incontestable, but the remainder of the grid proved unyielding and the less mathematical numpty was brought in – with gloomy results.
Clearly we had to find a method of jigsawing these shapes into the grid. Google provided a set of the eleven possible nets for a cube and these were laboriously traced onto a plastic sheet with the cells the dimension of the grid cells, and delineated and cut. (Don’t these Listener puzzles prove to be a learning experience? Well for me, at least, they do – I had no idea that a cube could produce eleven nets!)
More jigsaw head scratching until the eureka moment when the pattern (rather reminiscent of those tedious Christmas puzzles that we used to receive in our stockings) fell out as it should. With glee, we moved onto the final stage of the challenge.
Attempting to visualize these outlines as mini cubes was fruitless. I wonder whether any solver managed to complete this puzzle without constructing a set of eight mini cubes. (Well nine for the numpties as we naively fitted them onto our Google sheet, which inverted one of them and completely threw the end result. Who would have thought that one mirrored cube would make the final task impossible? Well it did!)
I wonder whether there was a method, other than trial and error, for the stacking of the cubes. I understand that it is possible to write a progamme for most things, but this? I simply worked on the principle of putting one side after another at the bottom and rotating cubes until a fit appeared, but this was a most un-numerical procedure (if quite fun!) and I imagine the people who usually romp through the three-monthly Listener were having a moan at this stage.
No moan from me. This is the second time we have been spared that endless slog (and bad temper) with sheets of calculations and not much joy. There was a decisive result with a rewarding stack of cubes made out of old, solved crosswords and an amusing set of words to comment on in the clues. No, I noticed that Oyler didn’t share the habitual Listener compiler’s tendency to incorporate a tipple in his work of art. He stuck with cocoa and a nacho but it was entertaining to see how many words (CONCH, COMMON MAN, CANNON etc.) he made with those six letters especially that gloating HOHO – HO – HO- H-A towards the end. That was maybe because he knew that some of us would forget the highlighting. I almost did!
Thank you, Oyler – great fun (No, I can’t seriously be saying that about a numerical!)