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The Square Root of 576 by Leo

Posted by shirleycurran on 23 October 2009

I am learning that it is possible to become enraged with a little square of paper that measures about 4×4″! Now is that totally rational? The junior easy-crossword coffee-break solvers aim at solving ten clues by the end of Friday (at least) and with some like CHANTEUR and LUGANO, STEEL DRUM, FRESHNESS and LATERAN slotting in, there seemed to be some hope this week. “Chanteur?” did I hear you think? Well, here in Europe, that was the obvious anagram of ‘chart tune’ (producing a T which soon led us to LETTERS as the first part of the so-called ‘helpful’ information – but then, that so often is the first word of an otherwise indecipherable message in these Listener things!)

First red-herring. We added TETANIC to it (sheer careless reading of the wordplay), and ANTS, and were in a total mess. Normally, we can haul ourselves out of these holes, but this time we seemed to dig ourselves deeper in. Clue after clue seemed to be one letter short of the required length and we were looking for impossible words like SGA?. ALAR (RU Team regularly maul pair of wings) seemed to spell out the four-letter word, but what was the RUGBY 15 doing there. The same with ULE, that backward bending tree in deluge – but ‘perfect’? As for the pair of paddling ducks! LED gave us under control, and that was half of ‘paddle furiously’ but what were the ducks doing there?

Two far more able solvers prompted us to examine the lengths of the words but were we honestly meant to leave empty squares – and then do what with them? The message finally read ‘Letter count gives a second magic square’. Great! I still had to suss out the first one, then, with lots of help, light finally dawned. We had been on the right track all along but simply are not up to the fiendish wiles of Listener setters.

Stop whingeing and admire the genius that went into this! When we identified those squares and realized that four different numbers would complete valid The Square Root of 576 by LeoChambers’ words (TWE NTY ONE/ TWE NTY TWO/ THI RTY ONE and THI/ RTY TWO), we were flabbergasted. But which one to choose?

Wise Friend explained to me that the way to work out which is needed is that the alphamagic square is also a magic square. That means the chosen number has to be 21. The difference between the sum of the two squares is 45-21 = 24, which is the square root of 576 (Aha, the title).

Was that extra material helpful? Now, I understand that the little ducks were artistically posing as 22, and the rugby team being 15. Tea is for 2, The ‘perfect’ deluge? (Help, please, Denis – are we identifying a perfect number – 28?) Catch 22, yes, and is the crew an 8? All added complexity and totally daunting – so I resorted to taking out my highlighter and ‘adjusting the initial grid to one that appears totally satisfying’ in my own way (that is surely in the eye of the beholder?)

Thank you Leo. We are dazzled by the brilliance of this one which drove us barmy. Yet again, we have been shown our limits.

2 Responses to “The Square Root of 576 by Leo”

  1. Denis Martin said

    Perfect as always Shirley.

  2. hub motor bike

    The Square Root of 576 by Leo « Listen With Others

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