Listener 4164: 4164 by Kea
Posted by Dave Hennings on 9 December 2011
I’m guessing that 99.8% of us1 were not expecting Kea’s name to appear alongside our quarterly mathematical puzzle. Those who only do the mathematicals2 will be unaware of the awe with which Kea is held in the Listener crossword community3. With this puzzle, Kea joins the likes of Aedites, Brimstone, Piccadilly and Viking as setters who have dabbled in both types of Listener.
The first thing I noticed about the puzzle itself was that the clues were not of the (W + h + e – R)E * (T + O + S – t – A -R)T variety, but consisted of simple numbers, from 2 to 171. These numbers represented the multiplication factor to be applied to the first part of the entry to give the last part of the entry, each part overlapping the other by one or more digits. It took only a few minutes to work out how easy the puzzle was likely to be, at least with my simple calculator. First enter the factor (eg 171), press + and then press = repeatedly until the number of times it is pressed can overlap the display on the calulator. Thus 171 then + then = 11 times shows 1881, 12 times shows 2052 and 23 times 3933; this gives possible entries at 1ac of 11881, 12052 and 23933.
I started off without making any notes, just to see how far I could get. I missed 11881, and 12052 led to a dead end! This delayed me for about ten minutes. I started making notes of the logic that I used. The grid was soon filled, pretty much clockwise from 1ac, 1dn, 8ac, 3dn. Even including the false start, the whole puzzle was done in an hour. If not making logic notes, I suspect many will have solved it in a considerably shorter time. I think it was the quickest time ever for me to finish a Listener, let alone a mathematical.
I know that there are some out there who think that a Listener is not a Listener unless it is on the tricky side of easy or has a neat little end game. Whilst I think most Listeners should be like that, the occasional easy offering is welcome, hopefully to encourage newcomers to our game. If nothing else, it makes this weekly blog so much easier to write, so thanks to Kea for that!
1 Everyone except Roger and Shane
2 Stanley Fenton of Harrogate
3 Everyone else