Listen With Others

Codebreaker by Zag

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 June 2014

I really shouldn’t write a Numpty blog at all for this one as it has been sheer torture and we have just completed it almost twenty-four hours after it appeared on-line. However, solving friends all around me are assuring me that it is the best thing since Cadbury’s Flakes, or something like that.

I said ‘we’ have just completed it. Well, actually it was 99% the other Numpty. My only contribution (apart from very long-suffering patience as the air grew bluer and bluer) was the final logical step. Yes, I had witnessed the way a new form of logic was required for every stage in what must, I believe, be a single route to the solution from that first realisation that there was only one place for 0 in the top or bottom row (as the second digit of 19ac, since there were no leading zeros and the top and bottom rows had to contain all the digits) to the final summing of the digits in the grid.

That was my tiny contribution. We still had the bottom right hand corner with a range of potential solutions for 15d and 14ac, and in desperation, I added up the digits in the grid and worked out that the answer had to be 151, give or take a few, thus removing our final doubts and entering the encoded 424 at 11ac.

Of course Zag doesn’t qualify for the Listener Oenophile society membership, with not a winey clue to his name, but he has certainly driven a few of us to drink! The funniest comment I heard was from a friend whose partner, seeing him beginning his solve, commented “Oh that looks like a sweet little one this week, just like the Mirror concise crossword!” Hah!

Twenty-five pages of notes. Is this a record? The problem was that double thinking required at every step. Were we talking about the entry or the answer that had to be encoded to the entry. I am not going to admit how many times we back-tracked almost to the start of our solve. Just to say – well, what can I say. Please set a verbal one next time Zag – even if all my solving mates claim this one was the perfect numerical.