Listen With Others

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Equality by Elap

Posted by shirleycurran on 13 March 2020

Years ago, when Chris Lancaster (now the puzzle pages editor for the Telegraph) asked for more Listen With Others contributions from solvers, we offered, but commented that they would sometimes have to be ‘fail’ contributions as we were often unable to solve the ***** things. “No problem” he responded. The Numpties have produced a Listener blog every week since then and planning and writing them has led to a few ‘all correct’ years and just a few errors along the way – and always a completed puzzle. But there are two of us and although the usual ‘Chalicea/Curmudgeon Numpty’ sets the occasional numerical puzzle, despite a relatively good ‘O level’ pass in maths, she can’t solve them for toffee, so, after a groan, handed this over to the in-house Joe Sixpack Numpty – here he is:

Numericals. A dreaded phrase about a remarkable relationship, presumably delightful to a mathmo but tooth gnashing to Joe Sixpack…..

Hmmmmm. This one did look approachable to some extent, some letters being very high powers of integers, especially if you include seeing the “OO” at 3d. This gave good bets for P, D, H, F and O (81, 256, 64, 32 and 27) but then things looked stickier. But what about the helpful message Elap has provided by writing the clue letters in numerical order? Only 23, which can’t form the words ‘SHADE, HIGHLIGHT, LETTERS’,  and so on of the usual Listener puzzles and can’t form ‘DIVIDE, MULTIPLY, ADD’ either. But POWERS is possible, and NTH, and OF! What about SUM OF NTH PoWERs IDentiCAL?  Looks good, and fairly appropriate for the puzzle apart from some niggling doubt about where to use S or s and so on.

Putting the letters in this order and using the ones we already have good bets for, this works out well and allows a grid fill. Finding the upper limit for N to write below the grid required using the boss’s calculator, though, as mine is neanderthal……

Much kinder than it looked at first glance, so thanks, Elap. However did you create it?

Postscript: what about Elap’s remaining in he Listener Setters’ Oenophile Outfit? It was the Sixpack Numpty who pointed out that the grid is overflowing with 69s in various directions. Vat 69 will pass muster, so “Cheers, Elap1”

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