# Listen With Others

## Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin

Posted by Encota on 11 Sep 2020

Thanks first of all to Piccadilly for a beautifully constructed puzzle!

I still recall well the puzzle The Properties Of Numbers II from three years ago, so knew we’d be getting something good. I wasn’t disappointed!

Of course the error-checking facility provided by the number-to-letter conversion at the end removed one of the most common gripes heard about Numericals: “I posted it off but have no idea if it was correct”, or similar.

With hindsight I should have made more use of the fact that no cell would contain a number greater than 19, but I kept wondering if there was some kind of trap in that logic (e.g. there might have been a 61 in the down clue and a 16 in the across clue). Luckily that proved not to be the case!

The way in with this puzzle (for me at least) was to start with the powers/ exponents used in some of the clues, e.g. 29d’s T^A. even if T=2 then A can’t be more than 9. Similarly the R^R in 21a limited R tightly.

I maintained a simple table in Excel (above), showing letters in one direction and their possible values (1 through 19) in the other. As one clue or another allowed certain values to be eliminated, I marked that clue number in relevant cells in the table. I always find this useful if (when!) I make a mistake somewhere along the way. [Aside: if you use Excel but don’t use Cntl-Enter yet – for filling multiple cells with the same value – then it can save you much time in tables such as this].

All great fun – many thanks!

Tim / Encota