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Prime Cuts by Zag

Posted by shirleycurran on 11 Jun 2021

Our first reaction is “Well the grid isn’t immense: maybe it’s not too threatening.” We read the preamble and see at once, that we are going to remove two-digit primes. A quick count tells us that there are to be twenty-one removed primes and we know there are only twenty-one two-digit ones in the primes list, so we are going to have to keep a record of the ones we remove.

Of course, I have also checked that Zag, even if he sticks with numbers, is allowed into the Elite Oenophiles set-up and he has warned us in his preamble that there are no doubles or triples “All entries are different” but there isn’t much question about what one drinks with ‘Prime Cuts’ so I suspect that we can give him the benefit of the doubt and raise a glass of vintage red. Cheers, Zag!

We know that Zag will have a unique solution and we imagine that clever solvers will have created spread-sheets to work their way through the possibilities for each of the solutions but we struggle laboriously with pencil, paper and an antique calculator and are pleasantly surprised when 3d, 15ac and 15d give us solutions and our grid begins to fill. All went well until, of course, we came to a standstill at 12ac.

But you wouldn’t be reading solvers’ blogs if you hadn’t completed the puzzle, so suffice it to say that we struggled on and luckily spotted that V had to be 67, as it was the only prime left in our list with ascending digits so that 24679 had to be the entry for 10d.

That means that 9ac can be 12 or 62 and with four primes left to extract from solutions (53, 97, 89 and 71) the final three calculations seem to offer us hundreds of possibilities. Were we just lucky or was there a short cut? 6532 worked for 6ac and we hooted with joy when calculations worked for 2ac and 4d – those two must have taken us as long as the remainder put together.

What can I say? Many thanks to Zag – we are relieved that we can solve word puzzles now for three months.

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