Listen With Others

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Chessboard Carte Blanche by Hedgehog

Posted by shirleycurran on 10 Sep 2021

Our reaction to seeing ‘Carte Blanche’ in Hedgehog’s title was disbelief but that was modified when we read that ‘all cells of one colour contain even digits and all cells of the other colour contain odd digits’. The fact that it was not exactly ‘blanche’ but a checkerboard was, in fact, tremendously helpful, as we were soon to find out and rendered this (yes, I admit it) a pleasure to solve.

Of course I didn’t really expect Hedgehog, in a Listener numerical puzzle, to retain his entry ticket to the Listener Oenophile Elite’s line-up at the bar but I checked his text and found one ‘prime’. Chambers tells me that ‘prime’ is ‘To bring into activity or working order by a preliminary charge (eg people by giving them liquor)’. Hmmm! We were told ‘Bars need not be entered’ but he didn’t say that we ‘must not’ enter those bars, so there’s hope for Hedgehog. Cheers!

Where to start? We were delighted to find that the odd/even or even/odd restriction vastly reduced the primes, squares and cubes available and offered us just two potential Fibonacci numbers and only one cube (clue C) could be added to one of those to give even/odd so we were away with answers c, C, H and Y. And the solve continued like that with only a couple of hitches when one Numpty fat-fingered the calculator and when we went up a blind alley by opting for the wrong answer of two (43 instead of 67) for little e.

Filling a carte blanche is always my task (the setter of the Numpty pair) and sussing that A was 5494 (a multiple of 41 and 67) confirmed that evens had to go into white cells since Q (47) had to be the first down solution (symmetry dictated that). Filling the grid was fun as our solutions intersected and any remaining doubts (like N, where we still had three possibilities for Q x square) were resolved as digits went into the grid.

If all the numericals were like this one – not requiring spread sheets and complicated calculations, but simply lists of primes etc. – I might stop dreading them. Many thanks to Hedgehog.


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