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Listener Crossword 4699 Pentominoes by Child’s Play

Posted by gillwinchcombe on 13 Mar 2022

I enjoy numericals; they were my introduction to the Listener. But that doesn’t mean the path to solving them is always smooth, and it certainly wasn’t with Pentominoes. First off, I made it much harder than Child’s Play had ever intended. I interpreted “each of the digits 1 to 9 occupies 5 contiguous cells” as each pentomino displays all 9 digits, which meant squashing 9 digits into 5 cells. Mercifully the light dawned before I got going properly on my impossible quest!

I solved H & C (2 & 3 respectively), and 6561 fell out pretty quickly. The pentomino structure dictated its position, and defined the “6” pentomino shape. Soon I’d solved half a dozen more clues. I was on a roll! Buoyed with success, I entered the solution for 3 across, BD – except it was the wrong solution in the wrong place. My (mathematically) better half Cliff meanwhile had also met a stumbling block, so we compared notes. I erased my erroneous answer, gave him the correct solution for ACDG, and we both romped home by filling the grid. It transpired that he had miscounted and was working with only the first 12 primes. Yes, his career has been based on primes – but luckily he has computers to count them!

Having finished I found myself wishing for a final step to show that we’d assigned letters to all the primes, for example “decode 413241772311523 for a description of the puzzle”. A worthy numerical nonetheless which must have been even more tricky to set than to solve! Thanks Child’s Play for a challenging and fun afternoon.

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