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Posts Tagged ‘Botox’

Listener No 4490: REJOB by Botox

Posted by Dave Hennings on 9 March 2018

Spoiler alert: this was bloody tough!

A quick check of the Database shows that Botox had a Magpie C-grade word puzzle three years ago, and the Listener website gives the two setters who were behind this fiendish puzzle. Both are fiendish in their own right.

The way in here seemed to be 29dn (P – A)(P – A) which was (2) and had a limited number of possibilities. Mind you, we had the same old question as to whether (P – A) was positive or negative. After some time, I wasn’t sure if this was the way in or not since nothing else seemed to happen.

In hindsight, I can’t recall how the next four hours were filled, except they weren’t filled very quickly. I do remember spending five minutes counting that each NATO letter was used exactly twice. I also noticed that Z was the only letter that wasn’t used as a multiplier or divisor, so could that be 1 — or did we have something like 4ac (B + RAV)O with O = 1? I decided to park that thought.

It was at the beginning of my second 4-hour session that the suspicious looking 21dn HO – T/E – L = HO – TE + L came to my rescue in association with 11ac D(E + L + T)A = (D + (E + L)T)A. This led to E = 2 followed quickly by T = 12 and L = 9.

Shortly after the start of my third 4-hour stint, the grid was filled and it was time to come up with the cipher for the endgame. Grid B had to have some cells containing the digits they had in Grid A, and the remainder having the digit converted to a letter, where each digit represented any of two or three letters. What was noticeable was that columns 1 and 11 had the same digits, column 7 contained 5–0 in order, and there were some other strange patterns.

It was fairly obvious (I think) that the digits in order encoded to A–J or K–T or U–Z. However, I wasn’t sure whether the order was 0–9 or 1–0 or even 2–1, etc. The basic idea was confirmed by seeing that the code for REJOB could also give HOTEL, although I was unsure as to why that was particularly relevant yet.

My first somewhat bizarre idea was that the hotel would be occupied by those letters of the NATO alphabet that spelt out people’s names, such as JULIET and ROMEO.

I tried encoding the top row using 0–9 and then 1–0, but nothing leapt out at me. I decided, partly for the fun of it, to build a spreadsheet that would have ten grids, each using one of the coding options. My spreadsheet skills are a bit rusty so it took slightly longer than expected.

Sod’s Law and it was the last such grid that enabled me to see the light with the left hand column showing IS/JT/AKU/IS/HR/IS. STAIRS eventually popped out and five minutes later so had RECEPTION, LIFT and PENTHOUSE. That gave the 34 cells with letters and left the 16 rooms to be delineated.

I don’t know whether it is a predominantly American habit of not numbering the 13th floor. Of course, any fool can see that no matter how you label that floor, doesn’t stop it being the 13th! However, it was an amusing touch here to omit room 13 on the first floor — or as Americans would call it, the second floor!

This puzzle has continued the run of tough ones for the start of 2018. Thanks for the entertaining (?) torture (!), Botox. I’m not sure whether I’m looking forward to another from you or not!

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Rejob by Botox

Posted by shirleycurran on 9 March 2018

It’s the dreaded numerical again and my fears are confirmed when I download not one but two grids. That X at the end of the pseudonym causes only foreboding too. We’ve encountered Botox in a Magpie C level puzzle that depicted a Picasso painting in the final grid and are aware that Artix, Nudnix, Charismatix etc. all have that hint of the setter’s identity in the final X (even if Charismatix produces rather groan-worthy but very popular Christmas cracker jokes – his/their puzzles are never easy). Of course I scan the clues before handing over to the more numerical Numpty and they produce a wide smile when I see that we go from ALPHA to ZULU, via BRAVO, CHARLIE etc. and, of course WHISKEY, so no need to search any further for confirmation of Botox’s right to prop up the bar at the Paris dinner.

I hand over and sheets of paper and pencil sharpenings pile up, as he immediately homes in on clues 11ac and 21d as the way in but, after filling a couple of pages, decides that he has to produce a programme which tells him that D = 6, E = 2, L = 9 and T = 12 and that that is unique. He moves from there to O but I can count on the other bloggers to give the details of the heap of paper, drained glasses and snapped pencils that led to a completed grid of numbers.

Now what? We have to produce Grid B by copying the digits in 32 cells from Grid A and decoding the rest to letters (using a systematic cipher where each digit represents any of two or three letters). Which 32 cells? Head scratching, then a joyous penny-drop moment when we see 4321 in descending order four times in the heart of the grid, accompanied by 1111, 2222, 3334, and 4445. Hotel rooms with no 13, of course, omitted. I draw a symmetric arrangement of bars around those rooms and, eureka, I am left with 34 cells to somehow convert to letters. It has to be simple – only the numbers 0 to 9 (with no 7) are available to convert to letters so each number is going to represent any of two or three letters.

“It’s obvious” says the other Numpty. “A =1, B = 2 etc, in the usual way then after 9 we have to use J = 0 and begin again. Repeat the cycle twice then U = 1 etc. to Z = 6.” Of course it works. but now the inevitable Numpty red herring! The bottom row gives SHOW OPTIONS and, sure enough, I find STAIR at each end and LIFT in the centre, all leading up to a PENTHOUSE. Well, we have the option of a stair or the lift. But wait a minute, that’s six words: head scratching until I realize that 90189 at the two sides of the HOTEL gives two sets of STAIRS, with the alternative of a LIFT up the centre leading to the PENTHOUSE from RECEPTION. Five words!

What about REJOB? Are they renovating the hotel? It gives 85052 which, of course, can also spell HOTEL using the same cipher. How very clever! Thank you, Botox!

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