Derek Harrison's Crossword Message Board

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Re(4): Latin crossword
IP: 85.210.19.197


Dave and Alastair, my unrealistic suggestion for four Latin Listeners a year was not a joke ... it was merely meant to highlight the feeling of a significant proportion of Listener solvers that crucinumerics are well outside our comfort zone, in spite of your kind encouragement that all one needs for them is O level maths and a bit of logic.

I took School Certificate Elementary Maths in the summer of 1948 ... but it did not equip me for this sort of thing ... I quote from a blog for a recent numbers puzzle, which was acknowledged to be a fairly mild one:

"Obviously the starting point is understanding how to work with hexadecimal numbers. Knowing that hex(100) = dec(256) and hex(FFE) = dec(4094) and then using excel's DEC2HEX function, can generate all numbers between. Of this list we'll only need 24, so perhaps it's a bit of an overkill."

When I started on Listeners over 20 years ago I was able to do the occasional numbers puzzle with the help of The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers" which had useful tables at the back, and thus managed to get on JG's leaderboard for about ten consecutive years. But then the numericals did seem to get much harder with massive numbers of variables, way beyond the ability of both myself and my pocket calculator.

I recently had an email from a noted Listener setter and solver, himself a professional mathematician, in which he said:
"I take a week off when any of the four mathematicals a year appear !"

I could argue that you don't really even need a Latin O level to tackle an Auctor Latin puzzle, merely a knowledge of standard cryptic clueing ( most of the clues are in English)and a 3 Collins Latin Dictionary, plus possibly Google to show you e.g. the link between Hecuba and Csssandra. But I won't.

For you, numericals may be as easy as falling off a log. But for many of us "verbalists" it is still a case of
"Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate."

Some will remember this as the theme of a fairly recent Listener, which, admittedly, most of us solved even without O level Italian.

Now, as the guy in The Fast Show said,
"I'll get me hat and coat."

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