Numbers and letters (HLD 156)

25 Aug 2020

On a sibling Skype call a while back, to share a drink to celebrate 🎊 one of my brother’s birthdays, my sister made the following observation:

The birthday boy was turning 62 that day, and was born in ‘58. SHE was born in ‘62, and turned 58 this year. Our amazement about this fact may have been enhanced by red wine consumption.

We then realised that my oldest brother, who was born in ‘57, turned 63 this year, while I (the baby of the group), was born in ‘63, and am turning 57 this year!

More red wine was consumed at this stunning discovery.

My intellect does not grasp whether this is an amazing coincidence, or a simply explained mathematical “Ho hum” that any idiot should be able to work out.

This idiot was quietly impressed.

It does bring to mind one of the tv shows I like watching that involves letters and numbers. There’s a few of these sort of shows about, some quite intellectual and some quite rude. No guesses as to which would be my preferred version.

I enjoy the letters part of the show – trying to find the largest word you could make out of a selection on nine random letters.

The numbers version of the show, however, is not always quite so obvious to me. One member of my family, who may or may not be an engineer, is very good at the maths one. And because he is an engineer (and for those of you who don’t know an engineer, let me tell you that they are rarely short of self confidence), he also is quite good at the letters one as well. Or so he tells me.

The numbers one gives you 7 numbers – some single digit, some double digit, and a random three digit number you need to create from the other numbers (only using them once).

Sometimes it’s obvious, and some times you need to be sitting next to an engineer.

My mother and second oldest brother were the only ones in our family with the cryptic crossword brain. The rest of us could manage normal, straight forward NORMAL PERSON crosswords, but Mum and Pete are the type of people who can look at a clue that means absolutely nothing to no one, and figure out the magic answer.

Sometimes I can backtrack from the answer of a cryptic crossword clue and work out how it was achieved. But not always. I’d like to be the sort of person who can do cryptic crosswords easily. But I’m not.

Just like I’m not the sort of person who understands why my brother was born in the year that’s the same as the age I’m turning this year.

I might have a glass of red and see if that helps.

Then I’ll finish yesterday’s cryptic crossword. Using the answers in today’s paper.

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