Enigmatic Variations 1491
Pioneer by Wickball
Extra letters spell RICHARD FEYNMAN’S JEWEL, a reference to the formula in the second row; changing LEOPARD and RULER produces LEONHARD EULER, PIONEER of both discoveries.
I first got the idea for this puzzle from a question on the BBC1 quiz programme Only Connect. After a considerable incubation period, the baby finally emerged which I sent to the Sunday Telegraph. I was dismayed to find that, although the idea was accepted, the grid failed the EV constraints on two counts.
Firstly, the average entry length was a little too short (although not for the clue answers before compression). This was correctable by some minor tweaking.
Secondly, one entry, NOT FAR, at the bottom of the first column, was not in Chambers! Try as I might, I could not find a 6-letter alternative which would preserve theme letter F and also the A, since A SALTI would not budge without upsetting the machinery which produced the rest of this formula. Finally, I opted for the 5-letter OFFAL. This led to a fairly major reworking of the top-left quadrant and, to retain symmetry, the bottom-right. I was sorry to lose quite a few of the original clues, although I was pleased to retain the one for AIRSPACE.
Grateful thanks are due to Steve Bartlett, the EV editor, for his patience and his help in tidying up some dodgy clues.
Richard Feynman, who truly had a “brain the size of a planet” (to quote D Adams), was right to be in awe of the upper equation, although I can understand how it would mystify anyone with a non-mathematical bent. It manages to combine the 5 most fundamental quantities of Maths, most of which are seemingly unrelated, in the most elegant way.
Two of them are not whole numbers and can never be expressed exactly and one is not even a real number! Nevertheless, there they sit in an exact relationship, no fudging needed to make things fit. I think it’s an amazing result and it would not be beyond a good A-level Further Maths student to follow its derivation.
The lower equation is a lot more down-to-earth. Take something like a large potato and use a sharp knife to remove a number of flat slices in various orientations and you can produce a multi-faceted solid of your own design. If you then add the number of faces to the number of vertices (corners), the answer will always be exactly 2 more than the number of edges. Another amazing result. (Don’t forget to clean up the mess!)
Mr Euler was definitely a very bright fellow.
A full review of this puzzle can be seen over on fifteensquared.