Mind Olympics

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The Independent Culture
It's Week Two, Day Four of the Mind Olympics, beginning with alien diction and ending with scoreboard lacunae. A set of correct answers to any single day's questions will qualify you for entry to the weekly draw from which one entrant will win pounds 100 worth of Waterstone's book vouchers. At the end of the three-week event, all correct entries will go back into the hat for another chance to win the grand prize of a 21-volume Macmillan Family Encyclopaedia (worth pounds 525).

When you have solved all five puzzles, send the answers to: Mind Olympics (Day Nine), the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL to arrive by 8 August 1996.

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"It requires one to assume such indecent postures." Oscar Wilde on cricket.

1 Abducted by aliens from the carpark of The Legless Newt I heard their unearthly speech: "Od ouy inkth isth si na syea deco orf het talmor derrea ot standunder, o wlylo neo?"

"Neo uldsho yas `ptionencry', allyre termas!"

Yup, I heard the aliens talk. But what they were saying was quite down to Earth. Translate.

2 A number of ants quarrelled on a discarded orange, which like all truly logical oranges was perfectly spherical. When they walked off to sulk, they stayed on the surface of the orange, finally settling at points in such a way that each and every ant was the same distance from from the four ants nearest to it. How many ants were there altogether?

3 What two letters are missing from the following series?


4 A heterodigital number is one all of whose digits are different. Thus 23491 is heterodigital, while 212 is not. The smallest heterodigital number is 0, the largest is 9876543210. How many heterodigital numbers are there altogether?

5 Someone has been having fun with this Olympic scoreboard. Insert the correct numbers into the empty squares so that each column, each row and the two main diagonals all sum to exactly 1996.

Questions set by Maslanka.

Illustration: Mike Harrington.