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The Independent Culture
BEING A Slav, I feel culturally under-equipped to understand cricket. Oh, I've had the rules explained to me patiently and without condescension by Rob Eastaway, cricket enthusiast and author of What is a Googly? My head understands, but not my soul. Seeing people engaged in the longueurs of cricket, I no longer wonder "how do they do that?", but rather "why do they do that?".

Wimbledon is another matter. The rules of tennis are as instantly absorbable as a sugar-rush. The stylised duel of the singles with its dramatic flurries, tantrums and rallies engages at once. No one stands about rubbing balls against groins or Tippexes their lips.

Truly is Wimbledon a combination of mind and elbow. The virtuosity and pace of Agassi, Sampras & Co raises one's spirits while the earthy grunts of Seles raise at the very least eyebrows. And that's before the thruppence extras, such as Henman's pillocky remark (personally, I feel one should be allowed, without prejudice, the occasional pillocky remark) that women on the Eve of the Millennium are greedy to want equality of prize money. How very modern. Presumably I too am greedy, though on their behalf. The sums are in any case so similar- pounds 455,000 for the men's and pounds 409,500 for the women's singles - that it seems as invidiously daft as giving your little boy 9p and his twin sister 8p. Such a nit-picky difference.

Heigh-ho, here's a simple tennis puzzle. Fig a) shows Hugh Load's old racquet (you can tell it's old 'cause it's spelt with a "cq") How many squares and rectangles are to be found in its mesh?

It's easy to count the rectangles findable in a tennis-court, with or without the net being counted as a line (Fig b) (How many is it then?). But it makes a useful exercise in counting strategy. Counting socks on a clothes' -line is simple, you just sweep from left to right, say. But what if the enumerabilia are not ordered along a line? If they cover more than one dimension or overlap? Then you may need a strategy to ensure you count everything once and once only.

Last week's puzzles

1. & 2. The L-shape in Fig c) is divided into four miniature replicas of itself. A cut along the symmetry axis gives a set of four replicons for the "half L". To divide the L-shape into nine replicons (Fig d) it helps to spot that the little L has to fit into the crook of the large L as shown. The rest follows.

3. If a pig and a pog cost pounds 1, a pog and a pug 52p and a pug and a pig even less, then a pig, pog and pug cost 49p, 51p and 1p for respectively.

That is if 1p is the smallest unit of currency. In 1984 the halfpenny was still legal tender, so other solutions existed.

4. It is impossible to get a pair of white socks.

Points to ponder

1. Don Wimble is refreshing the white lines delineating the centre court. How far can he get without covering any segment of line more than once?

2. The Didcot Dodderers must be the very worst cricketing XI in the known universe. Each of us is always bowled out first ball. What number am I in if I am the last out?

Comments to: indy@puzzlemaster.co.uk

`Out for the Count' is being repeated on the BBC World Service, Mondays at 4:30pm. Visit the site at: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice /science/outforthecount/