Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Ultimate Puzzle Revealed

I am afraid I left the narrative on a 'cliffhanger' yesterday. This is a trick I have learned from Noel Edmonds on Deal or No Deal? He is extremely sophisticated in his use of it - he will take the phonecall from the Banker, who tells him what the cash offer is to be. Instead of immediately informing the contestant of the Banker's cash offer, he often says, "Let's take a break first", at which point the studio audience groans and the programme stops for adverts. The reason the audience groans is because they are very eager to hear the Banker's cash offer and are now forced to wait an excrutiating three minutes before learning what the offer is to be and how it affects the course of the game. The audience at home is similarly desperate to find out how things will unfold, and is more than willing to endure the three minutes of adverts in order to get back to the programme. It keeps them watching and keeps the excitement levels up. That Edmonds is a master and I have learned from him.

I now must tell you the nature of Patrick Bossert's ultimate puzzle. It will be difficult for many of you, incompetent as you are, to understand the complexity of it. Even I, who have been through some of the Scottish secondary school system, struggle to comprehend it.

Bossert flung off the black cloth and revealed his puzzle to the horrified crowd. I thought at first that it was another Rubik's Cube, but I could see that the puzzlers in the room recoiled in terror at the first glimpse of it, so I supposed that they had observed something about this cube that I had missed. Bossert grinned maniacally and held aloft the cube.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he twittered, "I give you....Cube Plus! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hee!"

It was at this point that I realised what was unique about this cube. Readers, I advise you to pour yourself a liberal slug of brandy or some similar restorative before continuing because the nature and complexity of this cube will shock you.

Gentle readers, this cube was not 3 by 3 by 3, as was Rubik's original and nigh-on impossible Cube, but rather..... (I feel sick but must continue) .... it was 4 by 4 by 4!

Bossert let loose a torrent of frenzied laughter and directly set to work on solving this insane puzzle. The crowd tentatively began cautionary chants, such as, "Too far, Bossert, too far!" and "You're mad sir, mad!" and "You'll never solve it!" and "Impossible!" and "You speccy c___!" Bossert was so absorbed in the puzzle that the words of warning could not reach him. With a freakish rictus twisted 'pon (upon) his face, he stood twisting the 4 by 4 by 4 Cube rapidly in his hands, oblivious to the chaos surrounding him.

The crowd grew uglier and uglier, especially the Welsh stall, while all this time I remained frozen and in the most abject of torture and misery.

Again I will use the device of the cliff hanger and leave you desperate to discover the Banker's offer and how I came to escape from my predicament. We will now take a break.

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