**From New Scientist #2485, 5th February 2005**

Harry and Tom each chose two consecutive integers between 1 and 20 and wrote down their squares as Roman numerals. I challenged each of them independently to replace each letter of his Roman numerals with a digit (with any given letter always replaced by the same digit, different letters by different digits and leading zeroes not permitted) in such a way that the numbers they created from their Roman squares were themselves consecutive perfect squares.

I leave you to discover the connections between their solutions, but will add that from their ascending Roman squares Harry created descending consecutive numerical squares and Tom created ascending consecutive numerical squares. Submit both the two Roman squares and the two numerical squares created from them that (a) Harry and (b) Tom came up with.

[enigma1326]

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This was a bit more involved than I was expecting. This Python program uses the

int2roman()routine from theenigma.pylibrary. It runs in 81ms.Solution:(a) Harry’s Roman squares were XVI and XXV (16 = 4² and 25 = 5²), the corresponding numerical squares are 256 and 225 (16² and 15²). (b) Tom’s Roman squares were CCXXV and CCLVI (225 = 15² and 256 = 16²), the corresponding numerical squares are 99225 and 99856 (315² and 316²).The connection between them is that the consecutive numbers whose squares give Harry’s pair of numerical squares are the same numbers that Tom chose at the beginning.