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Programming Enigma Puzzles

21 August 2015

Posted by on **From New Scientist #1452, 18th April 1985** [link]

In this puzzle dates are written in the form 17/3/08 or 9/12/72 but then the /s are deleted and the digits consistently replaced by letters, different letters represent different digits.

I was born on ENIGMA. So how old was I on EMPTY? I was __ years old (and AGE days to be precise). By the end of 1999 I shall be ON in years.

What’s the POINT?

[enigma304]

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Initially I thought there were two solutions to this problem, but then I remembered that it was originally set in 1985.

This Python code runs in 35ms.

Solution:POINT = 85167.Your birth date represented by ENIGMA is 26/10/1943, and the date represented by EMPTY is 24/8/1979, on which date your age is 35 years, 302 days, and 302 corresponding to AGE. At the end of 1999 you will be 56 years old, represented by ON.

If the puzzle had been set after 24/8/1997 then that date could be represented by EMPTY, and your age then would have been 53 years, 302 days. In this case POINT would be 85169.

Line 33 of the program ignores solutions where EMPTY is after 1985.

Jim has kindly pointed out that the above version is flawed. In fact I mistakenly published the wrong version of my code – here is the correct version: