Victor Ludi (3): Cardinals & Capitals

By: Patrick Cates
April 13, 2010

If the Magister Ludi mailbox is to be trusted, this alphanumeric obstacle course inspired enjoyment and hair-pulling in equal measure. I treat that as a mark of success. The holy grail of puzzling and quizzing is, for me, the tip-of-the-tongue teaser that stays with you for minutes at a time, evaporates, and then reappears at inopportune moments throughout the day. I will put at a stop to this torture once I have congratulated our Victor Ludi.

Like twelve other contestants, he achieved a perfect score. But he set himself apart by winning the tie-breaker question. In response to my fiendishly pointless request that people estimate the number of times that the word “number” appears in the posts and comments of HiLobrow.com, he responded with 67. The actual answer is 70. The “he” of whom I write, and whom I now crown Victor Ludi, is Douglas Wolk. Congratulations, Douglas, on your remarkable accuracy with letter and number.

And, now, the ritual decoding…

  1. Another One Bites the Dust
  2. One After 909
  3. The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  4. A Tale of Two Cities
  5. 2 Fast 2 Furious
  6. 2 Minutes to Midnight
  7. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
  8. Slaughterhouse 5
  9. Six Days Seven Nights
  10. Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  11. The Magnificent Seven
  12. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  13. Eight Days a Week
  14. Plan 9 from Outer Space
  15. The Twelve Caesars
  16. 12 Monkeys
  17. Assault on Precinct 13
  18. 21st Century Schizoid Man
  19. 24 Hour Party People
  20. 28 Days Later
  21. 30 Odd Foot of Grunts
  22. The Crying of Lot 49
  23. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
  24. Highway 61 Revisited
  25. Around the World in Eighty Days
  26. 84 Charing Cross Road
  27. 100 Miles and Runnin’
  28. The 120 Days of Sodom
  29. The Taking of Pelham 123
  30. December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)

As I suggested in the original rubric, valid alternatives to any of the above were perfectly acceptable (The Twelve Chairs was a much more popular answer than The Twelve Caesars, for example).

Another brainbender will appear on Monday 19 April; please drop by and pick up your week’s supply of profoundly irritating amusement. In the meantime, if writing ultra-short fictional fancies about telepathy is your thing, consider trying your hand at the latest Magister Ludi challenge.

What do you think?

  1. 823 posts, 1902 comments, and we’ve used the word “number” used a mere 70 times. I find our innumeracy breathtaking, and Douglas’ ability to intuit it downright uncanny.

  2. On that note, I should dedicate a congratulatory post scriptum to Mike Beggs, whose estimate of 63 brought him within a hair’s breadth of Savant Wolk.

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