ABC,CDE × 4 = EDC,CBA

I’m a fan of FiveThirtyEight’s weekly puzzle column The Riddler. This week’s edition is a fairly simple challenge:

If A, B, C, D and E are all unique digits, what values would work with the following equation?
ABC,CDE × 4 = EDC,CBA

This is one of those puzzles that’s fiddly to solve by hand, but dead easy if you write a program. Some quick coding in Small Basic (I’m old-school) reveals that there’s just one solution:

A = 2 B = 1 C = 9 D = 7 E = 8
879,912 = 4 x 219,978

Interestingly, there are no other solutions even if you don’t require every digit to be unique. As well, for this particular equation, a solution only exists when you multiply ABC,CDE by 4 – there are no solutions for any other integer between 2 and 9.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Day 12


Words written today: 5,031. Running total: 20,414.

Actually, that’s a three-day total of sorts. As I predicted, Friday turned out to be a total non-starter. I did a decent chunk of writing on Saturday, but didn’t blog about it or even update my counter. Still, after a few sessions spread over Sunday, I’m back on track word-count wise. I didn’t get around to building my tracking spreadsheet for the novel, but that can wait. This week I’m jumping on and off planes a lot (even by my standards), so I’ll have to try and make my time in air productive.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Day 9


Words written today: 1,740. Running total: 15,383.

Still on track, despite a very fractured main writing session with numerous interruptions. I know that on the weekend I will need to spend some time actually mapping out what I’ve written so far, noting major and minor character names, lengths for each chapter, and other details, so I can make sure I’m keeping my main narrative connected and rhythmic. I enjoy that part of the process, but it rarely helps boost the word count!

NaNoWriMo Day 8

Embed from Getty Images

Words written today: 1,709. Running total: 13,643.

Keeping the pace, with another 1,700-odd words completed, in line with the day 8 goal of 13,600 or so. Something I need to factor in: this year, I actually write faster with a pair of 1-hour slots than with a single 2-hour marathon. Time for some calendar jigging!

NaNoWriMo 2017 Day 7

Embed from Getty Images
Words written today: 1,716. Running total: 11,934.

I wrote half of today’s words on a plane, half in my lunch break and in a quick dash after work, and then headed out to a Pretenders/Steve Nicks concert. Not bad hey?

NaNoWriMo 2017 Day 6

Embed from Getty Images

Words written today: 5,096. Running total: 10,218.

This is clearly going to be a stop-start NaNoWriMo for me. I’m now slightly ahead of the scheduled target of 10,200 words, but I did basically no work on the weekend. So I’ve hit that target due to an extra (planned) day off work and a marathon writing and planning session.

It’s definitely not the ideal way to produce a novel. On the upside, I now have so many different chapters and elements sketched out that there should always be something for me to dive in on during the week. So my simple goal for the next three days is the make sure I hit the 1,700 words per day target on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday already looks questionable but we’ll see!

NaNoWriMo 2017 Day 2


Words written today: 1,704. Running total: 5,122.

I was correct in my assumption that I would get no writing done on the day of the Finder Awards. But I’m back on track today, knocking out my required 1,704 words in a little under 90 minutes. In an ideal world, I’d get even further ahead, but life is busy. And I’m happy that I nailed a crucial plot insight.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Day 1: Smashing targets

Embed from Getty Images

Words written today: 3,418

The daily target is 1,700 words, so I’ve well and truly smashed that – but there’s a reason. Tomorrow we have the 2017 Finder Awards, and I calculate I will have zero opportunity for writing. So I’m knocking off enough to cover the first two days.

Writing more is usually easier at the start of a NaNoWriMo project, because all the ideas you’ve been mulling in the run-up come pouring out. That said, it was a long work day and I really had to push myself to dive into writing. Got there in the end though.

NaNoWriMo 2017: Let the journey begin!

So once again I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as trying to write a complete novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days. I have successfully completed NaNoWriMo three times before, but I’ve failed nearly as often, including last year. Nonetheless, I’ll be taking a crack at it again in 2017.

I have an idea, I’ve blocked out two hours in my calendar every day (with extra sessions on days when that just seems not doable), and I’m excited to begin. I’ll be posting daily updates here, mainly because I want a degree of public accountability and it’s too hard to fit everything into a single tweet.

To reach 50,000 words, I need to write 1,700 words every day. So I’ll be tracking how much I write each day and what my total is. And I’ll be offering random observations about the process. Let the novel drafting commence! (Well, it can commence on November 1. Starting earlier would be cheating.)