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From magic numbers to wrong numbers - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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August 30th, 2002


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02:06 pm - From magic numbers to wrong numbers
I may have just received one of the politest accidental calls to a wrong telephone number of all time.

The caller sounded like Leslie Phillips, only more so. Hel-lo! He asked for Cito Engineering, which is probably the most frequent wrong number request I've received since getting this upstairs phone number about two and a half years ago. (Second place is the Co-Operative Funeral Service, whose number is one lower than mine.)

Anyway, he informed me that he got the number from a 1984 diary and wasn't at all surprised to hear that it was out of date. He was extremely apologetic about the whole mistake.

I say!

No connection with wrong numbers, I'm afraid, but I'll mention it here anyway. The first part of last night's dream that I remember involved me running a puzzle hunt at Manorcon, much in the same style as this year and last year. I can recall there being nine teams, and each team having about nine puzzles. The dream takes over with about 15 minutes of the allowed 90-120 minutes to go. I am wandering around among the teams, who are asking me for lots of help. (I can vaguely remember two of the puzzles, but they don't make much sense and aren't too great. Spectacular amounts of cross-referencing data between different puzzles, though.) Finally, one team pops up to me and submits their final answer to the whole hunt. It's wrong, but I wrinkle my nose and say "OK, I'm not telling you whether it's right or not until the end of the hunt". The team assume this means that they're correct and start to celebrate.

More teams hand in their answers over the coming minutes and they're all wrong. (Many of them are wrong in the same way; the individual puzzle answers go to form a final answer key word, "jockey", but nobody seems to have realised that once you have this word, you use the last sheet of paper, which you have not previously used, to translate it in another way to the real final answer, which is the word "right".) Some teams submit an answer which more incorrect still. I spot a small typo-ish mistake in one of my puzzles and hope that it doesn't affect whether it's possible to solve things overall. We get to a point where there are less than five minutes remaining; seven teams have handed answers in and they're all wrong. It looks like the other two teams won't get to hand a sensible answer in in the remaining time. I start to wonder how I'm going to explain to the teams that none of them have won, then wake up.

Another snippet from a later dream. I am back in Oxford, wearing "black tie" formal dress, looking to try to find a specific formal dinner which I was planning to attend. I am at least ten minutes late. However, when I arrive, I make a big entrance. My black jacket is covered with glasses of (either champagne or whisky?) and I walk along up the row of tables, handing them out, plucking them off my suit, interrupting the speaker by loudly reciting poetry. (Robbie Burns' "To A Haggis", I think, not a poem I know in real life.) I finally make it to the far end of the table and hand a glass to the speaker. Everyone is amused by the way I have entered, even though I was late. Two TV stars appear at the dinner even later still (no apology on their part, they can get away with it because they're TV stars) and I jokingly flirt with them. Then, once again, I wake up.

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