It Doesn’t Get Any More Exciting Than That

I’m asking you. What is the most exciting thing you’ve done? Space Walk? Underwater rescue? Mt. Everest? I didn’t think so. Maybe you are a little like me. I can recall a long helicopter ride to visit oil rigs. A moderately dangerous high altitude drive. Er, there was a division 3 win in Tattslotto, about 100 bucks. And from there on I’m struggling.

But when Richard Morecroft, host of SBS TV show Letters & Numbers, told the champion “You opened the show with a 9-letter word and it doesn’t get any more exciting than that“,  I agreed and nodded vigorously. This was right up there with helicopter rides and dangerous roads.

Let me tell you about Letters & Numbers. I love it. It is a show that only people with a double-dominant NN nerd gene watch. When genome analysis does become affordable, like about $25.00, then I will pay for the test and I KNOW that the NN gene will be there. There are two contestants. The loser gets a dictionary. The winner, er, gets a dictionary. (Are you getting the picture?). They are given alternating tasks. One is to make as large a word as possible from nine jumbled letters. (Are you following me?) This segment is adjudicated by David Astle, a cryptic crossword guru who resembles an old hippy. He provides his imprimatur on the proffered words. The other task is to calculate a given total by using six random numbers, using each number once but in any desired arithmetical way. Don’t leave the room yet, it gets better. The numbers are judged by Lily Serna, a leggy 20-something-year-old (no mail please) mathematician, who shows us how to get the exact number pretty well every time. She is brilliant.

In summary, I would describe the show as Sudoku meets Wheel of Fortune. It is compulsive viewing, on five nights a week at 6 pm. The next show is tomorrow. I’m already getting excited…

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