Meet the Beghilos

“Today, we’re going to visit a planet whose inhabitants I think you will like very much,” said the Actuary. “Although, I must warn you, you may find them a little strange at first.”

KPD_shutterstock_139947328The Actuary wasn’t kidding about that. As soon as we stepped out of the time machine, we were greeted by a group of three weird looking aliens, who were walking on their hands, with their heads down and their feet in the air. One of them, who seemed to be their leader, stepped forward to greet us.

“0.7734,” said the alien.

“Why is it speaking in numbers?” I whispered to the Actuary. “Not numbers,” said the Actuary, “Beghilos, which incidentally, is also the name of this species.”

“Beghilos? What’s a Beghilo?”

The Actuary looked at me, aghast. “You’ve never encountered Beghilos before? I thought every Earthling knew what Beghilos were. What do they teach in your schools?”

“Evidently, not Beghilos.”

The Actuary shook his head in amazement. “I’ll have to show you.” He took his sonic calculator from his pocket and typed in the number the alien had said. “I assume you’ve noticed that certain numbers typed into a calculator look like letters of the Latin alphabet when the calculator display is viewed upside down? A 1 is an ‘I’, a 2 is a ‘Z’, a 3 is an ‘E’, a 4 is an ‘H’, a 5 is an ‘S’, a 6 is a ‘G’, a 7 is an ‘L’, an 8 is a ‘B’ and a 0, of course, is an ‘O’.”

“Oh, you mean calculator spelling,” I said. “I know about that. I just didn’t realise there was a proper name for it.”

The Actuary relaxed a little. “Anyway, the Beghilos speak entirely in numbers that can be converted to words using that mapping.” The Actuary turned his calculator upside down. “This one here has just said ‘hello’.” He smiled and waved at the alien. “0.7734.”

“Do they have names?” I asked.

“Ask them,” said the Actuary. “I suspect these ones can understand English, even if they can’t speak it. That’s why they’ve been sent to greet us.”

I did what the Actuary suggested. “302”, “808” and “31770” were their replies. Zoe, Bob and Ollie. Bob then stepped forward and handed me a sheet of paper.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“It’s traditional amongst the Beghilos that, whenever they first meet someone, they give them a puzzle,” said the Actuary. “You must solve this puzzle before we can continue our conversation with them. Don’t take too long, though, or else they’ll deem you unworthy.”

  1. [Instrument]+11x{[WaterBird]+[EgyptianGoddess]+ [Water Bird]} – 64 = [Greek God]
  2. {[Central American Country] + 828} ÷ {[US State Capital] x 10 + [Superhero’s Girlfriend] x 2 + [Dante’s Subject Matter] + 972} = [Ring Bearer]
  3. 2x{[Santa’sTransport]–[Calvin’sFriend]–[WoodyAllen Mockumentary]} + {[Internet Giant] – [Slayer Watcher] – [Disney Princess]} + 0.5 x [Musical TV Show] + 160 = [1950s Movie Monster]

The squared-bracketed phrases in the above three equations provide clues to words that can be written as Beghilos. By replacing these clues with the numeric equivalents of their answers, the equations can be made to balance.

YOU ARE HERE ACTUARIES 191 SOLUTIONPuzzles_2014_07_Words_in_Words_Soln
 In Actuaries 191, you were asked to use the clues provided to fill in a puzzle grid, and then use the information from the grid to decode a message and determine the Actuary’s location. The completed puzzle grid is given to the right.

Using the co-ordinates system provided, letters from the grid can be substituted into the coded message to give the phrase: Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right. This is a line from the 1972 song Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel. Thus, the location of the Actuary is ‘Stuck in the Middle’.

13 correct answers were submitted. The winner of this month’s prize, selected randomly from among the correct entries, was Xiaocong Li, who will receive a $50 book voucher.

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