CISRA Puzzle Competition 2007 - Solutions

This is the archive of the 2007 Puzzle Competition. Please visit the current competition site for information about the latest Puzzle Competition.

B.2 By Numbers

Intuitive Leap: Each picture is an album cover.

Each picture represents a music album cover. Even if you don't recognise any of them, the one on the left has the words "The Beatles" written on it. Even if you don't know the album, a quick web search will allow you to identify the drawing as a copy of the cover the The Beatles' self-titled album, more commonly known as the "White Album".

We now have seven more album covers to identify. Some of them are fairly popular albums, so finding one or two of them shouldn't be too difficult. Once you get a couple of them, a pattern begins to emerge: the title of each album contains a colour. This should be enough to narrow down the search space to identify all of the albums, especially once you notice that they form a sequence from the top to the bottom: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet - the spectral colour sequence.

Probably the hardest album to identify corresponds to Blue, since there are a lot of albums with "blue" in the title. Looking closely at the picture reveals a couple of things that can help. The film strip on the right suggests that it might be a film soundtrack, and the left half has a distinctly Hawaiian feel. Indeed, this is the soundtrack of Elvis Presley's film Blue Hawaii.

The albums are:

Now, what are all those numbers, and why are there numbers in the middle around a blank area? Firstly, the blank area looks like a missing album. What album fits there? What sits between white and a spectrum? A prism! The missing album is Pink Floyd's iconic prism cover for The Dark Side of the Moon.

We now have a total of nine albums, and what looks like two triplets of three numbers for each album. That makes 18 triplets of numbers. Also, each number from 1 to 18 appears exactly once in the third number of the triplets. This suggests a sequential ordering. But what do the first two numbers represent?

The first number is generally less than ten, although there are a few exceptions. The second number is usually 1, 2, or 3. Trial and error shows that the first number is a track number, and the second number refers to a word within the title of that track. Extracting the appropriate words from the track titles and arranging them in the sequence from 1 to 18 produces the words:

the baby boy can leave fears to swim and follow money on a line the little child is

Punctuated sensibly, this becomes:

The baby boy can leave fears to swim and follow money on a line. The little child is?

The first part describes another album cover. The image of a baby boy swimming after money on a line is from Nirvana's Nevermind. A web search reveals that the little child's name is SPENCER ELDEN.

(For those playing at home, Colour by Numbers is also a famous album, by Culture Club, although that plays no part in the puzzle beyond tying the title into the colours/numbers/albums theme.)