Pilgrims' Plot

This cross-number puzzle is one of my all-time favourites. I first came across it in a book called "Games for the Superintelligent", by James F Fixx. It looks impossible to solve, but the numbers and clues are cleverly interlocked so that by using a bit of logic, calculation and trial-and-error it can be cracked.

The puzzle

The year is 1939. On Farmer Dan's farm is a rectangular plot of land called Pilgrims' Plot that is ripe for development as a new football ground. For those of you not familiar with old units of measurement 1 acre = 4840 square yards, 4 roods = 1 acre, 1760 yards = 1 mile. There are also 20 shillings in £1.

puzzle grid


1.Area in square yards of Pilgrims' Plot
5.Age of Martha, Farmer Dan's aunt
6.Difference in yards between the length and breadth of Pilgrims' Plot
7.Number of roods in Pilgrims' Plot times 8 down
8.The year Farmer Dan's family acquired Pilgrims' Plot
10.Farmer Dan's age
11.Year of Mary's birth
14.Perimeter in yards of Pilgrims' Plot
15.Cube of Farmer Dan's walking speed in mph
16.15 across minus 9 down


1.Value in shillings per rood of Pilgrims' Plot
2.Square of the age of Farmer Dan's mother in law
3.Age of Mary, Farmer Dan's daughter
4.Value in pounds of Pilgrims' Plot
6.Age of Dan junior, Farmer Dan's son, who is twice the age of his sister Mary in 1945
7.Square of the breadth of Pilgrims' Plot
8.Time in minutes it takes Farmer Dan to walk 1 1/3 times around Pilgrims' Plot
9.The number that multiplied by 10 across gives 10 down
10.See 9 down
12.Addition of the digits of 10 down plus 1
13.Number of years Pilgrims' Plot has been in Farmer Dan's family

The solution

solution grid

Here are some details to get you started on the solution. The two years (8 across and 11 across) must start with a 1. 15 across is a cube and the only two digit cubes are 27 and 64. 16 across must therefore end in either a 6 or a 3, but as 7 down is a square number then it must be a 6 as no square numbers end in 3. Therefore 15 across is 27 and sixteen across is 16 and 9 down is 11. 9 down (11) times 10 across equals 10 down, which ends in a 2, so the second digit for 10 across is also a 2. So 8 down is 12 and the perimeter of Pilgrims' Plot can therefore be walked in 9 minutes, which at 3 mph means the perimeter (14 across) is 792 yards.

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