GeekDad Puzzle of the Week – Functional Numeric Wordsearch

Geek Culture

Max and Nora really enjoy the “wordsearch” puzzles from our favorite local BBQ restaurant. Within a grid of letters, they have to find each listed word looking horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Sometimes, as a trick, the word is spelled backwards to throw off younger spellers – and the backwards diagonals are the worst!

This week’s GeekDad Puzzle of the Week is based upon finding things within a grid, but instead of letters the grid is made completely out of numbers from 1 to 9.


Within this grid, this week’s challenge is to find the set of 5 numbers in a contiguous row, column, or diagonal that have the highest and lowest output values from the function:

For example, looking at the digits “3 5 1 2 5”, the output would be (3 + 5) 1 – (2 x 5) or -2… a little chilly for a temperature reading, but probably not the highest or lowest value sets in the overall grid.

In addition to the two extremes (maximum and minimum), please list the total count of “zero” values output from the grid. Looking at the digits “3 7 2 4 5”, the output would be (3 + 7) 2 – (4 x 5) = 0.

As always, please send in your solutions to GeekDad Central for consideration in the drawing for this week’s fabulous prize, a $50 ThinkGeek Gift Certificate courtesy of the amazing folks over at ThinkGeek.

Good luck, and happy puzzling!

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