Total Clint

MatGubbins returns with the last Keyword Challenge entry for now (although apparently he has about 70 more ideas waiting in the wings), based around maths – yes, you heard me correctly. It’s reminiscent of all those dull-as-ditchwater educational games your parents used to buy at Christmas “to help with your homework“, which you loaded up precisely once to keep Mum happy, before going back to more exciting stuff like Captain Kill-O-Zap Blasts The Aliens or something. I was a bit of a geek at school and quite liked maths, but once we were allowed to use calculators and spent whole lessons typing in 81980085 there wasn’t much point in learning how to do long division, and I only lasted a year in A-level maths before ditching it for a far more useful subject – sociology. Stop laughing.

Bak to skool!

Bak to skool!

The usual Chunk-O-Vision (can’t remember the code for the trademark symbol) title appears. It’s 1986, Clint’s back at school, and he’s been singled out by the teacher to solve some maths problems. Don’t you hate it when that happens? You sit there at the back of the class, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible without staring out of the window too much, sending subliminal messages to the teacher: “Don’t pick me, pick Gary!” It never worked though. Now I always thought “sums” meant addition, but there’s also some division and multiplication thrown in, which made my brain go into meltdown…


231, Shirley?

Mat has devised a cunning way to input the number. Rather than simply typing it, you use the Q and A keys for up and down, you start with the lowest number (units), then press Space to move on to the tens, and so on. This all reminds me of the SMP – Scottish Maths Project – which I seem to remember placed great emphasis on thousands, hundreds, tens and units, and for some unearthly reason was forced upon the children of Bedfordshire in the early ’80s, despite Bedfordshire being closer to Belgium and France than Scotland (citation needed). This also means that there’s no way of starting again if you get it wrong… and I had lots of practice at getting it wrong.

So many ways to be wrong, but only one to be right.

Haaa-haaa! – W. Shakespeare, 1982

One redeeming feature is the rather fetching (and not remotely Chunk-O-Vision) Miss Natalie Red – if she’s based on one of Mat’s teachers from thirty-odd years ago, then all I have to say is lucky old Mat. My maths teacher in 1986 was 57 years old, completely bald, and had a luxuriant handlebar moustache. I think she’s retired now though.

To be fair, this is all very well programmed (I think there may even be some machine code involved) and it did make me use my brain, feeble though it may be. But just like those educational games from back in the day, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to play this again. Now where did I put my copy of Captain Kill-O-Zap Blasts The Aliens?

Score: 2112÷33 percent.

Download here.


  1. I was expecting some strip maths (along the type of game Sam Fox Strip Poker). My arms feel left out of some exercise.

    1. You perv! Miss Red was all sweet and innocent and would never do things like that, well, not until you got all the questions correct.

  2. Typing in 81980085? What on earth is a SBOOBGIB?

    Think you’ve had too much of my Australian Typing Tutor.

    We used to type in 5138008, 0.7734 or 7107.77345 but never what you entered.

    1. 819 80085 = BIG BOOBS

      1. 58008618 would work too.

        And I can say hello to myself: 33707734

  3. 5318008 = BOOBIES
    07734 = HELLO
    55318008 = BOOBLESS

    I had a lot of time on my hands in class back in the day.

    1. There was a little story you could play out on the calculator.

      There was a [type some numbers on the calculator]
      Who did something-or-other [add or subtract or multiply or something some other numbers that spelt something else]
      And maybe something else happened now [can’t remember]
      And she became [press equals] 55378008

      My memory’s not what it was.

      1. Think it was the top one here, or at least something like it. I remember the “was 69, wanted to be 22” bit now:

        1. No, wait, I think it could have been even more simplistic.

          Read the story, typing in the numbers in brackets:
          There was a woman who was fifty-five (55), she wanted to become thirty-seven (37) so she ate (8) nothing (0) and nothing (0) she ate (8) and she became (turn calculator upside down) boobless.

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