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Ray Girvan

This wasn't "in a flash" but I see how it works. When those multiplications are assigned their proper column values, they simply sum to the answer. I've put a scanned image in a backdated blog post: http://jsbookreader.blogspot.com/2005/07/taglientes-multiplication.html

Maybe the woodcut creator didn't realise the column positions were important?

Ray Girvan

Update: fully analysed.


Thanks for a very interesting problem!

John F. Ptak

RAY! Thanks so much for figuring this out. I tried adding up the columns in different arrangements but didn't see this. It actually comes "close" by adding the numbers in their place order: the eight-places added, then the seventh, and so on. Nope. I appreciate this and added your comments and links to the post.

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