Text-only page from part i of Planetarium

The text-only versions of pages in Planetarium are provided to make it easy for you to print a puzzle, without having problems with background colour or graphics. Note that there may be essential parts of the puzzle in illustrations and other parts of Planetarium which are not included on this page.

An exceptionally well-made Abacus:

The mathemagician brought this abacus back from his apprenticeship in the distant city of Round, far off on an Eastern continent, and a long time ago. He bought it from an alley-mathematician in one of the street-markets, under the impeccably symmetrical arches of the precise architecture of that place. As well as being famous for its perfectly circular perimeter wall, exactly twelve times the value of pi miles long, the city is renowned for the exceptional numerical skills of its denizens. Mathematicians from Round will always be able to count up to a number higher than the biggest one you know, but try to catch them out with a small one, and they will always be able to count lower. And, of course, they make abacuses for the export market which are faster and more accurate than any of the abacuses made anywhere else in the world.

Planetarium is presented by Beholder: www.beholder.uk
An on-line puzzle story in twelve weekly instalments