Phone number frivolity

We’ve had a nice weekend away which included a meal with my parents. My dad, being an erudite guy (and an enjoyer of the same brand of tech trivia as me) enlightened me to the fact that—in most situations—you can determine the first letter of the location of a UK telephone exchange from the dialling code.

We kicked around a few examples – Tavistock is 01822: the 8 representing ‘T’; Hereford is 01432: ‘H’. So we came up with a fairly robust set of number-to-letter mappings. I’m exaggerating the importance of this conversation – it was punctuated with Kate and mum talking about much more interesting things, and me eating steak. But still, we were pleased with ourselves.

I expounded my new-found geek knowledge to a bunch of friends at a barbecue, and expecting to hear—if I’m honest—a mix of “Freak boy!” and “Oh yeah – neat!”.

However, my superhuman power to determine the starting letter of a town’s name from the dialling code was trumped (by a girl, no less) when it was revealed that there’s way more to the dialling codes than just a simple letter association. The number is a mnemonic for the town, using the letters printed on your telephone’s keypad!

Today I’ve spent far longer than is healthy guessing locations from the dialling codes.

Lucky it’s been a quiet day at work.

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