>
> I've been trying the short representations that are just plain old  
> strings thing too. I've got it down to
>
> symbolify(9999).length == 48
> symbolify(999999).length == 87
> symbolify(12345678901234567890).length == 221
> symbolify 
> (1234567899999999999999999999999999999999999901234567890).length ==796
> symbolify(("9"*2100).to_i).length == 33219
>
> not quite the prettiest code you've ever seen though :-)

Or even
symbolify(9999).length == 37
symbolify(999999).length == 48
symbolify(12345678901234567890).length == 275
symbolify 
(1234567899999999999999999999999999999999999901234567890).length ==640
symbolify(("9"*2100).to_i).length == 26762

Enough from me!
Fred