Wednesday, 3 May 2017


Appearing as Inquisitor 1487 on 22nd April 2017, Delivery celebrates a famous sketch by Victoria Wood, who died on 20th April 2016.

The sketch features Julie WALTERS as an elderly waitress trying to deliver TWO SOUPS to diners played by Celia IMRIE and Duncan PRESTON.  During the long walk across the restaurant floor she gradually spills all of the soup so that in the end TWO BOWLS devoid of soup comprise the final DELIVERY.

Solvers are required to reinstate a letter missing from the definition part of each clue.  In clue order, these spell out further works of Victoria Wood:  Pat and Margaret, Acorn Antiques and Dinner Ladies.

Finally, solvers must highlight the appearances in the grid of the phrases TWO SOUPS and TWO BOWLS, WALTERS on a diagonal and the unclued 23d (PRESTON), 29d (IMRIE) and of course, 12d (VICTORIA WOOD).

Solver feedback:

"Thanks for a lovely Inquisitor puzzle. I really enjoyed solving it!

Best wishes

Derek Harrison
The Crossword Centre"

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Seasons Greetings VIII

Continuing Eclogue's Christmas tradition at the Crossword Centre, SG8 comes equipped with clues divided into three different types: misprints in the definition, wordplay yields an extra letter or a missing letter anywhere in the clue (always providing real words).  

The preamble continues: "Respectively, the correct/extra/omitted letters in clue order provide an author and the title of one of his works which explains why certain characters should be removed from the initial grid wherever they occur.  However, in common with the work, the season prevails (symmetrically) in the final grid to be submitted by solvers."

The letters derived from clues provide DR SEUSS and THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS. Solvers are required to delete all instances of C,H,R,I,S,T,M and A, leaving only NOEL in the grid.Image result

Feedback from solvers

  • We found this very amusing and, when we realized what was happening, admired Eclogue's construction of a grid with only the letters of CHRISTMAS (bar the NOEL that we were left with). Of course, we didn't even need to solve our last few clues: This is a lovely Christmas gift for the marker. Many thanks. 
  • Very clever as you would expect, probably much harder for the setters than for the solvers.
  • I thought this was an excellent puzzle and I was most amused when the penny dropped.
  • Thank you so much for this.  It has been a lousy day and I am going down with Man Flu.  Too cold outside and bored indoors. This puzzle, with just the right amount of difficulty for me in my lamentable state, was so good to have at this time.  Thank you. Being something of a Grinch myself, I had not heard of the book and it was most pleasing to learn of it now. With best wishes (and perhaps a Bah Humbug or two) for the coming festivities.
  • Thrown initially by that word respectively in the preamble.
  • Fun puzzle!
  • Very many thanks : an excellent and enjoyable puzzle.
  • It took a couple of sessions but eventually it dawned on me that a lot of the letters were coming round regularly, which allowed me to infer the missing components of the hidden title, and then to wonder what to do with the O that had suddenly appeared.  But all clear in the end, and very enjoyable.
  • Thanks and reciprocal greetings to Eclogue once again for a seasonal treat. These puzzles are very much part of my Christmas routine and I look forward to each one. This was easier than recent Greetings, but no less enjoyable. I noticed the limited set of letters quite quickly, and the exceptions, as well as CHRISTMAS in the thematic letters from the clues. One question on the clues: I noticed 16 across IMAM seemed to have an extra word (office) in the clue rather than just a letter. Did I miss something?
  • A clever grid construction, both with the letter constraints and the final message.  Quite challenging with the various clue devices, but enjoyable.  Thanks to Eclogue.
  • Wonderful bit of serendipity to discover Christmas does not contain the letters NOEL. Amazing!
  • Many thanks to Eclogue for this very entertaining challenge.
  • My attempt at the Eclogue  puzzle is attached - what there is of it!  I always feel a bit peeved when I have to rub out most of a grid. I am pleased that I concentrated on solving most of the clues before paying any attention to the identity of the work, otherwise I could probably have done the deleting with barely half a grid complete and ended up with a correct entry submission. As it was, I did fill the whole grid first. Thanks to Eclogue for the traditional Christmas entertainment, always a pleasure
  • It can't have been easy to compose a grid using only the letters of CHRISTMAS (almost) though I have to admit I hadn't even noticed till I had the grid three quarters full. I had misinterpreted the respectively in the preamble to mean each set of clues in order would provide the message so struggled with that as well. However thanks (again) to Eclogue.
  • What an amazingly inventive contest by Eclogue!
  • All that work for 4 letters! Great fun, though, and kept my sister and me occupied.
  • I wonder how long it took to construct?
  • THANK YOU! for a VERY CLEVER CONTEST!!!!!!  It must have taken a long time to create!......
  • Perhaps appropriately, given the ending and Harribobs' puzzle earlier this year, I embarked on a wild goose chase.  Prompted by misreading "respectively" in the instructions, I looked at correct letters in clue order, then extra letters in clue order etc. and began to wonder who this S Shwin chap was and in which language he wrote.  Eventually, my error became apparent.  This must have been a tricky grid to compose with the limited letters and especially as "E" could be used only once.  Many thanks to Eclogue.
  • Solve was straightforward enough, did learn a couple of new words (always a good thing) but I got stumped as to the final step after the removal of the "certain characters". Bar the removal I couldn't see any season symmetrically in the grid. I put it on the back burner for a couple of weeks, checking every 2-3 days to see if I had missed something obvious, but no joy. It hit me driving home from work on the 5th, I had it backwards, I was supposed to steal "Christmas" and leave Noel. Aargh. Well played gents, well played.
  • When I was looking at the partly-filled grid half-asleep after a Christmas meal, I noticed that only letters of CHRISTMAS appeared in the grid (my sleepy state being my excuse for missing that I had two of the letters of NOEL already).
  • I liked having three different types of clue. I wasted some time thinking that we had to read the correct letters followed by the extra letters followed by the omitted letters but not too long.
  • Good fun, thanks Eclogue, and a great idea. I didn't notice the predominance of certain letters in the grid until very near the end. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Sequence II

Appearing in the October 2016 edition of 1 Across, this is of course a sequel to Sequence which also appeared in 1 Across.  Timed to appear after the 2016 American Presidential elections, it was deemed timely for it to be included in the October issue, which, in practice would not be issued until November.


The sequence demonstrated by the unclued answers is the last 10 vice presidents of the United States of America: Hubert HUMPHREY, Spiro AGNEW, Gerald FORD, Nelson ROCKEFELLER, Walter MONDALE, George BUSH, Dan QUAYLE, Al GORE, Dick CHENEY and Joe BIDEN.  The next member of the sequence will be either Mike PENCE or Tim KAINE.  The winner announced after 8 November 2016 is to be highlighted.


Very good to get 10 names in a bar-grid and retain such a non-obscure vocabulary. Both potential answers were in there of course, so the puzzle could have been prepared in advance and then given on the day.