Saturday, 1 July 2017

Carte Blanche

The English translation of the award winning play Art begins with “My friend Serge has bought a painting. It’s a canvas about five foot by four: white.”

The grid is filled around a central (initially) blank area measuring 5×4. The three protagonists of the play SERGE, MARC and YVAN can be entered interlocking in this area in only one combination, allowing the author YASMINA REZA to fill the remaining cells clockwise starting from the Y of YVAN and also utilising the M of MARC.

The title refers to both the puzzle type as well as the thematic painting of the play.

Serge and Marc inspect the white painting in a 2011 production by OVO theatre company, St Albans, UK.
MichaelMaggs - Own work

Some comments from solvers:

Having so many long answers made it pretty easy to get started filling the grid with confidence, and it didn't take long to guess that there was going to be a blank space in the middle of the grid.

How hard would this puzzle have been if the clues had been in alphabetic order of their answers?

LOOR is a Scottish form of the comparative of LIEF, so I don't think it can mean 'willingly'.
Very impressive outer grid, with 6 13s crossing 4 12s. Centred 5x4 not so impressive - gives the impression of a bolt-on at the end. Unsure if a bar is required threin. Just leaving the 5x4 blank (white) would seem more appropriate.
I looked up "white painting" and got "Polar Bear At The North Pole"...
The obscurity of theme now allowed by the all-powerful Google monthly brings new things to enjoy and then swiftly forget.
An enjoyable solve and a potentially interesting play, of which I knew nothing. Whatever the solution, and whether or not I have chosen correctly, however, the cryptic "Bars must be entered" will leave me less than satisfied.
I can't see a sensible way to put bars in the center. Given the theme, I think it's appropriate there aren't any.

A nice alternative title would be "But Is It Art?". This time, it is. 
Superb grid with great endgame - excellent. Many thanks Eclogue! The 'skip two letters' in the preamble fooled me for a moment - I was expecting it to read 'three' - until it was clear that the third one not used was between the start and the end of YASMINA REZA.
Oh and great (and irresistible, I am sure) Title - excellent choice!

Saturday, 20 May 2017


Published in the Sunday Telegraph's Enigmatic Variations series as No. 1277: Remake by Eclogue on 7th May 2017.

Half of the clues are missing a letter in their definition, while the other half have gained those same letters in a different order.  When rearranged, the letters provide a thematic link to a surname that appears in the initial grid.  Solvers must replace this name with one reflecting the modern REMAKE of the theme, leaving all real words or proper nouns throughout the grid.

Letters omitted (NO SLIM MIDFIELD UNWORTHY) or added (IN RUN-OF-THE-MILL DOWDYISM) to clues can be rearranged to spell “THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND”, used as the theme to the 1968 film, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR starring Steve MCQUEEN.  The 1999 REMAKE starred Pierce BROSNAN in the lead role.

                                  INITIAL GRID                                                          FINAL GRID