Friday, 1 February 2019

Eclogue 2 of 7

Number 2 in the Colleen Mallett set is also a plain cryptic but contains six 15-letter entries and a mini-theme in the form of King Kong and the Empire State Building.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Seasons Greetings X

Clues are presented in alphabetical order of their solutions and must be entered jigsaw-wise wherever they will fit.  Solvers must deduce the five unclued entries and highlight the whole of the four across lights along with the first letter of the one unclued down entry (a leading light) in the finished diagram to complete this year’s seasonal greetings card.

One answer is in Collins/OED.

Seasons Greetings X Solution Grid

As well as depicting a CHRISTMAS tree, this puzzle commemorates Ximenes (linked to Seasons Greetings “X”) namely DERRICK SOMERSET MACNUTT, the founder of many the rules of the modern advanced cryptic crosswords, and as illustrated here, running through much of what we now do.  The yellow and green horizontal highlighting represents tinsel and a ribbon surrounding the tree, and the star at the top (the leading light).

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Eclogue 1 of 7

A new project for Eclogue.  Colleen Mallett from Calgary, Alberta is compiling a pack of various puzzles aimed at the US market.  The pack will be compiled at the rate of one per month and has asked Eclogue to supply 7 cryptic crosswords to go into the project.  The packs are being marketed by PuzzleLux as a luxury collection of puzzles.

Number 1 of the 7 is a plain cryptic with no particular theme, although there are four 15-letter entries.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

3D Calendar Puzzle, October 2018

Upon our first venture into writing a 3D puzzle Eclogue wrote:

The three dimensional crossword is a little known format, probably exclusive to Eric Westbrook's site which has developed the genre in order to drum up funds for charities, the two main ones being BBC Children in Need and RNIB Pears Centre.

As well as length and breadth, the 3D crossword also has depth and appears as (usually) 5 grids tiered one above another.  In each tier clues can be entered across or backwards or to and fro and the depth aspect comes into play when an answer is entered traversing through the five tiers at one letter per tier, either up or down.

In late August 2017, Eclogue were delighted to be asked to provide the clues to go with Logogriph's design for the October 2018 grid.  The puzzle marks the 58th anniversary of the appearance of the classic Western, The Magnificent Seven. 

Thematic material appearing in the grid comprised the seven actors who played the heroes (Yul BRYNNER, the leader, Charles BRONSON, Horst BUCHHOLZ, James COBURN, BRAD DEXTER, STEVE McQUEEN, Robert VAUGHN), ELI WALLACH, who played the leader of the bandits, Elmer BERNSTEIN, who composed the film's score and The Seven SAMURAI, on which the movie was based.

Magnificent 7

Eli Wallach as Calvera
Elmer Bernstein

The Seven Samurai

Comments From Solvers

A great film - and a great crossword. HB
Taxing, but very enjoyable as usual. CH
An interesting puzzle to solve, though I found the double letters device a bit disconcerting. JA
I enjoyed solving the clues - but I struggled hugely with the grid! For some reason, it took me ages
to realise that the pink squares contained double letters, and felt very silly when I eventually
understood! DS
A great film and a regular pub quiz question along with naming the seven dwarves. Thanks for a
great puzzle. SW
A very entertaining puzzle, with the double letters an original touch, though I confess to having to
look up some of the actors -- and the recent remake was nowhere near as good as the original. I
still am not clear how 11 ,13 and 35 parse, but am hoping answers are correct, since I see no other
plausible alternatives! MS
What a great device for fitting longer words into the grid. Also impressive was getting a complete
set of actors plus the composer in there. All that and only three letters (J,K,P) short of a pangram.
JT (These thoughts are reflected in my review above Ed)
A lovely one thank you, but not too taxing. I like the way the actor’s names are clued, especially
McQueen. And possibly my favourite photograph, though April runs it close. AGC
For some reason I had a mental block on the last clue and finally got it - WISE. How fitting! JN
My favourite film and I would take the theme music to my desert island too. No real problems with
the grid fill and all fell into place. PD
This months was quite approachable and, once we had guessed the film, achievable. We laughed
at ‘gun drops second owl’. JH
I got the theme quite quickly this month and even remembered most of the actors though its years
since I saw the film. MJ
On reading the blurb first thought was James Bond with 7 double letters needed, but pretty sure
not 1960. So with that gone the magnificent 7 came to mind, which I know was based on the
Japanese film, seen many years ago. A clever puzzle even containing the villain. DM
Thank you Eclogue and Logogriph. I enjoyed solving this puzzle and was relieved to find a number
of straightforward clues. There bare still a few I can’t parse so fingers crossed JB
I think Logogriph gave Eclogue and solvers a hard time with so many solutions changing direction.
The Magnificent 7 theme came easily enough. As did the double-letter in one cell manoeuvre. I
was left at the end trying to make an anagram of HELLNOD or even HHEELLLLNNOODD but
could make nothing sensible. All became clear when I re-read the rubric. The film and most of the
actors were familiar enough, except Buchholz, and the spelling of Vaughn/Vaughan, had to be
checked. Still not clear about how "The Bard's letters" make ACHES, but surely wordplay ACHE
(long) + S[mall] can't be anything else. I think I understood "Orkney's ... springtime seaweed" after
looking up something at some time - I made a note next to it: "OK. Tang & Ware" But for the life of
me I cannot remember what it is now. TR
Thoroughly enjoyable and such fun ... so impressive to include all those starry names, and the
double letter cells were very clever! The film The Magnificent Seven was based on Seven
Samurai ... and I remember it well. JR
Thank you for a terrific crossword, completed at the eleventh hour with help from my son. The
Magnificent Seven is rather out of my comfort zone, so it's taken quite a lot of Googling. JJ
Ace puzzle. The double letter idea was clever. Some superb clues for the film’s personnel. The
best one was Bernstein. MLJ
Really enjoyed this one - not too hard, not too easy and the double letters provided extra interest.
I’ve enjoyed solving this challenge and learnt a lot along the way as always. SF
A joly god puzle and an oportune coment on posible por spelings of Holywod clasics. GGSS

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Moving Picture

Moving Picture appeared in the Magpie edition of September 2018 (Issue 189)

Interim Grid

Final Grid

The theme is the Pixar animated feature, “UP”.  The five clashes provide AEROSTAT, SONDE, SWELLING, BAG and SWELL all indicating BALLOONS, to which a HOUSE can be linked by straight lines spelling the five colours HOAR, ORANGE, ECRU, SIENNA and ROSE.   The gaps are five cells vertically above the balloons, indicating that the HOUSE should be raised five cells to replace SHEAD (of GATESHEAD, to form GATEHOUSE).  In order to maintain ECRU, “UP” must be inserted from the middle cell of the bottom row onwards. (A SIP and A DAY being the two-word combinations).

Solvers' Comments

I spent some time looking for an alternative solution because I wasn't very happy that TULAN was a real word. I can see on Wikipedia that it is a small village in Iran and the name of a Khagan of the Turkic Khaganate among other things, but they all seemed too obscure for my liking. I was a little bothered by the proper names TONIA and BIC and the word SITU that I think can only appear in English as part of a phrase, but I felt they were common enough not to worry too much about.

I'm probably being a little harsh in the last paragraph because the HOUSE moving up and balloons moving up the same distance to fill the blank cells is the only thing that could happen.
Original grid complete but cannot see theme so no further progress.


Completely stuck on this, until I Googled 'film' and 'balloon'. Very clever how the maneouvre in the grid fitted the story-line.


Nervous about my solution partly because I don't have hoar, ecru or sienna pencils, partly because my eyesight is very poor, but also because I don't like '-tonia' and 'Tu Lan' as 'real words', and combining forms and proper names weren't mentioned in the preamble; I don't see what else they could be, though, unless we were supposed too move something other than the house and the balloons.
Couldnt get any inspiration to locate the theme on this. C seems fair
Not too happy with this one. Interesting idea but the 'balloons' weren't very balloon-like and the colours were difficult. Have you ever tried to colour a white square so that it finished up as ecru? And are BIC, TONIA and TULAN really real words ? The last does appear "Urban dictionary" on Google - but not in my vocabulary!
Great stuff - I enjoyed this!
Took a while, this one. Unless I have made a mistake, however, and that is always likely, I have some qualms about all the final grid entries being acceptable words. I must also trust to some leniency with the colours.
Hope the editors are being fairly kind with the colours - ecru, sienna are outwit my coloured pencils!
Something of a curate's egg for me, this one (apologies if that's not quite the right figure of speech). The concept was certainly excellent, and I felt as though there were aspirations towards the mighty Kea Listener with the cherry tree, or Elgin's recent Doing A Sort, and certainly the alterations were impressive. I just felt as though the decision to keep symmetry in the grid was one constraint too many, leading to so many short answers (I know not as many as I might think, because of the 'clashes', but even so), and the indefinite articles.

That being said, I absolutely admire the ambition here, and it's a fitting tribute to a fine film.
A delightful puzzle. It was difficult to spot the colours even knowing where they must be. It seemed appropriate for a cartoon to forgo the easy option of using ecru, sienna, rose and hoar highlighters so I used crayon instead. I particularly liked the title as I found the film surprisingly moving.
Great idea.

My OCD/perfectionist mind didn't quite like the slight non-symmetrical positioning of the balloons. I was also mildly distressed that the "straight lines passing through cells" either had to accidentally pass through other cells, or had to be drawn so they *didn't* start and end at the middle of cells - I chose the latter !

And a shame that UP couldn't be centralised - mind you HOUSE was well-centralised.

And TONIA as a valid word vexed me.

And also I was ever so slightly troubled by the use of some indeterminate colours, viz ECRU and HOAR. I would have preferred well-known colours like BLUE or GREY.

Oh, and by the way, may I please have the moon on a stick ? :-)
Is it intentional that some of the final entries is for real?
Had me stumped for quite a while.
I am always wrong, of course, but I fail to see how the final entries 19D and 39A are 'real words'.
I haven't seen the film but I've heard about the opening, so no complaints with the theme. This was a pretty fiddly puzzle but quite doable, with a higher than normal quota of obscure words and plenty of possibilities for errors. My set of coloured pencils is unaccountably lacking in ecru and sienna, so I hope the marking will be reasonably lenient.
Quite a bit of time spent in working out the film title. With hindsight I think I should have been quicker at that despite never having heard of it: I did spot the house move but didn’t translate thematic objects into balloons for far too long. Once sorted, was able to admire a neat bit of construction and all real words appreciated.
Favourite clues 34, 49 and 37 down.

Saturday, 1 September 2018


This puzzle appeared in the August 2018 edition of 1 Across magazine, issue no.329, as puzzle number 1857 and was the month's Prize Puzzle.

10 thematic entries are not otherwise defined.

The theme is the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s based on the book by Truman Capote, scored by (Henry) Mancini and featuring the hit song Moon River with (Audrey) Hepburn as Holly Golightly, supported by (George) Peppard.

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly

George Peppard (as Paul Varjak)

Henry Mancini / Moon River

Truman Capote / Breakfast at Tiffany's