Friday, 22 January 2010

Cross-over: Part II

Congratulations on reaching the second part of "Cross-over by Eclogue". For this mini-puzzle, all clues are normal, but once complete, the sixteen letters of the solution can be re-arranged to form a three-word phrase appropriate to the time of year. It is this phrase which should be submitted with the completed solution to the main puzzle.

1. Slates return of endless heroin (4)
4. Indian pulse beats, endlessly crude (3)
6. Ginger, say, takes British bird from the rear (4)
7. Heartless English guy is about to lay (4)

1. Youngster on promise finally's solid (4)
2. Get gear off in the rolling dunes (4)
3. Gazing at globes, she begins to exclaim (4)
5. Pike's rising to a degree (3)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Seasons Greetings

We heralded our debut as follows:-

"Seasons Greetings from Eclogue" is the first outing of a new compiling partnership formed from the previously unseen Eclipse and the occasionally seen, Logogriph. Having never actually met in person, the pair have enjoyed many an Internet chat based on a plethora of two topics, crosswords and alcohol. It was with an uncharacteristic lull in the former and probably too much of the latter that this joint venture was proposed and Seasons Greetings was born before either of them had time to change their minds!"

The first product of the collaboration between Eclipse and Logogriph, this puzzle had a Christmas theme based on a Goon Show song. The puzzle was accepted for publication at Derek Harrison's Crossword Centre and appeared on 1st December 2009.

The grid was designed to do two things - firstly to be a Christmas card design (so a nice dose of highlighting would be required) and secondly to blend a simple festive theme within. A number of solvers noted that "I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas" has provided thematic Crossword material before, but not quite like this we believe. Having decided on a modest 9x9 square with CHRISTMAS running from right to left, it remained to find other festive items that could form the diagonals and the central vertical in five letters, all using the central S. The very helpful SANTA CLAUS with a bout of SOCKS and of course we needed to get the GOONS in as well. A little juggling was required to get 9 letter perimeter lights and then it simply became a matter of filling in the gaps. The number of lights dictated the message to be used, which should ideally be another line from the song. Quite a lot for such a small grid, but aren't the smallest packages at Christmas often the most intriguing?

Click on the link below to view the puzzle:-

Seasons Greetings by Eclogue

A decent number of entries - 49 - elicited a small number of generally positive comments:

  • Thanks for this. Seen this theme before recently, but can't remember where. Not a bad treatment, but I much preferred the harder one last month.
  • This was a lot easier than last months, but nevertheless very enjoyable.
  • Footnote: A determined solver might discover other hidden seasonal theme words reading "all best to you" in 20dn (part, reversed), 19ac (part), 1dn (part, overlapping) and diagonally (one letter in each of 2dn, 3dn, 4dn and 11dn)!
  • Best wishes for the Festive Season to all at the Crossword Centre and looking forward to an equally challenging and ingenious 2010.
  • a very well-constructed puzzle!
  • Although my Dad was a big Goons fan, I'd not heard 'I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas' before Eclogue's nice little puzzle lead me to find it on YouTube ( Many thanks to him for broadening my musical knowledge ! This is the first 'Christmas' themed puzzle I've come across so far this year, so I feel the festive season has started now.
  • Not an original idea, but elegantly worked and very great fun to solve
  • Thank you for making another enjoyable puzzle available. I was surprised that Eclogue managed to construct this puzzle: once the keywords and perimeter were in place there were only 24 free letters for the 24 remaining lights.
  • Verdict: Not too hard but enjoyable.....Merry Christmas
  • uoY ot samtsirhC yrreM
  • I thought this one was absolutely delightful - beautifully set with a few difficult clues (1ac for example) and a great p.d.m. that didn't come too quickly to spoil the pleasure of the solving. The Christmas star producing all those other Christmas things (and the Goons) was a fine symmetrical finish. For me, this is an ideal crossword - 10 out of 10, and great fun.
  • In fact I managed to complete this puzzle well within the originally announced time, which was a welcome change from the one before.If we were being very fussy I could say there were too many short words. And what I definitely say is that there was absolutely no need to insist on our explaining the joke by writing the song title. You might as well ask for explanations of the clues! However, it was rather fun, so here goes:
  • I seem to remember the theme from before. I think it was based on substituting GNIKLAWMI for CHRISTMAS.
  • Christmas crosswords – you’ve got to love ‘em.
  • Such a lot crammed into such a small grid, and wonderful humour in the clues. Thanks, Eclogue
Eclogue is grateful to all solvers and looks forward to providing further 'timely' entertainment soon.