Saturday, 5 November 2016


Published in 1 Across magazine, issue no. 306, September 2016 as Crossword No. 1742: Jigsaw by Eclogue this puzzle is no run-of-the-mill jigsaw.  All of its eight down entries are of fifteen letters, an unusual construction indeed.

Sections of four answers provide hints as to how to arrive at the correct solution of the final grid.

Therefore the four solutions which assist orientation of the grid are 1 down: “PORTmanteau word”, 3 across:“TOPical”, 29 across: “surBASE” and 8 down: “on the RIGHT track”


Marks out of 10
7.5  II
8     IIIII
8.6  I
10   I

Favourite clue
CHOLESTEROLEMIA x 2 (Lovely anagram / An amazing anagram)
TOADS (My last to solve - spent ages looking for birds (as flyers!))
PER ARDUA AD ASTRA x 4 (The elegant surface is also very apt / Neat construction and word play / Pretty good anagram / Very clever anagram and unusual use of the word ‘device’ to give (well known?) motto of the RAF)
CRAIG x 2 (Good use of the relevant clueing device (initial letters) / &Lit! Good too.)
THE SUN ALSO RISES x2 (We enjoyed the subtle double sense of the clue / It gave me the placing for 4, 5 and 6 down, having placed 3ac! It was the one that seemed straightforward to solve.)
TOPICAL (Lovely concise clue: smooth surface reading)

Wow, what a fabulous jigsaw! Hope there will be more of the same. 

Araucaria who? I found this an extremely satisfying challenge. Well disguised anagrams etc. Only slight negative was the ease of 3ac! So easy that I felt I might be being led down the garden path. It was pretty obvious, too, where it went, which made four of the 15ers easy to put in. Still, a rewarding puzzle and I’m a bit addicted to alphabetical jigsaws. 

Well, that was certainly a work-out! Thoroughly enjoyed over several days. Once the steering answers were located, the jigsaw went into place nicely - but with 20 five-letter lights in the empty grid, the task initially looked almost insurmountable. A very clever puzzle. 6d (Line of scrimmage) introduced me to a new term - but I doubt I’ll ever need to use it again! 

We’ve never given a 9 for enjoyment before - usually give 7 or so, but this was just the right level, we thought, for 1 Across, with correct, no GWIT, clueing, and quite an astonishing grid with the eight 15-letter columns. We were distracted by that rather strange comment in the preamble about four solutions and haven’t seen the point of it. The 8/7 word length for a 7/8 clue (PASSIVE RESISTER) was a pity but I know these minor hitches happen. Thanks to Eclogue. 

The letter count for passive resister was wrong. Cholesterolemia refers to high levels of cholesterol, not alcohol. I learned a few words again - obeah, ephah, craig.

This was quite a challenge to solve and I expect it was also quite a challenge to set. Eclogue deserves our grateful thanks for displaying such ingenuity. If I might offer a suggestion it is that some of the clues could perhaps have been made a little sharper. For example, the clue for ‘on the right track’ contained the words ‘to follow’, which seem to be otiose to me. (Also I was held up for some time by the error in the word count in the clue for 4 down.)

I really enjoyed the anagrams in this puzzle - some leading to new words for me.

Very clever - eight fifteen-letter solutions must be a record! Wrong word count at 4d threw me for a long time, although the hints in the four clues did help a lot!

I know this is a bit late but I had fun completing it! Favourite: 2d, per ardua ad astra, good appropriate anagram, 9/10!



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