Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Carte Blanche

Published by the i Newspaper on 15 March 2019 as Inquisitor 1586: Carte Blanche by Eclogue.

The preamble states:

Clues, which are presented in conventional order, each have a misprint in their definition, the correct letters of which provide further instructions. The grid and entries will both be 180’ symmetrical, but neither bars nor numbers should be shown.
One phrase and a plural form are verified by Collins.

Interim Grid

Final Grid
Correct letters in misprinted definitions spell ERASE ALL BAR FINAL CONTENTS OF PANDORAS BOX.
The unusual feature of the completed grid is a central fully checked 6x6 square, which contains diagonally HOPE.  Entries should therefore show HOPE as originally positioned and nothing else.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Eclogue 3 of 7

Number 3 of the set.  This time it's a pangram featuring names from the TV comedy show "Friends".

Friday, 1 March 2019


This appeared in the Magpie of February 2019 as Magpie puzzle 194.3 and was allocated grade C.  The preanmble states:

Answers to five clues must be modified before entry, while a further five entries are clued without definition.  Every clue contains an extra letter which should be removed prior to solving.  In clue order, these letters provide further instructions which the solver must follow.

(It should be noted that the clues for this puzzle were written with a football flavour, intended to slightly mislead.)


The grid depicts the five principal UK speed limits which are formed from parts of THE LOVE FOR THREE ORANGES, FOUR O’CLOCK, HAWAII FIVE-O, SIX OF THE BEST and SEVENOAKS.  Each speed is compiled from the numerical equivalent of the number in the answer concatenated with the immediately subsequent ‘O’.  The extra letters in clues spell DRAW RED CIRCLES AROUND SPEEDS AND HIGHLIGHT CAMERAS.  The title refers to penalty points received when being caught by such cameras breaking the limits than the football theme which the clues suggested.

Solvers' Comments

It took a long time for me to get the theme - so the deception worked. Is Eclogue working off some points bitterness here?
When I had found the theme I could guess the meaning of the title, but where I come from a speeding offence is worth at least 10 demerit points.
Pointer's misdirection last month left me niggled (as, like others, I fell for the trap). The misdirection here left me hugely satisfied, especially since the surface readings of the clues brought back come great memories eg Hunter's brawl!


Well put together (except for the 14 unchless entries). Having decided on a theme, how do setters then decide what shape the grid should be? The length of 25a perhaps? Or does Sympathy or similar do all that?
A very neat puzzle, impressive to see all 30-70 numbers in the grid. Grade felt right
The speed limits were neatly engineered. FOUR O’CLOCK was my first thematic solve, followed by SIX OF THE BEST (the definition to which struck me as a rather loose). 25a had me puzzled for a while because I’ve always remembered the title wrongly as ‘The Love of Three Oranges’, which didn’t quite fit. I was also mystified initially by 2d; I was convinced the answer must be HULA HOOPS, but didn’t enter it until almost all the letters were confirmed. My limited sporting knowledge extends to understanding the reference to Denis Law in31a, but ‘Celtic’ for HOOPS was rather too obscure for me. The connection between the speed limits and the sports theme running through the clues eluded me.
I thought it was a slight pity that some of the removals left non-words, but I enjoyed the puzzle. 
Well, thank God for the Internet -- as an American, I would never have had any idea what this was all about otherwise. Our speed cameras are used differently and have different signage, and the various brands and types are not general knowledge. But one photo of a British speed camera in action with its accompanying sign made crystal clear what I was supposed to do about the numbers and those red circles.
It took me a while to solve the first of the five 'speed limit' clues. Very clever grid construction and delightful clues.
I struggled a little to get started until TRUVELO seemed possible and, even then, I didn't immediately twig the theme. When I did, other thematic elements came together, although some searching was involved as SPECS and VECTOR were new to me (and I still can't see any non-cruciverbal use for the knowledge). 7 OAKS gave me some trouble but brought to mind the infamous hurricane that (apocryphally, at least) reduced its tree count somewhat.
Despite seeing the digits fairly early on, this held its secrets until the very end, partly because I didn't recognise the camera names. The football themed clues also suggested that the theme was also football related.
The title, and the relentless football themes in all the clues [for which much respect], did mislead me for a bit to begin with. However, when I ignored the football and spotted the 50, 70 and 60 (in that order) and then saw GATSO, it all fell into place. Clever of Eclogue to work the 30 ... 70 symbols into the grid !
I'm always impressed when setters use what seems to be a rather unlikely theme for a puzzle (in this case, speed cameras) to create an enjoyable puzzle such as this one. The entry device for achieving the speed limit signs was a very nice touch.
Who knew there were so many ways to photographically record speeding cars? Not me but as is so often the case, a crossword has expanded my store of trivia. Thanks Eclogue and Magpie.
The obfuscation lasted for a long time! As a West Brom fan, I was pleased to see the Hawthorns featuring in the clues. The revelation about speed cameras came quite late on (thanks Google). I hope my red circles are correctly chosen............
A very nice puzzle, with a clever construction and well-disguised theme right up to the last moment. Also a nice idea for the clues to provide the football misdirection from a clever title. Hope the inspiration wasn’t some unfortunate incident!
I can get a little twitchy about crossword setters living in the past, but the fact that Scot Gemmill retired 12 years ago has me wondering if Moses is Victor or Remi. As for Peter Osgood he never even played with 3 points for a win, although I admit if the clue had suggested Ozil scoring the surface reading would have suffered.
"If you like football, and you like speed cameras, then you'll love Three-pointers!"

I presume everyone will be saying something along the lines of "where the hell did this idea come from?" I certainly did.

Despite me feeling at best ambivalent about both themes (slightly preferring speed cameras to football), I loved this and thought it one of Eclogue's best. Any puzzle which has all surface readings relating to a specific topic takes some doing. I'm probably not alone in overlooking surface readings when solving, so anything which gives us the opportunity to sit back and appreciate them can't be a bad thing. Thanks Eclogue.
A decent challenge which came together cleverly in the end. Thank you
I'm not sure I've grasped the connection between the theme of the clues – which was well maintained throughout – and that of the grid. And I can't see a reason for the rectangular grid. But I enjoyed the puzzle anyway, assuming that Eclogue hasn't hidden a sneaky sixth camera somewhere in the grid.