Wednesday, 1 May 2019


Published by Crossword Club, March 2019 (Issue 491) as its leading or 'first' puzzle, Select by Eclogue.


Unclued entries are of a kind.  Every clue is obscured by a misprint in the definition.  In clue order, corrections spell a couplet from a 'top ten' song (with the omission of two words).  The group responsible can be formed from the highlighted cells.  Solvers must select corresponding alternatives for each of the unclued entries in accordance with the title of that song.  All entries in the final grid are real words or proper nouns.

Solution Grids

Interim Grid
Final Grid


Corrected misprints provide “We dress up in disguise, to get away from (all those) prying eyes”, a couplet from WE ARE DETECTIVE by THOMPSON TWINS, descriptive of the final entries.  The four unclued entries are the surnames of four crime fiction authors, Dorothy L SAYERS, Ruth RENDELL, Elizabeth GEORGE and Georges SIMENON.  Their names are to be replaced by the surnames of their most famous detectives, respectively WIMSEY, WEXFORD, LYNSEY and MAIGRET.  All final entries are real words or proper nouns.

The title also refers to the song chorus, “We are detective, we are select…”
The use of ‘obscured’ (in disguise) in the preamble is deliberate.
Dorothy L Sayers
Lord Peter Wimsey
Ruth Rendell

Inspector Wexford


Elizabeth George
Inspector Lynley
Georges Simenon


Solvers' Comments

“Nice construction to find writers and their detectives of the same length and to ensure words with both.
20ac.  MISO is the paste, not the beans from which it is made.
7Dn.  Is GLAIR a food?
9Dn.  puzzling
25Dn.  Is the corrected reading ‘Jason’s man’?  Surely ARGO was the ship.  I’m not sure its use in ‘man-o-war’ qualifies its use on its own.”

“Some tricky clues.  I’m still not sure about Keith and his jackdaw at 26a!
Clever to find crime writers with the same numbers of letters as their detectives and to end up with real words at the end.”

“Never heard of the Thompson Twins, or the song!
                Such a clever construction.  Got SAYERS quickly, so rest fell into place without too much heartache.”

“The vacuous and largely unmusical world of pop music holds no pleasures for me, so the mention of ‘pop song’ and ‘top ten’ was an immediate barrier.  The only chance of solving the pop words was the internet.  That was not easy but eventually led to a song and singers I’d never heard of.  However, a clever design of author/detective changes.  Is the title another obscure pop music reference?”

“How many Club members are ‘up’ in pop music and crime fiction?  Not me; the internet was required.  SE corner of grid was tricky.”

“I have very little knowledge of pop music and even less interest in it.  Detective stories are almost equally beyond my ken.  Luckily googling overcomes these drawbacks and I could enjoy a tricky but fair puzzle from Eclogue.  Many thanks.”

“So clever that I came close to overlooking the final stage.  Having never heard of the group or the song I was obliged to consult Mr Google and it was surprising how many hits were supplied for the phrase ‘emptying eyes’ which was my first guess.
                Some very wittily concealed definition misprints (not all of which I have solved – 9d eludes me, as does the route by which MEG can produce MB).
                But, as stated, witty and clever so enjoyable overall.”

“Quite challenging in the early stages, especially since some connections to the misprints (e g hest from heat) were not easy to deduce.
                Since I had not heard of the pop group (or one of the four authors) I was glad that Google came to the rescue.”

“Fortunately, it is not necessary to know the pop song/group.  (I hope).”

“Very enjoyable.”

“A very fine crossword which kept us intrigued for many hours.  There were some excellent clues, notably 32ac and 23dn.  9dn arrived in the grid without us understanding why.  It was very clever to leave real words after changing the names of authors to their detectives.”

“’Corresponding alternatives’ not understood.  Are the four authors to stay or be replaced?”

“Always amazed to find that compilers find coincidences such as authors and characters with equal length names.”

“Very clever and challenging.  Never heard of the group nor the song.  Not sure that I actually want to!
                Unlike ‘Arachnoid’, the title didn’t seem to help but this was a satisfying crossword to complete.”

                How did Eclogue even dare to think this was a possibility when (s)he started compiling this puzzle?
                I am filled with admiration.
                Much enjoyed.  Many thanks.”

“The most satisfying club puzzle for a long while.  Beautifully conceived, with superbly disguised misprints.  I must confess that I had never heard of Elizabeth George.”

“I am always so impressed when a setter manages to include changed words in his final grid and still has ‘all real words’ – such an achievement.”

Eclogue write:

"Many thanks to all solvers who commented.  In compilation, this was a rare case of knowing how the puzzle mechanics would work a good while before the thematic entries were found which proved that it was going to be possible.  SELECT started in January / February 2018 as a simple quiz question, namely to find (at least) four well-known fictional detectives whose surnames were the same length as their authors.  The four used were the first and indeed only ones we could come up with – there may well be others, but we leave members to muse on that at their leisure.   We thought these four would be reasonably accessible though, as all four have been televised, including the late George Baker as Chief Inspector Wexford filmed in the Editor’s (and half of Eclogue’s former) home town of Romsey, which was regularly converted to Kings Markham for the purpose.  The title has both a specific, but also tangential relevance. The most direct being of course in the preamble, namely the need to choose between the entries once all other information was available.   The more oblique reference is to part of the chorus of the thematic song, “We are detective.  We are select”.   For one half of Eclogue, the 80’s are ‘his era’, but in the finalisation process, it was agreed to highlight letters forming the group, allowing a reference like the “Guinness British Hit Albums and Singles” to come into play.  There we find that the Thompson Twins had only five top-10 hits, the title of only one of which had any relevance to the unclued entries.  While we cannot promise to find themes that interest every solver (although why such a like or dislike for the theme should alter the solving experience remains beyond us) but have found both personally and from the vast majority of solvers’ feedback that the juxtaposition of often completely unconnected elements make for some of our most interesting challenges.  For info, GLAIRING is coating in egg-white (hence ‘varnishing food’), Chambers confirms ‘man’ as a ship (from man-of-war), while 9dn refers to the setting for The Taming of the Shrew.  But yes, 20a should have been “product of beats / beans” for MISO.  Until next time…."