Sunday, 1 December 2019

Periodic Table

Pubished in the November 2019 issue of The Magpie as puzzle 203.6

The preamble reads:  
Clue lengths refer to grid entries. Solvers must highlight the individual responsible for the method of entry and remove the contents of the cell that is inconsistent with the title. 

All entries are made using the first, first, second, third, fifth and eighth letters of the clue answer as far as is possible in accordance with the FIBONACCI sequence (a ‘periodic’ selection).  All letters used in the grid are single-letter chemical symbols with the exception of A, which must be deleted.

Solvers' Comments

I assumed from the title that each cell would contain a symbol of an element, so "obviously" the answers that led to shorter entries would have two letters in some cells and I had no idea how two-letter answers would give three-letter entries. I soon found some answers like OAKEN and SNYE where I didn't know what I was going to do with the E.

When I had solved all but five of the clues I still hadn't worked out how to form any of the entries. I think this is the closest I have come to solving all of the clues in a puzzle without writing anything in the grid, but I suppose I had sometimes had some help from "checking" letters, such as assuming that entries that started in the same cells had answers that started with the same letter.

I had noticed that four- and five-letter answers had entries of the same length so assuming that entries of these lengths should be jumbles of the answers I found that 12a had to be ONAKE and that 15a could be HTUN (I hadn't solved 16d yet) but moving the last letter to second place didn't seem like it would work for other four- and five-letter answers (e.g. 11d would clash with 12a) and I couldn't see how to extend this to entries which didn't have the same length as their answers.

Eventually I noticed that entering the first three letters of the answer in the second, third and fourth cells seemed to work quite well, but to apply this to the answers in the top row and left column seemed to require that the first letter also appear in the first cell. Then I was able to fill enough of the grid to see most of FIBONACCI and all became clear.
I solved literally every clue but couldn't see how this could all fit together. Too good for me, this one. Wouldn''t have got there in a month of Sundays!
This is the one that held me up this month. Only after answering all the clues and playing about with these did I spot the possibility of Fibonacci.


Despite solving all the clues except 16 down (though this might be JENNY) I could not fill in a single entry. All very frustrating, GWIT at an extreme level.


All but 4 clues solved; no idea what to do.
Didn’t find the PDM even after solving all the clues except one, so I guess a D grade is appropriate, and I’ll kick myself when I see the answer.
I have solved all the clues and have no idea what the entry method is, although I'm sure it will be obvious when I see the answer. Congratulations Eclogue.
Definitely a backwards solve, I found Fibonacci in the guessed-at grid before I found him in the clues. Shame the A doesn't fit.
This was extraordinary!
I cold solved all the clues, and although I realised there were a lot of single letter element symbols, I couldn’t see how they should be entered.
Eventually, I realised that the initial letters were repeated, and then that the third letter of the entries were the second letters of the answers, which then revealed FIBONACCI in the diagonal, which made everything clear - even explaining the one cell no longer consistent with the title
Probably my PDM of the year !
This was a really ingenious puzzle from Eclogue, and most enjoyable. Took a long time for the penny finally to drop for the entry method.
Having answered all clues except 26, I cannot for the life of me work out the method of entry.

I've spotted that the letters O, N and I appear much more often than one would expect. And S, K and C are also surprisingly common. But that's about as far as I get.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh !
Extremely infuriating, then extremely satisfying. I was baffled about how the same entry method could apply to all entries, where some got longer, some stayed the same length and some got shorter. It never occurred to me that letters could repeat themselves...

Quite a lot of cold-solving involved, so thank you for the gentler clues. I am, however, left with that all-too-familiar, uneasy feeling of not having understood everything (one letter no longer consistent with the title... Oh wait! Just got it! Single-letter elements. Oh I do feel clever now. I did think the limited variety of letters rather odd...). I'm all the more impressed. Thank you, Eclogue.
The penny took too long to drop, even after seeing the individual. Another great puzzle.
A nice idea, surprisingly difficult to spot given its simplicity, making for a fun and challenging puzzle.
Excellent. Light dawned ever so slowly with this one, but in the end it did. A simple idea nicely done. I don't understand the need for 'in Aberdeen' at 13a.
This was very clever and and very tough. Eventually I felt confident enough to enter the 1st letter twice followed by the 2nd and 3rd letters (some clashes but not many) and found what looked like FIBONACCI in the diagonal which explained all. I assume the one cell that is no longer consistent is A (now Ar). Thank you Eclogue for a hard but enjoyable work-out.


Published in CrOZworld November 2019


The 14 will discover that 1 suggests 11 in the wordplay for 7 answers (including one answer in which such 11 occur twice).  


The 14 (CROSSWORD SOLVER) will discover thematic 11 (INCONSISTENCIES) in the wordplay for 7 answers (including one such occurring twice). 

The wordplay ignores the instances of “three d’s” in seven clues and this is an oblique hint at the connection to 3D Calendar Crosswords.


• Some off-the-beaten-track solutions (notably WIENCKE), doubtless forced by the demanding grid. No walk in the park, even after you've solved 1-across. Ian McKenzie
• Amazing! Thankfully, 9-across quickly gave the theme. Len Colgan
• All those 15 letter clues! Took a while to find WIENCKE Island – took me into some interesting research. Thank you. Ann Millard
• Amazing. Brian Symons
• Very clever. Wiencke Island! Really! At least it didn't have a D in it. Roy Taylor
• An impressive piece of setting. I needed to resort to aids a fair bit and mostly resolved the wordplay of the seven affected clues after identifying the answer. Ian Thompson
• A most interesting grid pattern. Took a while to work out how some of the clues worked but got there in the end. Thanks for a great challenge. Ulla Axelsen
• An interesting concept with all the across clues being 15 letters. I look forward to seeing the explanation for 18-across and 19-down.Lynn Jarman
• Quite tricky and sent with fingers crossed! Robyn McKenzie
• A fairly hard puzzle, but each 15-letter word was a joy when solved. Max Roddick
• I would rate this puzzle as AAA, not DDD. Mike Potts
Just hope I got this right. (you did Robyn and thank you for the card: Joan). Robyn Caine
I was stymied halfway through until I changed 'lovers' to solver' in 14 across. Some very obscure (but not unfair) abbreviations. Kath Harper
•This puzzle had me scratching my head. Some solutions totally eluded me until Ian’s timely deadline reminder. Then mercifully; they appeared!! Many thanks. Julie Crowe
•A very clever puzzle. Tough going until I figured out the consistent inconsistencies! Laurence Kennedy