22 November 2021

Sequence 7

Sequence 7

The unclued entries provide the ten levels of hardness in Moh’s scale.


1. Talc, 2. Gypsum, 3. Calcite, 4. Fluorite, 5. Apatite

6. Orthoclase, 7. Quartz, 8. Topaz, 9. Corundum, 10. Diamond

01 November 2021


 An Alphabetical Jigsaw submitted to CrOZworld in July 2021.

A nice short preamble reads "Solutions begin with the given letter.  Place them in the grid jigsaw-wise, where they fit."

AJ by Eclogue

As well as the peripheral NINA, the longest entries are (A)cross and (D)own.

Slot 4: 

Entries:                 74

Correct:                58

Correct %            78

Adjudicator’s comments:

Slot 4. Another challenging puzzle from Eclogue, complete with three mini- Ninas, identified by a number of solvers. PEDALED needed the American usage to be derived from the former, although associated clue and resulted in four incorrect entries, PERONED, BETAMEN, PEDALER and PENALED. HYPOGRYPH, requiring a cunning interpretation to derive the “gryph”, resulted in a further four errors. Other errors included XMAS (2) and XION for XIAN.

Slot 5. Comments by solvers would suggest that three-letter words are not


Solver comments:

November 4: Eclogue (Keith Williams and Eddie Looby)

·                     I like the NINAS - BEGINS and THE END! Ann Millard

·                     Begins the end. The end! Julie Leigh

·                     This was a tough AJ to finish! Fraser Simpson

·                     Reassuring to see “begins the end the end.” Something’s in the right place. Roy Taylor

·                     Definitely a challenge here, with several new or unfamiliar usages. I liked NEUTRALIST, and had to guess for A, F and J. Not sure about Y either, if Shaky is part anagrind and part indicator. Kathy Horadam

·                     I’ve never done an AJ without pen and paper before. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if I’ve messed it up. Jenny Wenham

·                     As expected with an AJ, a few unusual words. Sad there’s only one beginning but two ends. Ulla Axelsen

·                     I found this quite hard but satisfying to finish. Robyn McKenzie

·                     Interesting AJ. Loved WALPOLE and ODORLESS. Beverley Cockburn

·                     Very clever! “BEGINS” across the top and “THE END” across the bottom and down the right side. Michael Veress

·                     Clever how once you finish it, the crossword shows you where it begins and where the ends are. David Parsons

·                     Some words were new to me, so fingers crossed! Anne Simons

·                     Liked HIPPOGRYPH and WALPOLE. The Oxford college KEBLE (not KINGS) was a surprise. Max Roddick

·                     There is a NINA. Begins, The end, The End. (I think!!) Marian Procter

·                     Nina begins and (twice) reaches the end. Andrew Miles

·                     Handy to know where the puzzle begins and ends! Kath Harper

·                     GOSPODARS, assuming it’s correct, caused some consternation in the Skinner household. Richard Skinner

·                     Begins, the end. the end. But what is a Yzmjow? Jim Fowler

09 October 2021

Comings and Goings

 Appearing in the i Newspaper as Inquisitor 1720

The Preamble

18 clues each omit a single letter in their wordplay, which should also be entered at the foot of the corresponding column in which they appear. The remaining 21 clues have an extra letter in their wordplay which when taken in clue order provide five consecutive words from a poem (in ODQ) whose author is provided by the circled cells.  Solvers must highlight the two rows that provide cryptic representations of three further lines of the poem.

Comings and Goings

There was a young lady named Bright,

Whose speed was far faster than light;                    Extra letters

She set out one day,  In a relative way    >             (ONE DAY)* in REL. + ROAD

And returned on the previous night         >             BRIGHT + REPLIED over PREVIOUS NIGHT

ARTHUR BULLER (in circles) – Relativity in Punch 19 December 1923

29 September 2021

Pack Drill

Submitted to 1 Across 24/3/20

Pack Drill Solution Grid

The theme was card games:

Patience, Casino, Blackjack, Quadrille, Euchre
Piquet, Klondyke, Baccarat, Quinze

For good measure, the suit Diamonds was thrown in as well.

07 September 2021

The Secret Seven

 Appearing on the Indian 1ACross site.

The Secret Seven

Highlighted letters provide the names of the dwarfs from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

01 September 2021



All clues are normal, but are divided into four sets of twelve solutions each, as follows:-

A) A     Each solution is entered with one letter added – the added letters could be rearranged to form BAND USES DEMO

B) B     Each solution is entered with one letter subtracted – the subtracted letters could be rearranged to form GROUP FOUNDED

C) C     Each solution is entered as a single word anagram

D) D     Each solution is entered normally.

All resulting entries are real words or proper nouns. Taking one original solution from each of the three sets will provide a musical group, three current or former members of which appear as entries in the final grid which should be highlighted, together with one of their hit singles (nine letters in a straight line, enabling the central square to be completed).  Four clue solutions provide two other hit singles by way of confirmation.  All enumerations refer to the length of grid entries.  One solution is in Collins.

Maurice / Verdine WHITE (38a), Philip BAILEY (6d) and Ronnie LAWS (12a) are/were three current or former members of EARTH (35), WIND (38) & FIRE (26d).  Their hit singles included LET’S GROOVE (24/41) and BOOGIE WONDERLAND (9/1d) and SEPTEMBER (highlighted diagonal – which with the help of the letter string in the preamble also resolves the two occurrences where the added letter is otherwise unchecked at 24a and 3d).

Solvers' Comments

Either the description was very generous, or I've been listening to this song too much, because my very first action was to pencil in "September" down the diagonal. Anyway, this was a lovely puzzle with clues that made me grin.

The four methods of entry provided an interesting challenge. After a lot of cold-solving, the single-word anagrams became relatively easy to spot, and the provision of the letters added and subtracted kept the level of difficulty to a C-grade.

I suppose it was deliberate that WATER is the answer to a type D clue.

I tried to see how much I could enter without guessing and without using that the final entries are real words, and was happy that most of the grid could be filled under these conditions, but obviously several of the added letters appear in unchecked cells so I eventually had to check if some things were real words.

I was able to cold-solve many of the easy clues, which helped with the grid entries. The title should have guided me to the key words for the group, but I Googled 'September' as soon as I saw it in the diagonal and got the group that way. I do remember the group's name (though not the members) but I don't think I ever listened to their music.
An enjoyable puzzle with an accessible theme.

I think I looked from elementary to Group to Band in the intro and preamble and leapt to Earth Wind and Fire. But that is as far of my knowledge of the group went so still spent a while on that there wikipedia and yon youtube reading and listening (often simultaneously, though that does make also drinking a cup of hot cocoa trickier). Not completely convinced my cup of tea, music-wise, but the crossword was good. Thanks.

Very well put together, with much to keep track of during solving. With grid almost complete, SEPTEMBER looked promising and handy pub googlers confirmed the group and names. Why are so many pop themes based on modern rubbish instead of the proper artists and songs of the 50s/mid-60s? Many setters are old enough to remember them, and the youngsters could easily find them on the net.

I think this represents the real gain the internet has given us. What might have been a relatively obscure niche, dividing solvers into those of the precise age and everybody else, has become perfectly fair and researchable general knowledge.

Nice variation in answer treatments added to the entertainment. Particularly liked 32 across. Spent a while looking for the third member before deciding White was doing double duty - sneaky! (Or I’ve missed something.)

Interesting variety of turning answers into lights, which needed a careful bit of 'book-keeping'. SEPTEMBER was easily found and the rest followed quickly from the internet.

Having finished the puzzle, I thought I better listen to September to hear the masterpiece that had attracted Eclogue's attention. That was a big mistake!

Well worked, and a nice reminder of some classics (it set me off on a greatest hits trail via Apple Music).

It isn't often that I get the theme of a puzzle before solving any clues, but it happened on this occasion. Considering the various threads that needed keeping track of, I was actually quite grateful to know what was going on so early on. A terrific tribute to a great band, and it was particularly good to see just so much thematic material included. Many thanks, Eclogue.

Gosh, Earth, Wind & Fire have had so many members, chances are a Magpie subscriber has probably been in the band at one point or another. Not me though... far too young. In fact, they were on the curriculum when I did GCSE music as a textbook example of disco. Fun puzzle, thanks for getting September stuck in my head for a day or two.

Nice puzzle, plenty of thematic matter, not too tricky. Thanks to Eclogue

Crossword about a band, and Wonderland is the first clue solved. Nothing to see here. Eventually the penny dropped: brought a smile to our 50 something faces. Sometimes I think we should set a timer for 5 minutes to discuss the title only before thinking about any clue - we'd have got Earth Wind & Fire after about three minutes if we'd thought about it.

Great title for a fun tribute puzzle! Unfortunately I only know the tune to like two bars of the chorus of "September," so I spent 75% of the puzzle singing something like "all we are, rhythm is a dancer; all we are, we are, we are" over and over in my head. I'm fairly certain that none of those words is correct. I didn't realize until a while after I'd finished the puzzle that I was solving it IN September.

Looking up the other two hit singles helped me finish the puzzle, as I was having a difficult time with the grid-fill. So thank you for that: the "confirmation" was more like a strong hint to me! I like that each element corresponds to a different way of entering entries into the grid, including WATER entered normally!. To me wind, rather than earth, seems more like an "anagram" element; it's a shame there are no anagrams of WIND. If only they'd named the band Earth, Air, and Fire, we could have had RIA, FIR, and HEARTH or something.

The entry gimmicks made filling the puzzle a lot harder than it would be otherwise, but I thought the added challenge was fun.

Very nice - liked the four different elements of the clues and there was some fiddly bits with the additions so hope I got it all right.

I enjoyed this: so much thematic detail crammed into the grid. My only slight criticism would be that the preamble and title gave a little too much away (even though it's not a band I know much about) ... so there wasn't really a hugely epiphanous PDM. But the four entry modes were inspired, and the finish was quite tricky (still not 100% sure I have all the added letters right). Kudos.

Look It This Way


All answers are six letters in length.  Some clues have a misprint in their definition, the correct letters for which, in clue order, indicate the new position for a specific entry.  An instruction in the completed grid leads to a further indication how this should be achieved.  The final positions of all other entries must follow the same method.  Three otherwise extraneous words confirm the direction of travel.  If we LOOK AT IT THIS WAY, all entries should be capable of conventional reading after compliance with all instructions.  Solvers are advised to use a pencil.  

Initial Grid

Final Grid

Corrections to misprints in odd clues spell “ONE ACROSS IS NINE DOWN”.  The completed grid provides the instruction “READ LAST LETTER OF EACH EVEN CLUE” which then gives “TURN THROUGH RIGHT ANGLE”.  Extraneous words are DEXTRORSE, LAEVOROTATORY and WITHERSHINS indicating the ANTICLOCKWISE rotation required, so that the grid should be turned such that NINE DOWN fills the ONE ACROSS slot.  The grid should therefore be re-written having been turned through 90 degrees and be able to be read from the right hand edge (else some entries will only be readable in reverse).








1 condos




1 Conrad



6 tsuris




2 oneyre



11 sheepo




3 Naples 



12 nephew




4 O'Neill



13 etalon  




5 saw set



14 stogie




6 tsetse



15 areole




7 shtoom



16 soever




8 relive



17 desalt  




9 sonars 



18 emeers




10 throat



20 captan




19 eerily 



24 Shebat




20 collar



29 onside  




21 pseudo



30 Caruso




22 adieus



31 aerial  




23 nearly 



32 louder




24 sclaff



33 all but  




25 halloa 



34 aidful




26 bumble



35 rootsy  




27 asquat



36 facete




28 toetoe