Listen With Others

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Listener No 4613, Escape: A Setter’s Blog by Xanthippe

Posted by Listen With Others on 19 Jul 2020

The inspiration for this one came from my young people. They were suggesting I should visit the local Escape Rooms; as they involve solving puzzles to escape so it would be right up my street. It seemed a good idea for a puzzle.

I decided on riddles for guiding the solver out and the ‘tomorrow’ riddle immediately came to mind. Four six by six rooms fitted well and I decided I’d make the doors 2 cells wide to give me more freedom for moving from one room to the next. Initially, I was going to use known riddles but thought it would be good to have ‘crossword’ as one answer so would need a bespoke riddle.

‘U’ for the solver suggested itself early and had the advantage of being a relatively easy letter to use only once in the grid. I remembered Riddle was a character in the Potter series. I looked it up and found he was in the ‘Chamber of Secrets’ book. As this would need to be a bespoke riddle I placed this in the top left room; with many entries starting there the length of the riddle would be essentially not limited. At this point I had the vague idea of a word play on what a potter does. Later I was pleased to be able to use ‘work’ to refer to the novel too. Although I’d not read the books when I set this puzzle, I have now!

For the riddle in the bottom left, I looked up riddles and came across the candle one, it’s a riddle I’ve come across before but had forgotten. As it was going to be a carte blanche I settled on having two 12 letter entries both across and down; these should help the solver in placing entries. The top half was the trickiest to get in, particularly with 16 letters of the riddle pretty much constrained in the top left. On completion of the grid I realised I’d have to be concise with my ‘crossword’ riddle as only 6 entries started in that room.

Lastly the clues, the slowest part for me. Always written over months – good job its not the day job!



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