Absque labore nihil
by Uma and Brian

1. Fringe novel edges around East Las Vegas (8)
2. Giant Jobs Company’s east-coast location (8, two words)
3. I, accompanied by Tritons, played music for the masses to begin with (8)
4. Remarkable guide all but gave us Burns’ address finally (8, two words)
5. A frog, perhaps René, returned first, in a hurry (8)
6. Seize stoned sailor (8)
7. In Rome I strip away bouts of self-indulgent activity (8, two words)
8. Couple on board she described earlier for a fellow traveller (8)

a. Cry at model’s appearance (5)
b.  Donald loses heart for love crush (5)
c.  Pirate’s revolutionary tales (5)
d.  Some chieftain that Cain’s entertaining could be a fence supplier (5)
e.  Dreadful Lagos porridge is served here (5)
f.  It’s vanilla, honest! (5)
g.  Academic lot had concealed this material (5)
h.  Dance around old Etonian soldier (5, two words)
I.  Boorish Ozzie topped back knee joint with little hesitation (5)
j. Congress meeting in the pipeline (5)
k.  A scholar’s unlimited preposterous slip-ups (5)
l.  Do sit! Sadly her address could take a while to deliver (5)
m.  Short reptile (argot, maybe) (5)
n.  Mates – that’s an unusual break in Oz (5)
o.  Panegyric a chap in Spain referred to with revolutionary self-confidence (5)
p.  Nick lived up to his name! (5)

Once you have solved all of the clues the magenta coloured lights in the earlier illustration could reveal your setters’ advice for life in general … as well as solving this crossword. (4,3,2,6). You should add this below your solution.

Please submit the answers with annotations to us by email at on or before Midnight IST Saturday 2nd December 2017. – EXTENDED to Tuesday, 5th December 2017)

The puzzle will be put up for group solving and discussions at the 1ACross facebook group on Wednesday, 6th December 2017


This grid is an unusual one, based on an original idea by Quinapalus, who runs the superb cruciverbalist and mathematical website However, it is far more compact in scale and less complex than his outstanding 15 x 10 puzzle, which is out of print and sadly not available on the web.

Our puzzle consists of just 8 numbered across clues, the solutions to all of which have eight letters. When you start, you can ignore the magenta colour of some of the squares.

In addition there are 16 unnumbered clues, the solutions to all of which have five letters. These are in 4-letter groups of lights that make the very rough shape of a letter T, O, I or L. Each of these four-light shapes may be rotated to any position that enables it to ‘fall’ and fit into the grid with others, without making any light unfillable.

This merely shows the appearance of the four-letter shapes, using a wider grid than the puzzle itself.

The fifth letter required for the five-letter solution is given by the shape itself: every solution has an unentered I, O, L or T in addition to the four letters within the shape to be entered into the grid. Moreover, the four letters of the solution that are entered may be placed in any sequence within the four-light letter shape. Obviously, this means that you should attempt to solve the across clues first.

You should clearly mark the four-light group shape of each of these 16 lettered a-to-p clue solutions, using thickened bars. Unless it is a horizontal ‘I’ – it will span 2-4 horizontal lines.

The 16 clues for these five-letter / 4-light words are given in the following sequence:

For the bottom row: bottom left to bottom right. For all others: in a way the pieces could fall, left to right leaving no gaps in a line before moving to the next higher row, which by now will have some letters forming part of answers to clues in a lower row.

To identify them, the sixteen clues for the five-letter words are given below using the letters ‘a’ to ‘p’.

Once you have solved all of the clues the magenta coloured lights in the puzzle could reveal your setters’ advice for life in general … as well as solving this crossword. (4,3,2,6). You should add this below your solution.


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2 thoughts on “TOIL

  • 29/11/2017 at 1:45 pm

    How do I fill in the answers? I could not figure out how this works

    • 29/11/2017 at 3:08 pm

      You can send us the answers as a list, referencing the clue number and with Annotations, by email as mentioned in the post.

      The clues numbered 1 to 8 work like normal cryptic clues and can be solved as such. The lettered clues have one of four shapes T, O, I and L. They have to be fit in the grid based on the shape of the one of these letters, as explained in detail. Can’t help you understand it further now, but will try and explain more in the solutions post.


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