The Clock Without a Face: Solutions Part 1

clock without a face cover

The Clock Without A Face

The Clock Without a Face is a divisive book. Ironically, it is two-faced and I enjoy and despise it at the same time for its oddities.

As a storybook, there’s a childish charm on the surface that clashes with the cruel abuse and betrayal of the narrator bubbling just underneath. As a treasure hunt, the bright, detailed illustrations are fun to sift through and reveal endless potential clues, but the final solutions are ambiguous and unsatisfying.

I’ve put off writing up the solutions for The Clock Without A Face because every time I start trying to piece it all together from the few confirmed answers (some from the author, others from shouty arguments on the Internet) I am left frustrated and annoyed. Trying to solve the puzzles in the book sucks all the joy out of it. It is an awful puzzle book in this regard and there’s no getting away from that.

But, needs must when the blogger procrastinates. So here is my best attempt at providing a reasonable set of solutions to the Clock Without A Face. This first post covers the 12 missing objects from each floor and tracks the first 6 missing numbers from floor 13. The last 6 numbers, and the location of the doubly-hidden number 12 will be covered in part 2.

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Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 Preview

Pandemic Legacy art

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

NOTE: This preview does NOT contain plot spoilers for Pandemic Legacy.

If you’re not familiar with the Legacy genre, this will sound like an unusual way to start a review of a board game. But Legacy games are unusual, as I recently started to learn.

Released in 2015, Pandemic Legacy was the second game in the Legacy genre. The series started with Risk Legacy in 2011 but it was the buzz around Seafall in late 2016 that finally caught my attention.

The concept underpinning all three titles is that decisions and outcomes in one game affect subsequent games. In Risk Legacy, a variation on the classic game of world conquest, players choose a faction they will lead over the course of 15 games. Factions gain and lose bonuses depending on how well they do. Individual games become parts of a longer campaign.

Pandemic Legacy reportedly raised the bar and produced something excitingly different. I intend to recount my personal experiences while playing through the whole of “Season 1”. This first post is spoiler free in the sense that I have done nothing but open the box, read the rules, and play a trial, legacy-less game with my other half.

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Merlin Mystery Solution: Part 13

Merlin Mystery wand

The Merlin Mystery prize wand

Go to the Merlin Mystery Solution Index.

This is it! This is the final part of my solution to The Merlin Mystery by Jonathan Gunson and Marten Coombe.

For a puzzle where the number 12 is so important (relying on there being 12 zodiac signs, 12 positions on a clock face and using 12 different alchemy symbols), I like that it has taken 13 blog posts to reach the final solution.

Before revealing my answer, a final summary of the whole puzzle and how the solution is reached is warranted. Links lead to the 12 preceding parts of the solution to read the full details of each stage.

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A Present of a Picross


Example Picross

A final present from me for Christmas! This time it’s a Picross puzzle.

A picross is a logic puzzle. They’re also called Nonograms, Hanjie, Griddlers or “Paint-By-Numbers”.

The goal is to blacken squares in a grid to create a picture.

Numbers around the grid are clues. From these clues you can deduce exactly where all the black squares go using logic and deduction. There is only one solution where the clues in the columns and the clues in the rows are consistent.

Each clue number signifies an unbroken line of black squares. These lines appear in the same order as the numbers, running left to right for the rows and top to bottom for the columns. Every line of black squares is separated by one or more un-blackened squares. You can mark these in with light Xs. A zero means the entire row or column is unblackened.

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Merlin Mystery Solution: Part 12

Merlin Mystery wand

The Merlin Mystery prize wand

Go to the Merlin Mystery Solution Index.

This is Part 12 of my solution to The Merlin Mystery by Jonathan Gunson and Marten Coombe.

Previously, the full list of 75 solution objects were found and put in their correct order. These objects actually represent a set of instructions for casting The Alchemist’s Spell.

Gunson’s justification for using objects to symbolically represent the spell was to make the puzzle independent of language.

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Merlin Mystery Solution: Part 11

Merlin Mystery wand

The Merlin Mystery prize wand

Go to the Merlin Mystery Solution Index.

This is Part 11 of my solution to The Merlin Mystery by Jonathan Gunson and Marten Coombe.

This post provides the full list of 75 solution objects in their correct order. It also confirms which page of the book each object comes from to make it easier to check.

Obtaining this list can take several hours of work turning back and forth through the book, even when you know exactly what you’re doing.
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News and Updates for December

logoChristmastime is here, by golly!

Whether you call it Christmas, Hanukkah, Hogswatch, Krampusnacht, Pancha Ganapati, Winterval, Yule or Yalda, the end of the Gregorian Calendar year is, for many, a season of glad tidings and enforced time with the extended family.

Puzzles and games are a great way to soothe political and religious differences, offering something entirely different for people to argue about.

As I write this, there’s still time to pick up some of these puzzle books if you’re stuck for gift ideas. Alternatively, there are a few online challenges to while away the northern hemispherically cold winter evenings.

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Merlin Mystery Solution: Part 10

Merlin Mystery wand

The Merlin Mystery prize wand

Go to the Merlin Mystery Solution Index.

This is Part 10 of my solution to The Merlin Mystery by Jonathan Gunson and Marten Coombe.

This post provides the complete solution to the Diabolo mini-puzzle. This is the last mini-puzzle and is so straightforward that the bulk of this post is devoted to a summary of all 7 mini-puzzles which make up The Merlin Mystery.

In part 3, we established a chain of objects that links the Diabolo to an open, blank book. The book has the right page half turned over. Literally, this means “turn to the next page of The Merlin Mystery”.

The Diabolo mini-puzzle simply says that the sequence of steps described by the previous 6 mini-puzzles should be carried out on every page of the book. That’s it.

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Cryptic Crossword Primer for Christmas


Click for full size version

Cryptic crosswords are one of those things you either love or hate, that you either understand or can’t stand. Part of the problem is that there is a huge set of rules for solving them which you are simply supposed to know. If you don’t know the rules, you’ve got no chance.

This post is a Chritmas present to readers. It includes a short introduction on how to solve cryptic crosswords and a special Christmas themed crossword to try your hand at. It is not like some of the devious cryptic crosswords in the broadsheets. Most of the clues should be fairly easy and fun.

You can click on the image to the right to view the crossword at full size, and here is a PDF version to download and print.

I believe that puzzles are a great activity for families stuck together for extended periods trying to think up topics of conversation! So print a few of the crosswords off and work together over the holiday period to find the answers.

This crossword and the primer below were written by myself and my partner in crime at Please visit her art blog!

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