The Foxer

The defoxing annexe took delivery of a rather special clockwork automaton last week. Joan is a quarter-scale WW2 WAAF whose robotic party pieces include parachute packing, aero engine maintenance, and downing a yard of ale while whistling the national anthem. She will join Percy the Para (Unarmed combat, Welbike trick riding, cribbage) in the display in the foyer.

Last Friday’s collage foxer theme: early automata (defoxed by phlebas)

a Jacquemart Monoblock pistol (Panzerschwein)
b Cog (unacom)
c Tu-160 ‘ White Swan‘ (Stugle)
d Cam (phlebas)
e Marie Antoinette monogram (phlebas)
f Turk’s Head knot (phlebas, unacom)
g Hellbrunn Palace (foop)
h Ship drawn by Maillardet’s ‘Juvenile Artist’ (unsolved)
i Cover of Carole King’s ‘Writer‘ album (phlebas)
j Clockwork (Stugle)
k Peacock from Skullgirls (bsplines)

* * *

Ready for another hive foxer? The 127-cell honeycomb at the foot of this post is a fancy form of wordsearch in which every cell is used, and words can curl and zigzag but never overlap. Here’s a fragment of a solved one with a Doom theme – solution words include MARINE (e3,d3,d2,e2,d1,e1) and INFERNO (a7,b8,c9,d9,e9,f10,g11)

Roman respects the defoxing community far too much to disclose themes prior to defoxing, but he is prepared to tell you how many words you’re looking for. The perfectly interlocking solution to today’s puzzle is made up of 20 words.


  1. Little_Crow says:

    A couple of words that might be a starting point:
    FARMER (Starting at f7)
    KAYAK (Starting at g13)

  2. phlebas says:

    RESERVE (starting at f2) or REVERSE (starting at h1)

  3. Shiloh says:

    “Z” is an uncommon letter and can only be combined in certain ways in English (not so much in Polish/German), and there’s only one (k3) so that might not be a bad place to start.

    Elsewhere, “ROTTER” (backwards from d6), couple of “SHIRE”s…

  4. Little_Crow says:

    I’m staring intently at the top left corner the C in a1 can’t come before or after many of the letters around it.
    It’s tantalizing but can’t quite work my way out of that corner.

    • lglethal says:

      DISC would work,

      maybe even SUNDISC, but i think that would actually be written sundisk wouldnt it?

      • lglethal says:

        Actually SUNDISC wouldnt work because then you trap the D at a2. So forget that suggestion…

      • ocrooh says:

        Yeah, but still you need to solve that corner somehow – …SC ending (…,b2,a1) is your best option, otherwise you get swamped with consonants. So …ASC or …ISC it must be.
        On the other hand, I am not a native speaker, so who knows:)

    • Little_Crow says:

      Spotted that too, but it’d maroon the D in a2

  5. Little_Crow says:

    PANDORUM (starting at k5) – Sci-Fi film starring Dennis Quaid

  6. phlebas says:

    I see ROMAN (m4), or possibly ROMANZE.

  7. Stugle says:

    Starting at H2 you can spell ‘Renault’ almost completely horizontally (with just a quick excursion to the row below for the ‘n’).

    • Stugle says:

      Ack – You can’t, because there are two “l’s. Sigh, these puzzles are not for me.

  8. lglethal says:

    Going from B3 you get DISC; and from C2 you get DUST.

    Egypt theme? Although perhaps the words are too small…

    • phlebas says:

      The average word length is between 6 and 7 letters – there may be some shorter ones in there, but they’re probably less certain.

      • lglethal says:

        DISC (from B3), DUSTING (from A2), and STANDARD (from A4) would eat up most of the top couple of rows…

  9. Shiloh says:

    Hmmm… f4 leads via circuitous route g5, g4, h4, h3, h2, i1, j1 to i2 SOVEREIGN

    • phlebas says:

      Good spot – glad to see your brain is recovered this week!

      • Shiloh says:

        Indeed… I was thinking the theme was maybe “cars” because there’s “LADA” bold as brass (g9 onwards) and of course Daimler SOVEREIGN, but I can’t find much else that fits.

  10. phlebas says:


    • Little_Crow says:

      Could also start from a4 and b8.
      Which might be a good sign to it being correct…

      Scratch B8, would isolate the S at a7

  11. Little_Crow says:

    Words that can be prefixed with Gold?


  12. Shiloh says:

    Yep, well done, I think that’s it – f2 “RESERVE”, closes that side off nicely.

    EDIT: Also, d1 – e3 “RUSH”

    EDIT2: j3 EL DORADO – so words to do with gold, rather than prefixed by it?

  13. Shiloh says:

    e7 “PYRITE”

    EDIT: c1 “PAN”

  14. AFKAMC says:

    BULLION starting i5?

    • Little_Crow says:

      You’ll have to fight it out with ocrooh over that one

  15. AFKAMC says:

    FEVER, starting second from right on line C.

  16. Little_Crow says:

    LEAF starting at g9

  17. Shiloh says:

    So Little_Crow’s FARMER (as in “gold farmer”) checks out as well.

    Maybe not, if AFKAMC’s is in fact correct. I was thinking “SAFE” (starting b8) but that doesn’t really leave much below it to make a word out of if FARMER *is* correct.

    • Little_Crow says:

      It works, but I’m having doubts – a bit like Kruggerand and Bullion, they both work but at the expense of each other.

      Farmer cuts off quite a few letters and other than SAFE, I haven’t been able to use them all up

      • Shiloh says:

        You’re most likely right – I edited my post afterwards (starting “Maybe not…”) but forgot to put EDIT: in.

      • AFKAMC says:

        If I replace BULLION with MEDALLION (starting 3rd from right, line F), does that help?

        • Little_Crow says:

          Or just MEDAL, going by ocrooh’s excellent spot below

      • ocrooh says:

        i5 – BEZANT
        kind of works in favour of Krugerrand…

      • Little_Crow says:

        MIDAS (e9)
        KARAT (g13)

      • ocrooh says:

        and m4 RUMPELSTILTSKIN – bam, we’re kind of done

    • Little_Crow says:

      COAST (i9)

  18. Shiloh says:

    k7 l7 k8 l8 m7 STASH, maybe?

  19. Little_Crow says:

    YAMASHITA (h12)

  20. Shiloh says:


    i9 COAST

    So forget STASH…

  21. Little_Crow says:

    Going by my graffitied picture we had the following:


    Which makes 20

    • Shiloh says:

      Looks like a wrap – thanks to Roman, and have a good weekend one and all!