The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

My left foot is on the number ‘1800’, my right on the number ‘4220’. I can see a white and green tram. I’m on the banks of a river that gave its name to an aircraft manufacturer. I’m due south of a famous prehistoric hill figure. The country I’m in has hosted the Winter Olympics more times than it has hosted the Summer Olympics. This city has something in common with Norwich. I’m a kilometre away from the birthplace of a literary giant and half a kilometre from a warship that starred in a recent movie. I’m a stone’s throw from a bridge named after a duchess.

Feature Foxer

The 127-cell honeycomb below is a fancy form of wordsearch in which every cell is used, and words can curl and zigzag but never overlap. Each hive foxer has a unique theme (some past themes: Harry Potter, gold, postage stamps, and The 39 Steps) Identifying this theme is a vital part of the defoxing process. Today you are looking for twenty words.

*       *       *


Last week’s warm-up foxer: I was here (defoxed by Gusdownup)

Last week’s feature foxer:

huntress (phlebas)
ambush (Arioch_RN)
togo (Gothnak)
aviojet (AbyssUK)
riga (Gothnak)
catnip (Gothnak)
F.A. (Gothnak)
lipizzaner (AFKAMC)
lorgnette (phlebas, ylla)
bindi (Artiforg)
widgeon (AFKAMC)
agouty (Stugle)

utopia (phlebas)
trojan (phlebas)
eve (artiforg)
spa (phlebas)
baja (Gothnak)
venezuela (Gothnak)
palpatine (Gothnak)
K.A. or A.A. (phlebas)
playbook (Gothnak)
faraday (Artiforg)
malawi (AFKAMC)
lancer (Stugle)
breda (AbyssUK, Gothnak)


  1. Gothnak says:

    Well, the X at E11 might be a good starting point?

    G13: HEX, D8: THORAX, C8: HOAX?

  2. Gothnak says:

    I think the S at A7 has to be part of SCR____ or SCH___ (Something German?) as there are no vowels up there.

    That does mean it isn’t B8: CROTCH sadly.

  3. Gothnak says:

    K1 or K2: CHUCK YEAGER, that does leave a floating VST at M4

    • Gothnak says:

      Overlapping Chuck is I2: PITCHCAR a boardgame i used to own where you flick things around a track :p.

  4. Stugle says:

    E5: AZURE?

  5. Gothnak says:

    H12: SABRE overlaps with J10: BEER, BASH?

  6. Gothnak says:

    J3: The Danish city of AARHUS (I’m sure someone knows how to pronounce it)

  7. Gothnak says:

    F2: CATCH… Sheesh, there are loads of 5+ letter words this week…

  8. Gothnak says:

    How about the D at A5? it must be the end of the word as H, K, F and R can’t come after it.

    That means the end of a word ___ARD

    C3: BATARD is a french bread or noble Bastard.

  9. Kerans says:

    K9: ERASURE ?

  10. Shiloh says:

    TIM STONE – A1,B1,B2,C2,D2,E2,E3,D3.

    Though I’m sure our host is much too retiring to shoehorn himself into a Foxer… (it also leaves a dangling “E” if TANKARD is correct).

    • Gothnak says:

      Well spotted, but i’d be more worried about the RBR down at C1…. Tankard could be wrong, unless D1 is BR as in British Rail?

      I was thinking about airports for a while with Yeager and TSV at the bottom would Townsville, but god knows.

  11. Zogg says:

    The answer to the warm-up foxer is a bridge over the Loire in France. based on Loire aviation and the French destroyer Maillé-Brézé that was in the Dunkirk movie.

    As to the exact place … someone else will have to do that … A meeting beckons!

    • Gusdownnup says:

      I think we’re here.

      • Stugle says:

        You got it – I was on the other side of the road, being distracted by the fun train shuttling tourists through the city. Was looking desperately for the numbers.

        • Gusdownnup says:

          Yes, this was a fiddly one. I spent too long in Canada and Italy before I re-read the list of Olympic host nations…

      • Zogg says:

        Great work and achieved more than my meeting did!

  12. Gothnak says:

    Spotted my first connection….

    G9: MEAD
    J10: BEER

    Dunno how Chuck Yeager or Tim Stone get involved though.

    Things found in pubs? :)

  13. AbyssUK says:

    FYI : SCCC is a chinese pro DOTA player…

  14. Gothnak says:

    Other long words that don’t fit with anything else…

    C3: BLAZE
    E6: BARBER
    G9: MOTHER

    Is this just some kind of Rorschach test?

  15. Little_Crow says:

    I’ve found a few firey type words

    But not enough to be sure it’s the theme

    • phlebas says:

      H1 CHARCOAL would fit with these.
      H12 SANTA could connect in a chimney-related way.

      • AbyssUK says:

        D1: BRIMSTONE

        • AbyssUK says:

          Ok carrying on this theme with other finds from people i got
          H1 CHARCOAL
          D1: BRIMSTONE
          C3: BLANKET
          E6: BRAZE
          G8: FURNACE
          D6: BACKDRAFT

          All fits nice.. leaves me with an D3: ERIC ?? perhaps a well known firebug or arsonist ?

          • AbyssUK says:

            or e4: RICE as in Mexican fire rice ?

          • Barfo says:

            E6 is probably BRAZIER, not BRAZE.

          • Barfo says:

            Im convinced that fire (or something similar) is the theme. so much of top of the puzzle is interlocking under that theme. The top right is nasty, but maybe some combination of H-S-C is the three letter acronym. That leaves the other stuff close enough to vowels to maybe make something

            I6: PROMETHEUS

          • Barfo says:

            More small ones fitting the fire theme:
            I11: ASH
            J10: BRAND

          • Little_Crow says:

            G7 – GREEK
            A7 – SHC – Spontaneous Human Combustion?
            F11 – IRONS

          • Little_Crow says:

            K5 – HYDRANT

          • Barfo says:

            Ive become convinced that CHARCOAL is one of those sneaky on-theme red herrings. I cant figure the T-H at G2, and it blocks
            G4: ACCELERANT
            which fits perfectly between prometheus and hydrant

          • Barfo says:

            H1: CHARCLOTH fits, though
            I2: PITCH, but im dubious of the letters it leaves in the bottom left

          • Barfo says:

            I2: PIT
            K1: CHUCKMUCK (thanks google)
            now there remains only a thin stand in bottom left, with two answers inside, or maybe some combination of ASH/BRAND/GREEK are off. The “V” is probably the key

          • Barfo says:

            M4: VEST (??)
            The final letters (DA/AD)-NATIA don’t seem to make anything.

          • Barfo says:

            M4: VESTA
            Annoyed at myself for looking at this 99 times and only seeing it the 100th time. still can’t crack the few remaining letters. The fact that brand (if that is even correct) can go two ways is really mucking me up.

  16. AFKAMC says:

    My random efforts, for what they’re worth:

    H1. CHARON or E2. ORACLE
    H9. TITAN(S)

  17. Tim Stone says:

    Roman says the theme has been flushed out but won’t say who the flusher is. He also apologises for the slightly misleading “Today you are looking for twenty words.”. Strictly speaking, today you are looking for nineteen words and one three-letter acronym.

  18. Tim Stone says:

    According to Roman, there are still three unidentified words lurking inside the grid. Two start or end in hexes adjacent to ‘brand’.

    • AbyssUK says:

      Ok i don’t like these but,
      D8: TORCH
      D:10: AXE
      F10: SADIRON (An actual special type of clothes iron)
      I10: ANTI (Anti fire potion, something something dragons)
      I11: ASH
      A7: SHC Spontaneous Human Combustion as somebody else pointed out.

      • AbyssUK says:

        Just like to say this was a great puzzle btw I hope we’ve cracked it now, lots of false positives really made it difficult to crack the theme. Also having the awkward X as an easy 3 word that we all wouldn’t believe to be so easy. Then how the hell did you end up with both TIM STONE and CHUCK YEAGER in it as totally false words.. also then to throw off the fire theme with false positive words like SHAITAN, DANTE and CHARCOAL.

        Well done sir!

        • Barfo says:

          Unfortunately, your above solution only has two new words compared to the previous (anti and sadiron, ash was previously noted) so it would not seem to fit the “three unidentified words” clue.

          As far as the red herrings, I got interested in these sorts of puzzles a while back and tried my hand at creating some. When you go to slot the words in you it turns out you have a tremendous latitude for shenanigins because there are so few constraints for how to enter in the words. If you intentionally want to spell a certain word (or words), it is easy to just pick out other words on the list and enter them to finish the target red herring word. The on-theme red herrings are interesting because they actually help with de-foxing the theme, im not sure we would have settled on “fire” as the theme without charcoal, even though we later had to discard that answer. Getting the theme is really the lynchpin of the solving process (it lets you prune the potential words), the Luxemborg puzzle a while back stalled up because the theme could not be settled on, i would say.

    • Barfo says:

      instead of starting “axe”, the “a” at D10 could be:
      D10: ARSON
      Can’t make sense of how to use the “X” at E11, however

  19. Tim Stone says:

    Roman really doesn’t like ‘sadiron’ and ‘anti’. Give him two alternatives and we can slap a ‘DEFOXED’ label on this brute.

    • Barfo says:

      finally got it (fourth try is the charm):
      F10: SATI (indian tradition of widow immolation – OUCH)
      I10: ANDIRON (the metal support that holds wood in a fireplace)

      Its bad when it takes so many hints, but its good that the foxer at least expands my vocabulary