Gone are the days when Flare Path flair points were dished out to every clue clarifier and theme finder. In these times of austerity, Roman only operates the converted gumball machine next to the office formicarium when a defoxer has demonstrated exceptional incisiveness and/or persistence. Fancy an FPFP carved from the timbers of the Grace Dieu or one made from a penny squashed by King George V? You must sweat and ponder and eureka like AbyssUK did last week.
Word ladder assembled by AbyssUK with help from...
20. Speke - Sought the source of the Nile (Stugle, AFKAMC)
19. Snake - RAMC reptile (AFKAMC)
18. Shaka - Civ leader (AbyssUK)
17. Cheka - Brutal Bolsheviks (Stugle)
16. Chiba - This city boasts a monorail (Stugle)
15. Chirk - Site of a Thomas Telford structure (unacom)
14. Shire - 20th Century Italian victory (phlebas)
13. Shard - Piano design (AbyssUK)
12. Spark - Tank landing ship severely damaged off Guadalcanal (AbyssUK)
11. Spore - [A] Name shared by three different video games (AbyssUK)
10. Sorpe - Dam that withstood two aerial attacks (iainl, unacom)
09. Sorel - [A] Battle orchestrated by the “The Father of New France” (iainl)
08. Leros - Heavily bombed Greek island (iainl)
07. Letov - Central European aircraft manufacturer (phlebas, Shiloh)
06. Lemon - Fruity hand grenade (unacom)
05. Melon - Sonar system component (AbyssUK)
04. Talon - Long-serving jet trainer (AbyssUK, unacom)
03. Baton - Dönitz, Raeder, and Göring all owned one (Stugle)
02. Gator - Crocodilian cluster bomb (unacom, Stugle)
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Foxer Fact #1803
Janet Knockwood, one half of Knockwood and Travers, the glamorous couple that won the Defoxing World Cup mixed doubles four times on the trot in the Fifties, was a practising medium who claimed to be able to locate the crash sites of lost aircraft with help from her spirit guide, Charles Nungesser. Planes found, allegedly with Knockwood and Nungesser's assistance, include British South American Airways Flight 121, an Avro York that disappeared over the Amazon in 1952 together with 48 passengers and crew.