Friday Foxer #96

Every Friday at 1300 hours, Tally-Ho Corner’s cleverest clogs come together to solve a ‘foxer’ handcrafted by my sadistic chum and colleague, Roman. A complete ‘defoxing’ sometimes takes several days and usually involves the little grey cells of many readers. Don’t be shy. All are welcome to participate.

All the rage in the 1920s and 1930s, Whodunnit Foxers are seldom seen today. Each one contains the information necessary to solve a fictional murder. Anagramised on a Whodunnit’s typewriter keyboard you’ll find…

  • The murder weapon
  • The murder location
  • The victim’s occupation
  • The hour of the murder
  • The murderer’s christian name

Every key is used once. All five answers begin with the same colour letter and then alternate in letter colour (so red-white-red-white… or white-red-white-red…). And every answer is spread between two rows of keys.

Most Whodunnits come with a selection of clues that aid defoxing.

Here, for reference, is a solved puzzle together with its clues:

1. The murder occurred at night
2. The weapon can be found on the top half of the keyboard.
3. The location is relatively common in England but very rare on the Continent.
4. The murderer was male.

Murder weapon (rows 1 & 2) – DAGGER
Murder location (rows 1 & 3) – CRICKET PAVILION
Victim’s occupation (rows 2 & 4) – ARCHAEOLOGIST
Hour murder occurred (rows 3 & 4) – TWENTY TWO
Name of murderer (rows 1 & 2) – PATRICK

Today’s Puzzle:

Today’s Clues:

1. The weapon begins and ends with a vowel.
2. The letters of the murderer’s name, although spread between two rows, retain their original order.
3. The murder victim’s occupation didn’t exist before the middle of the 19th Century.
4. The location is the longest answer.
5. The murder occurred before 9PM.

* * *


Last week’s geofoxer theme: The St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V (defoxed by Colonel_K)

a. Bedford (Aergistal)
b. Exeter (Aergistal)
c. tip-toe (Aergistal)
d. flowings cups (Nutfield, Aergistal)
e. Talbot (Electric Dragon, Viscount)
f. Warwick (Aergistal)
g. Westmoreland (Nutfield, Aergistal)
h. band of brothers (Aergistal)
i. Manhood (Nutfield, Phlebas)
j. ending of the world (Nutfield, ylla)
k. fellowship (Colonel_K)
l. St Crispin (Colonel_K, Phlebas)


  1. No Ws, so the time can’t be two or twelve or twenty…

    And no Vs or Xs, so it can’t be five or six or seven or eleven or sixteen or seventeen!

    No Fs – am I right about that? – ruling out four and five and fourteen and fifteen.

    Remaining hours:

  2. Pistol, shotgun, rifle, knife, sword, rope, poison, candlestick… not a lot of vowels yet 🙂

    Although if it’s a particular kind of poison, that does open up possibilities.

  3. I’m fancying ASSEGAI as the weapon, but my brain can’t quite handle the alternating colours / restricted to two rows yet.

    • If I’m summarising the above correctly, then the possible times have been narrowed down to: nine, ten or nineteen.
      Both nine and nineteen use the same coloured N in the first & third position; and that colour would have to be white.
      There is also a rule that “All five answers begin with the same colour letter”…

      …So, if it is nine or nineteen then all answers start with white letters.

      • Hmm, you’re right. I do like nineteen – it uses a nice number of letters, and a nice selection of letters, as Viscount noted above.

        So if it’s right then umbrella is still in the running, even if I’m not quite sure what you would do with it…

      • Have we eliminated THREE? All the letters of it are in the top row, and we could introduce one or more letters from any of the others.

  4. I was out and about, not seen one of these before, can someone give a quick update of what has been deduced so far?

  5. First thing i have which might or might not help:

    ROWS 1 & 2 MEDITERRANEAN – Starting with white M on 2nd row, there is no second red A for the end of SEA though.

  6. Roman has been following your progress with great interest. As the original Whodunnit Foxers were solo puzzles, creating examples that are suitable for co-op play takes a deft touch. The next example may come with more clues!

    That said, you are close to solving this murder. Both the murder weapon and time have been speculatively identified, and another answer has been partially discerned.

    • I meant to ask, are there any restrictions on the kinds of locations which can be included?
      Off the top of my head, there are:
      – generic type places – theatres, conservatories, playing fields, drawing rooms, greengrocers…
      – geographic places – Switzerland, Northumberland, Manchester…
      – combinations – Edinburgh Castle, Winchester Cathedral…
      Are all of these possible as answers?

      Also, my mind keeps slipping back to the time setting of the classic murder mysteries – are we more likely to be looking for e.g. drawing rooms than, I don’t know, abbatoirs? (I don’t read modern murders!). If place names are included, will they be in their modern form?


  7. Based on Roman’s clues, UMBRELLA seems to be the only murder weapon previously mentioned that fits the criteria. The answer which has been partially discerned seems to be either NURSE or MEDITERRANEAN. If umbrella is correct then there’s no way of getting SEA, and I can’t think of any answer which wouldn’t use that. But then I can’t think of something that isn’t NURSE but is nevertheless close to that.

    I can see a SERGEY (or SERGE), which could be a murderer.

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