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Synopsis

Colin Holly, an emotionally-repressed former maths teacher and ex-alcoholic, is stuck in the cryptic crossword puzzle in the daily paper, his only interest in life. Not stuck as in struggling with an obstinate anagram, but as in it suddenly seems to be controlling the increasingly bizarre events of the day, and there would appear to be no way out other than to solve all the clues and complete the grid.

He meets a team of eccentrics, each one dealing with a particular type of cryptic clue – one talks in anagrams, another reels off lists of synonyms, and so forth. Holly is disconcerted to learn that he has been designated today’s Solver, and even more so to discover that some of these issues will do anything not to be solved.

The largest and deadliest of these are heading across Europe at breakneck speed, with nothing between them and Holly but one of the legendary defenders of the City of London waiting for them at Tower Bridge. On his third birthday. And always in the background is the shadowy figure in Chateau Remorse who has his own solution in mind for getting rid of the team once and for all.

The way the solutions are arrived at should be entertaining enough for both the knowing crossword enthusiast and the indifferent non-enthusiast, and yet instructive enough for the would-be enthusiast.

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