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Jigsaw Puzzle!

Image: Tourism Puzzle title slide


The 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Quiz went down well with readers of these pages, so here is another quiz ... or is it a puzzle? As it says below, you might need several answers before it makes sense. that's the puzzling bit! I would be interested to know how you get on: send me an email using the link on the front page.


Down at the police training school Inspector ‘Jigsaw’ Joad was trying to teach his trainee detectives a few research techniques beyond finger prints and DNA samples.

“You need to understand people. Who are they? What have they done? Put together a complete picture of your subject” he was saying. “Get to know them through all those little pieces of knowledge you pick up. Fit them together like a jigsaw”.

Damn, he thought, said it again. Joad saw the smiles on the trainees’ faces. He knew his own nickname. Not that he bothered, really. It helped get the message home. Build up a picture like a jigsaw. Don’t miss any clue however small. Find out where it fits in.

Joad had devised a different kind of exercise for the boys in blue. “I’m going to give you twelve sets of clues,” he announced, “One set a day”.

“Your job is to identify a person. I want you to find out what they were doing and when they did it. Just like he, or she, had committed a murder. Only this person didn’t. They weren’t a criminal at all – in fact you will recognise them as someone quite respectable.”

“You can work on your own or in groups” he went on. “The clues I’m going to give won’t necessarily be in a logical order and some won’t make sense until later. But that’s like it would be in real crimes. Don’t rely on that Wikipedia all the time. I know you lot! You want the answers on a plate these days and that’s not real detective work on this kind of problem or any other. That web site’s got errors and misleading trails like any other source, so get confirmation evidence from somewhere else as well. Silver blaze! Do the job properly or not at all!”

“Fit the bits together properly – don’t try forcing anything – the defence barrister will have a field day if you start jumping to conclusions”.



Here is Inspector Joad’s first set of clues arranged into a neat package. Where? Who? When? You might need to wait for all the other clues before it begins to make sense, but meanwhile work out the place represented by each set and start to think about what this individual did there. It’s the same person and the events were connected.

There will be twelve sets of clues altogether.


Image: Joad A Clue 1



Inspector Joad saw confident smiles and puzzled faces as he handed out sheets with the second set of clues the next day. “By Timothy! Half of you look like you’ve solved it already and the other half look totally baffled”. Many of the smiles disappeared and heads were shaken.

“Don’t forget you’ll need a few sets of clues to string together to begin to show the picture”.

He handed round the next set and beat a retreat towards the canteen:


Image: Clue 2



Day three and Inspector Joad knew some of his trainee detectives were – puzzled. Which is what he intended. “Work on finding out the places first” he suggested. “What the activity was at each of them might come to you later if you’re baffled. Get those little grey cells working. Here’s number 3 - nine more to go. ”. There was a groan from one of the trainees but a grin from more than one. Joad thought that at least they had worked out the places. Those were easy, after all.......


Image: Clue 3



It was late in the day when Joad passed out the fourth of his clues. The trainees were anxious to get down to the Nine Tailors for a beer. Joad didn’t have any particular things to tell them – he just recapped on his previous instructions. Here is the fourth set:


Image: Clue 4



“This set is a little different” said the Inspector on day 5. “Same task: where was your suspect and what was he or she up to? You will need to look for the detail to see where, but it’s not hard to find. I fancy you shouldn’t worry too much about what they were doing at this stage. When you have a pretty good idea on what it was all about you will have a better chance of understanding that rubbish bin”.

“OK: anyone think they have worked out who it is?”

A hand went up. “Right. Keep it to yourself for now. It isn’t over till the fat lady sings. Not that Cecilia Bartoli is – er, fat” he went on “Now there is someone who can sing Zelina any time she likes. Not that you lot would know anything about that” muttered Joad. The trainees turned their collective eyes upwards as they usually did when the boss started going on about opera singers.

Here’s set 5 of the clues:


Image: Clue 5



Joad was in sour mood as he handed out the next clues. An old friend had called from Leith. Joad had once worked there. Hated it. Grim estates. Stabbings in back alleys. Back stabbing in the force. The old friend was a good copper but an absent husband. The news was his marriage was over.

The class sensed the boss wasn’t a happy man. He sensed they were tense. Knew he must snap out of it.

“Here’s set six. Go for it”.


Image: Clue 6



“Just remember the introduction” said the Inspector. “There’s a connection between these clues – the person involved, the places – and you might need to use an atlas to mark locations. The pattern might not be obvious yet but it will be. Well, if you are going to be good researchers, that is. Now, just take a note of that code word, and the alarm clock ... “

“What you’re after is not a violent killing, some kind of bloodbath in a lonely farmhouse with winter closing in. The foreigners your man encounters are helpful and welcoming like most people are everywhere. And your man isn’t a cliché in uniform like the way we seem to be shown on television these days. Why are cops almost always loners, rebels, mavericks ... men with failed home lives fighting the odds? Just keep in mind that your man is the opposite”.

Joad had given away one detail. This hunt was for a very nice man.


Here’s the set of clues number 7

Image: Clue 7



“Now lads and lasses” said Joad, adopting a bit of a northern tone, “tha’ should start to frame theeselves”.

On his projection screen appeared his well-used slide of the frame of a jigsaw. The edges and corners were made and a few disconnected patches of other pieces had been assembled.

“I want to remind you about a few principles. Detective work means solving a crime. But the successful application of justice requires understanding, and that’s what my part of your training is about. Even to solve the crime you need to understand what happened, how and why. Remember Agatha Christie’s detective. Jane Marple solved crimes by understanding what made her community tick. By knowing the mechanisms, if you like, she could work out how all the bits and pieces fitted together and who carried out the crime, why and how”.

“What I’m saying you look for is the big picture. And yes, it’s like a jigsaw. The picture you’re trying to piece together about this man and what he was doing requires you to understand four things”.

“Those things are: Time, Place, Form and Function. You have to work out when something was happening – that’s Time. You need to know where it was happening - Place. What were the influences on the events? – the physical and cultural environment, that I refer to as the Form. Then you need to know what happened – the event itself. That I refer to as the Function. Every bit of action contributes a function to the overall life of that community”.

“It’s like working out the four edges of the jigsaw. Until you get the basic framework completed the various patches of knowledge that you have assembled can’t be fitted into place. And as you turn up each of those interesting pieces, what enables you to lock it into the total picture is - knowing how it relates to the time, the place, the form and the function”.

The trainee detectives were still getting to grips with this kind of approach to solving crime. They were more used to the bluff, down-to-earth, call a spade a spade type of copper than the kind of academic who was being drawn into the modern police force. But amongst their number were some who were entering from just that kind of preparation, and they could see what Inspector Joad was driving at.

He handed out the next set of clues:

Image: Clue 8



The class was a bit restless on day 9. They had endured the scheduled sessions with other tutors but Inspector Joad’s hour had been re-arranged to the end of the day. Someone did a bit of detective work. They found out that the Inspector had been given leave to take time off to collect the caravan that he and his wife would use for touring after retirement.

Joad arrived and gave his lecture. Then he turned to set 9 of the clues. “Apologies for the changed timetable. I should have mentioned it yesterday” he said. “I’m going to spend the coming midsummer enjoying a bit of detective work round the Home Counties. We fancy the Chilterns. My wife has people in Princes Risborough. Alright in small does, but sheer murder to spend too long with some of them. Anyway, enough of my future. Here’s yours for the next few hours. Short and sweet. Away you go. Blues and twos if you need them”.

Image: Clue 9



The Inspector was impressed. One of the trainees had had a quiet word and correctly named the Timely Tourist and the story represented by each set of clues. The young detective-in-the-making, admitted it was only at the halfway stage that he had suddenly put the clues together. Joad made a mental note to watch out for the progress of young Ray Lucas. He reminded Joad of another of the same name who was sidekick to Inspector Gray, a skilled policewoman that Joad had long admired. “I wonder what happened to May” he thought, automatically recalling the Inspector by her first name: they had worked together closely for some years before their careers took them in different directions.

Joad handed out the tenth set of clues, wondering now how many more were on the track of his quarry.

Image: Clue 10



“This is getting too easy” grumbled Joad as he passed round the eleventh set of clues. “I really should have made you work for your livings. All I do is stand here waving my arms around like an old windmill almost telling you the answers. It isn’t magic, after all – just straightforward putting together the jigsaw pieces. This one won’t be Greek to anyone”.

Perhaps he was in more of a whimsical mood than he was letting on. Here is set number 11:

Image: Clue 11



“That’s the lot. It’s up to you to chase your suspect and if you have checked everything I’ll warrant you can fix him. What was he up to? Where was he going from and to? Why? And what is the significance of the mysterious dates on the calendar?”

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s up to you. Get that jigsaw assembled!”


There is another part to this puzzle. In the text accompanying each set of clues there are references to famous fictional detectives. Ignore the mention of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple in set number 8 – she was named openly – you need to name those just hinted at. So the challenge is to find the list of 12 detectives. And yes, there is one buried in set number 12.

Tomorrow (Monday, 22 March ’10) I will add a link here leading to the answers. Some readers have already worked out who the Timely Tourist is (or was). Good luck!

Image: Clue 12

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