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Sergeant Sequence entered the Chief Investigator's office to find his boss in some agitation.

"Patrick Terne is on the move again, Sequence," sighed the Chief, "and once more I find myself completely clueless as to where he might be heading next. Well, 'clueless' might not be the right word. One of the officers got hold of this..."

So saying, the Chief passed Sequence what looked like some kind of rudimentary crossword puzzle, which appeared to have been cut out of a newspaper:

Blank crossword grid

A deep state of prolonged loss of consciousness (4)
Organ that pumps blood around a body via a series of contractions (5)
Mexican state, home to the city of San Martín Texmelucan de Labastida (6)
Argentine 'scrambled eggs' colonel, aide-de-camp to President Roca during the 'desert conquest' (7)
Cartilaginous bronchi-larynx connector (7)
Part of the face pierced in 2015 by Shia LaBoeuf (7)
Roman god – Salacia's consort (7)
US city, home to the Sub Pop record label (7)
Bird of the Sitta genus, often found in forests of conifers (8)
Ruined Roman baths; artworks found here include the 'Farnese Hercules' (he of the famed 'Twelve Labours') (9)

"It's a prop, naturally - all tradecraft; not from a real paper. We found this on one of Terne's known associates, and believe its ten clues to be concealing coded instructions indicating ten countries he will be travelling to, and in what order. Since Terne last escaped our clutches we've found traces of his dealings in nine different nations around the world, so if we're right Terne's only got one left to visit before he completes whatever he's currently working towards..."

The Chief gestured towards a map on the wall of his office, with certain countries shaded in red:

World map with 9 countries shaded in red

"We believe that Terne started his tour in Egypt, but after that everything's a great, big mess, and we can't be certain of the order in which he visited the other countries. If we could work that out it might give us some indication of the next country he plans to visit so we can lie in wait for him there and foil his plans, whatever they may be. Sequence, I need you to lead the team and solve this puzzle that's been perplexing everyone here for the whole-"

"Got it," announced Sequence, speaking for the first time since entering the room.

The Chief Investigator stared at him, agog. "But how? And... where?"

"Right here," said Sequence, pointing at a country on the map. "As for how, I'll leave you to work that one out on the way... Let's go, Chief."

TASK: Use the tradecraft crossword and the map together to pinpoint the order of Terne's latest country-hopping itinerary, and reveal his intended tenth destination...

Hint:

"Do I need to know something in particular about these nine countries? Like their capitals, currencies, or flags?"

"No, Chief - with just the country names, the crossword answers, and a little bit of extra knowledge, you can reach exactly the same conclusion as I did..."

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2 Answers 2

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Patrick Terne is going to ...

... Russia.

Ed Murphy has solved the ten crossword clues:

COMA, HEART, PUEBLA, GRAMAJO, TRACHEA, EYEBROW, NEPTUNE, SEATTLE, NUTHATCH, CARACALLA

... and has identified the nine countries:

Egypt, Ireland, Denmark, Eritrea, Yemen, Ghana, Namibia, Thailand, Rwanda

Now ...

... the answers and countries can be put alongside each other, so that the end of an answer matches up with the beginning of a country's name. If we do that correctly, we'll see that we can spell the names of some prime ministers of the United Kingdom:

Clement   SE(ATTLE E)GYPT   1945–1951
Anthony   NEPTUN(E DEN)MARK   1955–1957
Edward   TRAC(HEA TH)AILAND   1970–1974
James   CARA(CALLA GHAN)A   1976–1979
Margaret   NU(THATCH ER)ITREA   1979–1990
John   GRA(MAJO R)WANDA   1990–1997
Tony   PUE(BLA IR)ELAND   1997–2007
Gordon   EYE(BROW N)AMIBIA   2007–2010
Theresa   CO(MA Y)EMEN   2016–2019
Liz   HEAR(T RUSS)IA   2022–

The terms of these prime ministers are not consecutive, but they are ordered chronologically. We knew that Egypt was the first country Patrick Terne visited.

We are looking for a prime minister after Thersa May that can match the end of HEART. This can only be the current holder of the office, Liz TRUSS, which means we need a country starting with RUSS.

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2
  • $\begingroup$ You got it! I'm glad it was solved before needing to add any further hints. Well done :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Oct 2, 2022 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I don't know how often looked at the nuthatch without really seeing anything. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Oct 2, 2022 at 13:43
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Partial answer:

The clues give these words:

COMA, HEART, PUEBLA, GRAMAJO, TRACHEA, EYEBROW, NEPTUNE, SEATTLE, NUTHATCH, CARACALLA

which fit into the grid as follows:

             G
          T  R
  P N   CARACALLA
  U U     A  M
 NEPTUNE  COMA
  B H   S H  J
  L A   EYEBROW
  A T   A A
    C   T
    HEART
        L
        E
 

and the nine countries on the map are:

IRELAND, DENMARK, EGYPT, ERITREA, YEMEN, GHANA, NAMIBIA, THAILAND, RWANDA

Dunno what to do from there, though.

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1
  • $\begingroup$ Don't stop there - keep thinking :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Sep 27, 2022 at 22:19

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