Solution - Whodunit

This is a crossword puzzle based on the Clue board. The answers to the clues at the bottom need to be entered in the squares on the board between the large rooms. The Clue characters' starting spots are shaded with their color; this can help with filling out the grid, since the words on those squares are related to the color (e.g. COMMUNIST for red). Another thing to note is the two words that go down into the green and white starting spots wrap around the corner.

Reading the letters on the bloody squares spells out Dame Mortum's bad habit: her OPEN DOOR POLICY. On the actual Clue board, each room has one or more doors leading out of it. Reading the letters on the squares right outside the doors spells out DA VINCI CODE WRITER, which clues the identity of the murderer, DAN BROWN.

Author's Notes

  • Dan Brown was my pick for the murderer from the beginning. Similar to SALON being a conceivable room outside the nine canon Clue rooms, DAN BROWN is a simple, colorful name that could conceivably be a Clue suspect. His relationship with cryptology (perhaps contrasted with Layton’s archaeology?) seemed like a good tie-in as well. On the off-chance that celebrated author Daniel Gerhard Brown is somehow reading this, or has caught wind of this, please know that I have great respect for you and also please don’t sue us.
  • My first idea was a fully-numbered crossword where the rooms contained letter banks, but this proved entirely unwieldy. I took out the rooms so that only the hallway squares would have letters. It immediately felt cleaner. At this point, I also had clues listed out for two-letter entries, but this seemed more trouble than it was worth, and I ended up including the instruction “ignore two-letter segments.” Always be editing (i.e. cutting).
  • I suspect most solvers picked up on this, but there are six special grid entries corresponding to where the six pawns start in a game of Clue. I was hoping you’d be able to use these to get a foothold in the grid:
  • Miss Scarlet is COMMUNIST
  • Colonel Mustard is DIJON
  • Miss White is ROCK SALT (it’s white and used to melt snow)
  • Mr. Green is UNEDUCATED (green as in “naive” or “inexperienced”)
  • Mrs. Peacock is CERULEAN
  • Professor Plum is AMETHYSTS
  • Originally, DA VINCI CODE WRITER was hidden as-is in the open doorways without any hints that you were supposed to look there. Anticipating cries of unfairness, I added the OPEN DOOR POLICY hint before test-solving began in earnest. And to me, it makes sense. This widow is leaving her doors unlocked and open, which is practically begging for murderers to come in and murder her. I actually did not make the connection between OPEN DOOR POLICY and COMMUNIST until the answers started coming in. It would appear that communism was just a red herring, after all.
  • The clue for CERULEAN originally read “Home to a bike shop of note” or something like that. Everyone hated this (especially Darren, who double-hated this), and the rest of the crew shamed me so hard that they forced me to tell all of you about this horrible clue as a form of self-flagellation.
  • A “bike shop of note,” of course, refers to the bicycle shop in Cerulean City in Kanto (Pokemon Gens. I and III) where you might have traded a voucher for a bicycle. It seems that this bike shop was not as notable to others as it was to me.
  • Best Wrong Answers:
    Wrong AnswerSubmitted by:
    OPEN DOOR POLITELYPalarkhapinskyberg
    have you tried not living in the bay area
    Puzzling Group of /u/EliteCanadian
    qu🐜um eleph🐜s
    j apart east or h
    It’s Just Tim
    17th Shard
    Ladder Dogs
    Eggplant Parms;
    qu🐜um eleph🐜s
    Möbius Strippers
    The Lexingtons
    j apart east or h
    Suddenly Rapidly Flow of Venae Cavae


  • 131 solves
  • 692 incorrect guesses
  • Most common incorrect guess: OPENDOORPOLICY (guessed 103 times)
  • First solve: Quarks and Gluons in 4 hours, 31 minutes, and 51 seconds