The Critical Line – Volume 39

Welcome back puzzlers and problem-solvers! The Critical Line returns with another challenge that promises to test your wit and creativity. 

In this edition, we present a series of six cryptic clues, each concealing a single-word solution. Your task? Decode each clue to uncover its hidden answer, but don’t stop there. The true challenge lies in identifying the common thread that binds these seemingly disparate words together. Each clue is unique and could be hiding its solution in a myriad of ways such as lettering, famous sequences and so on. 

To help you get into the mindset, here is an example

What comes next?

Mandolin, Violin, Euphonium, Marimba, Jew’s harp, Saxophone…

Answer: Ukulele. Each are instruments, where the first letter matches the starting letter of the planets in our solar system.

Now here is your problem!

Solve each of the problems below and find the common link between the 6 answers.

  1. Warsaw, Cairo, Kabul, Prague, Muscat, Santiago, Nairobi
  2. What word relates to each of the following? Pages, chocolate, egg, tiger, rose, snow, chalk, Christmas. 
  1. There are 12 members of the Montague family. 7 play tennis and 9 play golf. Romeo enjoys travelling to scenic lookouts where he can shout “ECHO, ECHO”. It is 2 months until November and the family owns 13 cats. What is the secret colour?
  2. If Banana = 9 and Raspberry= 14, what fruit equals 3?
  3. What comes next? Sigourney, Penelope, Sandra, Claire, Ariel, Kate, Carrie….


Submit your solution to Actuaries Digital by Wednesday, 10 April to find out if you’ve cracked it! 

Revealing the solution…

Well done to all the detectives who cracked the case! As it has been two weeks since we shared the puzzle, the solution can now be unveiled…

The common link between the answers lies in the iconic board game, Cluedo!


  1. Peacock. Take the first letter of the countries to which these places belong.
  2. White.
  3. Green. Take only the words that belong to the phonetic alphabet.
  4. Plum. Each word multiplies the number of vowels by the number of consonants.
  5. Scarlet. Each are female actresses (Sigourney Weaver, Penelope Cruz, Sandra Bullock, Claire Danes, Ariel Winter, Kate Winslet, Carrie Fisher, and Scarlet Johansson) where the first letter (or two) of their first name follow the periodic table, beginning with Silicon.
  6. Mustard. The decrypted phrase reads “The answer to question six is the final grocery item: pickles, butter, vinegar, jam and mustard.”

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