If you’ve not come across Fiona Erskine before you might be wandering why the chemical attraction, well that’s simple, Fiona is an engineer by day and a writer by night. In her day job, she runs an international company with activities in over forty countries. In the past she’s turned rock into fertilizer, recycled solvents, recovered precious metals, brought medicines to market, made amazing new polymers, demolished factories and directed international construction projects.
So Fiona knows her stuff and having read her first book The Chemical Detective I can say she puts her knowledge to good use, but not in a dry and dusty way. Her feisty main character Dr Jaqueline (Jaq) Silver is an explosives expert who ‘blows things up to keep people safe’. She’s an intrepid jet-setter with a penchant for a younger man – she’s living my dream! When your first introduction to her is “A strange bed, a naked man and a few hours to kill before the explosives arrived” well who wouldn’t want to know more? There was certainly plenty to discover. It’s a thrilling adventure, that takes Jaq (and us) on a hair raising chase across Eastern Europe and ultimately to Chernobyl to stop the transportation of illegal chemicals unleashing untold damage. If you’re thinking that chemicals are not your thing, think again, I nearly made the same mistake. It’s an exhilarating read, and great to see an older woman at the helm making her unique way in a predominantly male environment.
The Chemical Reaction Prize Crossword
So onto the challenge or as Fiona puts it:-
An element a day keeps the doctor away….
In my novel, The Chemical Reaction, I’ve indulged in a spot of chemical cryptography.
Over the next few posts, I’m going to give you the letters you need to complete a crossword, with a prize awarded for identifying the secret element.
Each post will introduce you to
One of the characters in The Chemical Reaction
One of the treasures from the Emperor Qianlong’s (1735-1796) jade collection
One of the seventeen rare earth metals
One or two of the letters you need to complete the crossword and find the missing element
|3||A toilet, it’s said.||2|
|4||Mauveine, for example? ‘E’s gone!||2|
|5||Generous bosom found in the middle of puddle||2|
|8||Meet with Len about part||7|
|9||Wound the church?||6|
|10||Provide confused sly pup||6|
|1||Overlay backed and led about to separate ore||6|
|2||Powerful and, oddly, main GCHQ toy||6|
|5||Artificial duck sitting within hide, coyly observed||5|
|6||Short man of the cloth||3|
|7||Slope hit with first powder||4|
|9||Put out in his tub||4|
The first additional letters clue can be found here and it will also direct you to the next clues.
So what are you waiting for there are some cracking prizes which include
One little panda (I’ve got my eye on him!)
One rice-paper notebook
One embroidered silk hanging
A set of bookmarks
Preserved cherries, tea and other Chinese delicacies
Copies of The Chemical Reaction and The Chemical Detective
Complete the crossword and identify the secret element
Email Fiona at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Put the solution (a one or two letter symbol for the extra element) in the subject line
For example Na for Sodium
- Insert the completed crossword in the body of the email.
And just in case that’s too easy, anyone who adds a new mnemonic to help me remember the 17 rare earth elements will get a special prize
Any public entry on Twitter or Instagram leads to instant disqualification! And worse….
Closing date – to be determined