Thoughts & Crosses – Crime Fiction Edition

Whilst wading my way through my last read I got the idea for adapting an existing game. Thoughts & Crosses as shown below, was a game I was given as a gift many Christmases ago, and it is one which my family all enjoy playing.

In the original version each player receives a copy of the grid in use for that round. Your typical grid may look like this.

One player then spins the wheel to find out what the letter is for that round. The players all then have a set time to think of a word beginning with that letter for each of the categories on the grid. The sand timer in the actual game bizarrely seems to run for 1 minute 9 seconds.

However, the tricky part, once the round has ended, is that players only get a point for each answer, if no one else has it. So it is a case of not just thinking of any answer for each category, but of an answer no one else might think of.

So with this premise in mind I wondered what would happen if you tried to change the categories to fit the theme of crime fiction. In the end this was the grid I came up with…

And here is an example of what a completed grid might look like. The letter in this case was ‘B’.


I decided to share this, so others could have a go at it, and I thought it might help to pass the time. More importantly, it is a game that doesn’t take long to play and can work remotely, as long as everyone has access to the grid. I would recommend giving yourselves longer than 1 minute 9 seconds, given the niche nature of the grid. Perhaps 3 minutes?

I’ve also included a link to a random letter wheel spinner:

The only suggestion I would make is that when it comes to some categories you might wish to have players reference which book they got the idea from. For example with murder methods, whilst no one is going to be querying an answer like ‘knife,’ as there are so many books where someone gets stabbed, if someone wrote down ‘xylophone catapulted at victim and they choke on it,’ it might be reasonable to ask which text they are thinking of!

If you have a go let me know how you get on. I hope no one gets X or Q! And if you have other ideas for a new grid category let me know and if we get 9 new ideas, I could make another grid and put it up.


  1. It’s a lovely idea, Kate – and I’ll play! – but surely you didn’t expect this teacher to let you off with using “buckle,” clearly a verb in its usage here, as a noun for your answer. Sorry, but . . . no way!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point Brad! I was just thinking off the top of my head and went yes a buckle is an object. I probably should have gone with the more common word, body, from The Body in the Library. I can see you’re going to be a strict marker in this game!


  2. I think I got lucky using your letter spinner. I got the letter “P.”

    1. Murder Method – Poison (The Mysterious Affair at Styles)
    2. Noun from an Agatha Christie Title – Pigs (Five Little Pigs)
    3. First name of a fictional sleuth – Prudence (Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley Beresford)
    4. Crime/Mystery Film Title – Peril at End House (adaptation on Poirot . . . you see where I’m going with this?)
    5. Setting from a Crime Novel – party (Hallowe’en Party)
    6. Motive for Murder – payback for past perfidies (Hercule Poirot’s Christmas)
    7. Noun from a British Library Crime Classics Title – Pyjamas (Death in White Pyjamas)
    8. Surname of a fictional sleuth – hmmm . . . can I think of any???? . . . hmmmmmmmmm – oh yes, Poirot
    9. Crime Writer’s Surname – Penny (as in Rupert)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aaah, I remember well Christopher Bush’s unheralded classic The Catapulted Xylophone Case — that title sort of gave away the twist ending, with all the clues pointing to the glockenspiel salesman who’d been seen in the area…

    This is a great idea, Kate; all I need it a room full of similarly nerdy types to play against 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We used to play the everyday version at school on rainy lunchtimes – we called it ‘Boy Girl’ because the first two categories were first names starting with the letter. I would LOVE to play a crime fiction version, and I’m going to put forward that we will play this (or another game that you invent Kate) at the teaparty we WILL be having in 2021 before Bodies from the Library. Which will be even more sumptuous to make up for missing this year’s teaparty and conference. More categories: name of victim (1st or last), room where murder took place, outdoor setting where murder took place, occupation of key character.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great idea. I’m sure I could come up with a few different grids, (your suggestions are very good ones). I wouldn’t say I have a phenomenal memory, as invariably the time pressure of this game makes my mind go blank a bit! I think Brad might be the one to watch with his encyclopedia knowledge of Christie. Though if John and Martin are playing I think there would be a tough fight for first place!


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