This puzzle is based on the nonsense game Mornington Crescent. Solvers might deduce this from the flavor text’s “I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue,” which is also the name of the BBC radio program which features the game.
Each paragraph of the narrative obliquely describes a particular variation of Mornington Crescent. A compendium of variations can be found here.
Each paragraph also describes some number of stations reached by the traveler. Solvers will need to figure out which stations were reached.
Once the variations and stations are identified, solvers might notice that the number of stations reached in each paragraphs is exactly one fewer than the number of words in the variation name. Using this fact, and the flavor text’s clueful words “initially” and “omitted,” solvers should glean that the stations visited in each paragraph share their first initials with the initials of that paragraph’s variation, always with one initial missing.
Finally, solvers should extract the missing initial from each paragraph to spell the clue phrase WHENCE STN TEN BEAR. The tenth station visited in the narrative is Paddington Station, so STN TEN BEAR refers to Paddington Bear. Paddington Bear originally comes from DARKEST PERU, the answer to this puzzle.
|1||Mainline Stations Are Wild||Mill Hill East
|2||Handicap Hurdles||Hampstead Heath||H|
|3||All Electric||Acton Central||E|
|5||Blind Mornington Crescent||Blackhorse Road
|6||Standard Essex Protocols||South Kensington
|7||Beau Nash’s Special Etiquette Version||Baker Street
|8||Tetzel’s Nomination||Notting Hill Gate||T|
|9||North London Rules||Liverpool Street
|10||Toksvig’s Protocols||Piccadilly Circus||T|
|11||Elimination Mornington Crescent||Maida Vale
|12||New Standard Livingston Rules||South Wimbledon
|13||Hackney Carriage Society Rule Book||Holloway Road
|14||Webb Ellis Protocol||Wembley Park
|15||Ancient and Modern||Aldgate
|16||Original Modern Rules||Oval
Mill Hill East is the nearest station to Farthing Court. The rider starts on the Northern line.
Stockwell is the only junction of the Northern and Victoria lines south of the Thames. The rider switches onto the northbound Northern line.
Archway is the only station on the Northern line just southeast of Finchley from which you can walk to a post office without crossing a street. The rider steps outside.
Hampstead Heath is the station at the southern tip of the Hampstead park. The rider gets onto the North London line.
Acton Central is the station on the North London line where trains switch power supply from overhead to third rail.
Vauxhall is the only station on the southern edge of fare zone 1 which could put the rider onto the Victoria line. (In the next paragraph, she is “riding the line onto which [she] had previously meant to transfer”, referring to a statement from the first paragraph.) The rider gets onto the Victoria line.
Blackhorse Road is the only station on the Victoria line with an animal-life tile motif. (See the other tile motifs here.) The rider steps outside.
Manor House is the station along Seven Sisters Road at the eastern corner of Finsbury Park. The rider gets onto the Piccadilly line.
South Kensington is a 25-minute ride south of Manor House, and is the first of two adjacent stations that would allow the rider to transfer onto the Circle line. No other line has exactly two adjacent transfer stations along Piccadilly. The rider transfers onto the Circle line.
Paddington is to the north from South Kensington, is near the end of the line, and is the only station from which the next station transfer would be possible. The rider transfers onto the Circle/Hammersmith & City lines.
Baker Street is the only station two stops away from Paddington (on the Circle/Hammersmith & City lines) which allows the rider to transfer onto a line which she could have boarded at Paddington (either Circle, Hammersmith & City, or Bakerloo). She transfers onto Bakerloo.
North Wembley is the only station thirteen stops away from Baker Street along Bakerloo. The rider switches onto the southbound Bakerloo.
Embankment is the only station on Bakerloo which offers commuter boat services. The rider transfers onto the westbound Circle line.
Victoria is the only station west of Embankment through which the rider has already passed on a north-south line (when traveling from Vauxhall to Blackhorse Road). The rider remains on the Circle line.
Notting Hill Gate is the only station on Circle northwest of Victoria which would allow the rider to transfer to an eastbound train, other than Paddington, which has already been visited. The rider transfers onto the Central line.
Liverpool Street is the only station on the Central line east of St. Paul (where the Stock Exchange is) which would allow the rider to transfer onto a line that can take her west of Harrow. She transfers onto the Metropolitan line.
Rayners Lane is the only transfer station in western Harrow on the Metropolitan line. The rider transfers onto the Piccadilly line.
Piccadilly Circus is the station on the Piccadilly line immediately after Green Park (i.e., the Jubilee transfer station). The rider transfers onto the Bakerloo line.
Maida Vale occurs two stops after passing two familiar stops on northbound Bakerloo (Baker Street, then Paddington). The rider transfers onto the southeast-bound Bakerloo line.
Charing Cross is the only transfer station within one or two stations south of Piccadilly Circus which the rider has not yet visited. She transfers onto the Northern Line.
South Wimbledon occurs immediately before the end of the southbound Northern line. (We know that the rider is on the southbound train, because she must have intended to reach Leicester Square, per the below clue.) The rider switches onto the northbound Northern line.
Leicester Square is the only pedestrianised square one or two stops north of Charing Cross on the Northern line. It is also in the Congestion Charge Zone. The rider switches onto the Piccadilly line.
Russell Square is the only station within the Congestion Charge Zone three stops away from Leicester Square. The rider stays on the northbound Piccadilly line.
Holloway Road is north of Russell Square on the Piccadilly line, and is exit-only after Arsenal games. The rider boards a southbound train on the Piccadilly line.
Covent Garden is the only non-transfer station between Leicester Square and Russell Square on the Piccadilly line. The rider continues on the southwest-Piccadilly line.
South Harrow is the last station on the Uxbridge branch of the Piccadilly line before the merge with the Metropolitan line. The rider continues on the northbound Piccadilly line.
Ruislip Manor is the only transfer station three stops away from South Harrow. The rider transfers onto the southeast-bound Metropolitan line.
Wembley Park is the first transfer station, other than onto Piccadilly, when traveling east on the Metropolitan line from Ruislip Manor. The rider switches onto the northwest-bound Metropolitan line.
Pinner occurs two stops past the first branch-point on on the northwest-bound Metropolitan line from Wembley Park, on the northern branch. The rider switches onto the southeast-bound Metropolitan line.
Aldgate occurs at the end of the southeast-bound Metropolitan line. The rider switches onto the northwest-bound Metropolitan line.
Moorgate is the only transfer station on the Metropolitan line with a similar name to Aldgate. The rider switches onto the southbound Northern line.
Oval is the only station on the Northern line south of the Bank/Charing Cross branch point which occurs past the first opportunity to switch branches (Kennington), and before the transfer station (Stockwell). The rider switches onto the Charing Cross branch of the northbound Northern line.
Mornington Crescent is on the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line, and, per the rules of the game, is the only reasonable place for the journey end.