This puzzle centers on Cabin Pressure, a BBC radio sitcom about a small (one-plane) charter airline, MJN Air. Each of the twenty-six episodes is named for a city beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. A recurring element has the members of its crew playing small games, to pass the time and/or compete with each other.
The puzzle gives a collection of ten mini-puzzles. Each is based on a game played by one or more members of the crew in one episode. Solving each mini-puzzle gives three letters; stringing all letters together gives the phrase EPISODES MJN AIR PLAYED THESE GAMES. Identifying the relevant episodes and concatenating their starting letters gives the final answer, DWARF SUMAC.
(D) Finding a workable set of slider values will get the cricket ball past each of the three batsmen to hit the wicket; the number revealed on the batsman’s uniform indicates an index into the batsman’s name, and the number of stumps knocked down gives the ordering of the three letters (EPI). In the episode “Douz,” the first officer plays cricket with the members of a Scottish cricket team.
(W) These are famous quotations expressed in words of one syllable (“Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia”, Charles Schulz; “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, George Orwell; “The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness”, Fyodor Dostoevsky); the first letters of the authors’ names give SOD. In the episode “Wokingham,” the crew compete to see who can go the longest speaking exclusively in words of one syllable.
(A) These cryptic clues indicate three famous Britons with the first name Brian (Brian Eno, Brian Reffin Smith, Brian May); the first letters of their last names give ESM. In the episode “Abu Dhabi,” the captain and first officer play a game naming “Brians of Britain.”
(R) Drawing a line from each item on the left to the city that rhymes with it on the right (fork/York; gnome/Rome; hibachi/Karachi; kidney/Sydney; trombone/Cologne; Zima/Lima) results in intersections at three of the letters: from top left to bottom right, JNA. In the episode “Rotterdam,” the captain and first officer play a game of “Through Customs” with such rhymes.
(F) The phrases describe titles of books missing their last letter: The Gift of the Mag(I), The Silver Chai(R), The World According to Gar(P). In the episode “Fitton,” the crew plays “Books That Sound More Interesting with the Final Letter Knocked Off.”
(S) These itineraries go from one city to another in rhyming pairs (Chester to Leicester; Tehran to Amman; Petaluma to Yuma); the first letters of the destination cities give LAY. In the episode “St Petersburg,” the captain and first officer play a game of “Rhyming Journeys.”
(U) The first two letters of each traveler’s name are the symbol of an element on the periodic table; taking the last initials of the three corresponding to metals gives EDT. In the episode “Uskerty,” the steward plays a “game” of seeing if the security gate can tell if someone is carrying metal.
(M) The clue phrases point to filling in the blanks with HAYSTACK MOUNTAIN, EASTER ISLAND STATUES, STAR WARS CANTINA; the first letters of those answers give HES; the highlighted blanks in each one spell SANTA. In the episode “Molokai,” the crew does a Secret Santa gift exchange.
(A) The “word list” gives a set of vessels, whose captains can be fit into the criss-cross. The marked boxes in the result, from top to bottom, give EGA. Through the episode “Abu Dhabi,” the first officer names famous captains whom the plane’s captain has never heard of.
(C) This cabin address incorporates passages from three Frank Sinatra songs: “My Way,” “Ever Homeward,” and “Strangers in the Night.” The first letters of those titles give MES. In the episode “Cremona,” the captain and first officer give cabin addresses over the intercom using the lyrics of Frank Sinatra songs.