Cryptic Puzzle

Sometimes You Don’t Have a Clue

Sometimes You Don’t Have a Clue

By Tom Toce

Six entries are unclued. You will be able to figure out the entries through the crossed letters and with the knowledge that they pertain to subject matter that often appears in this magazine. There are five proper nouns (two don’t have to be but are as clued) and one slang word. Everything else is playable in Scrabble. Ignore punctuation, which is intended to confuse. Thanks to Bob Fink, Eric Klis, and Jerry Miccolis for test-solving and editorial suggestions.

Across Down
1 Unclued  1. Almost completely unclear—I give up
9 Turner Classic with John and Jimmy: a medical drama (two words)  2. Sweets around and I eat steadily from the get-go
10 It features Szechuan dishes  3. Miniature caliper misplaced
11 Working title is pretentious  4. Record year for Italians visiting British Museum
12 Unclued  5. Bell-shaped Bellini coloratura takes liberties at the premiere
13 Unclued  6. Hipster scatters Chinese currency in Mexican state
14 Rained furiously on Sakharov  7. Having little prospect of a favorable outcome while recycling song “Defying Gravity”
16 Rationalize fringes of excruciating abuse  8. Wife to former President: “Tricky, bar Liddy” (two words)
19 Unclued (two words) 13 Least attractive reliquary featuring poet’s monogram
23 Unclued 15 From Spain, days for a dispersal
24 Board room didn’t raise $1,000,000 17 Ugliness controls from the start with John’s tiny one losing her head
26 Groom, I must say, is “delicate” 18 Mix up over Republicans’ guy
27 Contaminated gasohol in some ‘hoods 20 A Mideasterner/May be overcome/By haiku waiting
28 Unclued 21 Am I going after small-scale, authentic Japanese art?
22 Many hoofprints evidently—can we change the subject?
25 Randy’s stylus without a tip is broken

TOM TOCE is a senior manager for actuarial services with Ernst & Young in New York and is a member of the Jeopardy Hall of Fame.

Solutions may be emailed to him at

In order to make the solver list, your solutions must be received by Jan. 31, 2020.

Previous Issue’s Puzzle—Mapping Your Way

Across Down
 1. AMPLE—cAMP LEe  1. AQUA—A + QUAFF – F – F
 9. URN—run anagram  4. MARXIST—MAR(X)IST
10 PERKY—PER + K + Y  5. OXY—rOXY
11 AXMAN—tAXMAN  6. BRAT—Double definition
12 EYE—I homonym  7. RUMINATOR—R + UMINATOR   (Minotaur anagram)
13 JILTS—JILl + T + S  8. OWN UP—grOWNUPs
15 SNAP—naps anagram 14 TAU—centaur
19 PRETEXT—PRETEX + T (expert anagram) 16 SPED—caSPer + frEDdy
21 UNWANTED—(nun wed at) anagram 17 RENEGE—RENE + G + E
23 DOTAGES—DOT + AGES 18 SWATCH—Double definition
25 RECURVE—RECURring loVE 20 EXTREMIST—EX + TREMIST  (set trim anagram)
26 ITEM—time anagram 22 DREW—(ragweeds – sage) anagram
27 ACUTE—ericA CUT Emily 24 SIC—SnItCh
28 SEED—horSE EDifice 25 RETIRED—Double definition
33 PRIZE—pries homonym 26 INPUT—I(NPU)T   (pun anagram)
34 VERDI—drive anagram 29 EXTRA—histEXting + TRA  (Art anagram)
35 TOO—T + O + O 30 FELL—F + ELL
36 TOTAL—Triassic + Octopi + Toured+ Around + Libya 31 MINI—Minnie homonym
37 TAD—T(A)D 32 WONT—town anagram
38 INAPT—IN + APT 34 VET—Double definition


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