Cryptic Puzzle

Hop, Skip, and a Jump

Hop, Skip, and a Jump

By Tom Toce

The hop entries go around the circle sequentially, starting in circle 1. The skip entries also start at 1, but use only the odd-numbered circles. The jump entries start at 1 and use every third circle. Circle 1 is used six times, as the first letter of the three starting words and as the last letter of the three ending words. Word lengths are provided, but the order is left for the solver. (There are hints for those who need them.)

There are two proper nouns. Everything else is playable in Scrabble, including one British spelling and an alternate spelling of a word from Yiddish. Ignore punctuation, which is intended to deceive.

Thanks to Bob Fink, Eric Klis, and Jerry Miccolis for test-solving and editorial suggestions.

Hop clues

  • Scooter picked up president and did some housecleaning (6)
  • Stay at home considering the extremes of Indonesian tremor (6)
  • Pigeons pass out (4)
  • Repeated rekindling produces nothing to speak of (4)
  • Reward may be burden after a bit (4)
  • A lot of recent discussion around Emma’s cocktail (5)
  • Clean up big-time, taking a bit of return (5)
  • Mad Hatter offers word to the wise (6)
  • Company Buzz appraised (5)
  • Lonny knitted with synthetic fabric (5)
  • Staff in South Carolina Peter sacked (7)
  • Idle Louisiana Zydeco duo (4)

Skip clues

  • Hamilton or King George in Hamilton, for example (5)
  • Excitement over Zenith’s spiral (4)
  • Poe uses upheaval to embrace a cause (7)
  • Turn back or get some kind of reference (5)
  • Prank involving married lady’s partner (5)
  • Sing like Jewel after draining youthful zinfandel (5)

Jump clues

  • De Gaulle’s predecessor poorly considered by the right (4)
  • Aspiration for successful consolidation, at least outwardly (7)
  • Close to a melee (5)
  • Some workers starting to tire easily; maybe pay sucks? (5)

TOM TOCE is an FCAS and once again a senior manager at EY. He is a member of the Jeopardy Hall of Fame.

Solutions may be emailed to

In order to make the solver list, you should send him your solutions by June 1, 2022.

Solution to Previous Issue’s Puzzle—Not Just Any Old Word’ll Do

First Chain

HINGE – Hidden in “thin gents”

THONG – THRONG (“Drove”) – R (“with no resistance”)

SHORT – Anagram of “Thor’s”

THORN – Anagram of “north”

THING – Part of FARTHING (“a quarter of a penny”)

BINGE – Anagram of “Being”

Second Chain

THICK – First letters of ” triangles have interior coordinates knowable”

TICKS – Double definition

WORKS – WOKS (“Pans”) taking R (“red”)

WORDS – Anagram of “sword”

STOCK – Double definition

STORK – Outside “store clerk”

Third Chain

QUITE – Anagram of “quiet”

PANSY – PANS + Y (“yellow”)

UNITS – UNITES (“Makes one”) – E (“error”)

STAIN – STAY IN (“Sit tight”) – Y (“Mary finally”)

SPAIN – SPA (“Resort”) + IN

QUITS – Q (“question”) + UITS (“frivolous suit”)

Fourth Chain

TRIAD – Anagram of “art I’d”

TARDY – TAR (“Hearty”) + DY (“deputy loses heart”)

APTLY – Anagram of most of the letters in “paltry”


DORIS – Anagram of “Rod is”

RADIO – RA (“god”) + DIO (“god of the Romans”)

Fifth Chain

HOMER – Double definition

DUVET – Odd letters in “Doug vies to”

MOVER – Outside of “makeover”

ROVED – Anagram of “Drove” & literally

MORPH – Contained in “humor phobia”

VOTED – VO (“a certain kind of brandy”) + TED




Steve Alpert, Anthony Amodeo, Dean Apps, Bob Campbell, Lois Cappellano, Laura Cremerius, Jared Dashoff, Todd Dashoff, Christopher Dickens, Mick Diede, Dave Dougherty, Barry Douglas, Deb Edwards, Phil Gollance, Sandy Gruhlke, Jason Helbraun, Pete Hepokoski, Wade Hess, Catharine Hornby, Max Jackson, Ruth Johnson, Aaron Kinakin, Eric Klis, Paul Kolell, Mike Kosciuk, Ken Kudrak, Ben Lynch, Mathew Marchione and Marika Brown, Dave McGarry, Jon Michelson, Jim Muza, Joshua Parker, David and Corinne Promislow, Danny Rhodes, Jay Ripps, Bill Scott, Andrew Shewan, Karen Skoglund, Sally Smith, Zig Swistunowicz, T. O. C. E. (Josh DenHartog and Sean Donohoe), Betsy and James Uzzell

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