Cryptic Puzzle

How Can You Myth?

How Can You Myth?

By Tom Toce

Sixteen of the entries don’t fit into the diagram. Some have a leading letter that won’t fit in the grid, some have an ending letter that won’t fit, and some have an extra interior letter. If you place the extra letters on the outside of the diagram, on the nearest edge corresponding to the direction of the entry, reading clockwise from the upper left you will derive a sixteen-letter message describing what you’ve had to resort to in order to complete the grid. With or without the extra letter, every answer is a valid entry. That is, (S)WORD or BEA(S)TS might be an answer resulting in an S taken out of the diagram, but PASTURE could not be.

There are three proper nouns coming from the clues. There will be five in the completed grid. Two common nouns turn into proper nouns after removing the extra letters. Two other proper nouns turn into new proper nouns upon deletion. Everything else is playable in Scrabble, except for the two-word entries. Ignore punctuation, which is intended to deceive.

I was interviewed for an article in Games magazine by Hayley Gold, who is not an actuary but found the cryptic puzzles in Contingencies through her research and devotion to the history of crosswords and word puzzles. Hayley has written a book, a two-sided graphic novel called Letters to Margaret, with puzzles by New Yorker editor Andy Kravis, providing (according to Hayley) “dual perspectives into the war of the words happening in crosswords today, all packaged neatly into a romcom with wordplay hilarity.” Find out more at .

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

Across CluesDown
1Vociferously broadcasting, then hemming 1SF newspaper: Guitar Backs Up One Who Digs
4Any herb sounds dubious2Diving maneuver for some fish
8Likely to be flat, Curt3Fuel dispenser is OMG one you want to kill (two words)
9Rings not usually as near 4Yes, Starr managed to be unfaithful
10Alabama, California, and part of central Arizona appear in Birdman’s setting5Wave of ominous cronyism to be cut short on the double
11Helps initially anyone in dire straits6Sensitivity inherent in syntactics
13Sue breaks down at work7Amyl gas I ordered for muscular pains 
14Directed at GE: our indignity12Listening to Madonna’s book for a little bit 
16Drunk at the heart of Succession15Hold off on teak restoration
17Duck’s out, as pesce is fresh 18Expression of ten times n, per the commutative property 
20Explode a nuke, Neo19Sitting with original poster
23Translate things in Latin and in French21Banquet starting late, towards sunrise 
24Give up and find a new tenant22Closer to Biloxi, in brief, it could have been much worse (two words)
26Call Via; see ya24Sources of power from controversial creators
27Sprout wings in apathy25Depressed but blossomed after a fashion
28Bessie is a little chicken26Spot on! Let’s go, man 
29Art’s mixed up with Peter quite often or, one time, Paul31Down in the dumps as cruelty has no end
30Bothers with random testing only at first (two words)33Wait, the president isn’t finished
32Cheese dish as tavern counter trifle
34I say pull for caviar
35Desirable men having an obligation to be thoughtful
36Fashionable young men from Turkey and Spain

Solution to Previous Issue’s Puzzle—Hop, Skip, and a Jump

Hop clues

MOPPED—MOPED (“Scooter”) around P (“president”)

INDOOR—Outside “Indonesian tremor”

SAPS—Anagram of “pass out”

DREK—Inside “Repeated rekindling”

ONUS—BONUS (“Reward”) “after a bit”

EMAIL—Outside “Emma’s cocktail”

BROOM—BOOM (“big-time”) around R (“a bit of return”)

THREAT—Anagram of “Hatter”

GUEST—VAGUEST (“most cryptic”)—VA (“Virginia”)

NYLON—Anagram of “Lonny”

SCEPTRE—SC (“South Carolina”) + “Peter” rearranged

LAZY—LA (“Louisiana”) + first two letters of “Zydeco”

Skip clues

TENOR—TEN (“Hamilton”) + OR

ZEAL—Outside “Zenith’s spiral”

ESPOUSE—Anagram of “Poe uses”

ROGET—Anagram of “or get”

TRAMP—TRAP (“Prank”) around M (“married”)

YODEL—Outside “youthful zinfandel”

Jump clues

ORLY—Right side of “poorly”

SUCTION—Outside of “successful consolidation”

ABOUT—A + BOUT (“melee”)

TEMPS—First letters of “tire easily; maybe pay sucks”

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