Cryptic Puzzle

Orientation Day

Orientation Day

By Tom Toce

This puzzle offers two grids and two sets of clues. The solver, of course, must determine which clue pertains to which grid. Some of the entries require special orientation. There are three proper nouns, one hyphenated word, and one foreign word. Everything else is playable in Scrabble. Ignore punctuation, which is intended to deceive.

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


 1. Dig around Dostoevsky’s gutters and get slaphappy

Storage box found outside of Chickamauga’s forest

 4. Withdraw poet’s second attempt?

 Made a decision about overtime and got ready to serve again

 8. Tampa tern has flown coop

Chokes after wrestling Don Curtis

 9. Propaganda surrounding general

 Sick of me being expected to

10. First tenor eager, ready, and tonally equipped at each premiere to give an encore

After Swanee starts, I have fifty-second pirouettes

11. Usher’s no longer taking heroin with junkies

 Shea’s in ruins, nothing but dust

12. Pretty mediocre machine

Cuban dance putting hum into rhythmic bar

14. Kind of Bible found in the brewery

Screw turner realizing gain

18. Venomous snake offers some benefits

Leaders of state agencies yield somewhat on authority

20. Plexiglass is a Yelp relic, for the most part

Relatives gathering at a community in Barcelona

22. Cooler advocate

Losing a little off the top of head voice

23. Biking again, hoping to reduce greenhouse gas?

Goober’s coming back over Thursday in an effort to fix the computer

24. Deigned to look askance, after a bit

My Latin certainly shows cadence

25. Wearied and bothered by the limitations

Best modeling after 500 claims


 1. Typical feature of clashing music

Building up and boisterously tearing down

 2. Grace, Harry, Eve, et al.

Unhinged and you said hung over?

 3. In Italy, all express contempt it turns out

Gross, an eavesdropping plant

 4. Testify in Speedo while swimming

Mount modern dances

 5. A titter nervously to test content

Securer exercises for someone down under

 6. Announcer at very old diamond

Train to cheat outrageously

 7. Guidelines surrounding Moscow’s capital

Look, by the sound of things, it may help make a good case

13. Pretty good woodsman, according to internet source

Improve with ad purge movement

15. Remain at LA bordello for a while with harp

Having shadowy figures finance English class

16. By the fireplace, stacks more LPs?

Fear of invaders of Rome spoken of one century

17. Drive a different hybrid

Feral cat I’ve turned on

18. Fascination with March winds

Jack’s up and Eliot follows an accounting method that has no zero

19. Blurry umbra seen in Myanmar

 Unreliable but took first place in the Derby?

21. Kept track after a bit and sped

Most of Boston upset by shoplifting activity

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 December 1, 2021.

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 December 1, 2021.

Previous Issue’s Puzzle—May Yours Be True

1A LESSON Homonym “lessen” homonym
4A STEALING Anagram (tan leg is) anagram
10A MOURNER Anagram / Insertion MO (URN) ER (more) anagram
11A RECRUIT Construction RE + C + R + U + IT
12A RODS Hidden novgoROD-Severski (hidden)
13A ASKED AFTER Anagram (deaf skater) anagram
15A COUGHS Hidden Initially C + O + U + G + H + S
16A PLUMBED Anagram (ump bled) anagram
20A CHAMBER Construction / Deletion C + HAM + BE[e]R (e from ry[e]) deleted
21A ENIGMA Anagram / Deletion (imagine – I) anagram (I) deleted
24A TIME LIMITS Construction / Reversal TIM (ELI) MIT + S (tim) reversal
26A UNDO Construction UND + O
28A ENTERED Anagram (ten deer) anagram
29A NEWSMAN Construction NEW + S + M + AN
30A STINGRAY Insertion / Hidden ST (dINGo) RAY
31A PLACID Hidden PLACe madrID (hidden)
1D LIMERICK Construction / Reversal LIME + RICK (emil) reversal
2D SOURDOUGH Insertion S (OUR DOUG) andwicH
3D OWNS Hidden unknOWN Soldier (hidden)
5D TAR HEELS Construction / Reversal /
TAR + HEELS (rat) reversal & “heals” homonym
6D ACCLAIMING Construction ACC + L + AIM + IN + G
7D INUIT Deletion IN[t]UIT (t) deletion
8D GATORS Construction GAT + ORS
9D AROSE Hidden figAROS Era (hidden)
14D THIMBLERIG Anagram (glib hermit) anagram
17D ERGONOMIC Substitution E (c –> RG) ONOMIC
18D NEW MEDIA Construction / Anagram NE + W + M + EDIA (idea) anagram
22D UTTERS Homonym “udders” homonym
23D STAND Double Definition Double Definition
25D MITZI Construction / Deletion MIT + Z[w]I[eback] (we back) deletion
27D AWOL Construction A + W + O + L


Steve Alpert, Anthony Amodeo, Dean Apps, Damian Birnstihl, Jack Brauner, Jan Brown, Bob Campbell, Lois Cappellano, Laura Cremerius, Jared Dashoff, Todd Dashoff, Mick Diede, Michael Dolan, Deb Edwards, Mike Giampa, Phil Gollance, Jason Helbraun, Pete Hepokoski, Catharine Hornby and Bruce Harvey, Paul Ivanovskis, Max Jackson, Ruth Johnson, Eric Klis, Paul Kolell, Michael Kosciuk, Ken Kudrak, Steve LaPlant, Ben Lynch, Michael Manos, David McGarry, Jon Michelson, Jim Muza, Joshua Parker, David and Corinne Promislow, Daniel Rhodes, Jay Ripps, Dan Schwallie, Bill Scott, Andrew Shewan, Karen Skoglund, Sally Smith, Zig Swistunowicz, T. O. C. E. (Josh DenHartog and Sean Donohoe), and Betsy and James Uzzell.

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