1 Moves mass across surface of Earth
3 Carrot top inserted in faithless can for escapades
6 Empire head removed in revolution
10 Blurred as at end of day, perhaps start of it
11 A food riddled with holes. Wherefore? Say, albumen (2 words)
12 Core belief recalled in church aloud
13 King, perhaps, with unwrapped gift
16 Sort of music, and the Spanish dance
18 Channels inside someone's head, and leaves
21 Perhaps a man in contact with a man, deplorably
23 Bugs town containing private eye
24 You got it!
26 A field encompassing sounds of people
29 Reverse interment proceedings, generally
30 Horsepower without horse's home, and music
31 Washington or St. Petersburg locus
32 Bell? Sounds abrupt
33 Pieces together with small tools for an article of clothing


1 Pines without end, for an object of desire
2 To find the heart of Madras, northward they travel (2 words)
3 Time in a year; part of tree descends in it
4 Pepper, tomato, garlic heads – evenly distributed in this brand
5 Like an animal, takes inside, for functional support
7 "Gangway", for example, or "ship"
8 Case participant without a name, perhaps
9 Rome's head of diocese in heart of Carpentras (2 words)
14 Parts, maybe several, working in tandem
15 Mr. Smith with Mrs. Jones, by way of example
17 Violently removing pressure, letting it out
19 Office workers with degrees for confusing issues?
20 Within half of A.D. 2020, it nearly quadrupled upward
22 Upper part of earth, possibly mixed up with metal tools
23 Electrical device with eyes on it (2 words)
25 Audible reactions, for rapid breathing
27 A word now? No, a source, looking back
28 Bites, repeatedly, mostly firm stuff
29 Famous bit in The Sound of Music

Some initial hints are in chat. Another is that

all the answers are to be written into the white squares allotted to them. None go off of the board or into the black squares. (You might think this obvious, but some people think more deviously.) The exception of course is 20 Down, which doesn't have white squares allotted to it.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (is this intentionally missing the [cryptic-crosswords] tag? :0 ) $\endgroup$ – oAlt Jul 19 '20 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ Are the enumerations absent intentionally? $\endgroup$ – hexomino Jul 19 '20 at 8:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @hexomino yes but I've just added word counts to make solvers' lives easier $\endgroup$ – msh210 Jul 19 '20 at 10:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ some hints are in chat $\endgroup$ – msh210 Jul 19 '20 at 20:46

The trick to this puzzle is that

it's not a cryptic crossword at all! All of these clues are regular crossword clues, phrased to look like cryptic clues.


every square along the main diagonal of the grid has to have two letters in it. 20-D should be interpreted as going in the center of the grid.

The grid:

enter image description here


enter image description here Some explanation for clues that may be unclear:
3D refers to Archie of Archie Comics, a redheaded troublemaker.
12A refers to the Christian concept of "remembrance of what God has done".
13A refers to the three Magi (wise men) of Biblical fame.
18A seems to have a part of speech mismatch: both "channels inside someone's head" and "leaves" are SINUOUS.
23A's "Bugs" refers to Bugs Meany, of the Encyclopedia Brown series.
30A is (Horsepower without horse)'s home -- the birthplace of the modern automobile. "Motown" is also a musical genre.
2D: Madras is directly north of Sri Lanka.
4D: CLASSICO is a brand of sauce.
7D refers to "ship" in the sense of "romantic pairing".
8D: Jane Roe, of Roe vs. Wade fame, was a pseudonym.
20D: ZM is the stock ticker symbol for Zoom (the company that develops the teleconferencing program of the same name). 23D: "eyes on it" means that people are watching the device, not that the device has eyes physically placed on it.
27D: An etymon is an obsolete or foreign word that acts as the source for a more modern word.
29D refers to the start of Do-Re-Mi, starting "Doe, a deer, a female deer...".

(Explanation for 20D contributed by Tom.)


The bigrams are all two-letter country codes. Taking the first letters of the capitals of those countries (as the title hints) gives LJUBJANA -- if an L is added in the middle, that becomes LJUBLJANA, the capital of Slovenia.
enter image description here
(And as pointed out by Peter Shor in the comments, LOVE-INS? A is an anagram of SLOVENIA!)

  • $\begingroup$ Re "a meaning for the other bigrams", you might consider the rot13(gvgyr bs gur chmmyr). $\endgroup$ – msh210 Jul 20 '20 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ Three across is probably "Archie", from the Archie and Jughead comic books. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Jul 24 '20 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ And 7D is "slang", because 13A is "magus" (singular of "magi"). I don't have any idea about 20D. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Jul 24 '20 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ I just realized "Love-ins A" is an anagram for "Slovenia". But I don't understand how that gives you an L in 20D, either. $\endgroup$ – Peter Shor Aug 1 '20 at 21:02
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe 20D is ZM - the Nasdaq ticker for Zoom, placed in the centre - the intersection of two black squares - so white? Its stock price went from 68 to 250 during Jan to Jun. Country code Zambia gives L for the capital. $\endgroup$ – Tom Sep 6 '20 at 10:32

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