The answer to this puzzle is a list of ten thematically related words or proper names or phrases. Each of these is clued cryptically, and the theme is to be determined. In this puzzle, the order of the answers is significant, and determining this significance is part of the puzzle. Since the definition part of a cryptic clue would give away the theme, these cryptic clues use a family member (e.g., mom, sister) to stand in for the definition part of the clue. So for example, if the theme of the puzzle were chemical elements, "Sister picking at nit" would clue "tin". I hope you enjoy!

  1. Niece demonstrating before supporting fringe communists (5)
  2. Daughter's friend always flip-flops (6)
  3. Grandpa recovered from Capital Sound (4)
  4. Brother to save bucks on Tesla (5)
  5. Wife's camera with alternative filter captures exploding star (7)
  6. Ancestor tore down walls of ancient Egyptian capital (4)
  7. Son uploaded digital assistant (4)
  8. State rescinds license from nephew (5)
  9. Uncle Emmet isn't loaded (5)
  10. Mom's method of hand-washing, except skin of nose, adds face (6)

These are all

Asteroids in the asteroid belt (see title)

And the clever part of this is

Asteroids are given names which begin with numbers (in order of their discovery). The answer to the nth clue corresponds to the asteroid "n ANSWER" so, for example, the 4th answer is VESTA, corresponding to 4 Vesta


1. CERES = C(ommunist)S containing ERE (before)
2. PALLAS = PAL + (a)L(w)A(y)S
3. JUNO = sounds like JUNEAU (capital of Alaska)
4. VESTA = (SAVE + T)*
5. ASTRAEA = (c)A(m)E(r)A including STAR*
6. HEBE = (T)HEBE(S)
9. METIS = (em)MET IS(n't)
10. HYGIEA = HYGIENE - N(os)E + A(dds)

  • $\begingroup$ All I could get was #7. How did you get #1? I got the first bit but I don't see how the "containing" part follows given the clue. I'm trying to get better at these. :) $\endgroup$ – kristinalustig Sep 18 '20 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ @kristinalustig Admittedly, I got a few and then filled in the rest using the numbering and then the reasoning came after. My interpretation is that the middle part is "supporting" the outside as if they were walls. I may be wrong on this (usually supporting means it comes at the end). $\endgroup$ – hexomino Sep 18 '20 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ @kristinalustig I've seen at least one setter use "support" to come in the middle of something, like a bridge support. This is the second time I've used, and the second time it's caused confusion, so I should probably retire it. $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Sep 18 '20 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ Nailed 'em all, hexomino! #3 is correct. Also, regarding the subject, it is not just occasional...all are described in this way. Hope you enjoyed! $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Sep 18 '20 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @JeremyDover Yes, sorry, I think I phrased that in a confusing way. Great puzzle! $\endgroup$ – hexomino Sep 18 '20 at 17:06

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