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. NOTE: While the theme mostly works generically, it is topical to PSE as of its posting date. 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. Dad's fish takes eastward turn (8)
  2. Sister asserts uranium without alpha decay assumes unsure capture? (9)
  3. Niece is a light-weight, swapping bottom-shelf vodka for H2O in the end (8)
  4. Grandpa was sneak: captured, tortured Hitler (11)
  5. Guy's a monster: held up grandma (5)
  6. Brother and I jog back and bake hash (8)
  7. He ground grain up, taking gardening tip from Dad (8)
  8. Bounding on up, nepotism working for son (10)
  9. Uncle Jay shot one-fifty-one with Vicodin chaser (7)
  10. Daughter dancing at Eta Nu prom (11)

Solver Note: Apologies in advance if some of the clues are at bit rough...as I hope you'll see, I felt timeliness was more important than extra polish.

  • $\begingroup$ Ha, I've just worked out what all of these are! However, I think I ought to let somebody else answer this one... ;-) (PS I really like clue 3...) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Oct 1, 2020 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv Even though you're not posting, I hope you got a tickle out of it :-) $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2020 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ I did. I solved #10 first, then #9, and then I realised what was going on...! I'll post tomorrow if it still remains unsolved but I suspect it will go in the meantime. $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Oct 1, 2020 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


They are all

Grid puzzles

In particular,

It's a reference to this recent tour de force by Stiv.
The answers are all the puzzles that feature in this question.


1. HEYAWAKE = HAKE containing (WAY + E(ast))<
2. NURIMEIZU = (URANIUM without A)* containing (s)EIZ(e)?
3. NONOGRAM = NANOGRAM with (vodk)A swapped with (h2)O (thanks to Stiv).
5. MASYU = (g)UY'S A M(onster) <
6. NURIKABE = (I RUN)< + (BAKE)*
7. HERUGOLF = HE + (FLOUR)< taking G(ardening)
8. PENTOMINOS = (ON)< bounded inside (NEPOTISM)*
9. YAJILIN = (JAY)* + I + LI + (vicodi)N

  • $\begingroup$ Almost there! #8 is (very) slightly more complex than your explanation. And #2 and #3 yet to go...those were my favorites :-) $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2020 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ Nice :) +1 For #3, think even lighter (by a factor of a billion!) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Oct 1, 2020 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv Oh, thank you, and here I was trying to think of bottom-shelf vodkas $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    Oct 1, 2020 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ Great job! #2 is a little off...think longer on the second word. Hope you enjoyed! $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2020 at 16:41

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