Every answer to the following cyptic crossword is English. Furthermore, some clues are marked in blue on the grid and don't have the definition as part of the clue and just have the wordplay; instead, these clues are related to a common theme that you'll have to figure out (eg. if the theme was "furniture", a possible clue for the blue-coloured word "chair" could be "cold before coat" → C+HAIR). Clues that aren't fully shaded blue on the grid follow the normal cryptic clue convention (ie. have a definition as part of the clue).

crossword grid with some words coloured blue

1. Deformed soft lines result in height (9) 1. Adverb ending with "sun" (5)
7. It's a hoax; crap! (7) 2. Linen without third element after custard made of woven fabric? (7)
8. Hindu celestial body hiding in extra hut (4) 3. Rascals overvalue women head to toe (4)
9. Nation tasteless without bishop (4) 4. Profitable comic eon adapted (8)
10. Arc after daze was a white rainbow (6) 5. Satisfied customer starts massage (5)
12. Organized intro, no dice (11) 6. Nothing in confused shrew (6)
14. Turn former partner (6) 11. Quick slow down to tie run, potentially (8)
16. Very kind, of course? (4) 12. Shell out, of sorts, ire after beef (6)
19. Skin disorder (4) 13. New push: a panorama from the inside (7)
20. Unusually insular (7) 15. President raised around king (5)
21. Pungency in leader ends in time (9) 17. Submit first part of location (5)
18. Cell company partially waterproof, I'd offer (4)

1 Answer 1



The theme of the blue clues is

the bathroom.

This also explains the title:

"john" as in toilet.

Completed crossword

fully done

Thanks to @Stiv for help with 14,16 across (blue clues) and 13,17 down.

Clue-by-clue explanations


LOFTINESS ("height" def, anagram of "soft lines")


SHAMPOO (hoax = SHAM, crap = POO)


RAHU ("Hindu celestial body" def, found in "extRA HUt")


LAND ("nation" def, BLAND without B)


FOGBOW ("white rainbow" def, daze = FOG, arc = BOW)


CONDITIONER (anagram of "intro no dice")


WINDEX (turn = WIND, former partner = EX)


SOAP (very = SO, kind of course = AP). Thanks @bobble for figuring out the wordplay!


SINK (anagram of "skin")


URINALS (anagram of "insular")


DEODORANT (ODOR inside DEAN followed by T)


LYSOL (adverb ending = LY, sun = SOL)


FLANNEN ("made of woven fabric" def, LINEN without LI after FLAN)


IMPS ("rascals" def, I couldn't figure out the wordplay)


ECONOMIC ("profitable" def, anagram of "comic eon")


SCRUB (first letters of "Satisfied Customer", massage = RUB)


SHOWER (O inside anagram of "shrew")


RITENUTO ("quick slow down" def, anagram of "to tie run")


COWRIE ("shell" def, anagram of "ire", beef = COW)


NEORAMA ("panorama from the inside" def, new = NEO, push = RAM)


NAKED (K inside DEAN backwards)


POSIT ("submit" def, first part of POSITion)


FIDO ("cell company" def, found in "waterprooF I'D Offer")

Feedback section

Favourite clue: 12 down (the "beef" part was obvious, but the definition was so unexpected!)
Least favourite clue: 18 down (too location-specific; it was one of the first clues I got, but only from wordplay - I needed to Google that word to see if it really was a company). 14 across and 1 down have similar problems due to being brand names.
New words learned: 8,10 across and 2,11,13 down.
First clues solved (easiest?): 1 across, 6 down and 19 across giving the theme.
Last clues solved (hardest?): 14,16 across and 13,17 down.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @samm82 Heh, indeed - I was wrapped up in anagrams and forgot the right starting point! I also added a feedback section to my answer just now. $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2021 at 17:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think 14A should be this and 13D is rot13(ARBENZN = ARB (Arj) + ENZ + N) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jan 8, 2021 at 18:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Then your other down is rot13(CBFVG = C___ B_ FVG (Ybpngvba)) meaning your last thematic one is probably something you might wash your hands with (though the wordplay is very loose)! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Jan 8, 2021 at 18:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The wordplay for 16 Across is ro13(FB ("irel") + NC ("xvaq bs pbhefr", nf va na NC pynff lbh gnxr va uvtu fpubby)) $\endgroup$
    – bobble
    Jan 9, 2021 at 16:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks bobble! @samm82 I really like the way that 16 Across clue works, the words of the clue being taken and used in an unexpected way, but it has the same problem with localisation (I'd never heard of the second half of the wordplay). $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2021 at 18:00

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