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This is inspired by the Cryptic Family Reunion series by Jeremy Dover.


There are ten cryptic clues below, and the answers to all of them follow a single theme. The definition of each clue has also been replaced by a given name.

The enumeration of each clue is left out, but the clues are arranged such that their clue answers are arranged by increasing word length. (If two or more clue answers have the same word length, those clue answers are also arranged alphabetically.)

Your task is to figure out the answer to each cryptic clue, the theme all clue answers follow, and the relevance of the given names.

  1. Louis, in the midst of tagging along with Ray
  2. Alessandro's measure of space-time
  3. "Hold on– it leaves me out of the picture, James!"
  4. Michael's in front of bulletin, at a great distance
  5. Joseph's shy neighbor is bothered, letting out sigh; job not started
  6. Heinrich and that particular girl, at first, terrified Zachary
  7. Joseph gets slightly upset and leaves James
  8. Wilhelm, some other people, and I drink, but without drug
  9. Novel, and essentially holy books, about Isaac
  10. On Twitter, repost someone else's photo (perhaps having some sort of filter on it) featuring Rolf
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  • $\begingroup$ I did not intend this to be too difficult; I mainly wanted to break my streak of not posting a puzzle for more than a year. :) $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Oct 16, 2022 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ Congrats on making the HNQ list! $\endgroup$
    – user79541
    Oct 16, 2022 at 14:43

1 Answer 1

8
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These are

SI units

And each definition is

the first name of the person who the unit is named after.

  1. Louis, in the midst of tagging along with Ray

G (middle letter of "tagging") + RAY = GRAY, named after Louis Harold Gray

  1. Alessandro's measure of space-time

VOL (volume, i.e. a measure of space) + T (time) = VOLT, named after Alessandro Volta

  1. "Hold on– it leaves me out of the picture, James!"

WAIT (hold on) + IT minus I twice (leaving "me" out of the picture) = WATT, named after James Watt

  1. Michael's in front of bulletin, at a great distance

FAR (at a great distance) in front of AD (bulletin) = FARAD, named after Michael Faraday

  1. Joseph's shy neighbor is bothered, letting out sigh; job not started

SHY NEIGHBOR minus the letters from SIGH OB (job not started), anagrammed = HENRY, named after Joseph Henry

  1. Heinrich and that particular girl, at first, terrified Zachary

HER (that particular girl) + TZ (first letters of "terrified Zachary") = HERTZ, named after Heinrich Hertz

  1. Joseph gets slightly upset and leaves James

JOE (Joseph) get UL (first letters of "upset" and "leaves) = JOULE, named after James Prescott Joule

  1. Wilhelm, some other people, and I drink, but without drug

WE (some other people and I) + BEER (drink) minus E (ecstasy, a drug) = WEBER, named after Wilhelm Eduard Weber

  1. Novel, and essentially holy books, about Isaac

NEW (novel) plus backwards N (central letter of "and") + OT (Old Testament, i.e. holy books) = NEWTON, named after Isaac Newton

  1. On Twitter, repost someone else's photo (perhaps having some sort of filter on it) featuring Rolf

RT (retweet, i.e. repost someone's photo on Twitter) having SIEVE (some sort of filter) on it = SIEVERT, named after Rolf Maximilian Sievert

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3
  • $\begingroup$ Correct! Specifically, I intended rot13(FV qrevirq havgf, fvapr vs V jrer nfxrq V jbhyq arire vapyhqr Nzcrer be Xryiva urer), but looking back, as the puzzle stands, there is of course no way of knowing that that was my intention. Hence, you do not need to change the theme in your answer; it is good as it is. $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Oct 16, 2022 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ One more question: out of curiosity, what was your "break-in" point for the puzzle? $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Oct 16, 2022 at 3:35
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    $\begingroup$ I got #6 first and realised what the names stand for from that, which was really helpful in finding the rest :) Many of these would have been much harder without the candidate answer in mind. $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Oct 16, 2022 at 3:37

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