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 The definition of each clue has also been replaced by a family member.

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. Also, if the puzzle is unanswered for a day, the enumerations will be included.

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

  1. Uncle is fat, as far as I've heard.
  2. Mother's decently backing very, very organized leader.
  3. Grandpa's boss initially gets closer to me in vast cold region up north... and I left.
  4. Upon coming back, train a black-belter's adopted daughter.
  5. Aunt taking cover, and among other things, hiding close to mother.
  6. Father, 50, gets featured in song after illness occurs.
  7. Niece deflected worries about a device used for heating.
  8. Son, at nine in the morning, stops at untidy room with nephew.
  9. Grandma's club receives direction beforehand, but has surprisingly no aid in the end.
  10. Son is bashed in vain; zero ultimately reacting to drama? Man, that's funny.
  • $\begingroup$ Further comments from me (SPOILERS): rot13(Ahzore gra jnf gur uneqrfg gb pyhr sbe boivbhf ernfbaf. V nyernql nggrzcgrq naq snvyrq gb qb guvf gjb zbaguf ntb. V unq gb ybbx sbe n pyhvat gung qvqa'g hfr "tbireazrag" gb pyhr TBI fvapr gung jbhyq or n tvirnjnl. V nyfb gvaxrerq jvgu gur cbffvovyvgl bs UREGM ybfvat vgf G. Vg jbhyq unir orra terng vs vg bayl zrnag "cre frpbaq", ohg ab, vg zrnaf "plpyrf cre frpbaq" juvpu znxrf vg uneqre gb svg vagb gur fhesnpr bs gur pyhr.) $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Oct 24, 2022 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ Also, rot13(V unq gb nibvq gur "6 Abirzore" pbafgehpgvba (sbe IV A) naq gur "V" = RTB pbafgehpgvba, gubhtu gubfr jrer rnfvre gb qb.) $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Oct 24, 2022 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ (Updated; deleted the previous version of this comment since I can't edit it anymore:) For a change, I put periods at the ends of all clues, since most of the clues can be interpreted as sentences. $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Oct 25, 2022 at 1:20

1 Answer 1


These are all

Balkan countries

Clue Explanations

1. GREECE = sounds like "grease" (fat).
2. KOSOVO = OK (back) + SO (very) + V(ery) O(rganised).
3. SERBIA = SIBERIA (cold region) with B(oss) moving closer to the second "I" and first "I" leaves.
4. ALBANIA = (tr)AIN A BLA(ck) reversed.
5. CROATIA = COAT (cover) + IA (inter alia) hiding (mothe)R
(thanks to Stiv for the explanantion).
6. BULGARIA = L (Roman numeral for 50) featured in BUG (illness) + ARIA (song).
7. SLOVENIA = AILS (worries) reversed around OVEN (heating device).
8. MONTENEGRO = (so)N + (a)T + (nin)E + (i)N + (th)E + (mornin)G inside ROOM anagrammed.
9. NORTH MACEDONIA = NORTH (direction) + MACE (club) + NO AID (anagrammed).
10. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA = BASHED IN VAIN ZERO + (reactin)G + (t)O + (dram)A + (ma)N, anagrammed (that's funny).

Credit to Stiv for explaining number 5 to me.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Argh, you pipped me to it while writing up! The missing explanation is rot13(P(_E))NG + VN jurer VN = vagre nyvn) +1 $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Oct 24, 2022 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv ah, thank you, couldn't quite get there and was staring at it for ages. Sorry about that. $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    Oct 24, 2022 at 12:39
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not a problem :) #8 was the one that took me longest to spot what went in the middle. The end of #9 plus #1 and #6 were my 'ins' and the rest fell with the aid of a rot13(znc)! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Oct 24, 2022 at 12:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Stiv, yeah, number 3 and 8 were the other difficult constructions that took some time. Number 4 was a big "in" for me. $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    Oct 24, 2022 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Stiv I was worrying about whether or not to ask the solver again what their "in" was into the puzzle, but I'm glad you all provided answers to that without me asking :P Anyway, the answers to the main question are correct, so have a checkmark. $\endgroup$
    – oAlt
    Oct 24, 2022 at 13:02

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