This puzzle is part of the Puzzling Stack Exchange Advent Calendar 2022. The accepted answer to this question will be awarded a bounty worth 50 reputation.

< Previous Door Next Door >

Ahhh, that was a good day…

Sweden sits down, calm, happy. She pens a letter to Germany to puzzle him.


It’s nice to write you a letter after so long, and I hope the snail mail doesn’t take too long! I have a story for you. Some of these clues are IKEA patent Crypticesques, with a twist: They can be…

Carried away by oxen, meaning one word’s first letter disappears,

Burned at the stake, meaning any of the letters in WOOD disappears (in the answer (but the clue still shows the original amount of letters)),

Eyes gouged out, meaning all i’s are removed (once again, only in the answer, with the clue showing the original amount of letters),

Or stabbed in the throat, meaning that one word has its first two letters removed.

NOTICE: some “solutions” may not be full words, but with the help of the tortures above, they become full words!

Have fun, and thanks for everything!

Love, Sverige.

Germany puzzles over it for a bit, then realizes he could just post them here and they would solve it in about five minutes…

Tread quickly, no images show Satan everywhere. (5)

Lo, a valley’s most common epistle, scaring is needed. (4)

R, bleak a pied man. (4)

Too strong, in English, come in! (3)

Write down… er… F? (7)

Like a river, Florida had to pay money. (6 [man, Sweden was insecure about this one], but one is saved)

Dominating another’s conceals metal. (5)

Imagine, common CCCC indicator is removed. (5)

He met Ana, hidden person, thinking beyond. (4)

Unfettered, a flavor of tea meets a Scottish hooligan. (7)

As an example, a famous dog of Jon’s. (1.1.)

Can you help Germany save his puzzling self esteem?


These cryptics are in four different categories. The words in them have either lost one word’s first letter or one word’s first TWO letters. Other ones could have their answer with: all I’s removed, or all letters in WOOD removed. I finished this just in time for nobody to test, so if something’s wrong/too hard, just tell me :) Partials are allowed, so long as they contain more than one fourth of the cryptics answered. For example, “Quickly, before Pascha, do relent.” (4) Is FAST, with quickly as definition, and the throat-chopped-off word is RELENT, to make LENT, a type of fast.


Sweden would love to give you a hint, but she had a bit too much of Slovenia’s schnapps the night before. It’ll come back slowly, and then will come the Danish kirsebaer. She remembers that “Dominating another’s conceals metal” is stabbed in the throat. "Write down... er... F?" resolves to a real word only with its torture.

  • $\begingroup$ Thankee, Stiv, for the excellent work. I should give you a present- no… I can’t give hints yet. $\endgroup$
    – user79541
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 14:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ editing is just like answering, Stiv often beats you to it... :-) $\endgroup$
    – Retudin
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ Where has the Deusovi gone… and where is Alconja… Where’s the streetwise Stiv to fight, the Puzzling odds… oh wait, he’s right here! $\endgroup$
    – user79541
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 14:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ By the way, if anyone is wondering about the title and seasonal tag, today (13 Dec) is the Christian feast of Saint Lucy's Day (and she's known as Sankta Lucia in Scandinavia). $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ Is it true that one and only one "torture" is applied to each cryptic? E.g. ROT13(SY + bjvat evire) could be feasibly constructed, but it does not use any. I am surely the last person to ask when it comes to cryptics, but I feel the mechanics here are hard to interpret - maybe you could provide an example just to demonstrate these mechanics? E.g. using the guide by Deusovi - is "Accepting talent or sane" a valid throat-stabbed version of "Accepting talent or insane"->tolerant? Or, oxen-carried with nonexistent words, "uropean shine" -> "European shine" -> polish? $\endgroup$
    – Lodinn
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 6:35

1 Answer 1


It's been a couple days and I have more than OP's requested one fourth for a partial answer, so here is what I believe to be some of the clues' solutions.

Lo, a valley’s most common epistle, scaring is needed. (4)

LOVE (scaring is needed)(carried away by oxen) = LO + V (a valley) + E (most common letter, epistle being a synonym of another sense of the word letter)

Like a river, Florida had to pay money. (6)

FLOWED (Like a river) = FL (Florida) OWED (had to pay money)
(Not sure what the torture is on this one)

Dominating another’s conceals metal. (5)

INGOT (metal) = Dominating another’s (stabbed in the throat)

Unfettered, a flavor of tea meets a Scottish hooligan. (7)

CHAINED (Unfettered)(stabbed in the throat) = CHAI (a flavor of tea) + NED (a Scottish hooligan.)

As an example, a famous dog of Jon’s. (1.1.)

I.E. (As an example) = ODIE (a famous dog of Jon’s)(burned at the stake)

  • $\begingroup$ where is the OP!? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 14:46

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