# The Cryptic Writing On The Wall

The goal is simple: solve the cryptic clues to get a Only-Connect wall, consisting of 16 words, which then must be grouped into 4 groups of 4 words each sharing a common property.

Investigate the beginnings of combinatorics (4) Clean the dirty leader Donald Trump around us (4) Learn muddled stream (6) Look for StackExchange curve (6)
A dove-cat confuses lawyer (8) Domestic animal behind vehicle that lies on the floor (6) Source of life; for example, great leader (3) Overflow cuisine, around fifty (5)
Wild fleas know small piece of ice (9) Talented metalloid returning in America (6) Notice broken post (4) Option: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and ice (6)
DNA, mouse or producer (9) Tart is crazy painter (6) Bunch of steps reportedly gaze at the situation (9) A fruit begins life in modern Europe (4)

Also, this is my first try at cryptic-clues, so I welcome feedback!

• As if Only Connect Walls weren't hard enough, you had to go and make it cryptic to boot? That's brutal. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 12:22
• @dcfyj One of the reasons behind it is that I wanted to include Trump somehow :D Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 12:35
• Late to the party, but wanted to say that I liked "Wild fleas know ..." clue. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 0:07
• While I was asleep I missed an Only Connect puzzle that had cryptic clues? D:
– Deusovi
Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 0:13

I got the easy ones:

COMB, DUST, MASTER, ?
SNOWFLAKE, ?, SPOT, CHOICE
?, ARTIST, ?, ?

Note: The cryptic clues have been completely solved in M Oehm's answer with detailed explanation. The wall is :

 +------------+------------+------------+------------+
|            |            |            |            |
|    COMB    |    DUST    |   MASTER   |   SEARCH   |
|            |            |            |            |
+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|            |            |            |            |
|  ADVOCATE  |   CARPET   |    EGG     |   FLOOD    |
|            |            |            |            |
+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|            |            |            |            |
| SNOWFLAKE  |   GENIUS   |    SPOT    |   CHOICE   |
|            |            |            |            |
+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|            |            |            |            |
| GENERATOR  |   ARTIST   | STAIRCASE  |     LIME   |
|            |            |            |            |
+------------+------------+------------+------------+


I think Group 1 is:

FRACTALS (Cantor COMB, Cantor DUST, Koch SNOWFLAKE, Sierpinski CARPET)

Group 2:

LIGHT (SPOTlight, LIMElight, FLOODlight, SEARCHlight)

Group 3 (from Paul Evans):

DEVIL (Devil's ADVOCATE, Deviled EGG, Devil's STAIRCASE, Devil's CHOICE

Group 4:

ANAGRAM (Anagram MASTER, Anagram GENIUS, Anagram GENERATOR, Anagram ARTIST) (http://www.anagrammy.com/resources/generators.html)

• We have a winner! Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 16:17
• Well done getting ANAGRAM! Not easy at all. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 18:27
• I have added the wall from M Oehm's answer (for the sake of somewhat-completeness) and accepted this. :-) I do hope people upvote M Oehm and Paul Evan's answers as well, since this was mostly a collaborative effort. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 3:59

Partial answer for the cryptic clues, definitions in bold:

COMB: Investigate the beginnings of combinatorics - first letters of COMBinatorics
DUST: Clean the dirty leader Donald Trump around us - DT (leaders of Donald Trump) around US
MASTER: Learn muddled stream - anagram (muddled) of STREAM
SEARCH: Look for Stack Exchange curve - charade of SE + ARCH (curve)
ADVOCATE: A dove cat confuses lawyer - Anagram (confuses) of A DOVE CAT
CARPET: Domestic animal behind vehicle that lies on the floor - PET after CAR
EGG: Source of life; for example, great leader: EG (for example) + G (leader of Great)
FLOOD: Overflow cuisine, around fifty - FOOD (cuisine) around L (fifty)
SNOWFLAKE: Wild fleas know small piece of ice - Anagram (wild) of FLEAS KNOW
GENIUS: Talented metalloid returning in America - GE (chemical symbol) + NI (reverse of IN) + US ✻
SPOT: Notice broken post - anagram (broken) of POST
CHOICE: Option: Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and ice - C + H + O (chemical symbols) + ICE
GENERATOR: DNA, mouse or producer - GENE (DNA) + RAT (mouse, sort of) + OR
ARTIST: Tart is crazy painter - Anagram (crazy) of TART IS
STAIRCASE: Bunch of steps reportedly gaze at the situation - STAIR, a homophone of STARE (reportedly gaze), + CASE (situation)
LIME: A fruit begins life in modern Europe - first letters of "life in modern Europe" ✻

✻ contributed by f''. Thank you!

The wall is:

 +------------+------------+------------+------------+
|            |            |            |            |
|    COMB    |    DUST    |   MASTER   |   SEARCH   |
|            |            |            |            |
+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|            |            |            |            |
|  ADVOCATE  |   CARPET   |    EGG     |   FLOOD    |
|            |            |            |            |
+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|            |            |            |            |
| SNOWFLAKE  |   GENIUS   |    SPOT    |   CHOICE   |
|            |            |            |            |
+------------+------------+------------+------------+
|            |            |            |            |
| GENERATOR  |   ARTIST   | STAIRCASE  |     LIME   |
|            |            |            |            |
+------------+------------+------------+------------+


• Is this still a partial answer? It looks completed. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 7:55
• @wizzwizz4: Well, it's still missig the second step, the Only Connect wall: to sort the 16 words on the wall into 4 groups of 4 so that all members of the groups share a certain quality. Jon Mark Perry has given two examples in his answer. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 8:05

A possible group?

Devil - Devil's Advocate, Deviled Egg, Devil's Staircase and Devil of a Choice

• Seems to all fit, but I've never heard of the last one. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 12:23
• Another right group! Just left to figure out the connection in the last! Well, my original intention was Devil's choice (which according to some sources mean a choice between to equally bad things), but yes, that's a bit obscure. Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 12:33