After walking through the computer science department, the tour entered the English department. The interior was very spartan, and the only thing I could see was a pinboard with the following items:

Crossword and clues

3 rules and a student notice

I tried to solve the crossword, but the clues were a puzzle in themselves.

What information does the crossword hide?

PDF with crossword, clues, rules and notice

Again, this story is fictional.

  • $\begingroup$ just to be sure, is there any connection between the linked puzzle and this one? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 4:56
  • $\begingroup$ @RichardRoe No. I would be burnt as a witch if it was. I might make an explicit metapuzzle later but for now they are just one-offs. $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 4:59
  • $\begingroup$ I'm very curious as to why 'steganography' is a tag... $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ @TheGreatEscaper For the bold and the italics and the underline, I thought it would be convention to include it. $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 7:07
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sorry, but you used the wrong tag "cryptic clues". You should use "cryptic-crosswords". $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 8:54

2 Answers 2


The trick to this crossword is that

all the answers have to be entered as sound - each square is one phoneme, not letter. This also applies to clues - anagram clues mix up sounds, not letters, for instance.

The solution (or what I have so far):

enter image description here (I've used the IPA to record answers.)

The highlighted squares spell out

foenimsnɒtgræfimsɪsðəki, or:
"Phonemes, not graphemes", is the key.

Note that

the clues only work in an Australian accent. For instance, 15-across is a container clue where "core fully" is supposed to sound like "awful". If, like me, you have an American accent, they would not sound similar.

  • $\begingroup$ Mostly correct, but beneath the elementary line things aren't quite right. Sorry for the accent reliance. $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ @boboquack: Yeah, that's what I figured. And hey, no need to apologize - I'm sure if I'd made a puzzle like this, it would be harder for you. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ Will you finish the last part off as per the discussion on the Sphinx's Lair or do you want me to edit it in? $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 8:47

Partial answer

The "3 simple rules":

1. Bolded words are anagrams.
2. Italicised words require a vowel change.
3. Underlined words are spelled phonetically.

Thus, the clues become (changed words in italics):

1 The answer to everything jumps at tea for two
4 Broad question not closed
7 Odour upset trees
8 Oral makeup made of deformed plastic
9 Form of binary addition was in an image
10 Antipodes held back the lone outsider
12 Recurrences looked like the patter with opposite points
14 Cuts were just ketchup
16 Lion's head put into the celebration up to a point
18 Looped tie was too small a fit
19 Primary school was basic
22 Motel was not out
23 Certain object started the Indian subcontinent
24 across, 24 down The article in two ways?
25 Precipitates in someone's nose
26 Bumpy meat

1 Tooth inserts were the heart of the pie
2 Back in the days, it was his top eatery - it had delicious beverages
3 Egyptian pharaoh had a strange knock-knock
4 'A resistance unit? We're in trouble! Oh my!'
5 Writing implement beheaded 4 across
6 Smart and simple proof
7 Miss a large bin
11 Overstay looked like a confused arty R
13 He sat, ire seething within, bemoaning their mockeries
15 It was, in its core, fully terrible
17 Bulbs broke through the tiles
19 Texts within SA's library
20 Flour grinders had muddled moves
21 Any one looks like me in ether
24 See 24 across


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