Let me remind you, in case you haven’t read my previous puzzle, that a cryptic rebus is a rebus that has the form of a cryptic clue. That is to say, there are two parts to a cryptic rebus:

  • a definition of the answer
  • a subsidiary indicator of the answer.

A definition can take the form of a picture which straightforwardly represents the answer, or it can be a synonym of the answer.

The subsidiary indicator of the answer, on the other hand, will be some kind of rebus word/image play which leads to the answer.

Here is an example:

enter image description here

This clue depicts California beside some tea beside a cat. California beside some tea (CA + T) is a rebus for cat. The image of the cat constitutes the definition of the clue, and the CA + T rebus constitutes the subsidiary indicator.

This simple example illustrates the structure of a cryptic rebus.

As with purely verbal cryptic clues, however, it will not always be clear what constitutes the definition and what constitutes the subsidiary indicator. Unlike verbal cryptic clues, where the definition must occur at the beginning or end of the clue, the definition of a cryptic rebus can appear anywhere. It can even appear misleadingly integrated in or around the subsidiary indicator. (Perhaps it can even lend positional relations to the subsidiary indicator!) Part of the fun of these puzzles is the thrill the solver gets upon discovering where exactly to “split” the clue into its components.

Also as with purely verbal cryptic clues, there is an exception to the rule that all clues consist of a definition and a subsidiary indicator. So-called double (or triple) rebuses comprise multiple rebuses, each one of which might yield a definition which points to the answer (as in standard cryptic double definitions); alternatively, one (or two) might yield a definition while the other directly yields the answer.

Great, you're all caught up. So, without further ado, I present to you the zoo:

enter image description here

*I don't own any of the images from which I drew in making these puzzles. Where possible I tried to use public domain images (in particular, images from very old books). I believe I may be using the rest in accordance with fair use.

  • $\begingroup$ Is the G in 11 placed corrrectly? $\endgroup$ – Neil W Jan 2 '17 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ @NeilW, yes the 'G' is correct. $\endgroup$ – DyingIsFun Jan 2 '17 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ ... albeit a bit under the weather. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Jan 2 '17 at 14:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ yes, but not under the sun. $\endgroup$ – Neil W Jan 2 '17 at 14:33

Completed Answers
Thanks to @Chris Cudmore, @Volatility, and @M Oehm for key contributions, and to OP for guidance and a fun puzzle.


Bass (bass clef; [def] bass fish)


Eagle (headless beagle; [def] eagle)


Spotted ([def] saw; the image is spotted)
@Chris Cudmore originally, um, spotted this one.


German shepherd ([def] German shepherd; German for "shepherd")


Dog ([def] dog; "Suez" backward is Zeus, a god, and backward again is dog)


Komodo Dragon (Commode+O + Drag On; [def] animal)
Borrowing again from @Chris Cudmore here, and thanks @Volatility for the proper construction.


Comma ([def] Last text character is a comma; COMic sans[without] IC[BIC-B] + MA=COMMA)
@M Oehm identified this as a butterfly—and the Eastern Comma is a butterfly of Massachusetts.


Asp ([def] asp; PSA, backwards)


Redips (Spider + Back + Words; [def] dunks again)
The text ends "dunks again", which @Chris Cudmore points out can be interpreted as "redips".
The remaining nonsense words are just that. Words.
The two pictures are Spider and a man's Back.
Put them together as indicated to get both def. and subsidiary indicator.


Adder ([def] adder; calculator is an adding device)


Gill (G ill [under the weather]; [def] part of a fish; Gil).
[A gill is, serendipitously, a name for a female ferret—a connection not intended by OP. In any case, thanks to @M Oehm for ferreting out the ferret; I think we had all assumed all answers would be animals, and without his contribution I would have kept looking elsewhere.]


Apes ([def] Our ancestors; [ddef] Parrots (v.))

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Maybe this is a bit of a stretch, but 11 might be gill, as in fishes' respiratory organs (although we don't see them here), Gil (Gunderson) and G ill (G under the weather). And a gill is apparently a female ferret, although I'm not sure whether that should be jill and it this really is the definition for an animal, it is also suspiciously absent from the panel. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Jan 2 '17 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ @MOehm, 11 has three parts, similar in (macro)structure to 14 from the previous puzzle. $\endgroup$ – DyingIsFun Jan 2 '17 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ Rubio, your answer to 11 is correct, but your explanation is not (at least not entirely). The fish illustration in 11 does not depict the gill of a fish. As @MOehm noted, the gill is absent from the panel. $\endgroup$ – DyingIsFun Jan 2 '17 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ Rubio, that doesn't quite work either since "up to the gills" is not synonymous with "gill". Think more literally—what does the image depict that is crossword synonymous with "gill"? $\endgroup$ – DyingIsFun Jan 2 '17 at 21:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well done on 12! $\endgroup$ – DyingIsFun Jan 3 '17 at 2:51

May as well chip in a few


Suez = Zeus (god) backwards = DOG


Com-ic Sans(-) (Bic - B) + MA = COMMA (but where's the definition? and as M Oehm has kindly informed us, a comma is indeed an animal)


Public Service Announcement (PSA) backwards = ASP

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm no lepidopterist, but my crossword experience tells me that a comma is a butterfly. $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Jan 2 '17 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ @MOehm, what's more, a bee appears in the clue (probably a friend of the comma). $\endgroup$ – DyingIsFun Jan 2 '17 at 14:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If a comma ever mated with this butterfly, I bet the offspring would be called a semicolon. $\endgroup$ – DyingIsFun Jan 2 '17 at 15:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The definition for 7 is at the end of the Comic Sans (presumably the rest of the characters are sufficient to clue the font). $\endgroup$ – Volatility Jan 3 '17 at 2:54
  1. is a

Bass - a type of fish. The music symbol on the left is a bass clef

  1. is a

Eagle - A headless beagle means take the b away to get eagle

  1. is a (Thanks Rubio)

Adder - a snake and a calculator adds numbers



SPOTTED - Double Definition, 1 visual, one semantic


Komodo Dragon (Commode + Circle (O) + DRAG ON)

Partial parsing for #9

The image can be interpreted as "SPIDER BACK" and the last line of text is "Dunks Again" which would be "REDIPS", or SPIDER backwards But I don't know where to go from there.

  • $\begingroup$ You had 3 correct originally, but changed it. Your current answer would only be correct if this was a standard rebus, which it isn't. Also, to say that the coloration depicts wetness is a bit of a stretch. Nice try though! $\endgroup$ – DyingIsFun Jan 2 '17 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ Re edited it in. $\endgroup$ – Chris Cudmore Jan 3 '17 at 14:20

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