Each line of the following poem is a cryptic clue.

Free blind mice with spirit are bound;
Hack tail off, our first glorious inch.
Tool is almost fine after quick sound;
The mice's tails in the breeze did flinch.

I'll provide the word lengths too, but in a spoilertag in case you want to solve it without them:

6, 5, 7, 6.

Since the second line has gone unsolved for so long, here's a hint:

ignore punctuation; it's a red herring.

  • $\begingroup$ I got some off-site help from @Deusovi in making this puzzle, so he knows the solution to the third line. The other lines should be fair game to him as well as everyone else. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Feb 7 '17 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ And knowing deusovi with cryptics of course he'll get the rest $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Feb 7 '17 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ Is the second one rot13(cevzr)? I’m probably not understanding how this works properly but it seemed worth asking. $\endgroup$ – Ry- Feb 9 '17 at 9:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Ryan Nope. How did you get that? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Feb 9 '17 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ Oh is the second unsolved? $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Apr 22 '17 at 16:55

Actual Solution

Free blind mice with spirit are bound;

Found by a few people independently, originally rejected for a couple of issues, but subsequently confirmed by OP in The Sphinx's Lair - this one is:
CEMENT   (Free blind mice [(M-iCE)* → CEM] with [+] spirit [ENT] are [=] bound [def.])

Hack tail off, our first glorious inch.

COUGH   (Hack [def.]; tail off our [OU_]; first glorious [G]; inch ["in CH" → C(OUG)H])
Credit to @Sp3000 in TSL for spotting and solving this, um, Libertarian construction

Tool is almost fine after quick sound;

MACHINE   (Tool [def.]; almost fine [INE]; quick sound [MACH]; after [MACH+INE])

The mice's tails in the breeze did flinch.

@Beastly Gerbil already found this one is:
WINCED - (The mice's tails [_CE]; in the breeze [WIN(CE)D]; did flinch [def.])

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  • $\begingroup$ Good work! (Why shouldn't "mice's tails" be "ce"?) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Feb 7 '17 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ I think he's referring to the ['s] $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Feb 7 '17 at 19:06
  • $\begingroup$ Pretty sure the surface reading works just as well without the possessive. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Feb 7 '17 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio mice's tails = tails of mice = last two letters of "mice". $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Feb 7 '17 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ Oh. Ok I'll buy that :) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Feb 7 '17 at 21:42

The last is



The tail of mices is 'ce' and a breeze is a wind - so ce in wind gives winced meaning flinched or did flinch. Also 6 letters from the enumeration.

And Rubio got the third

Machine - Quick sound = Mach after 'almost fine' = ine Tool = def.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good job! (For the record, this one I came up only about half an hour ago - the rest of them I've had waiting for weeks while I struggled to come up with a fourth line that would fit nicely.) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Feb 7 '17 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor yeah this was definitely easier than the rest, but I still like it :) $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Feb 7 '17 at 16:03

I think the answer for 3 is something like (the word count doens't fit):

Knife - a tool
Because almost fine means angram of fine = nife
The sound of quick is k, because that's what it sounds like
So "nife" after "k" make "knife"
Maybe the real answer is a type of Knife?

Original impression for 3 was:



Bolt = Quick
Thunder = Sound
Bolt = Tool

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  • $\begingroup$ 3 has an enumeration of 7 sadly $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Feb 7 '17 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ Also, you're answer is neither a tool nor a sound. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Feb 7 '17 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Melkor It is a word but I don't think it applies to this cryptic clue. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Feb 7 '17 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil, I managed to miss the word lengths $\endgroup$ – Melkor Feb 7 '17 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Melkor I'm not sure if you're aware, but Cryptic clues have very specific rules and cluing words $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Feb 7 '17 at 18:45

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