Losing your cool? Just mix the 1st-7th to find the answer: _ _ _ _ _ _ _

  1. Hound Father, "come back!" (3)

  2. Use Spoon, bake on fork, pat (4-3)

  3. Relationship in translation (5)

  4. Lord tom's noise within a strange heron (9)

  5. PC mom leads on camera (9)

  6. Sounds like you equine, again, are lost and confused (9)

  7. Tragic star in a weird patch, I see (12)

This is my first attempt at cryptic clues. I hope I've followed the rules properly. Good luck!

Edit: Some small changes to help these conform to the (somewhat esoteric ) rules. I did not know I needed to indicate every time a homophone/sound-alike is involved. For fairness, clues 2 and 6 have some manner of this.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Sorry if it sounds too esoteric. The general principles are that part of the clue is a valid definition in a quick crossword and the other part is a set of instructions that can be followed to manipulate letters of some words to get the answer (instead of the actual words you can use something that could replace it in a sentence, ie synonyms and abbreviations, in most cases, with a few exceptions like anagrams). The remaining quirks you have to learn the hard way :) My comments so far on these (though I can be more pedantic than most). $\endgroup$ – ffao May 17 '18 at 20:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you so much for the in-depth feedback! I suppose it's the quirks I'm most hung up on, like what forms of obfuscation and wordplay are acceptable and which needs to be called out. That said, I think these types of puzzles are really interesting and will hopefully learn as I go. (I debated your exact criticism on question 7, but went with it in the end, was a bit of a stretch but at least someone got it! ) $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 17 '18 at 21:23
  • $\begingroup$ Nice teamwork all, thanks for rolling with my first try and getting a solve! @noedne posted the final answer first, so they get the check. $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 18 '18 at 15:20


Hound Father, "come back!" (3)

DOG (GOD <- )

Use Spoon, bake on fork, pat (4-3)

PORK FAT (Spoonerism on Fork Pat. But, I don't think Spoon to indicate Spoonerism is allowed.) (Found by hkBst)

Relationship in translation (5)

RATIO (found non-consecutively in tRAnslaTIOn. Not sure, if that is fair) (Found by Chowlett)

Lord tom's noise within a strange heron (9)


PC mom leads on camera (9)

MAINFRAME? (MA INFRAME) (noedne got here faster. But, I did figure it out independently)

Sounds like You equine, again, are lost and confused

This looks like an indirect anagram for U+(Horse??)+(Re?). But, I haven't gotten anything useful out of that.

Tragic star in a weird patch, I see (12)

CATASTROPHIC (ASTRO in (PATCH)* +IC (Homophone indicator for "see" is missing))

  • $\begingroup$ 1, 4, 7 all correct! Thanks for the note on 7, will keep that in mind in future puzzles $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 17 '18 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ No on #3. I may have slipped up by including an unnecessary article. That is fixed. $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 17 '18 at 19:05
  1. PC mom leads on camera (9)


  1. Sounds like you equine, again, are lost and confused (9)

HORSESHOE (Based on Rand al'Thor's ideas, HORSE+(HORSE-R)*, and it sounds like "horse you.")

Final answer:

Taking each nth letter of the nth word, DOTEFSR → DEFROST (losing your cool).

  • $\begingroup$ Correct on number 5! ! Wrong on the final answer $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 17 '18 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ Correct on #6, (also, a 'U' is a definition). Correct on the final answer! $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 18 '18 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ @TwoBitOperation The definition has to be a straightforward definition acceptable in a standard ("quick") crossword. You can't obscure the def through cryptic wordplay (though clever reinterpretations (e.g. "flower" as a definition for NILE) are fine!). $\endgroup$ – Deusovi May 18 '18 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Deusovi OK, that makes sense. So if the clue had been "U equine, again, are lost and confused" would that have been sufficient? $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 18 '18 at 21:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @TwoBitOperation The "again [...] lost" might be considered an indirect anagram, which is generally A Bad Thing™. And the use of such a big component (HORSE) as its own meaning in the actual word would be bad stylistically, but not invalid. (I wouldn't clue, say, AGREEABLENESS as AGREEABLE + NESS.) But the definition part would be fine, yes. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi May 18 '18 at 23:57

Is Clue 3 (Relationship in translation (5)):

ratio ("contained" in tRAnslaTIOn, even if not consecutively as would be expected)

  • $\begingroup$ #3 is Correct!! $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 18 '18 at 13:31

Partial answer

I don't have a solution to either 2 or 6, but some work towards them which may be helpful for others:

  1. Use Spoon, bake on fork, pat (4-3)

    The capitalised "Spoon" must mean Spoonerisms. "Fake on bork" doesn't make much sense, but "pork, fat" does, and "bake on" could mean bacon. If the solution is PORK-FAT, I don't know how that relates to bacon, but that could be just my vegetarian ignorance.

  1. Sounds like you equine, again, are lost and confused (9)

    "Sounds like you" must be either ewe or u, and "equine" surely means horse. Presumably "confused" means we need to anagram stuff at the end. I also think "are lost" might mean to remove one or more R's, and "again" could be either re or simply repetition of one of the other parts. So it could be an anagram of "ewehosere" or "uhosehose" ... but neither of these seems to have any good anagrams. I also toyed with the idea that it could be a different equid, but "ewezebare" and "uzebazeba" don't have good anagrams either.

Final answer:

assuming we're meant to take the nth letter of the nth clue for each n, we get DOTEF?R. The only letters which could give a meaningful anagram are H, N, S, which yield FROTHED, FRONTED, FROSTED/DEFROST respectively. The best fit with the title is DEFROST (thanks @Sid).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For #2 - Maybe something to do with bake on sounding like ROT13(onpba)? That relates to the Sp. you're thinking of. $\endgroup$ – Phylyp May 18 '18 at 3:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Or, I'm just hungry. $\endgroup$ – Phylyp May 18 '18 at 4:44
  • $\begingroup$ Rand, your intuitions are right on, you're close on both. This is the part where I'd normally cackle that I've made some tough clues, but I do wonder if you're having trouble just because I've bent the rules a bit. $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 18 '18 at 11:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Phylyp Spot on! $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 18 '18 at 11:37
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ DEFROST seems to fit with losing cool. $\endgroup$ – Sid May 18 '18 at 14:54

Clue 2 (Use Spoon, bake on fork, pat (4-3))

pork fat

Clue 3 (Relationship in translation (5))

amour (french for love)

Clue 6 (sounds like you equine, again, are lost and confused (9))

was analyzed by Rand as being perhaps an anagram of uhosehose. Valid anagrams of that are house shoe and shoe house.

  • $\begingroup$ Correct on #2, nice work! 3 and 6 are incorrect $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 18 '18 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ What's the def for 2? $\endgroup$ – Sid May 18 '18 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ bake on = ROT13(onpba) which defines the answer. I've since been informed that this is slightly outside the rules. :/ $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 18 '18 at 15:21

My take on clue #3: "Relationship in translation (5)"

LIEBE (German for 'love') or AMOUR (French for 'love')

  • $\begingroup$ Good guess, but incorrect. Chowlett came up with the answer $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation May 18 '18 at 13:33

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