A little spooky teaser for the coming Halloween...

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A minor tag that suits but can't be put in due to the tag limit is omitted.



Why cities instead of random clues?


Title is hint...


The Clock is Ticking...


Sometimes things that are often known in the form of numbers can be converted into other things...


Sergeant, what's the time?


2 Answers 2


(I'm really just picking up the pieces left behind by M Oehm here; if you like this, go upvote one of his things.)

If you take the

cities he has found

and find

their time zones (as hinted at by all the stuff about clocks)

and interpret them via

military time zone names (as hinted at by e.g. the last hint)

then you get

WHSAAD for the across clues and ATTEI for the down ones.


these are an anagram of the seasonally and thematically appropriate message: DEATH AWAITS.


There isn't anything in the puzzle to indicate what anagram to take. (Setter has confirmed in TSL chat.)

  • $\begingroup$ so nicely done! this puzzle can finally rest. i'll let this answer sit for awhile to get some upvotes before i award you the green check :) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 16:11

Partial answer

The cryptic clues ...

... have no definition. Instead, the title of the crossword puzzle, "Capital Punishment", gives a hint: All answers are national or state capitals.


3 No, that is, in lieu of two, a single beheaded homicide leader precedes

HONOLULU, capital of Hawaii, USA
H(omicide) + (m)ONO + L(ie)U without IE twice, not sure about the order

4 Limits of source removes, intrinsically the energy would be lost

PERTH, capital of West Australia
PER SE - S(ourc)E + TH(e) - E (energy)

5 Tip for buying muppet – by Peter

BELMOPAN, capital of Belize
B(uying) + ELMO + (Peter) PAN

6 A broken shank is leading

KINSHASA, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo

8 Demolish Cal's cabana

CASABLANCA, principal city of Morocco

10 Call me after one

DUBAI, capital of the Emirate of Dubai in the UAE (Thanks to Alconja!)
DUB (call) + A + I


1 Sly glares I received

ALGIERS, capital of Algeria (Thanks to Weather Vane!)
GLARES* around I

2 False hope with early sign of new Chinese leader from the east

PHOENIX, capital of Arizona
HOPE* + N(ew) + (Jinping) XI<

3 Relish scattered moment. Embraced? Behold!

HERMOSILLO, capital of Sonora, Mexico
RELISH* around MO + LO

7 Member of travel amateurs returned

MALE, capital of the Maldives
trav_EL AM<_ateurs

9 A mind, having taken in ecstasy

SEOUL, capital of South Korea
E (ecstasy, drug) in SOUL

The grid:

                 P   H O N O L U L U
         P E R T H   E           G
                 O   R           I
               B E L M O P A N   E
                 N   O           R
               K I N S H A S A   S
                 X   I
                     L       M
           C A S A B L A N C A
               E     O       L
               O             E
             D U B A I

The overall answer:

There is an answer of eleven letters (two words: 5, 6) to this crossword puzzle. I haven't found it. There are eleven clues whose first letters are APHMS HPBKCT and eleven common lights: HLHEM ISSLAU. Using the states that the answers are capitals of doesn't yield anything promising, either.

It's also not clear whether the answer is another capital of whether it fits with the Halloween theme. The answer could also be a punishment, as hinted at in the title. Kuala Lumpur and Addis Abbaba are capitals that match the letter count (5, 6). Buenos Aires is a near miss. I don't see how to make any of those, though.

For what it's worth, here's a list of the answers:

        Honolulu        Hawaii                  US-HI
        Perth           Western Australia       AU-WA
        Belmopan        Belize                  BZ
        Kinshasa        Congo                   CG
        Casablanca      Morocco                 MA
        Dubai           Dubai                   AE-DU

        Algiers         Algeria                 DZ
        Phoenix         Arizona                 US-AZ
        Hermosillo      Sonora                  MX-SON
        Male            Maldives                MV
        Seoul           South Korea             KR

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You are ahead - I can't catch up, so I offer no 1, rot13(Zl nafjre vf nytvref ohg gur pyhr unf na reebe, yratgu frira abg fvk) and no. 10, rot13(V fnl vg vf ghavf ohg V qba'g xabj jul). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ @WeatherVane: Thank you! I'll put that into my answer. I'm not sure about how 10 works, either. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 13:34
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ 10 is rot13(QHONV - QHO (pnyy) N (bar) V (zr, nsgre); pncvgny bs Rzvengr bs Qhonv va gur HNR) $\endgroup$
    – Alconja
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 23:13
  • $\begingroup$ Technically, Alconja actually pointed out that rot13(Qhonv vf bayl gur pncvgny bs 'gur Rzvengr bs Qhonv', abg gur ragver HNR (juvpu jbhyq or Noh Qunov).) This would affect your explanation and summary table, not sure if it impacts on the final solution... $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 7:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The title could be a reference to rot13(gvzr mbarf), although at least the most obvious interpretation doesn't seem to produce anything meaningful... $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Commented Oct 30, 2019 at 13:36

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