The answer to this puzzle is a list of ten thematically related words or proper names or phrases. Each of these is clued cryptically, and the theme is to be determined. Since the definition part of a cryptic clue would give away the theme, these cryptic clues use a family member (e.g., mom, sister) to stand in for the definition part of the clue. So for example, if the theme of the puzzle were chemical elements, "Sister picking at nit" would clue "tin". NOTE: Unlike many previous puzzles in this genre, clues are NOT sorted alphabetically; however, lengths of each answer are given with the clues. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Son to nosh on appetizer first (5)
  2. "Zeppelin predecessor filled with oxygen," Father Rex teased daughter (7)
  3. Sister's second love letter from Greece came at last (6)
  4. Nephew's most bad, grabbing bottom part of bodice after taking exterior coat (8)
  5. Nephew's most bad, grabbing bottom part of bodice after taking exterior coat (9)
  6. Brother certain to inhale hash rips (8)
  7. Niece's tone poem about season without water? (6)
  8. Italian beauty holding on to Uncle (7)
  9. Aunt Cheryl weirdly absorbed in Daily Mail (10)
  10. "Ram safety replaced by second flanker," relayed Dad (5)

Solver note: I used every trick I know, and probably made some up, to get the Schrödinger clue to work. I almost want to put nested parentheses around the words to define the wordplay. But I do think it holds together...good luck!


1 Answer 1


Forgive me for editing my answer for the umpteenth time. With that said, the theme here is

Ships commanded by John "Jack" Aubrey, who is a main character in Patrick O'Brian's novel series. (I'm not sure if there's a greater explanation to the title, but Jack's nickname is there.)

The clues:

 1. DI(A_)NE
 2. LE(O + PA + R)D (Led Zeppelin) (The "teased" here is used to mean
"to show a brief part of" (similar to the teaser for advertising).) 3. S + _O_ + PHI + _E 4. B(_OA_ + _DICE)A_ 5. WOR(_CE)ST + E_R 6. SUR(PRIS*)E 7. POM((-seas)ON)E (My thought was that "poem" and "pome" do share the same letters, but
they're also homophones, which checks out with "tone". However, I myself have never
confirmed the validity of its being a homophone indicator, which makes OP's (more confident)
explanation about it being an anagram indicator better.) 8. BELL(ON)A 9. PO(LYCHRE*)ST 10. ARIE(s -> _L_)

It took ages before I could finally solve a Cryptic Family Reunion™ puzzle! Nice tricks overall.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice job! The easy explanation first. In #10, rot13(Enzf ner na Nzrevpna sbbgonyy grnz, naq fnsrgl vf n qrsrafvir cbfvgvba nooerivngrq F). $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2020 at 11:51
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    $\begingroup$ The wordplay for #4: rot13(Ernq ynfg 3 jbeqf nf "gnxvat rkgrevbe, pbng", yrnivat BN, gura lbh unir Cneg bs obqvpr nsgre BN = BNQVPR, orvat tenoorq ol Zbfg onq, ON.) $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2020 at 11:58
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    $\begingroup$ In #9, rot13(Qnvyl Znvy vf gur arjfcncre sbe fhesnpr, ohg vf va jbeqcynl whfg qnvyl znvy, lbhe cbfg) $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2020 at 12:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes. rot13("obggbz cneg bs obqvpr" pyhrf _PR va JBEPRFGRE, naq _QVPR va OBNQVPRN) $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2020 at 12:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Awesome, and BTW, congratulations! $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2020 at 13:28

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