⁂ George Ho

Clue: Loplop Cryptic #019 [15×]

Hello! Long time no crossword!

2023 has been a whirlwind so far, and I haven’t had as much time to devote to puzzles as I would’ve liked — we’re ⅓ of the way through and I’m just putting out my first cryptic!

Earlier this year, I had the chance to attend Boatman’s Crossword Masterclass, and this is the puzzle that I’ve been working on ever since. The theme here is stolen from inspired by one of Boatman’s puzzles from 2011, which I solved for the class.

Two more remarks before you dive in:

  1. I’m pleased with how this puzzle handles its theme in two ways, which I hope adds to the solving experience, and
  2. There aren’t special instructions, but there is a teaser — please read it here, in Crosshare or in the PDF before solving!

As always, a huge thank you to to Steve Mossberg for the test solve.

Without further ado, I hope you enjoy!

Clue Workshop

I’ll keep the clue workshop short this time — just a few sentences on a clue from my previous puzzle.

What you might use to pay a tarot interpreter (4,6)

Click here for solution and discussion
  • Answer: CARD READER
  • Annotation: Double definition (what you might use to pay / a tarot interpreter)

Not long after I published the cryptic, a fellow constructor dropped a note saying that they were disappointed not to see CAR DREADER — which would’ve been a delightful heteronym! Sometimes you see better cluing angles only after you’ve sent your puzzle out into the world…


Your taxi clatters across the gravel road, rattling and ringing across the silence of the night before pulling up to the oaken front doors of the Tudor mansion. You’ve hardly stepped out of the vehicle before the sergeant approaches you with a grave expression.

“Detective, I’m afraid you’ve arrived just in time for a real mess,” the sergeant says, their voice low and serious.

You furrow your brow. “What are we looking at?”

“We’re still finding that out for ourselves, but it doesn’t look pretty. It’s going to be a long night.”

You nod, your eyes scanning the details of the mansion’s imperturbable face. “Alright. Let’s see what we’re dealing with here.”

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