Note: This is another in my sequence of post-Mystery-Hunt cryptics, which started with "Still There," "Post-Game Predictions," "The Sequel," "Power Lines," "A Lesson in Cryptography," "Yet More Villainy," "Further Escapades," "Time X*X," "Honeymoon in Segas," "If At First You Succeed", and "Another One From The Vault"; this one was written before the 2015 hunt and refers to the 2014 hunt. The tag [NI2], as is usual in the National Puzzlers' League, indicates that an answer is in the 2nd edition of Merriam-Webster's New International Dictionary.

Next Winter: Wonderland

by Kevin Wald

Alice left Wonderland almost a year ago, and you are only now getting around to meeting some of its inhabitants. But strangely, they all seem to think you know who they are:

Inhabitant 1: "Hurry up! And yes, I recognize you. In particular, the answers to nine clues must each have one letter moved before entry (in a manner Alice correctly thought pertained to me); these letters (in clue order) will say what you are. (Three of the resulting entries are proper nouns.) Also, in nine clues, the sequence of letters produced by the wordplay has two extra letters added (in a manner Alice incorrectly thought pertained to me); these extra letters (in clue order) will say what you also are."

Inhabitant 2: "You don't know who Inhabitant 1 is? No problem: The answers to nine clues must be shrunk before entry in a certain way, and this shrinking process, applied to me, would produce Inhabitant 1. (One of the resulting entries is a two-word phrase.) Also, in nine clues, the sequence of letters produced by the wordplay has a single extra letter added in the center; these extra letters (in clue order) will say how I am extended compared to Inhabitant 1."

Inhabitant 3: "Inhabitant 2? Oh, yes, here's how to figure out who that is: In each of the twelve remaining clues, one word contains one letter that must be moved before solving, in one of two ways that might get you from me to Inhabitant 2. Also, these letters (in clue order) will describe one transformation and (by an apparent mistake) illustrate another; together, these transformations are another way to get from me to Inhabitant 2."

Inhabitant 4: "Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting! No, I don't have time to tell you who Inhabitant 3 is. You might figure it out by working backwards, as per that queen from the other book. When you do, for each of Inhabitant 3's clues:

Now turn the grid slowly as per the object in my waistcoat-pocket. As you do, one by one each of several groups of lines will become readable as a mathematical operator and a Roman numeral; for each group: Then take all the noted words, and the word for what the noted results form in a particular computer encoding scheme, and follow each with what Inhabitant 1 is (which all of us other Inhabitants might be said to be in that same encoding scheme) to find out who would have figured all of this out much faster, you slowpoke."


2. A time to interrupt jewelry appraisal
5. Crazy cowgirl kisses Sy goodbye
8. Mideasterner left Cuban & Iraqi with no clothing
9. Quintet of insignia redesigners growl
11. Actress Lupino has excellent notion
13. Turning idler, elk halted again [NI2]
15. In advance, realize fork we mangled contains nobelium
18. Don't open Mr. Neeson's brand-name pet food
19. Arc maker's date is Missouri actor Edward James
20. To sleep around like Henry is most reckless
21. Sneakily observe edible green sphere a feline put in your ear (2 wds.)
22. Silver cooking vessel in South Dakota resembles a controversial anatomical feature (2 wds.)
24. Semi-radicals surrounding Ken manipulated press
27. Goddess who enchants that guy and actress Winslet (var.)
29. Oughta have Costello keeping quiet and rotating ladle unenergetically
32. Pose topless, holding indigo-and-red willow rod
36. Relatives invading Margaret's place in China
38. TV's Conan and Rob changed facial expression
39. Band that sang about Lola Kent, Sikh eccentric (2 wds.)
40. One who tries to find outspoken aquatic dog?
41. Smelled like vengeance or havoc, perhaps, according to a reporter
42. Palau's in the center, hemmed in by bits of redundant law
43. Radon meter with retro term for a New York baseball mascot (2 wds., abbr.)
44. Stain Columba's monstrous "discovery" that allegedly lives in a loch and is seen unclearly


1. DEA officer got bread before Charlie fled northward
2. Volleyball player Reece tosses a blue grating from a car
3. Healthy talocrural joint's name is originally "bendificator"
4. A German dip claiming Theodore's nickname is made up
5. Smells some fish eggs belonging to mother
6. Earl removed leaves from about 1000 square meters (var.)
7. "Smell," and "huge grin," as expressed in similes penned by reflective pal of Pooh
10. At a great distance from America's borders with M*A*S*H actor Jamie
12. Creep's nude Lindy atop church
14. Old fuel seller misdirected penniless group riding with full hostlers in a western
16. Rubbish from last part of show before teaser, which lacks any edge
17. Mo grabs an Andalusian's hand
21. For lawyers, bar in Mexico is best
22. Gross, tan-clothed, adolescent individual who is gifted
23. Regarding John Jacob, who made millions before the end (2 wds.)
25. Warning about mostly-pop musician Herb
26. Top-grade carpet chiefly hinders rats
28. To evoke a laugh, or a giggle, shows unclad person how only sanctions correct behavior
30. Giant spinning electron stripped uncreative stuff from the atmosphere
31. Have food editor eating Iran's eastern items up
33. Roles unloved by actress Wallace from ET Levitates a Ford Car
34. Viennese super-skeptic shuns party
35. Angered one Communist
37. On the tube, shows rare piece of china is holding water, finally

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